Close House Luxury For Non Golfers
Before the weekend I, like many others I’ve spoken to recently believed the prestigious Close House Golf venue was for members and golfers only. I visited for our annual girls Christmas dinner years ago back when the house itself was open to the public, but since then it became a private residence and the focus shifted towards the golf offering. Two time hosts of the British Masters even someone with no interest in golf like myself can understand the calibre this venue holds. But Close House has much more to offer than just golfing, and I was invited to discover the luxury Close House experience for non golfers at the weekend.
Disclaimer: We received a complimentary Sunday lunch in the restaurant, and a private tour of the accommodation available at Close House. As always opinions are genuine and my own.
Located in Heddon-on-the-Wall, the landscape surrounding Close House is almost as beautiful as the pristine grounds within the estate itself. The Northumberland countryside stretches out beyond the Close House boundaries to form the panoramic view around you.
From the moment you drive into the estate you know you’re somewhere special, passing the driving range and academy, the expertly maintained golf courses and through the pristine grounds on your way up to the visitors car park. It really is fabulous.
No 19 Restaurant & Terrace
The golf club house is home to No 19, a restaurant, bar and celebration function room with a modern but relaxed atmosphere, overlooking the incredible view I mentioned before. There are both indoor tables and seating, and an outside terrace perfect for a sunny day overlooking the course and beyond into the Tyne Valley.
Even if you’re dining inside like we were, take a moment to go outside on the terrace to take in the scenery or have a pre/post dinner drink.
We were seated by the floor to ceiling glass windows, so we could still enjoy the view as we browsed the Sunday food menu. The tables inside are spaced to allow for both privacy and social distancing, and all orders are given via table service.
Despite offering a reduced menu at the moment, the options are still good, varied and in keeping with the local Northumberland seasonal produce the chefs favour. To start I went for the Prawn Timbale with Roquette and Light Lemon Mayo, while Kieran chose the White Onion and Thyme Soup.
The two other choices of Forest Mushrooms on Toast Poached Hen’s Egg and Proscuitto Wrapped Pheasant Breast with Caramelised Figs made the decision difficult, but we went for our go to’s of seafood and soup.
They arrived quickly, as did our drinks and we tucked in. The prawns were fresh and flavoursome, not watery at all, and Kieran’s soup was also delicious. I made him let me try it with a chunk of the warm bread it came with – so good.
The main selection was bigger still, with six options to choose from including traditional beef, pork, chicken or multi meat roast with all the trimmings, a fish choice of Sea Trout, and a vegetarian lentil and vegetarian nut roast option too. Each come with the usual Sunday trimmings, but you can order additional sides including my favourite – cauliflower cheese, extra Yorkshire puddings and broccoli hollandaise with toasted almonds.
I love a good quality Sunday lunch, especially ones that are noticeably more than just a ‘pub meal’ thrown together and if you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know the Broad Chare and Branches in Newcastle are my favourites for that reason. The Close House Sunday roast was up there with both of them I thoroughly enjoyed it. The meat was medium rare so had all the flavours, the roasties were crispy on the outside and fluffy inside, and the cauliflower cheese was fabulous and cheesey.
I honestly can’t recommend it enough if you’re looking for a really delicious Sunday roast with something extra, perhaps for an occasion or to make a day of it up there. My only regret was when I saw the waitress carry a tray of Bloody Mary’s to a nearby table I wish I’d thought to get one myself and it would have been my perfect Sunday lunchtime.
I don’t often find room for desert, as I’m definitely more of a starter person but I had to try the strawberry panacotta with fruit and nut biscotti, and Kieran had the classic creme brûlée with home made shortbread. Both were devoured very quickly and absolutely worth it. Other desert choices were the sticky toffee pudding, or local artisan cheeses with biscuits.
The staff looking after us were lovely, service was quick and attentive without being intrusive, and they are on hand if you have any dietary requirements or allergies. We enjoyed the full meal while being serenaded by a live acoustic singer too.
