Tour of the North: Psst…These NE staycation spots are perfect for a winter break
Twelve cosy getaways offering warming fires and luxe accommodation await…
By Jenny Brownlees
If you have staycations on the brain right now, know that for those of use blessed enough to live in the North East, there’s no need to travel more than an hour in order to be met with the arresting beauty of our enchanting region. A treasure trove of destinations, these picks may be close to home, but are faraway enough to feel that much-needed escapism as the temperature drops and leaves turn crisp. Be it rural retreats or coastal escapes, there’s an abundance of places to settle in and watch the landscapes change, as winter puts on its annual show of autumnal beauty. Consider these the best places to cosy up with a Hot Choc in the evening after a day of exploring. After all, is there anything better than getting wrapped up in your best winter attire, (matching scarf and gloves are a must) as you get rosy-cheeked taking in the scenery of a new, picturesque place? To do the hard work for you, we’ve hunted down the twelve specialist stays that guarantee luxury and relaxation—after this year, you deserve it. Mini breakers, this way…
Readers of our first North East staycation edit will remember the stylish Cabin, offering a chance to go truly off-grid in exceptional style. Now, the team behind the Manfield-based cabin have opened a second, ultra-luxe place to stay—and it’s top of our staycation wish list. Housed in a sleek shipping container and surrounded by lush greenery, The Cabin has been decorated to the highest standard will sleek modern fittings and décor throughout. As you hunker down for some serious relaxation-time, you’ll delight in gazing out from floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and even be treated to the breath-taking view of surrounding tranquil fields from a window adjacent to your king-size bed. This is the place to switch off and reconnect with nature, as although Darlington is a mere fifteen minutes away should you need, the cabin is surrounded by rolling fields as far as the eye can see. In addition to a chic bedroom, dining and lounge area, the outdoor amenities are equally as impressive. A large hot tub allows you to take in the view outside, as you indulge in a blissful soak. With picturesque walks and plentiful local attractions such as Raby Castle, this getaway makes the perfect base for a winter adventure.
Photography by GASP Photo Co
If you prefer the amenities of a hotel, you’ll love the 17th Century charm of The Morritt, it’s pretty leaf-adorned exterior changing with the seasons. As well as rooms in-situ, this hotel houses staycation cottages on site, where you can relax in privacy, whilst still enjoying all the wonderful facilities the hotel has to offer. You can even order takeaway from the hotel’s menu if you’d rather enjoy an evening in with a wine in-hand. Located just four miles from the quaint market town of Barnard Castle, there’s an abundance of local history to explore in the pretty Teesdale countryside. The Morritt have handily put together eight local walks from the hotel, should you want to explore the stunning countryside further. In both Gilroy’s Dining Room and The Dickens Bar, homely food is given a contemporary twist, with everything from Afternoon Tea, light snacks and al fresco dining offered there’s something to meet everyone’s tastes. If you’re looking to treat yourself during your stay, extras such as fresh flowers, wine and chocolates, in-room treatments, champagne and strawberries are readily available. We suggest using this winter escape to relax and rejuvenate, booking a treatment in the hotel’s award-winning Garage Spa. With its relaxing ambience and ultra-luxe treatments, a dose of premium pampering will round out your get-away-from-it-all break perfectly.
If you find solace by the sea, you’ll adore an escape at Alnmouth’s shoreside huts. You really couldn’t get much closer to the sea if you tried, stepping out from these unique beach huts and straight onto the sand. Dreamt-up by award winning architects Elliots, artist-come-joiner Adam Clarke and the Old School Gallery, these boutique camping-style huts offer unparalleled views of the Northumbrian coast, looking across to Coquet Island. Located on the St Oswald’s Way coastal path, this is a stay for those who like to be at one with nature, as although just a ten minute walk from Alnmouth, there is no vehicle access or parking at the camp site, meaning you’ll get the chance to embrace car-free exploring. When you’re not taking in the views of the beautiful surrounding area, you’ll feel lovely and cosy in the super-insulated huts, which each have a wood burner for extra warmth. Camping lovers that have decided it’s now slightly too chilling for the great outdoors will adore this practical-yet-boutique alternative accommodation. Sip on a cup of tea made in your small but stylish kitchen, which equipped with all the essentials for you to prepare a simple meal. Outside the huts you’ll relish in siting peacefully, taking to the sounds of the sea and awe-inspiring landscape. Should you fancy a romantic night dining under the stars, there’s even an outdoor fire-pit for tasty BBQing. As much as these huts offers a chance to kick back and do nothing more than lookout to the horizon, Alnmouth has a range of wonderful culinary offerings including Scotts facebook and the popular Beaches, beachesrestaurant.co.uk if you did want to eat out. As the site runs along the coastal path, it is unfortunately not ideally suited to wheelchair users or for people with restricted mobility. It’s advised in the winter months to check in while it’s light, bringing along torches and good walking boots or wellies so you’re well-equipped for exploring.
