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Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa, Alnwick, Northumberland
Although only a couple of miles from the A1, this large country house feels deep in the country with uninterrupted views over fields and woodland. The Georgian hall has been much extended, though sympathetically, and the whole building retains its classic good looks and proportions. In grand country-house style, it has elegantly furnished reception rooms, a library, a terrace overlooking the grounds and a rich red-and-gold dining room offering classic dishes. Bedrooms are vast, traditionally but lightly furnished, with swish bathrooms. Most have a view of the grounds. With a spa, woodland walks and terrace for afternoon tea, there's little need to leave the hotel although the coast is only a 10-minute drive. A good choice for a romantic weekend break, or a family get-together.
We love the fact it's so easy to reach from the A1, but still feels deeply rural.
The hotel is in the middle of a network of country lanes and fields, just two miles east of the A1.
By car: the drive takes 4 hours from Manchester and 6 hours from London. There is free parking at the hotel.
By train: Chathill station is a 5-minute taxi ride away. Trains from London Kings Cross and Manchester, via Newcastle, take around 4 hours 20 mins. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
It ticks the boxes for anyone looking for the classic country-house break - whether couples or multi-generation families. The style may be elegant but it never feels overly formal.
Service & Facilities
It's great to discover that the books in the library - a job lot from Oxfam - are ones you might actually want to read.
- Free parking
There are six dog-friendly bedrooms. Reservations are £15 per dog.
The three rooms in the former coach house, with exposed-stone walls and beams, and large arched windows, have the most character. Rooms are named after north-eastern places or people, and each has a relevant painting and potted history.
Accessible Double/Twin, Classic Double/Twin, Superior Double, Deluxe Double, Coach House Double, The Suite, The Four Poster, The Executive Bedroom
Facilities include: ensuite bath or shower, toiletries, bathrobe, slippers, tea and coffee facilities, TV, desk, hairdryer
Food & Drink
If you're not up to a fancy fine dining evening, the bar menu has a good selection including baked Camembert, a homemade burger and New York pastrami sandwich. The afternoon tea is surprisingly good value, given the setting - and includes a vegan offering, too.
George Runciman Restaurant: 2 AA Rosettes, imaginative British cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner. Mains from £18.95.
Bar & Lounge: bar classics including baked camembert, burgers and doorstep sandwiches. Mains from £18.95.
Afternoon Tea: served daily 2-5pm. Vegan option available. £17.50 per person.