When I used to live in Gosforth with my lovely friend turned family member Rachael, a festive evening decorating the tree (not a pleasant experience for her, I’m like Monica), eating mince pies and watching Christmas films was a tradition in out house/flat. So when I was invited to Slaley Hall Christmas showcase last week she was the perfect person to take along to enjoy a more relaxed build up to Christmas.
We made our way along the dark country roads to the old Edwardian mansion that is now Slaley Hall. It’s somewhere I’ve not been for years, but I’m not sure why as despite being so hidden away in the Northumberland countryside, it’s still easily reached in under an hour from Newcastle.
I vaguely remember a weekend stay there, where we enjoyed the pool facilities and a private meal in one of their function rooms. Arriving in the dark and making our way up the sweeping driveway to the entrance, it was a lot grander than I remembered.
We were shown through to the snug, which is exactly as it sounds, warm and cosy with oak walls, giant squishy sofas, and a roaring log fire. We were given a choice of prosecco or mulled wine, and I got my first whiff of that unmistakeable Christmas smell as he ladled out the hot wine.
We sat ourselves down in one of the giant comfy chairs by the fire, and to be honest I think that we were more than content with just that for the evening. It was homely and so festive, with twinkling lights and the fire cackling away next to us.
The snug has plenty seating space, and is a great reception room for a private party this Christmas, a family get together if your family is as big as mine, or even a whisky tasting if that’s your chosen tipple this winter.
Towards the back of the room is a second function room, with giant round tables where you can enjoy a full Christmas meal, or the lighter winter afternoon tea.
There’s a dance floor, and space for entertainment. We were serenaded while we could wander around and have a look at the showcase of things that Slaley Hall has to offer. You can completely take the stress out of Christmas and stay for the entire festive period if you so wish (from £300pp), with a trip to Hexham abbey for carol singing on Christmas eve, breakfast and a visit from Santa on Christmas day, followed by a full three course evening meal with all the trimmings, and a day of Christmas movies on Boxing Day. How amazing does that sound?
New Year breaks are also on offer with a black tie gala dinner and ball, or a more relaxed three course meal in Hadrian’s Brasserie. For New Year prices start from £240 depending on how many nights you choose to stay.
Even if you prefer to be at home for Christmas, a visit to Slaley through the winter months for just a day in the spa, a longer spa break, or an afternoon tea seemed a pretty good idea after seeing it all set out on display.
We sampled some of the food on offer and let me tell you, those pigs in blankets were incredible, I lost count how many Rachael and I had between us. The clotted cream scones with jam and strawberries were also a big hit.
No visit to Slaley would be complete without a spa treatment, and while we didn’t get to see the spa itself, we were given the lovely treat of a hand massage by the spa manager. Even just this small simple treatment was so relaxing, and the oils gave us both a lovely scent to waft around in…and mask the pigs in blanket smell I’m sure we were giving off.
The spa packages looked amazing, ranging from days, to longer experiences (there’s currently 40% off a two night stay) and the chance to combine a spa experience with afternoon tea. When the weather’s freezing outside I can’t imagine anything nicer than escaping the mayhem of Newcastle city centre and spending a weekend being pampered.
If you go have a look at the incredible ESPA advent calendar, with a different miniature product for every day until Christmas. There is an ESPA showcase on at Slaley later in November, which will show off the Christmas gifts on offer. If anyone’s interested I loved the look and smell of the candles…
Despite not indulging in the full experience and stay at Slaley, a few hours in the snug and a hand massage was enough to get a glimpse of what a stay there would be like. It make me feel relaxed and ready for winter, as well as frantically checking my diary for when I can fit in a weekend break.
We received our food, drinks and hand massages complimentary as part of the Christmas showcase. For more information on Slaley Hall’s Christmas packages visit the website.