ESHOTT has got the lot
beyond headed north to sample the delights of Eshott Hall in Northumberland and discovered a perfectly positioned hotel you’ll fall in love with.
E ven when hotels clearly state their dog-friendly policy, I’m always slightly anxious they’ll change their mind as our tigger-like Spaniel leaps out of the car, especially when the hotel in question is as stately-looking and picturesque as Eshott Hall. But I had little to fear as we passed a Cockapoo checking in and received a genuinely warm and friendly welcome from staff and dog alike.
Located 20 miles north of Newcastle, midway between Morpeth and Alnwick, this perfectly proportioned Georgian beauty is the quintessential English country house, tucked away in the stunning Northumberland countryside, set within its own manicured gardens and accessed via a sweeping, tree-lined driveway. First impressions are strong, even when you arrive under the cover of darkness as we did on a chilly winter evening.
A quick debrief of dog-friendly areas of the hotel and a lowdown on the non-dog-friendly thriving population of native resident red squirrels, we enjoyed a gin and tonic in the library bar and a chat about local coastal walks with some fellow hotel guests.
There are 17 elegantly appointed bedrooms in the Hall itself but we were staying in one of the hotel’s self-catering luxury cottages, a minute’s saunter away, with shared use of a beautiful courtyard area. Originally the estate stables, the cottages have been lovingly restored to include stylish, contemporary fittings in the kitchen and bathrooms, high quality fabric and furnishings, and are generously proportioned in a way that makes you wish you were staying longer or hosting a party.
You can eat and drink in certain areas of the hotel with your
four-legged friends or leave them in the room dreaming of squirrels, while you enjoy a meal in the more formal but intimate restaurant. Never ones to look a gift horse in the mouth, we opted for the double rosette-winning candle-lit restaurant. Obviously.
Eshott takes food very seriously so after deliberating for longer than is probably appropriate over the exquisite menu, tantalising dishes created from locally-sourced produce, some from their own kitchen garden, we eventually narrowed it down to beef carpaccio, ox cheek and marrowbone croquettes with chargrilled spring veg, rump of lamb, confit of shoulder and potato cannelloni, butternut squash kofta, and topped it all off with a platter of Northumbrian cheeses. Joyful. Each dish was artfully crafted, balanced and presented so if you are inclined towards photographing your food to show the world, this would be your moment.
After a good night’s sleep we chose to eat our delicious breakfast the next morning in a sunny, slightly more informal room at the front of the hotel, with window seats and huge sash windows, it’s the perfect spot to study the maps and suss out your next move. After a walk around the glorious grounds where the red squirrels had obviously clocked the Springer and understandably given us a wide berth, we reluctantly packed up and made the 15 minute drive to Druridge Bay, a beautiful seven mile long bay, stretching from Amble in the north to Cresswell in the south where you can either take the beach or country park route.
In 2017, Northumberland justifiably won the title of UK Holiday Destination of the Year and Eshott is perfectly placed to explore its unrivalled rugged shoreline or the many fortresses dotted along a coast steeped in history.
It is no surprise that the photogenic Hall was listed in the Telegraph’s guide to the best UK wedding venues, littered as it is with impressive photo opportunities everywhere you look, but more than that, the team at Eshott are proud of their hotel and its stunning location, and they want to share it. They are attentive, efficient, patient and warm, and determined to ensure your stay is as memorable as possible. And they like dogs. And squirrels.