A true slice of wild Britain, Northumberland is best known for its wide-open spaces and sweeping coastal scenery peppered by traditional cosy pubs. Yet with converted castles, spoiling spa stays and stylish 17th-century mansions, the county offers plenty of upscale places to rest after an adventure-filled day out. Whether you want sharply designed spa hotels or creakingly historic suites, England’s wild, windswept northern county has a luxury base for you.
One of the few medieval fortified castles remaining in England, Langley is beautifully preserved, with fairytale turrets and canopied beds for a real knights-of-the-round-table flavour. Close to the pretty market town of Hexham, the hotel is also famous for its dainty afternoon teas, which you’ll tuck into near a crackling fireplace, surrounded by chandeliers and silky period furniture. Book the Tower Room for the swoony scarlet-and-gold decor.
Floating in the ballroom-like surrounds of the Aqueous Spa – hot tub simmering nearby, a moringa and lotus facial booked in the treatment rooms – you’ll truly appreciate having a spa base in such an adventurous, outdoorsy location. Strike out on walks along the county’s windswept coast, with its castle ruins and grassy dunes, then return for a sumptuous night in: dining on sea bream or beef cheek Bolognese at the AA-rosette restaurant before bedding down in polished, Georgian-style rooms.
With a wisteria-shrouded façade and rambling gardens, this 17th-century mansion is the stuff of Jane Austen fantasies. Stained glass casts dappled light onto the grand staircase, while elegant Regency furniture, creamy tones and chandeliers tempt romantics to stay a while. The storybook walled garden nurtures veggies destined for your plate at the genteel Eshott Hall restaurant, where the dressed Northumbrian crab is a must.
A glamorous country estate turned modern spa hotel, Walwick has one of the region’s most dazzling swimming pools: a glass-walled number with plush loungers, surrounded on all sides by undulating, apple-green countryside. As well as chic, light hotel rooms with hints of tweed and tartan, there’s the option to self-cater, going off in search of local pubs and markets for your dinners: try The Smithy or The Foal stable suites for grand designs with great kitchens and wood-burners.
A whimsical spin on a traditional French château, this farmhouse-feel property has high-ceilinged barns, tropical gardens and sumptuous interiors that attract an Instagram wedding crowd. Book into one of its moodily glamorous rooms with their dark colour palette, Rococo detailing and burnished bronze bathtubs, then set off exploring into neighbouring Northumberland National Park.
Found along winding roads through uninterrupted countryside, this picturesque Edwardian mansion sits enwrapped in ancient forest. It’s the sort of spot with a locally loved afternoon tea and Sunday roast, as well as a polished spa and gym to make it a pampering break; while beige-and-sage rooms are smart but neutral. Don’t miss a late night in the Whisky Snug, working through a few drams.
Quaint, riverside Otterburn sits by the middle chunk of the unspoiled, ruin-speckled Northumberland National Park. This family-owned B&B is a no-frills, modern stay for walkers and road trippers. The creamy-hued restaurant does juicy burgers and duck-fat roasties with great flair, while neat pastel rooms with crisp white linen cosset you for the night.
A huge, honeycomb-coloured country pile with a destination spa, a 27-hole hole golf course and golfing academy, Matfen is no shrinking violet. The country club set comes from all over the nation to improve their handicap and fill up on scones with clotted cream in the Great Hall. Afterward, stay in cutting-edge country-chic rooms with wood beams, marble bathrooms and Penhaligon’s toiletries.
Dinky market town Hexham is famous for two sights: its medieval abbey, one of the earliest seats of Christianity in England; and the country’s oldest purpose-built jail. Here, the Beaumont is a serene B&B decked out in soothing shades and contemporary florals, a short walk to the village’s farmers’ market and a short drive to three beauty spots: Northumberland National Park, the North Pennines and the sweeps of dune-backed beach along the Northumberland coast.
There’s a hale and hearty gastropub vibe throughout this welcoming inn, tucked in the picturesque coastal village of Beadnell. Strolling back from windswept coastal walks, you’ll look forward to the glam tavern feel of its restaurant, supplying you with toasty fish and chips, ribeye steak or creamy fish pie stuffed with the fruits of the North Sea. Upstairs are chic, individually styled rooms with lavishly printed textiles and earthy shades of seashell, russet and navy. Book the Harberance or Craa’s nest to soak in a vintage bathtub.
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