Walwick Hall first hit my radar just before Christmas, when I was helping a friend find a place relatively close to home for between Christmas and New Year. The website then was in the very early stages, so it was hard to get a good idea of the place. More recently Nige and Viv went on a midweek deal, had a great time and came back saying we had to try it. Last weekend we finally got a chance, so booked up on their dinner, bed and breakfast package, and massages in the spa.
Located in Humshaugh, and easily found the lavish country manor sits on the hill overlooking the English countryside, and the views are obvious and impressive from the moment you arrive. There’s plenty parking right by the house, so we parked up and had a quick wander around the garden to admire the view before checking in.
Going in the front door, you’re straight away greeted by the staff, who took our bags off us and invited us in to the bar for a complimentary drink while we filled out our check in paperwork. We could order anything at all, so I went for the ‘Floradora’ gin cocktail, and Kieran had a pint.
As we sat and enjoyed our drinks, we took a look at the extensive bar food menu, even bigger drinks menu and the cosy bar area. It was a mix of both traditional country style, with modern touches. The wood bar and giant stag on the wall over the fire almost reminded me of a Lakeland pub, but the gold chairs and mirrored touches gave it a much more modern feel, as did the group of businessmen in one corner, and the three women enjoying afternoon tea in the other. The barman was very friendly and knew his cocktails well, which bode well for the evening.
By the time we had finished our drinks and went back with our paperwork, our bags had been taken up to our room for us. One of the receptionists escorted us upstairs. There are ten rooms in total, a mix of Deluxe rooms and Junior Suites, each with their own name. We were in Sycamore.
Going into our room we found ourselves in a corridor, with the main bedroom through one door, and the bathroom through another. In this mini hallway there was a mirror and plugs (win), and a wall full of artwork. It was definitely a lot more than a standard hotel room.
The main room itself was so lovely, very country cottage with its tiny feature windows on one wall, but with plenty of space and an unbeatable view from the main window that stretched over the Walwick Hall gardens and across the countryside.
There was a desk and mirror, thick blankets to match the colour of the room, a fridge, safe, full coffee facilities and the most quaint little tea set and selection of tea I’ve ever seen in a hotel room. It was very country chic, and very cosy. By cosy I don’t mean small, I mean it felt cosy, exactly what you want from a country escape.
The bathroom was lovely as well, white with silver and marble, full set of toiletries and soft towels. The whole place is covered in the signature stags, right down to the stickers on the toilet rolls, to the stitching on the facecloths (one each), and on the pillows, robes and tissue box.
The receptionist who took us up, gave a full run down of the facilities and told us that all the main public areas, so the bar, lounge, drawing room and dining room were all accessible from the main lobby. Very handy.
As we had spa treatments booked, we decided to make our way along to the spa and pool area for the afternoon. We had a couple of hours from check in before our massages. Walking out of the drawing room, a deep purple room with more hunting décor and a roaring fire we came out onto the terrace at the back.
There were tables and chairs, as well as a few fire pits, and a more sheltered seating area to enjoy. The gardens were huge, and I spotted two summer houses and I think a play area well hidden behind a hedge. It was very tranquil and peaceful.
Making our way round to the left we found the spa, the obviously modern glass fronted building, next to the smaller brick treatment block. We let them know we were there, and were told they would come and find us in the pool area when it was time for our massages. There’s an electric entry system into the spa, so we were let in and found ourselves in an airy, spotlit corridor, decorated with more stags along the wall.
Following it round, the gym was on one side (shame I forgot my trainers…I mean I was totall devastated by this…), and the changing rooms on the other complete with lockers, showers and hairdryers. They aren’t the biggest in the world, but neither is the entire place. There’s only ten rooms, and spa memberships are limited, so I doubt it ever got too crowded.
Coming out into the pool area, there’s a decent sized pool, a jacuzzi, and a steam room. The two outward facing walls are all completely glass, with even better views overlooking the hills. At the far end are three comfortable loungers with cushions and towels, and a stack of recent magazines. We sat for a while, and dipped in and out of the pool, Jacuzzi and steam room, enjoying being totally relaxed.
If I’m completely honest, I would have loved a glass of prosecco while I was lying there, like they have at a lot of other spas, but there’s no eating or drinking, or specific spa brasserie or café. It wouldn’t be big enough for one really, and we did have the whole place to ourselves for most of the day.
At 4pm one of the spa therapists came across to get us for our massages. The treatment building is literally two rooms, one with the nail bar, and the other with two massage beds for the rest of the treatments. Their spa brochure is quite big, with plenty of treatments and combinations on offer. Both our massages were at 4pm so we realised we were in together.
I was a bit unnerved by this at first, we hadn’t really anticipated it would be a joint massage in the same room. The therapists took us through the usual forms to complete, and our preferences for oil and massage pressure. We were both getting a neck, back and shoulder massage, at £35 which lasts half an hour.
I very quickly forgot that we were in the same room, which I suppose is a testament to the massage! It was very relaxing, and a great way to finish off the afternoon. I definitely wish we went for the full body treatment though, it was over way too quick. We weren’t rushed out after our treatments at all, and we both left feeling very refreshed – just starving and dying for a drink!
