Clive Aslet, the editor of Country Life, said: "Market towns provide an ideal recipe for modern living. Hexham achieves what to many people will seem perfection. It is the right size, clusters around a majestic work of architecture [the abbey], boasts a racecourse and lies next to Hadrian's Wall.
Hexham ~ "Cute as a puppy's nose, handsome as Clark Gable. Is this the nicest market town in the known universe?" …so the Guardian asked in Feb 2013 and we would say ‘yes’!
Hexham has a compact and pretty town centre, clustered around the majestic abbey and a lovely, leafy park.
The Abbey was built in the 12c on a site where there had been a church since 674. It is a fantastic centrepiece for the town and is surrounded by many beautiful, old buildings, including the Moot Hall on the market place and the 15c gaol. There is a cinema, theatre, racecourse and several good restaurants including the ‘F word’ award-winning Bouchon Bistro.
The River Tyne flows majestically through the town and Hexham is just ten minutes drive from Hadrian’s Wall and the fantastic walking country that surrounds it.
Ranters Chapel is a few hundred yards from the magnificent Hexham Abbey in the center of town. Hexham proudly holds the title of England’s favourite market town – as voted by Country Life magazine. The town centre is filled with winding streets with Hexham Abbey at its hub.
Within an hour, you could be exploring the stunning Northumberland coast with its beautiful, deserted white beaches, castles and Holy Island with its famous causeway. You can also take a boat trip to the Farne Islands to see the seal and puffin colonies and Grace Darling’s lighthouse.
Ranters Chapel is an ideal place from which to visit Hadrians Wall and the National Trail which runs along it. There are many superb Roman remains to visit including the breathtaking Housesteads fort, Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum, Birdoswald and Corbridge’s Roman town.
Newcastle Upon Tyne
You are a 30 minute drive or train journey from Newcastle which has great shops and restaurants plus the Baltic modern art gallery, the Sage concert hall, the Laing art gallery, the Theatre Royal and some stunning 19c architecture.
Kielder Forest, home to the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe, the largest working forest in England, and an extensive network of off-road tracks just perfect for family cycling holidays or days out.