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  1. Luxury
January 14, 2024

Matfen Hall review: rural charm on a grand scale

Nestled in the heart of the Northumberland countryside, Matfen Hall offers world-class golf facilities, fine dining and plenty of cosy nooks for a true country retreat

By Suzanne Elliott

Set in more than 300 acres of Northumberland parkland, the former seat of the Blackett family has recently undergone a multi-million pound renovation. Fusing Gothic grandeur with modern comforts, Matfen Hall has everything needed for a country house retreat, from a golf course and spa to fine dining and luxury suites. 

Location 

Nestled in rolling countryside, Matfen Hall dates back to 1832 when it was built by Sir Edward Blackett, the sixth baronet, as a family home. 

It is the perfect spot for walks, exploring Roman heritage (the UNESCO World Heritage Site Hadrian’s Wall and the equally impressive Vindolanda Roman fortress are within easy driving distance) and a spot of golf. It is two miles north of the B6318, and within easy reach of Newcastle (12 miles away) for central rail and air links. The hotel offers chauffeur transfers directly to Matfen Hall and the lawns can accommodate helicopter arrivals. The quaint town of Corbridge is six miles away.

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A bed with a velvet headboard and throw with grey carpets and wallpaper. There's a picture to the left of the bed
The luxury suites have Emperor-sized beds

Rooms & Suites

The Grade II-listed building has undergone an extensive transformation and makeover with upgrades to the Great Hall, dining and bar areas and bedrooms that blend its storied history with 21st-century luxury.

The 65 bedrooms encompass luxury suites to classic rooms. For the true country house experience, choose a grand or super-grand bedrooms within the main house that overlook the 300-acre parkland or the manicured lawns of Le Jardin Hollandaise.

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A League of Their Own

The rooms are tastefully decorated in blues, greys and silvers with squishy sofas and armchairs and Hypnos Lansdowne cashmere emperor beds with super soft Egyptian cotton sheets and abundant pillows.

The Carrara white marble bathrooms have roll top baths and walk-in showers with bathrobes and Penhaligon bathroom products. The look is traditional but unfussy. 

A table with four chairs in a bay window overlooking green space
The grand rooms and suites have Generous seating areas
A marble bathroom with walk in shower
The suites boots large bathrooms, accessorised with Carrara marble and complete with a vanity unit, roll-top bath and walk-in shower

Dining

There are a number of dining options that offer breakfast through to afternoon tea and fine dining. 

The beautiful light-filled Orangery, decorated with images of tree branches and birds, overlooks the parkland and is the perfect spot for tea with finger sandwiches, pillow soft scones, slabs of cream filled-cakes, washed down with a huge pot of tea (choose from about 20 types) and/or Laurent-Perrier Harmony.

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The reinvented Cloisters offers relaxed all-day dining either in the cosy back section or the mezzanine area that overlooks the Great Hall’s magnificent stained-glass window. Lunch options include abundant salads, charcuterie sharers and hearty soup, accompanied by homemade breads. Steak and plump Lindisfarne oysters, scallops with black pudding and sauce béarnaise are the stars of the restaurant’s evening menu, but there are alternative options including a rich mushroom tagliatelle and grilled halibut. Save room for the sticky toffee pudding with miso butterscotch sauce. 

The Emerald Dining Room, the books lining the walls a nod to its past as the library, is the hotel’s premier dining destination with a focus on the finest, carefully sourced ingredients. The restaurant offers a seasonal eight-course tasting menu (vegetarian option available) with optional wine pairings under new head chef Ernst Van Zyl. 

The menu is inventive, playing with textures and flavours, often blending sweet and savoury. Curtain raiser native lobster and elderberry gives way to those juicy Lindisfarne oysters again served with Laurent-Perrier la Cuvée Brut. A rich, intense venison, perfectly pink in the middle, was tempered with pumpkin and spelt and accompanied with a 2019 Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon. The vegetarian equivalent was a meaty wild mushroom ravioli, which led into an intense smokey Lincolnshire Poacher and briny Kombu ice cream with the sharper edges smoothed out with the accompanying Quinta do Noval Port. The parsnip, hazelnut and sea buckthorn to finish was a marriage of sour, earthy and nutty, a Château briatte, Sauternes Bordeaux 2014 giving sweetness.

A conservatory set for tea

The leather-seat lined 1832 bar with views across the estate and a vast fireplace is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner cocktail or a post-golf tipple. Or nestle into one of the velvet armchairs in The Needham bar with its garden-views and open fire.

There is also a beautifully decorated private dining room that seats about 20.

Great hall with leather sofas, fireplace and stags heads
The Grand Hall at Matfen Hall with sumptuous sofas and a huge fireplace

Amenities 

For those who can tear themselves away from the fireside there is plenty to keep people occupied at Matfen Hall.

Matfen’s big draw is its golf. The hotel has a par-3 short course, a 27-hole championship course, a golf academy, a driving range and a purpose-built clubhouse. For those looking to improve their game, a team of PGA professionals offer first-rate coaching to help players achieve their golf goals.

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Away from the impressive golf course, The Retreat offers Germaine de Capuccini and Natura Bissé rituals, five treatment rooms, an eight-bed relaxation room, an aromatherapy suite, and a sauna. There is a light blue-tiled, 15-metre swimming pool under a glass ceiling that gives a full view of the Northumberland weather as it drifts by. 

Bathroom at Matfen Hall overlooking woods
The grounds at Matfen Hall would be perfect for a post-Christmas lunch stroll

Service 

Unlike the unpredictable Northumberland weather, guests are guaranteed a warm welcome at Matfen Hall where service is a perfect balance of professionalism, warmth, and attention to detail.

Matfen Hall is the perfect place for a golf enthusiast

Experiences

The hotel offers wine or champagne tasting in its state of the art wine cellars led by knowledgeable sommeliers.  

There is currently an Laurent-Perrier-sponsored ice skating rink at the Le Jardin Hollandaise.

The International Dark Sky Park lies within Northumberland National Park and provides a memorable stargazing experience. Other nearby natural wonders include Hareshaw Linn Waterfall and the iconic Sycamore Gap.

Details

Matfen Hall Hotel, Matfen, Newcastle upon Tyne NE20 0RH
www.matfenhall.com Phone: 01661 886500

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