Redworth Hall Hotel
This four-star hotel is situated in an exquisitely-imposing 17th century Jacobean Manor House, set in the blissful tranquillity of twenty six acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. Redworth Hall Hotel has managed to perfectly balance historic elegance with modern sleek finishes and designer touches. Throughout, the hotel has a tranquil ambience that makes for a truly memorable stay. Based in County Durham, the hotel is a must visit for those wanting a relaxing break, with the possibility of venturing into the surrounding countryside. The luxurious rooms offer a stylish place to rest your head, while the hotel’s 1774 restaurant makes for a sophisticated yet relaxed hangout—the perfect place to unwind and enjoy delicious food and drinks. Ideally suited to every party’s needs, Redworth Hall is offering deals for a variety of staycation deals and Christmas getaways for families, couples and more this winter. In addition to their fine restaurants and exceptional spa (complete with a large swimming pool, Jacuzzi and gym) Redworth has recently added an outdoor tipi for guests to enjoy al fresco dining within the picturesque grounds.
You will thoroughly enjoy the many modern comforts this stylishly decorated cabin has to offer, whilst at the same time relishing in feeling away from it all, surrounded by greenery in the enchanting forests of Northumberland. The rusticly-chic Crofter’s Cabin has a plethora of unique treats including gorgeous veranda on which to sit whilst reflecting and relaxing, a perfectly quaint hanging swing from a nearby tree, a warming fire pit and luxe ‘love tub’—all of which invite you make the most of the outdoors. From your base at Crofter’s cabin you can strike out straight from the front door onto local walking trails, or go further afield to explore the nearby coastal path or Kielder Forest. The Cabin is within reach of traditional local pubs, perfect to frequent for dinner and there’s a number of farm shops nearby bursting with local produce to cook-up for a chilled-out evening in.
Situated in beautiful walled gardens and surrounded by its own rolling farmland, Headlam Hall is a spectacular 17th century country house retreat set in the scenic Durham dales. Luxe bedrooms are spread throughout the hall, Coach House buildings or ground floor Mews—each a perfect place to rest your head during an idyllic getaway.Foodies will love the used of local produce used in The Orangery restaurant—with ingredients taken from Headlam Hall’s very own kitchen garden for the ultimate farm-to-table dining experience. The restaurant is houses in a stunning glass-surrounded space that looks out onto a pretty walled patio, making it the perfect setting for a memorable meal. For drinks, The Library Bar is chic and cosy, complete with an open fireplace and book-lined walls. Whilst at Headlam, a visit to the on-site spa is a must—complete with a 15m swimming pool, hydrotherapy spa pool, sauna, steam room and drench shower. The spa lounge continues the high standard and stylish interiors of the hall—with a log-burning stove and its very own brasserie cafè. Gym bunnies will be pleased to hear there’s a fully equipped gym space and exercise studio to boot. You’ll never want to leave.
Beacon Hill Shepard’s Huts
A true haven for a glamping-style holiday for two, Beacon Hill has the choice of three stunning Shepard’s huts, each set in natural splendour—perfect for a romantic getaway. Poised upon a south-facing wildflower meadow, these idyllic hideaways are furnished to an impeccable standard. At thirty feet long, you will enjoy three rooms, westerly-facing terraces and superior views of Beacon’s 360 acre estate. There’s no need to worry about feeling a chill in these huts, as each is wonderfully warm year-round. Plus, there’s a log-burning stove for good measure and you’ll enjoy the home comforts of great Wi-Fi, Bluetooth speaker, digital radio and Smart TV. From your bed, you can look through a large window towards the charming beech woods and lake beyond. As if the delights of these luxe-hut’s weren’t enough to ensure a hassle-free arrival, a bottle of wine, flowers, cake, milk and other essentials are also provided as a welcome gift. Logs and kindling are included and outside each hut there is a fire-pit for nights spent toasting marshmallows under the starry sky. Better yet, each hut is a mere stroll away from Beacon Hill’s very own spa and swimming facilities. The Hideaways are available for two and three night weekend breaks and two and four night midweek breaks. If desired, (and we wouldn’t blame you) you can stay for the week.
