A unique, lovingly converted railway van with a viewing platform and a hot tub, privately secluded on a friendly 650-acre hill farm and Dark Sky Reserve in the heart of rural Northumberland.
  • Sleeps: 5
  • Bedrooms: 2
  • Bathrooms: 2
  • Minimum stay: 2 nights

Filled with all the comforts of home, Wannies Retreat is an imaginatively converted railway van featured on BBC’s Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes, peacefully secluded on a 650-acre working hill farm in the Northumberland countryside.

Part of a designated Dark Sky Reserve, you can relax under a blanket of twinkling stars by evening… and with a dedicated viewing platform and complimentary binoculars and a telescope on hand (including mini pairs for the kids!), viewing them up close is magically simple.

Sleeping up to five guests, the Retreat itself is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the company of your loved ones in blissful seclusion – well, apart from the resident sheep and lambs! – amongst sleek, soothing surroundings that echo the love and attention to detail imbued by friendly owner Annabel.

Renovations, furnishings, and accessories have involved generous helpings of community talent, including gorgeous curtains and blinds bespoke created by a local seamstress, a shower room equipped with handmade soaps from a local soaper as well as products from a local goat farm and a selection of walking maps especially created by the local ramblers’ group. Also waiting for you is local tea, handmade fudge, coffee and locally made biscuits – yum!

Meanwhile, fun and cheerful additions include a selection of themed doorknobs, and a historic nod to the railway van’s past, in the form of an antique GER correspondence rack and original poster.

What else? There’s a lazy lounge area, furnished with squishy seating, and a well-equipped kitchen that comes complete with a Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser, for the most luxurious mug of hot chocolate you’re ever likely to savour!

Enjoy those drinks, meals, and snacks in the dining car, or head outside for a sizzling sunset supper on the barbecue for a treat on summer evenings, to a gentle soundtrack of birdsong and rustling leaves. You can even purchase beef, lamb, pork and eggs reared on the farm, super sustainable and great tasting!

Keep reading

At a glance

  • A lovingly converted railway carriage sleeping up to 5 guests, privately secluded on a 650-acre working farm site in the heart of rural Northumberland.
  • Features include a viewing platform with binoculars and a telescope to enjoy stargazing in the Dark Sky Reserve, and a hot tub for epic sunset watching!
  • There are full kitchen and shower facilities in the carriage, with extra treats that include locally handmade soap, a Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser, locally made fudge and biscuits and coffee and tea with fresh milk on arrival.
  • Take the circular Wannie Line walking trail, or whizz through the countryside on two wheels – secure storage is provided for 5 bikes. Cows, sheep and even a Shetland pony and donkey will be on hand to greet you on a walk.
  • There are two pubs within walking distance, both offering home cooked food and local ales, one even offering a discount for guests.


  • Family Friendly
  • Hot Tubs


Lovingly converted 18.5m railway van, sleeps 5 guests. Lounge area with sofa bed, armchair, dining area with table and chairs, fully-equipped kitchen with tea/coffee making facilities and Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser, full size fridge freezer, microwave, dishwasher and a full size hob/oven. Kingsize bedrooms, which can be made into twins. 2 ensuite shower rooms with basin and WC. Outside: viewing platform with binoculars and a telescope, barbecue, firepit and dining furniture along with plenty of outdoor toys, hot tub, secure cycle storage shed with purpose-built washing area, private parking. Provided: children’s books and activity packs, walking/cycling maps, welcome pack and a cleaning pack along with dishwasher tablets.

Local Activities

Walking trails, cycling routes, wildlife watching, local pubs, market town shopping, Michelin-starred restaurants, family activities including National Trust places to visit, outdoor water activities, Kielder with zip coaster, observatory, water sports and bird of prey centre, local fishing, adventure centres and golf.


More information

Relax in the hot tub with a welcome glass of fizz, and when it’s finally time to turn in, there’ll be 2 kingsize beds waiting,(which can be made into singles), and a comfy sofa bed. After a sound night’s sleep, freshen up in one of 2 shower rooms, and then it’s onto the important business of exploring the local area!

Wannies Retreat is named after the old Wannies railway line, which ran through the farm over 60 years ago. Explore it at your leisure, by taking the circular Wannie Line walking trail, or take your bike for a ride in the countryside. Bike storage won’t be a problem, as there’s a secure shed for five bikes, along with a purpose-built washing area.

Oh, and did we mention there are two pubs in stumbling distance, one offering a discount for Wannies Retreat guests?

Further afield, you could head to Hexham for some shopping, or even dine in the local Michelin-starred restaurant… Annabel has thoughtfully teamed up with a local taxi firm, which will be on hand to escort you there and back if needed.

Otherwise, why not stay on site, you can purchase home reared beef, pork and lamb for the bbq, roast marshmallows on the firepit and let the kids get stuck into the children’s activity packs provided and go on a scavenger hunt. On such a magical stay, maybe they’ll meet a fairy or two!

Things to note

Check in after 3pm, check out by 10am. Pets are not permitted. Shopping can be delivered directly to the retreat by arrangement. Locally sourced barbecue and breakfast hampers available on request.

Where you'll be staying

Hexham, Northumberland

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