Here at H&N Magazine, we are very lucky to be invited to review many restaurants, bars, spa’s, resorts and hotels and because we visit so many, it is always fantastic and unexpected when we discover somewhere special enough to stand out from the rest.
This was definitely the case when we visited Headlam Hall recently. An authentic 17th century country house retreat in the scenic Durham dales of northern England, Headlam Hall stands in beautiful walled gardens, surrounded by its own rolling farmland. This historic family-owned property is an idyllic rural retreat with a luxury spa and golf course and is somewhere you will instantly fall in love with.
An independent hotel run by the Robinson family who have also farmed in Headlam for four generations, Headlam Hall enjoys an excellent reputation for its hospitality, delicious cuisine and unique charm.
One of the most impressive features of Headlam Hall is the beautiful walled garden, set over four acres it includes an impressive main lawn edged with a colourful herbaceous border, ancient yew and beech hedges, an ornamental canal and delightful rose garden.
The garden also produces soft fruits, herbs and vegetables that are used in the hotel kitchens to provide the freshest possible ingredients. Activities in the garden include a hard tennis court and summer croquet lawn or you can just enjoy a relaxing stroll in this charming place.
All of this merely scratches at the surface of why Headlam Hall is so special, because as we all know the most important factors are the people and the service and Headlam excels at both!
The people are friendly, welcoming and passionate that each guest has a wonderful experience and because of this, the service is top notch. Everyone has a smile, from the room cleaners to the gardeners and even the owner, (who we bumped into during our stay), they all enquire after your wellbeing and if you are having an enjoyable stay.
Personally, we had an extra special surprise as the wine expert here, Daniel Jonberger, had arranged a private wine tasting for us before dinner and as Daniel is someone we have met previously, we knew we were in for a brilliant time.
It was so good to see Daniel again and our wine tasting experience was everything we expected; informative, relaxed and fun. Here are the wines we tasted and the tasting notes supplied by Daniel, for you wine buffs:
Wine 1: Bodega Garzon, Viognier, Uruguay, 2019. “Youthful and fresh, with an ample hint of green apples. A touch of acidity leads to a honeydew melon finish.”
Wine 2: Villiera, Jasmine, Gewürztraminer/Muscat/Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Stellenbosch, SA, 2020. “The unmistakable floral undertone of Gewürztraminer comes first, then the lean softness of the muscat that lifts up by the Pinot Blanc, to finish surprisingly light and with a touch of spice.”
Wine 3: AQTON, Wild fermented Savatiano, Greece, 2018, “The hint of oak lingers both in the bouquet and first taste. Orange peel, mixed with a subtle undertone of caramel makes way to a warm finish that stays for a long time.”
Wine 4: Creation Wine, Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, SA, 2019. “The nose brings toasted brioche and hints of mellow oak. A beautiful and full palate with honeysuckle, buttery undertones and a marvellous long finish.”
Wine 5: Girlan, Pinot Noir, Alto Adige, Italy, 2018. “A surprising Pinot Noir with the first nose that gives you notes of dark cherry and rosewood. The palate is light at first before a hint of spicy red cherries mixes with a tang of oak. Surprisingly heavier than you think but still a gracefully light aftertaste.”
Wine 6: Ayrakis, Kostifali, Greece, 2018. “The nose doesn’t give anything away, except a touch of blackberry. The palate is more explosive with a marvellous mix of spice, oak, raspberries and mellow oak. Long aftertaste.”
Wine 7: DAOU, Cabernet Sauvignon,Paso Robles, California, USA, 2018. “A slight whiff of coffee and bitter chocolate on the nose that mellows with the mouthful. An explosion of vanilla, oak, deep red berries, chocolate and cigar box gives this marvellous wine its life. The after taste goes on forever with pleasant dark blackberries in the background.”
Impressed? You should be and you can book your own private wine tasting session hosted by Daniel, which by the way we highly recommend that you do.
These entertaining 40-minute sessions are individually tailored for you and are great pre-dinner, lunchtime or afternoon by prior arrangement.
Tasting 5 wines: £45 per person
Tasting 5 sparkling wines: £60 per person
It goes without saying that our dinner in the restaurant was superb, rounding off what was one of the best hotel stays we have experienced.
But that’s not all! You can also combine your luxury stay at Headlam Hall with a day out driving one of their fabulous cars! You can take your pick from an Aston Martin DB7 V12 Vantage Volante or an MG Midget to experience the great diving routes of Teesdale!
This beautiful unspoilt dale is the perfect base for a classic driving experience with peaceful rural roads. Pretty villages and plenty of attractions.
Speaking of attractions, there are so many amazing places to visit in the area, in fact you are spoilt for choice. Barnard Castle town is 9 miles away. Great for shopping, walks along the river and of course, the castle itself.
Bowes Museum is on the edge of Barnard Castle. This amazing 19th century ‘French Chateau’ houses the greatest private collection of fine and decorative arts in the north of England.
Teesdale boasts the meandering upper reaches of the River Tees with some impressive waterfalls and numerous characterful villages to visit.
Raby Castle is 4 miles from Headlam Hall and is one of the largest castles in England. Raby provides a great day out where you can marvel at Raby’s Baron’s Hall where 700 knights of the North plotted against Elizabeth I.
Durham City, one of the jewels of the north of England, Durham City is well worth a visit, with its superb shops, indoor market, excellent Gala Theatre, romantic riverside walks, and – best of all – the dual World Heritage Site of Durham Castle and Cathedral.
Beamish Museum is 30 miles away and somewhere you must visit! The North of England Open Air Museum, where the past is brought to life across a wide expanse of grounds. Exhibits include steam engines you can ride on, an ‘open cast’ coal mine you can go down, and shops, houses and a schoolroom kept as they would have been in the 1900’s and throughout each decade thereafter.
What more could you want from a beak in the UK? Take it from us – a stay at Headlam Hall is everything and more. Oh and remember to tell them we sent you!
A FREE bottle of house wine to H&N readers who book a Headlam Hall Winter Escape. These are available for two nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast throughout January and February. More details at www.headlamhall.co.uk under “Offers”.