For me, there’s nothing better than packing my bags and getting away for the weekend. Whether that’s an overnight stay in a cosy treehouse in the wilderness or a luxurious spa break, it’s one of my favourite ways to spend my time.
I’m from Newcastle in the UK, and love nothing more than exploring the area and uncovering the region’s best kept secrets. I’ve stayed in some beautiful locations over the years, normally as a birthday treat or other celebration. Here’s the low down on my top picks…
This is one of my most recent discoveries. I was looking for something a bit different for my partner’s birthday – an excuse for us to relax go back to basics. Set in the heart of Northumberland, Wild Northumbrian has seven beautiful yurts and huts to choose from – we stayed in the Merle Yurt.
You really do feel away from it all here. Each hut or yurt feels very private, you have a lot of your own secluded space with nothing but the sounds of the wild in the background. With no phone signal and no electricity, it’s an opportunity to switch off and recharge. Our yurt even came with an amazing Hikki Scandinavian hot tub bath, heated by a woodburning stove. You can also bring your dog along, too.
We paid a visit to the nearby Kielder Observatory to see the Milky Way, but you get just as good views of the dark skies from your yurt. I’ve never seen stars like it! We also paid a little extra for a breakfast hamper that we cooked ourselves on the stove in the morning – the proper Northumberland sausages were delicious. If you’re looking for a rural, tranquil stay, this is one I’d recommend. We’ll definitely be going back!
Another treat for my boyfriend’s previous birthday (do I buy the best presents or what?), Crab & Lobster is an award-winning wedding venue, hotel and restaurant nestled in the heart of North Yorkshire. This venue has individually themed rooms, from Bora Bora in the South Pacific to Mount Nelson in Cape Town.
We stayed in the Bora Bora room, a tropical beach house with its own private hot tub at the bottom of the spiral staircase. The room is a peaceful haven with a king size bed and roll-top bath. The staff were incredibly helpful, and even gave us a tip on where to find the hidden beer tap in the main house!
I’m a huge seafood lover, so I was really excited to try the Crab & Lobster restaurant and it definitely didn’t disappoint. I had baked crab to start, lobster thermidor for the main course and an amazing assiette of desserts to finish.
This time it was my boyfriend that surprised me with an overnight stay for my birthday, at Seaham Hall. This included use of the spa, a full body massage, dinner in the incredible Dining Room and a stay in one of their luxurious junior suites.
We were taken up to our room to find the staff had left a birthday card, a bottle of Tattinger champagne and some delicious brownies to say Happy Birthday which was a really nice personal touch.
We then made our way down to the Serenity Spa which blew me away. It was much bigger than I imagined and there are so many different facilities to use – a salt sauna, indian steam room, outdoor hot tubs and hydrotherapy pool to name just a few. My full body massage was incredible and just what I needed to really relax.
It was a hot summer’s evening so we took a seat in the stunning gardens where we were served drinks as we waited for our table in The Dining Room restaurant. The food and the service were both absolutely outstanding – I STILL dream about that amazing duck course!
Finally, another country house that’s used predominantly for weddings, but you can also visit for an overnight stay or private event. Set in a location that offers both stunning countryside and picturesque coastal views, it feels like a really special place – and you can even bring your pooch too!
The gorgeous boutique bedrooms are each individually designed and every one of them luxurious. We stayed in the Gianella suite – a room that feels like it was taken straight from Renaissance-era Italy.
If you’re not at a wedding and you’re looking for somewhere to have dinner in the evening, Newton Hall’s sister venue The Joiner’s Arms is just 5 minutes up the road – a 5* coaching inn which also has its own boutique, dog-friendly rooms. The menu has everything from sharing platters, fish and chips to proper Northumberland pies. I went for the fillet steak which was cooked to perfection.
A stay at Newton Hall also comes with complimentary breakfast – I chose to have eggs benedict and it was the perfect end to an amazing overnight stay.
I’d recommend all of these venues and would happily book a return visit to them all, but there are so many other places in the North that I’d love to explore and we intend to keep ticking them off our list when it comes to birthday celebrations!
Are there any special places you’ve visited that I should know about? Let me know…