It’s been almost a week since about 20 of us made our way to Fairfield House, Stanhope for the lovely Rachael’s hen doo. This isn’t going to be a post that covers every little aspect of the weekend, ‘what happens on the hen doo stays…’ and all that jazz, instead here’s a quick look at three of many highlights from what was an all round fabulous weekend that I would definitely recommend, should you ever find yourselves doing something similar.
Fairfield House, Stanhope
The house itself was a big bonus of the weekend. It is located in the village of Stanhope which is about 40 minutes drive from Newcastle airport (I was picking up Rachael’s friends over from Ireland/Northern Ireland, I didn’t just randomly start the journey from there), and about 20-30 minute drive from Durham train station for those arriving by train. After driving over hills, and through winding country roads and local farms, we arrived at the house. For such a small village, that sprawls up the hillside, the house is massive, but it blends in to the village so it doesn’t stand out. Driving through the private gates you sweep up to this old Victorian mansion, overlooking the valley and the hills.
The house itself has 10 bedrooms, each sleeping two people in either doubles or twin beds. Some have an en suite, but there are 9 bathrooms in total. All the bedrooms were lovely, each named and each very modern, rather than country. The attic rooms had dark wooden beams, and windows with views for miles. The attic had a small lounge area with a TV, and two sofas that also turned into sofa beds.
The lounge and dining area were one huge room, with speakers, wifi, an open fire, and a huge dining room table that sat twenty people. It was a great area for everyone to all be together to eat and play games. I imagine that despite the size of it, it would be very cosy in winter too with the fire on.
The kitchen was full equipped, with a big central island, and Rachael’s sister cooked up a fabulous meal for us on the Friday night. The kitchen led off to an outside yard area, as well as a pathway out to the games room annex, which also had two big bedrooms above it.
There was a small football pitch and tennis court outside, as well as a lawn area and a big two tiered terrace, complete with BBQ, huge outdoor table, hot tub and fairy lights. The whole place was fully equipped and it was beautiful in a lovely location. We didn’t get down in to the village at all, but we drove through and there were plenty shops, cafes and a market close by.
Great work on the venue Rachael!
Lazer Wars in the Woods, Somewhere in the country between Stanhope and Durham.
No, NOT paint balling. The bridesmaids organised for us all to play Lazer Wars in the woods on the Saturday and it was sooooo much fun. It was pretty cold, but dry or I think it might been a total different experience, but we were given overalls to put on and split into two teams. This was about a fifteen minute drive from the house, and you’re literally in the woods in what feels like the middle of nowhere. It is ran by Paul and his wife, who look out for you coming and provide bacon sandwiches and hot drinks for breakfast before you start.
We were all given these lazer guns, and headbands which vibrated whenever you got ‘shot’. We started off with a last man standing game, each team with a base, and there were tree houses, hiding places, as well as health packs and mines dotted about on trees to help you win. It was literally like being in a computer game.
Paul took us through various scenarios as part of the experience, we took it in turns to defend a base, diffuse a fake bomb, and round it all off with a free for all. It was a lot of fun, mainly because you weren’t whacked with paintballs so it didn’t hurt at all. Everyone was involved and enjoyed it, and we were given burgers and sausage sandwiches off the BBQ at the end while they uploaded our scores to see which team won.
The whole thing lasted about three hours, but they do all sorts of different woodland experiences for groups, schools, days out etc. For more info heres the website.
Fat Buddha, Durham
Again, it was the bridesmaids who organised us all to go out for food and cocktails on the Saturday night to Fat Buddha in Durham. We all piled onto a mini bus with the bride to be, and it was about a twenty minute journey in to Durham.
The table was booked for 7:30, but it wasn’t quite ready and we all had cocktails while we were waiting. Half an hour later when we still weren’t seated we made a point of speaking to the host, when there’s such a big group of us with a reservation you kind of assume they will have it ready for you. When we finally got seated upstairs, we were given some bottles of prosecco for the wait, and we were able to order from either of the set menus for what we had already paid a deposit for.
I had a passion fruit mojito which was really nice, and ordered edamame (obvs), salt and chilli prawns to start, chicken and sweetcorn soup to start as well, don’t judge, and then beef with green peppers in black bean sauce for main. Despite the slow start the cocktails and the food were really nice, especially those salt and chilli prawns, I’d definitely go back for them.
I’d never ate in any of the Fat Buddha restaurants before, but the food was very nice so I might try the one in Newcastle sometime too.
I really enjoyed the whole hen weekend from start to finish, the bridesmaids did such a good job of organising it for everyone, and Rachael was a fabulous hen! Jack, you’re a lucky lad. Now for the big day over in Belfast in a few weeks, I can. not. wait!