Spring Travel: Northumberland grandeur

The exterior of Maften HallThe exterior of Maften Hall
The exterior of Maften Hall
Matfen Hall is a beautiful Grade-II listed Jacobean-style mansion in the heart of Northumberland, close to Hadrian’s Wall. It has been a country hotel, spa and golf estate for the last 25 years but, when it reopens its doors next weekend, guests will be able to admire a multi-million pound refurbishment carried out over the winter.

The location of the hotel has always been a big draw for holidaymakers and weekenders, it is particularly well-located for exploring the Roman wall sites – such as Housesteads, Vindolanda and Chesters Fort – and both English Heritage and National Trust properties abound in the area.

Kielder Water and the Dark Skies Observatory are close too, while a 20-minute car ride can take you into Newcastle for high-end shopping.

If you prefer to peruse a small market town, then the delightful options of Hexham and Corbridge are just a couple of miles away from the hotel.

The Emerald fine-dining restaurantThe Emerald fine-dining restaurant
The Emerald fine-dining restaurant

Add in world-class heritage sites, such as Durham Cathedral and Beamish Museum – not to mention the beautiful beaches and scenery of the area – and those heading to Matfen should never experience the dilemma of running out of things to do. Walkers and cyclists have a wealth of countryside to explore and the hotel hires bikes for those keen to get out to see the sites.

But, for those who prefer a more relaxing break, you could spend a whole weekend here and happily never leave the confines of the hotel.

Golf is taken seriously at the hotel, which has its own championship course. Set amid more than 300 acres of mature parkland, with established burns and wooded areas, the 27-hole course is rated as one of the finest in the north-east of England. The facilities here attract both novices and pro players, with a par-3 short course, a golf academy and a driving range.

For non-golfers, a walk in Matfen’s grounds should take in its woodland paths and rose garden to fully appreciate the hotel’s wide open views.

Onw of 65 bedrooms at Maften HallOnw of 65 bedrooms at Maften Hall
Onw of 65 bedrooms at Maften Hall

Matfen’s spa, aptly called The Retreat, offers treatments and therapies to help guests relax, with a beautiful swimming pool and poolside thermal suite to spend time in.

New for this year, an all-day restaurant, The Cloisters, has been added to the hotel’s list of eateries, specialising in steak and seafood.

Meanwhile, its fine dining option, The Emerald, offers a menu that showcases the best local produce – and the exquisite skill of the in-house chefs.

Or you could choose to have Sunday lunch here, and enjoy the views over the magnificent parkland in front of the hotel.

Overlooking the golf course, The Keepers clubhouse offers more casual dining, or just a refreshing libation after a healthy afternoon’s outing of sport around the course.

All of the hotel’s 65 bedrooms have also undergone a refurbishment for this year’s tourist season. They offer a wide choice of accommodation, from the classic and cosy in style, to deluxe rooms for families which interconnect, and sumptuous stateroom suites in the heart of the magnificent original building, with chandeliers and luxury ensuites.

Prices start from £299 for bed and breakfast for two, and there are dinner, bed and breakfast packages, which give guests their choice of the hotel’s dining venues. In addition, all bookings made for April will receive a complimentary bottle of Laurent Perrier Champagne on arrival.

For a relaxing afternoon in delightful surroundings, The Orangery is highly recommended. Its dedicated tea lounge has an expert pastry chef on hand to prepare delicate afternoon delights. A smoked salmon sandwich, a clotted cream scone and a pistachio macaron – with or without an accompanying glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne – might just be the perfect way to round off a perfect stay.

See matfenhall.com