Perched on the edge of the North Sea, Seaham Hall was where Lord Byron got married and, writes Liz Coggins, it lives up to its romantic past.
Set on a wildly romantic clifftop, facing the North Sea and flanked by glorious countryside, it is not hard to imagine why the poet Lord Byron chose the hall for his marriage to Annabella Milbanke in 1815 and afterwards made it his marital home.
A perfect example of a lovingly restored Georgian house, Seaham Hall, in County Durham, is now a five star luxury hotel with a spa that is ranked amongst the 100 best in the world.
Seaham Hall is the kind of place, where from the moment you arrive, you know you are going to be thoroughly spoiled and pampered, for the staff here always go that extra mile to please.
Location: Set in 37 acres of parkland, yet less than a five-minute walk from the beach and the sight and sound of the sea, it has the best of both worlds. Rolling lawns, lily ponds, wooded areas and fountains give the hotel a country house feel, but follow a private path and you’ll a find yourself on a secluded rocky beach.
Ambience: There’s a great tranquil and relaxed atmosphere so there’s no alternative but to chill out and enjoy being pampered.
Accommodation: Seaham Hall has 21 suites ranging from the split-level Ada Lovelace Suite, named after Byron’s daughter, with two slipper baths looking out over the gardens, to Junior and Garden Suites, some with their own hot tub.
Our Garden Suite had an extremely large living space with sinkable sofas and a dining table for cosy in-room meals.
The marble bathroom with antique bath was enormous and the king-size bed so comfortable, with a tablet on the bedside table for ordering room service.
French windows led onto our own private terrace overlooking a private garden, bigger than one in an average home. Romantically lit at night, Byron would have loved this.
Food and drink: The Dining Room, under the supervision of head chef Damian Broom, prides itself on using local fresh produce. The menu can best be described as innovative, tasty and a little quirky. I loved my halibut served with braised lettuce, apple and dill, a way I’d never had it before, and the sweet menu is heaven on a plate. The dining experience here is not to be missed.
What to do: You will be tempted to spend your time in Serenity Spa with its 17 treatment rooms, 20 metre pool, outdoor balcony, hot tubs, roof garden,hydrotherapy pool and cocktail bar plus a restaurant serving pan Asian cuisine
Feeling energetic?: Hire a bike, order a picnic basket and explore the Durham coastal path or take the clifftop walk into Seaham. Durham is only 14 miles away and well worth a visit.
Worth writing home about: Making your way to the spa is an experience. Step out of your suite, down marble steps with a central water feature and as if by magic doors open onto a softly-lit walkway with a stream at each side. Music and a golden elephant heralds your arrival at the spa.
The hotel offers sleep, dining or spa specials. Room for one night, two persons sharing with full English breakfast plus full use of spa from £195 per person.
Seaham Hall, Lord Byron’s Walk, Seaham, County Durham SR7 7AG. Tel: 0191 516 1400 www.seaham-hall.com