We went back up to Sycamore to get changed out of our robes, and into something more suitable for the bar area, where we ventured back down to for an afternoon snack. Afternoon tea was being served in the drawing room, and it looked so good! We were booked in for dinner though, so got the lunch menu in the bar instead, and decided to share a steak sandwich with some chips between us. The food came quickly thankfully, and it was really good quality. It was a lot bigger portion than I expected, and came with chips which we hadn’t anticipated when we ordered a side chips as well. We wolfed them down after our exhausting afternoon lying doing nothing.
After we ate, we went back upstairs to relax, watched some tv, and tried out the amazing rain shower. We had a few drinks while we got ready, and it was honestly so nice being in such a lovely little room after a relaxing day.
We watched the sun go down over the hills, which will be amazing to see in summer sat outside by one of the fire pits. When we were ready for dinner, we made our way back downstairs to the dining room. By now the fire was on in all the rooms, and it did make the whole place feel like you were at home, just at home somewhere slightly more lavish. It definitely didn’t feel like a hotel.
We were taken into the dining room and I think this was my favourite room in the whole place. It was all silver and pale blue, with plush chairs, thick cloth napkins again with the stag sticker, and a fabulous three part artwork of a stag hanging over the fire. It really reminded me of Close House dining room, I loved it. It was pretty full, but we were served quickly for drinks and given a full run down of all the specials.
I’m no food genius, but from both the menu and general comments I’ve heard from people, the chef at Walwick Hall is said to be very impressive. The menu also gives a background of all the meat used and its origins, so if you care for that sort of thing before you even try the food then it’s all there. Personally, I prefer to judge based on how it tastes. I ordered the mussels in to start, and the cod for main. Kieran went for the soup to start, and steak for main.
My starter arrived, and it wasn’t what I expected at all. I thought it would be a pan of mussels, with the sauce at the bottom that you have to dig deep to find, and pick the mussels out the shell. They came already de-shelled, and swimming in the sauce. It was really good, and actually easier to eat with a spoon it was almost soup like. I love seafood, and this was delicious. Kieran had only good things to say about the soup as well. The bread rolls were warm and there was plenty butter, so that was being dunked in the soup all over the place, a perfect combo.
It was filling as well, they didn’t skimp on anything and I was definitely starting to regret that half a steak sandwich we had after the spa. When the mains arrived, I’m really glad I went for the fish. It was a proper cod fillet, with tempura veg and mussels on the side as well. It was so well cooked, and the fish was perfect with no bones whatsoever. I’m so glad I didn’t go for the steak, it was huge with crispy onion rings piled high on the top too. There’s no way I could have ate all that, but it looked amazing and Kieran confirmed it was.
I couldn’t have desert, I was way too full, so I just drank the wine while Kieran had the sticky toffee pudding with ice cream. By the time he had finished that he was just as full as I was, so we made the most of the comfy seats in the lounge for a bit by the fire with the rest of our wine.
Once we had a breather we went through to the bar for some more drinks from that incredible cocktail menu. We noticed that quite a lot of groups in the restaurant weren’t actually staying at Walwick Hall, they had come from the local area for dinner, which would be a lovely thing to do if you’re up there, or for an occasion and can’t stay.
For us I’m really glad we were staying over. I really had such a good sleep, and woke up the next morning to bright sunshine when I pulled up the blinds of all the little windows in our room. Breakfast is served from 7:30-9:30, so we made our way back down to the dining room.
We had a table by the window, and the dining room looked like a totally different place in the morning. The waitress took us through the menu which had everything from toast and cereal, pastries and yoghurts to full cooked breakfast, all sorts of eggs and even kippers. As we had breakfast included in our stay, they brought us tea, coffee and orange juice, as well as pastries to start with. Kieran ordered a full Northumberland breakfast, and I ordered eggs benedict.
We both really enjoyed our food, I love a hotel breakfast and it was even nicer in such a lovely place with a great view out the window. After we finished we went and sat in the lounge for a while, and had a look at the old art work showing local culture from throughout the 20th century – old horse riding schools, hunting traditions and country style.
Before we checked out our room I had a look through the info booklet which describes local walks and longer hikes through the local area. We didn’t bring anything suitable to walk in, so instead we walked around the grounds for a while enjoying the peace and quiet
Overall I would really recommend Walwick Hall, especially if you need a break close to Newcastle that actually feels a million miles away. It’s a beautiful location, and the house itself is in perfect condition full of character and staff that go the extra mile to look after you and make your stay special.
I wouldn’t really say that it’s the type of place to go for a proper spa day experience if that is your main priority, that side is more something to take advantage of as an added extra while you’re there rather than something to go for. The only reason for this is that it’s just not big enough, but that’s the point, it’s very secluded.
The facilities are excellent and the whole place is immaculate, the spa is best for simply relaxing and enjoying the fabulous view. It was great as a couple, and somewhere I’d go for afternoon tea with Viv as well. So that’s next years Mothers Day sorted!