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Matfen Hall, Hexham, Northumberland
A couple of miles north of Hadrian's Wall, this Gothic mansion, tucked in 300 acres of parkland, has been boldly updated with a modern sense of luxury while still retaining its authentic grandeur. Colourful sofas dot its lounges - including a double-height Great Hall - bright wallpapers and plasterwork ceilings add richness while real fires flicker in vast fireplaces. Bedrooms are a mix of contemporary classic in a skilfully added new wing, and understatedly luxury in the original 19th-century hall. A spa, pool and golf course mean no shortage of things to do plus there's a choice of dining from casual bistro to creative Modern British. Perfect weekend-break material, and a wedding favourite.
We loved being able to take a brisk walk along Hadrian's Wall and then mooch around friendly Hexham with its 12th-century abbey, independent shops and buzzy Beaumont bistro.
Hexham is a pretty market town with floral gardens. For a taste of city life, Newcastle is only a 20-minute drive away.
By car: around 2 hour from York and 2 hours 15 minutes from Edinburgh. Free parking available.
By train: trains from Manchester (3 hours 30 minutes) and London King's Cross (4 hours) to Hexham. It's a 15-minute drive to the hotel. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
It's a special treat sort of place whether for romance - a popular wedding spot - a spa or golf weekend with friends, or a celebration. The boldness of the colours and style cleverly enhance rather than outshine the hall's grand original features.
Service & Facilites
It's always possible to find a spot - whether in the spa garden, by the fire in one of the lounges or with a cup of coffee in the Orangery.
- Fitness centre
- Swimming pool
- Golf course
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
The old hall Luxury room has lavish space, parkland views and freestanding baths. If choosing a Classic room, ask for a village view. The Penhaligon bathrooms products are divine which, along with bathrobes, and monogrammed towels and bedlinen, are found in all bedrooms.
Old Hall Classic, Old Hall Balcony, Old Hall Deluxe, Great Hall Premium, Great Hall Suite, Great Hall Luxury Suite
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with toiletries, hairdryer, tea and coffee facilities, access to The Retreat, TV, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
The wine list isn't overwhelming, and the notes are succinct, plus there's a nice range of English vineyard Nyetimber's sparkling wines. The book-lined Emerald restaurant is richly decorated in shades of green, and has far-reaching views over parkland.
Emerald Restaurant: Fine dining, seasonal menus. Open daily for breakfast and dinner. Sunday lunch served 12-2:30pm.
Needham: bistro-style food. Open daily, 10am-10pm (food served 11:30am-9pm).