Rock on with The Inn Collection Group

Eagle eyed people out and about the North East should look out for beautifully painted rocks featuring The Inn Collection Group inns.

The rocks, painted by talented artist Ashleigh Louise Legg of Fingerprint Art, each depict one of the group’s seven inns: The Lindisfarne Inn near Holy Island, The Bamburgh Castle Inn at Seahouses, The Hog’s Head Inn at Alnwick, The Commissioners Quay Inn at Blyth, The Kingslodge Inn at Durham, The Seaton Lane Inn at Seaton and The King’s Head Inn at Newton under Roseberry. 

Each painted rock has a message asking the rock to be returned to the inn where they can claim a prize. People can share the rocks they find on social media before they are hidden again for people to discover.

Operations director Sean Donkin said: “We’ve been inspired by the rock painting craze of Tyneside Rocks, Durham Rocks and Northumberland Rocks that is sweeping the region, which sees people painting rocks and hiding them for others to find.

“We thought it was a lovely idea and a great way to get people out and about enjoying the coast and countryside around our inns and away from mobile phones or computer screens but there is still the connection to social media which children – and adults enjoy.

“Ashleigh, a talented local artist, has painted our inns – which are all distinctive in landmark locations like Blyth water front and beneath Roseberry Topping in Newton under Roseberry and the results are amazing.

“We hope people have a lovely time searching for our rocks. And if you’re not lucky enough to find one yourself, why not try your hand at painting one of our inns for other people to discover, too?”

Seafront inn nails its colours to the mast as being best of the best

Seaside pub The Commissioners Quay Inn has swept the boards in The Inn Collection Group’s inaugural Best of the Best Awards.

Introduced for customers to vote for their favourite pub in categories including the best food, drink and accommodation as well as the staff behind their favourite venues – the awards attracted over 2000 votes across 21 categories, with the Blyth inn coming top in a whopping 16 categories.

Fans of the waterfront inn ranked The Commissioners Quay Inn top in categories ranging from best overall establishment and most family friendly inn to best cask ale and best Sunday lunch.

General manager Daniel Evans said: “We are over the moon to have done so well in so many categories. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and the fact that these awards are voted for by our customers makes them even more special.

“We are proud to have won categories across every sector of our offering – from our food and drink, to our outstanding team. It’s a real coup to have that accolade from our customers and I would like to thank everyone who voted for us and to the team here at The Commissioners Quay Inn for the great job they do.”

Food lovers at Durham city’s The Kingslodge Inn voted the Flass Vale inn top in dining categories including best chef’s special, best vegetarian meal and best seafood dish, while the inn also shone in the best housekeeping team award.

Newton-under-Roseberry based pub with rooms The King’s Head Inn was voted best by customers in the accommodation category.

Beal-based The Lindisfarne Inn narrowly missed the top spot for the best pizza category, taking the runner up slice.

A close runner up in the popular best fish and chips award was seaside pub, The Bamburgh Castle Inn at Seahouses. The inn’s front of house and management teams were only just pipped at the post by The Commissioners Quay Inn in the awards’  two most voted for categories.

The Inn Collection Group operations director Sean Donkin said: “We were absolutely delighted by the response to our first ever Best of the Best Awards. Our customers cast their vote by the thousand to show what does it for them at our inns across the north of England.

“It was brilliant to see that without exception, the most voted for categories were those including people – such as the best front of house team and best management team. It is exceptionally rewarding for the people behind our inns to get such recognition. It affirms the hard work and dedication they put in to making sure our customers enjoy the best possible experience when they step through our doors.”

Going hook, line and sinker to support the RNLI's Fish Supper

The Inn Collection Group supports the RNLI Fish Supper

The Inn Collection Group are going hook, line and sinker to support the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s Fish Supper fundraising campaign.

Promising ‘trout of this world’ fish dishes across its inns on Friday nights throughout October, the Group is giving a £1 donation (50p children’s meals) from every RNLI Fish special to the charity which saves lives at sea.

From crowd-pleasing local ale battered fish and chips to just-landed catch of the day plates, the Group is pledging to tip the scales when it comes to supporting the RNLI’s annual Fish Supper campaign to raise funds for their local lifeboat crews.

Dan Evans is general manager at The Commissioners Quay Inn, which overlooks the North Sea and busy Port of Blyth in Northumberland.

Dan: “Proper, homemade battered fish and perfectly cooked chips are right up there as being one of our favourite meals as a nation. To my mind there can be no better way to help a lifesaving charity like the RNLI than tucking into one of our local beer-battered fish and homemade chip meals in the knowledge that you’re helping to support a great cause.

“Our local volunteer Blyth crew are just a stone’s throw from our inn. We see the amazing work they do on an ongoing basis and the lifeline role they play in our community, which is so sea-orientated. We’re proud to support the RNLI so that they can continue to save even more lives at sea.”

