“Surrounded by 300 acres of parkland and formal gardens, there’s little to spoil the view other than the odd golfer. The ancestral home of the Blackett family, it has retained all the impressive hallmarks of a 19th-century Gothic mansion - vast mullioned windows, balustraded roof and towering chimneys - if a little austere. Drawing room and dining room are suitably grand, with plasterwork ceilings and acres of drapes. The modern wing with Elemis spa, indoor pool and hi-tech gym, has been skilfully added. Most bedrooms are in this wing; spacious and contemporary-classic in style with warm colours. Rooms in the original hall are enormous with views over woodland or parkland, vast windows and furnished in traditional, English, country-house style; possibly a little stark for some tastes. Some have four-posters. Eating choices range from fine-dining in the Library to lighter meals in the conservatory to pub staples in the golf clubhouse. The Library restaurant certainly deserves its 2AA Rosette status; cooking is skilful but not pretentious and with a definite Northumbrian twang: pan-fried guinea fowl, slow-cooked rabbit pie and a local-selection cheeseboard. You can choose to be as active or as lazy as you like. There’s golf, walking, a Go Ape tree-top adventure course and Hadrian’s Wall on-site or nearby. Or just laze in the pool and Jacuzzi, book a spa treatment and have afternoon tea in the drawing room. Do take a peak in the Great Hall; a magnificent, vaulted space with grand staircase, and very popular for weddings. Fortunately, wedding parties have their own separate entrance.
While the surroundings may be on the formal side, the service - with a staff-to-guest ratio around two-to-one - is top-notch but friendly.”
Written by Helen Pickles