The owners of a Tynedale B&B have been given a much-needed boost after their guest houses secured top spots in a Trip Advisor ranking.

Ashcroft Guest House, in Haltwhistle, which is operated by husband and wife duo Geoff and Christine James, was voted the second best B&B in Northumberland, coming only behind The Walls, in Berwick.

The couple have managed the former Victorian vicarage, which is set in two acres of award-winning gardens, for nearly 25 years.

“We didn’t actually know anything about it”, said Geoff, who is also a traffic officer for Highways England. “But, it’s always nice to be recognised and it was a lovely surprise.

"I was born in Haltwhistle and have lived here all my life. I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world and I am proud of what we offer and of Haltwhistle and the Tyne Valley. We are desperate now for people to see it at its best again.”

In March, hotels across the country were forced to close their doors to visitors in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Geoff added: “It’s been a difficult time for us, but we don’t moan. It’s the visitors I feel sorry for, who have missed out on Northumberland at its best.”

Geoff explained that most of his bookings for the year had been cancelled and he’d returned over £14,000 in deposits. But, the couple, who also own Intrim Hair Design in the town, are poised for reopening on July 4.

“We know it won’t be business as normal, a lot of our guests are foreign visitors or older people, but we’re optimistic”, said Geoff. “Things will be hard, but we will survive, while many others wont and it’s them I feel for. The Government has tried its hardest.We would have struggled without its support, so we have to be grateful.”