The Commissioners Quay Inn will also have local brewers Cullercoats Brewery beer on tap throughout October, with 3p for every pint sold being donated to the RNLI – the perfect accompaniment for washing down your RNLI fish supper with.

The nationwide event honours lifeboat crew members who miss meal times and special occasions with loved ones to save lives at sea. 

The money raised from The Inn Collection Group pubs’ fish suppers will be used to buy equipment and pay for training for RNLI volunteers.

The RNLI’s fish-themed annual fundraiser aims to raise awareness of crew who drop everything ­– even weddings, birthdays and births – to venture into often dangerous waters to rescue people who have found themselves in difficulty.

Last year, RNLI lifeboat crews across the UK and Ireland rescued 8,643 people and saved 431 lives. It costs over £485,000 per day to run the RNLI, and the charity relies on donations from the public to continue its lifesaving service.

The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,200 lives.

Robin Palmer, RNLI volunteer crew member at Blyth RNLI, said: “As a volunteer crew member, my pager can beep at any time. Whether I’m at work, asleep in bed or about to tuck into my dinner – I’ll stop what I’m doing and go straight to the lifeboat station, ready to save lives.

“Events such as Fish Fridays hosted by The Inn Collection Group are a great way for people to get together, enjoy a fantastic meal and raise vital funds for our lifesaving charity.”

In Northumberland, participating RNLI Fish Supper The Inn Collection Group pubs are The Lindisfarne Inn at Beal, The Bamburgh Castle Inn, Seahouses, The Hog’s Head Inn at Alnwick and The Commissioners Quay Inn at Blyth.

In Durham The Kingslodge Inn in Flass Vale, Durham City Centre is involved while also offering up RNL Fish Supper feasts are The Seaton Lane Inn at Seaton, County Durham and The King’s Head Inn at Newton under Roseberry, Great Ayton.

For more information about the RNLI’s Fish Supper campaign visit

41,413 plastic bottles...

Upcycled milk cartons have been used to make the Bamburgh Castle Inn's outdoor furniture

Not so much ten green bottles but 41,414 plastic ones have been upcycled to make our Seahouses inn, The Bamburgh Castle Inn’s stunning new outdoor furniture.

Settling down in one of The Bamburgh Castle Inn’s stylish new outdoors chairs with glass to hand, taking in the views of the sea and Farne Islands, you’d find it hard to believe our new outdoor furniture started life as a plastic milk carton - 41,413 of them to be precise.

The Bamburgh Castle Inn may have has one of the best sea front locations in the county – if not the UK. But finding outdoors furniture that can withstand the elements of being beside the North Sea is a challenge.  Cue Rondeau Leisure’s ‘Pacific Ocean’ outdoor furniture - not only for its stylish design, remarkable durability - but for the furniture’s compelling eco backstory.

Each one of our inn’s funky wood-effect tables and chairs are made from recycled plastic milk cartons.  Plastic waste,otherwise sent to landfill, undergoes an advanced moulded extrusion process, to be transformed into chic pieces of ‘Pacific Ocean’ outdoor furniture that grace the inn’s beer garden atop lime kilns in the fishing village of Seahouses. 

Each of their nine round picnic tables is made from 3613 recycled milk cartons and each swivel chair snapping up 556. 

Sean Donkin, operations director of leisure operators The Inn Collection Group, which owns The Bamburgh Castle Inn, said: “We are very fortunate to have an amazing location, right on the water’s edge here in Seahouses. But finding outdoor furniture that looked good and withstand the elements was a challenge. 

“We are wowed by the finished product, as are our guests.  The fact this furniture also has an amazing green backstory makes it all the more attractive to us. 

“We are committed to preserving the natural environment around our inns.  Supporting a company which uses such innovative and creative ways to improve the environmental impact of landfill waste and plastics in our seas is of great importance to us.” 

Rondeau Leisure’s managing director, Stuart Cooke, says: “We are delighted by The Bamburgh Castle Inn’s feedback, but also buoyed up by having another ambassador who can help us spread the plastic waste message and do our bit to clean up the world’s oceans and ease the strain on landfill.  All of our customers praise their ‘Pacific Ocean’ furniture to the hilt, so we are extremely proud to be its sole UK distributor.

“The Bamburgh Castle Inn has provided a shining example of how hospitality providers can cut Rondeau Leisure has christened ‘mood waste’. This can be done by not increasing the pressure on landfill sites by scrapping outdoor furniture every few years.”

The Bamburgh Castle Inn with Rondeau Leisure has backed the SKY Ocean Rescue campaign which highlights the worrying environmental issues caused by plastic in the ocean.  Even plastic destined for landfill sites often finds its way into the sea, so opting for furniture like ‘Pacific Ocean’, which recycles tonnes of plastic, makes sense to us.