Rockliffe Hall – Darlington, County Durham
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A seamless blend of old and new, Rockliffe Hall is proof that luxury country house hotels are not the preserve of southern England. An imposing 18th-century house, it’s set in parkland beside the river Tees with a worldclass golf course and state-of-the-art spa. The golfers and spa enthusiasts who flock here are joined by foodies who come to sample sublime cooking in the three very exceptional restaurants. The flagship Orangery takes diners on a journey of textures, temperatures and tastes with its à la carte and tasting menus, beautifully executed and very memorable. The Brasserie is less formal while the relaxed Clubhouse is perfect for a postgolf meal or Sunday lunch while taking in the beautiful views. Lewis Carroll lived in nearby Croft-on-Tees, whose sulphur springs were known for their healing properties in the 1800s and may have inspired the potion that Alice drinks in Wonderland – don’t miss the hotel’s Mischmasch parkland, inspired by the book. Perfect for families, there’s a cinema room, playpods, an adventure playground, tennis courts and more.
Doubles from £230, including use of the spa
+44 (0)1325 729999; rockliffehall.com