The Star Inn

As part of our #OutdoorsIndoors campaign which brings the unique, special qualities of Northumberland National Park to everyone staying at home, we are shining a spotlight on some of the wonderful businesses based in Northumberland National Park which are looking forward to welcoming visitors back when it’s safe to do so.

We’re using #SeeYouWhenItsSafe as a hashtag so businesses can connect with the public as part of the overall #OutdoorsIndoors campaign. The campaign is helping to improve the region’s mental wellbeing as research shows that nature and the outdoors can help to reduce stress and anxiety. The Park is providing entertainment, education and creative activities around the environment, landscape and wildlife.

Today, we are featuring The Star Inn at Harbottle.

The Star Inn Public House in Harbottle

The Star Inn

The Star Inn, Harbottle is a pub, village shop, newsagents and café ran by Karen and Phil Wilkinson who also run Karen’s cottages, two holiday cottages based in Harbottle and Fourstones. The business is ran by Karen and Phil, supported by three part-time housekeepers helping with the holiday cottages.

Karen and Phil took over the Star Inn in August 2019, but the pub has been there since 1800. The cottages have been running since 2017.

We’ve adapted during COVID-19 by expanding the village shop at the rear of the pub to include farm-fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh meat and pies from a local butcher, and takeaway drinks from the bar. We are also offering free delivery for elderly and vulnerable customers, or for those who are self-isolating. Customers can also ‘order and collect’ their shopping from The Star Inn to save time queuing.

We closed the cottages in March until the end of May 2020 to protect our neighbours and the rural communities. We’ll review this date on an ongoing basis.

We love Northumberland National Park, its stunning, peaceful and historic landscapes and the peaceful beauty and diversity Northumberland is famous for.

We’re looking forward to reopening the bar when we can and the holiday cottages. We don’t know when this will be at the moment.

We’re keeping busy by running the shop and delivery service at the Pub. The cottages are empty so there is not much going on there at the moment. We are now busy from 9am to 6pm running the shop whereas the pub was at its busiest in the evenings.

An old black and white photograph of the Star Inn in Harbottle

The Star Inn

During lockdown we have noticed how Harbottle and the surrounding villages have come together to help self-isolate as a community. It’s sad not being able to open our pub and the new beer garden and cancelling customer’s holidays when they’ve been looking forward to getting away.

For life after lockdown, we’d like to keep going with the expanded shop if the demand is there and maybe, to employ someone part-time to help us with it.

We feel extremely lucky to be living in rural Northumberland and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world during a lockdown. The Star Inn is a pub that has been open since 1800 and its location means it’s easy to find and is a perfect location for starting or ending a walk or cycle ride in the National Park.

We miss being able to visit our parents and of course, allowing them to visit us too. We look forward to meeting up with family and friends again when it’s safe to do so.

For more information, please visit or