Play Hard

Searching for dog-friendly cottages? Introducing this luxury stable house on the County Durham borders

This 5-star self-catering accommodation with field and forest views of National Trust Gibside is the perfect woodland retreat to bring all your loved ones together.

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 13.05.2023

advertisement feature

Think alfresco dining with all your loved ones while watching the sun set over uninterrupted views of the gorgeous National Trust Gibside grounds.

A special moment you’ll remember for a lifetime.

This 19th-century luxury converted stable is nestled in acres of winsome woodland with expansive views of meadows on Lockhaugh Farm and one of their four self-catering dwellings is Stable House – the ultimate self-catering accommodation for creating precious memories with your loved ones.

Just a 15-minute drive from Newcastle, the south-facing, dog-friendly cottage is in the heart of Rowlands Gill village within Derwent Valley and on the captivating County Durham borders. This peaceful woodland retreat really does have the best of both worlds, as it’s surrounded by wildlife, peaceful walks and outdoor activities but has plenty of things to do in Newcastle, Northumberland and County Durham.

We tour the tranquil three-bedroomed and two-bathroom Stable House that hosts up to eight guests to find out exactly what this new 5-star County Durham group holiday destination has to offer.



The living area

This beautifully renovated three-bedroom stable house has everything you need for a relaxing self-catering holiday. As you step inside the stylish, south-facing dog-friendly cottage, you’ll notice the huge airy floor-to-ceiling windows bringing warming sunlight into the luxurious lounge and hallway all day long and the captivating countryside views of Gibside and the Column to Liberty statue peeking out of the treetops near the horizon.

Sit back, sink into a comfy sofa and watch the wildlife outside in the comfort of the Stable House’s living room. You may even be blessed with a visit from Lockhaugh Farm’s resident chickens, a cat and a friendly Cockapoo called Millie, too.


The personal touches

On arrival, you’ll be greeted with a guest handbook and welcome hamper filled with treats, seasonal produce (including fresh free-range eggs from chickens and sample honey from bees on the farm when in season) and Prosecco for a glass of fizz while you unpack and fresh seasonal flowers often picked from the garden for a warm welcome. Plus, there’s underfloor heating throughout to keep you warm on colder days.

The kitchen and dining area

As you walk through the cosy Stable House, you’ll find one of the highlights – the large, fully equipped, open-plan kitchen/dining area. This is the perfect space to cook and socialise with your whole family and friends with access to the patio and garden for alfresco dining and a lawned garden with views across fields and woodland.

The bedrooms

As you wander along the corridor, you’ll come to the very spacious master bedroom with a king-sized bed perfect for a good night’s sleep. After a day exploring, the tempting ensuite bathroom featuring a rain shower is a relaxing space to help you refresh. Around the corner are two double-sized bedrooms separated by a shared bathroom for an L-shaped bath and shower for a relaxing soak. One room has two sets of bunk beds perfect for the little ones and the other room has a super-sized bed (which can be separated into singles). Plus, a travel cot is available for infants.



The garden 

With spring just around the corner, it’s time to take your dining alfresco. Stable House’s peaceful patio with captivating views of rolling hills and Gibside’s gorgeous grounds is the perfect secluded spot to do this. From a Weber charcoal barbecue to dining tables and chairs ready to use and a fire pit to cosy up around and toast marshmallows on while watching the sunset or doing a spot of star gazing, Lockhaugh Farm is the ideal destination to make wholesome memories.

The view 

The enclosed lawned garden is surrounded by woodland and expansive views over meadows and forests to the Column to Liberty perfect for playing (with the outdoor games provided). With sun loungers available, you can’t really get more zen than sitting back, relaxing and soaking up those rays whilst listening to the peaceful sounds of nature.


The reviews

“Thanks so much, it was absolutely perfect! My only feedback would be that the Airbnb photos don’t even nearly do it justice! I will be visiting again and recommending to everyone!”  Kate

“Thank you for an amazing, warm and welcoming stay. The views and the accommodation itself absolutely blew us away! What a beautiful place!!”  Laura


Things to do:

River Derwent (Derwent Walk)

Distance: 2-minute walk (at the bottom of the meadow)

With woodland walks along the River Derwent, Derwent Walk, and access to the Coast to Coast cycle route (four bikes of different sizes are available to rent from Lockhaugh Farm for free) you enjoy river dipping, wild swimming and fly fishing (day permits available).

Kid’s Playground, Rowlands Gill

Distance: 20-minute walk or 4-minute drive

After a pleasant stroll along Derwent Walk, you’ll find a kid’s playpark with a sandpit, slides, climbing frames and swings, perfect for a fun-filled time of family fun together.

Gibside National Trust, Gateshead

Distance: 5-minute drive 

Bring the family for wildlife spotting and outdoor adventures, explore the Chapel and the grand ruins of Gibside Hall and discover the ever-changing in the 18th-century landscaped Walled Garden.

Beamish Museum, County Durham

Distance: 18-minute drive

This world-famous open-air working museum tells the story of life in North East during the 1820s, 1900s, 1940s and 1950s and is a day out that the whole family will enjoy.


Junkyard Golf, Newcastle

Distance: 19-minute drive

Experience crazy golf in Newcastle unlike anything you’ve seen before. Explore three epic junked-up 9-hole crazy golf courses with off-peak discounts available too.

Theatre Royal, Newcastle

Distance: 20-minute drive

Spend a cultural evening at the theatre with your friends and family, whether it be singing along to a West End musical or getting lost in a breathtaking award-winning ballet.

Where to go for food:

The Tavern, Rowlands Gill

Distance: 4-minute drive or 21-minute walk

This micro pub, wine and gin bar is a must-visit. From serving the finest of wines, spirits and beers on tap to hosting quizzes and pop-up street food vans, be sure to take advantage of their offers like their gin of the week for just £5.  Plus, it’s dog friendly, too.

Find Out More

Dilly Dilly’s Ice Cream, Rowlands Gill

Distance: 4-minute drive

Said to serve some of ‘the best artisan ice creams, gelato, sorbet and whippy for miles around’, this ice cream parlour is the perfect way to cool off on a sunny day.

Find Out More

Tesco Express, Rowlands Gill

Distance: 4-minute drive

Save more room in your car for your luggage by shopping for your groceries at the local Tesco in the village. You can also you can arrange with Lockhaugh Farm to have your groceries delivered in advance of your arrival, too.

Find Out More

For more information about Stable House or to book a stay, visit Lockhaugh Farm’s website.

To see other self-catering accommodations available at Lockhaugh Farm, including two quirky renovated Railway Carriages or another stylish stone-built cottage, follow their Instagram and Facebook page


Other stories by Rachael Nichol
Simonside by Dan Monk Photography

9 romantic stargazing stays and experiences in Dark Skies, Northumberland

Rachael Nichol
Liddel Water Lodges

Unwind in style with these luxury log cabins with hot tubs near Lake District

Rachael Nichol
Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

Be the first to see acclaimed artist Jacqueline Poncelet’s museum debut at MIMA

Rachael Nichol
Commissioners Quay Blyth

The final remaining new 3-bed homes at Blyth Waterfront with sea views – save up to £29,000

Rachael Nichol
The hidden gem spot for brunch in Newcastle that’s blooming brilliant

The hidden gem spot for brunch in Newcastle that’s blooming brilliant

Rachael Nichol
Seaham Hall

Unwind in style with sea views, hot tubs and coastal lodges at Seaham Hall

Rachael Nichol