For the Sunday menu prices are £16.50 for one course, £21 for two, or £24 for three which for the quality, portion size and environment is more than reasonable.
No 19 also offers a range of other menus which change with the season, including an extensive main dinner menu, sandwiches, breakfasts and snacks, traditional afternoon tea, a Prosecco afternoon tea, private dining options and large scale celebrations that include catering. You can book for any of them without being a member all are available for public booking. See the full menu choices here.
So as I said at the beginning, I was previously under the wrong impression that when Close House itself became private there were no longer options to stay. There are actually 16 rooms on site, a private Lodge and a private Pavilion, all bookable for anyone not just golfers.
The sixteen rooms are found in The Courtyard, a gorgeous building and landscaped gardens set within the grounds. Their original purpose was to serve as suites in addition to the hotel rooms within the main Close House building, so they’re all significantly more spacious and luxurious than you would expect from standard hotel rooms.
We saw a couple of them, and they are fabulous with tasteful designs, beautiful en suite bathrooms and a lot of space. The quality of all the rooms we saw was exceptional, but my favourite were these suites with a mezzanine, and downstairs bathroom.
When we saw them the beds were pulled apart to form twins as there was a golf group arriving that evening who were taking up all the rooms, but all are doubles usually. So as you can imagine the rooms are great for ‘play and stay’ golf groups, who can choose their room named after famous Harry Colt courses, but they would also serve as an excellent base for large families, couples, or groups of friends looking to make the most of Northumberland from accommodation that’s just a bit nicer than most.
There are three Northumberland walking trails that run right through the grounds, and of course Hadrian’s Wall. While I can see myself sitting on the terrace with a bottle of wine, more adventurous than me could get out and explore the area before dinner at No 19.
For those looking for a bit more privacy, the stone built lodge located at the entrance to the grounds might be for you. Once the gatehouse to the estate, the lodge has a country, homely feel to it through details like the fireplace, countryside views and cosy living areas, whilst still maintaining the elegance and comfort of the Close House estate.
There are two en suite bedrooms, and an outhouse with hot tub and seating area too. You get uninterrupted privacy here, with limited access through the iron gates, the perfect retreat to relax and enjoy.
For me the Pavilion was the most impressive accommodation option, even more so than the Lodge with private hot tub. It might sound hard to believe but honestly I was blown away by it.
Found right in the centre of the Close House estate, with the golf course sprawling out past it, and the club house and restaurant up the hill in the distance, it still offers privacy and exclusivity but with so much extra too.
The American style pavilion white panel front, big bright windows letting all the light in, and terrace with outdoor seating just made it that bit more special in my opinion. Where the Lodge is country chic, this is elegant and airy.
It has two en suite bedrooms, an open plan living and kitchen area with Ralph Lauren decor, and the odd golfIng memorabilia thrown in too. Another beautiful retreat to enjoy as a small family, couple or group of friends.
It’s very hard to do it justice, but for videos of the Pavilion have a look at either my instagram story highlight, or the Close House website here.
With all the dining options, fabulous accommodation on site, and that beautiful terrace at No 19 I’m honestly appalled that Kieran’s never taken me up there before, either while he’s played golf, or to meet him afterwards for dinner.
He’s had lunch after a round of golf and said it was great, but sitting up there while he plays, watching the world go by or the football scores on TV with a glass of wine is just how I’d like to spend a weekend afternoon this winter.
The accommodation is exactly the type of thing I would choose for an Autumn/Winter mini break or overnight stay close to home, as it could all be enjoyed regardless of the weather. You absolutely don’t have to be interested in golf to enjoy and appreciate this location and all that’s on offer. I would seriously consider it for an occasion celebration or getaway too.
Visit the Close House website to make any enquiry for restaurant or accommodation booking.
Disclaimer: We received a complimentary Sunday lunch in the restaurant, and a private tour of the accommodation available at Close House.As always opinions are genuine and my own.
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