North York Moors Cottage
This historic Inn has been transformed to create a beautifully luxurious cottage, making the perfect base for a ramble across the North Yorkshire moor or simply cosying up with a good book. As you move throughout this cosy cottage you’re greeted with spectacular views out of every window. If cooking’s your thing, where better to do it than the beautiful country kitchen, dining afterwards at the large farmhouse table. The kitchen has every amenity, from log stoves to a snazzy coffee machine and in the living room there are sumptuous sofas to snuggle up and enjoy a night by the fire. Upstairs, king-size sleigh beds adorned with 1000 count Egyptian cotton are just some of the delightful extras that make staying here a real treat. Both bedrooms are en-suite with top quality fittings, super soft towels and Temple Spa toiletries, perfect for a bit of pampering. The cottage calls the postcard-perfect village of Osmotherley home—where better to venture for a The Holiday-esque festive break? Wandering the village you’ll discover the medieval church and 18th century Methodist chapel, and following the woodland path northwest of the village leads to the impressive ruins of Mount Grace Priory, the best-preserved Carthusian remains in the country. Using the cottage as a base, you can enjoy an abundance of walking trails and cycle routes quite literally on the doorstep.
Nestled in one hundred acres of beautiful Beamish Valley countryside, the South Causey Inn offers an idyllic environment for a relaxing country getaway, perfect for couples and families alike. Taking a boutique approach to décor, you’ll find no bog-standard rooms here—it’s Instagrammable interiors throughout. There’s everything from a 1960s double-decker bus converted into one-of-a-kind accommodation to a tree-adorned vintage-esque bedroom. Deluxe outdoor hot tubs add a touch of the luxurious for those wanting a premium staycation. Better yet, pet lovers will adore the four-legged-friendly rooms available, with acres of grounds and the nearby Beamish Valley to explore—whether you’re with furry friends or without. In the bar and snug area you’ll find delicious homemade food served in beautiful surroundings, and you can even explore an on-site antique boutique for some relaxing retail therapy.
Photography by djmphotography
Sea View at The Staiths
Pet-lovers rejoice—this sublime staycation home welcomes your one large or two small dogs, so you can enjoy tail-wag worthy walks with your furry friends, right from your doorstep. This large and impressive property sleeps four, and features a stylish open plan living area complete with wood burning stove and cosy underfloor heating. The dining area easily seats six, whilst outdoor decking is ideal for a BBQ. Sea View is the perfect place for a family holiday or for couples in search of a quiet retreat. A haven for walkers and cyclists, this home is positioned in a peaceful location with breath-taking panoramas of the sea and surrounding countryside. The famous Cleveland Way is located just a few miles from the property, and staying in the area provides the ideal bolt-hole for exploring the nearby popular coastal towns of Staithes, Saltburn, Robin Hoods Bay and many more. Whitby lies a mere twelve miles away, offering a great day out for families and four legged friends (or those just looking to sample the famous fish and chips). Alternatively, the nearby Grinkle Park estate is located just half a mile from the house, offering bar and restaurant facilities and serving up an excellent afternoon tea.
The Stables at Brinkburn
If you’re looking for a stay that errs on the side of luxury, may we suggest the impressive, five star-rated Stables, located in a secluded wooded ravine on the bank of the River Coquet. Part of the historic Brinkburn Estate, this traditional yet stylish property boasts modern, deluxe interiors. The 12th Century Brinkburn Priory is right on your doorstep, and The Stables are ideally situated right in the heart of Northumberland, just ten minutes from the beautiful National Trust property at Cragside and with easy access to the coast and Castles, Cheviot Hills, Northumberland National Park, and Hadrian’s Wall. Guests have access to 30 acres of wood land, perfect for autumnal walks looking out for local wildlife including kingfishers, otters, salmon and more. The Stables has stunning exposed stone walls, in keeping with the history of the building—with solid oak floors with underfloor heating. There’s a spacious but incredibly cosy lounge, with comfortable sofas and a magnificent wood burning stove, a library of books for all ages and mod-cons such has a large screen smart TV and superfast Broadband. In the airy and light dining room a table seats up to ten guests, looking out to the pretty patio area and woodland beyond. The village of Longframlington is a mere five minutes’ drive away and boasts an artisan bakery and coffee shop, butchers and traditional pub. Rothbury is just ten minutes away by car, offering an abundance of shops and pubs to visit.
Chapel on the Hill
This historic Methodist Chapel has been lovingly converted into a boutique-style self-catering holiday home for up to seven guests to enjoy. Located close to Middleton-in-Teesdale, the Chapel occupies a prime position atop a hill, offering beautiful views across the surrounding countryside. Remote and tranquil, you can easily hunker down in the peace and quiet but also have the option of outdoor activities, and visiting nearby attractions like High Force Waterfall. If you, like most of the modern world, live your life tied to technology, switching off has never been easier than at The Chapel, since Internet connection and mobile phone reception in the Chapel is poor. Because of this a landline phone is provided for UK calls, but why not see this as an opportunity for a digital detox—great for your mental wellbeing, and for spending more quality time with loved ones. With a roll top bath, wood-burning stove and scenic walks like the famed Pennine Way on the doorstep, internet access will be the last thing on your mind.