One of my favourite places to visit is The Old Dairy in Ford village, just off the A697 to Wooler.
When it first opened the various outbuildings were filled with an array of reclaimed items, ranging from the large to the small – from old sinks and panel doors, Victorian fireplaces, as well as battered suitcases, old tools and various brass items. A rummager’s paradise.
And that much hasn’t changed. However, The Old Dairy is evolving – from reclaimation yard to concept store. The majority of stock is still refound and reclaimed, including giant teak sinks from the Egyptian embassy in London, English and French antiques, vintage kitchenware and clothing, retro furniture and up-cycled items, but there are a few modern additions, including log baskets, blankets and cow hides to fall asleep on, all sold by more than a dozen like-minded dealers who have rented space in what used to be the cow stalls.
It’s not so well ordered that it will disappoint those who enjoy the hunt, but it’s also more appealing to those who prefer just to browse, with items catching the eye more easily.
One of the biggest changes has been the addition of the Restoration Coffee Shop.
Situated in one of the smaller outbuildings, with an attractive garden terrace, and covered outside seating area which extends into the old milking parlour, it has blossomed into a haven for coffee lovers, as well as offering a very tempting array of freshly-baked cakes and scones.
I succumbed to a large slice of delicious homemade blackcurrant cheesecake, which I grudgingly shared with my husband.
Something I’ve been tempted by, but never quite managed to book due to timings, is the high teas, which, thanks to them being fully licenced, can be enjoyed with a glass of wine, bubbly or beer as you relax and take in the views towards the Cheviots, particularly if you decide to sit at the marble bar on the terrace. One day!
For more information about opening hours and menues, etc., visit http://theolddairyinford.co.uk/
One word of warning though, take cash or your cheque book when visiting The Old Dairy, because they don’t accept cards. At best, it’s inconvenient, at worst it could get very embarrassing if you aren’t able to pay for your high tea with Champagne!
However, don’t let that minor detail put you off, because, really, this is a great destination for those who love searching for vintage treasure – and a good cup of coffee.