We love where we live and we love getting out and about to visit and shout about all the fabulous places the North has to offer. So often, like most people we jump in the car and go from A to B without really taking notice of the wider surroundings. So far we’ve been out and about in Yarm, Saltburn and a Newcastle City Walk. This time we decided to take in the sights and sounds of Norton Village, a leafy suburb of Stockton on Tees.
As we chatted en route, we were struggling to figure out whether it was classed as a village or a market town. According, to Wiki ..
The original village dates back to at least the Anglo-Saxon period. Once a market town, for centuries Norton was the centre of an important parish that included Stockton, but its status was reversed in 1913 and Norton became a part of the borough of Stockton on Tees.
This is one of our reviews where we like to give a generational, mum and son overview of what we think.
First up is me ….
Norton Village isn’t too far North along the A19 from where we live. We’ve only really started to visit more over the last few years because of the cake and cocktails at 12 Harland Place. It also is home to a deli and butchers called Blackwells that has a good reputation locally as a purveyor of quality food. We’d heard about new eaterie, Neanderthals and I knew this would be right up Declan’s street. My choice, pictured below was the poached eggs with smashed avocado on sourdough toast. I washed it down with a fresh apple juice. I loved the vibe of the place and we were served quickly considering they were fairly busy. The decor is pretty cool and impresses on you the connection between eating clean and Neanderthal Man!
What Declan thinks ( in bold) …
I had the paleo burger with sweet potato & butternut squash mash. I was sceptical about how good a ‘healthier’ burger dish could be but I was proved wrong; it was absolutely delicious! I love the whole concept of the Neanderthal cafe with locally sourced, healthy food at the forefront of its image. The decor inside is also really cool with this caveman type piece (below) being the main attention winner.
You can also see the really cool glasses that the selection of teas are served in. Unfortunately the green tea was a bit of a disappointment – very bitter!
I always love the history and architecture of places. I think I sort of knew that the almhouses were there but no more than that. Just set back slightly from the main street they are a collection of 14 houses with pretty front gardens buit in 1897 by a local businessman called John Henry Fox to house the older people of the locality. The Hospital of God took them over in 2008 and they have an even longer history dating back to 1273. It’s an ancient charity founded by Robert de Sitchell, the Bishop of Durham to care for poor and elderly people. This sort of stuff on our doorsteps never ceases to amze me.
Since the arrival on the high street of 12 Harland Place, Norton Village has become a bit of a destination for a good night out. There’s now a good selection of food and drink available as you can see here. I’ve tried Canteens and Cocktails although not Head of Steam. I did heart the look of their gin menu, though. You know how much we love a good gin cocktail! There’s a selection of Head of Steam pubs to try throughout the North, as well. I’ve been to the Newcastle one a couple of times. They are owned by Camerons Brewery.
I’ll also add that Canteen & Cocktails run an industry night on the first Sunday of every month for people who work in the demanding hospitality industry like me (when I’m not working at ‘The Social Gene‘, that is). It’s something I’d love to go along to some time!
There is a good selection of small independent businesses to support in Norton Village. One of my all time favourites is Gary Walsh Photography. Gary took some amazing photogarphs of Declan and his younger brother, Patrick about 15 years ago and they take pride of place in our home. He really put them both at ease and brought out their characters. I smile to this day whenever I take the time to stop and look at them.
I’ve never been in The Highland Laddie pub but it’s been there as long as I can remember. What high street doesn’t have a Wetherspoons these days as well? I’ve got a thing about pub signs so couldn’t help but show you a snap of this one.
Cafe Lilli has been part of the Norton high street scene for quite a long time now. I’m not sure how long. I’ve actually only ever eaten there once for lunch. I’m hoping I do get the chance to review it fully at some point. It looked quite busy as we strolled past.
We’d intended to eat cake in Cafe Maison but we ran out of time. Maybe next time …
And I had to share this as we came to the end of the high street. What a fantastic window! We stood for a couple of minutes looking at all the old stuff on show. I can only call it ‘stuff’ because some of it I didn’t have a clue what it was! Defintely a talking point. I’ve since had a look at their Facebook page and I’ve got to say that the inside of the shop looks to be just as interesting. Dex should’ve had a wet shave if we’d had more time but we’d already spent a leisurely 4 hours soaking up the Norton Village atmosphere.
One strange thing I did notice was how many hairdressers there were! I counted at least 7. I’ve never come across a place with so many in such a small vicinity. I was intrigued by this so if anyone knows why please let me know!
We ended our trip at the North end of the High Street by the famous village duck pond. In the Victorian era it was a popular stop for picnics and sports and its easy to see why isn’t it? It’;s continued to be just as popular ever since those days. A leafy green, tranquil oasis surrounded by a mixture of Victorian and Georgian properties. Isn’t it lovely?
It was great to get out and explore another northern town and see a variety of thriving businesses in one area. Norton is very picturesque and an ideal spot to have a business meeting or leisurely coffee and cake with a friend.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our ‘Out & About’ review of Norton Village. We haven’t decided where to next but drop us a comment if you’d like to suggest anywhere in the North East.