H&N Magazine returned to Headlam Hall this October to spend an afternoon and evening in luxury once again.
Our first visit in February was filled with pretty snow, and the 16th Century Headlam Hall had roaring open fires and hearty winter food on the menu.
This visit meant that the hotel looked entirely different as it was covered in rustic red and burnt orange leaves, and the restaurant menu was seasonally filled with warming autumnal dishes.
Our writer Rachel McAlley checked in to the Headlam Hall, owned by the Robinson family (Headlam farmers for four generations) and was escorted to Peacock Room on the second floor overlooking the perfectly manicured lawns, the kitchen garden and the orchard of apple trees; ideal for the quiet retreat she was looking for.
After unpacking I took myself across to Headlam Hall’s Spa for an early afternoon of indoor swimming, outdoor hot tub, and relaxing on the outdoor terrace while wrapping myself in a large fluffy blanket and reading a magazine. The spa faces the beautiful gardens, and has a wonderful brasserie attached for those who want to dine in a tranquil, informal surroundings looking over the hotel’s private golf course.
I strolled back to my bedroom via a short meander through the quaint gardens, had a brief stint watching daytime TV, and then dressed for dinner. The bedroom boasted a deluxe double bed with large plump pillows, a couple of occasional chairs and table, a decent sized TV and dressing table, and the wardrobe was spacious with iron, ironing board and other hotel room essentials. The large bathroom held a collection of full sized Molton Brown products, which were to be refilled after use rather than removed, thus helping to reduce the hotel’s plastic waste. This is a great idea and one that I’m sure more hotels will follow in the future.
I arrived at the restaurant for dinner, a bright and airy room filled with character and charm. The menu was one of autumn treats including scallops, king prawns, field mushrooms, chicken liver parfait and more for starters, and roast pork, cod loin, beef burger, vegetable strudel, steak pie, and plenty more for main course.
I chose tempura battered king prawns with sweet chilli dip to start, followed by pan-fried cod loin served with a cream and seafood chowder with potato pearls, courgette ribbons and watercress. The courgette ribbons were missing from my dish, however they were substituted with peas, which gave the dish a nice addition of flavour and colour. Both courses were vey good, especially the cod loin, as the chowder was delicious.
For dessert I opted for the cheese and had a choice from numerous British and French cheeses, which were served alongside a mini tureen of homemade spiced apple chutney, fresh celery and plenty of crackers.
Dinner was flavoursome, hearty, and thoroughly enjoyable. I ordered a hot chocolate to enjoy back in my room, which was served with a homemade rich dark chocolate truffle – a lovely end to a very tasty meal. Back in the room, I drew the curtains, popped on the TV and relaxed for an hour before heading to bed, for a very restful night’s sleep in an extremely comfortable bed.
After a morning shower, and a couple of hours working at the dressing table desk I was ready for breakfast, which was taken in the same restaurant as the evening meal. There was a good selection of juices, fruit, yoghurts, croissants, and jams on the buffet table, I ordered a continental breakfast with local mustard baked ham, cured meats, and breakfast rolls plus toast and peppermint tea. A lovely breakfast, and it made a change for me to order something cold rather than eggs, which would have been my usual choice.
The service from checking in to checking out, including the reception staff, restaurant waiting staff, and the spa team were all pleasant and very happy to help with requests and queries. And to top off the stay the sun shone brightly, and it was the hottest October day on record for many years – which simply made the experience all the more enjoyable.
I’m quite sure I will return in the future with my family for a weekend break. There’s plenty to do in the hotel grounds, in the local village and in surrounding areas.
For more details about Headlam Hall visit www.headlamhall.co.uk or call 01325 730 238