As a bride-to-be with my own wedding now just a matter of weeks away I’ve realised the importance of factoring in some much needed ‘me time’.
Between a busy work schedule, wedding planning and a never-ending list of house DIY tasks, I’ve been leaving little time for any form of relaxation, which had me feeling on the brink of burn-out. But taking back the reins of control I’ve been making a conscious effort to slow things down, though I find it hard to kick back at home without the to-do list grabbing my attention – which is why a getaway was just what I needed!
Cue an invite for an overnight stay at Headlam Hall Hotel & Spa, which could not have landed at a better time. If you too are feeling overwhelmed or low on energy in the midst of your planning, I can’t recommend an escape of this nature with a relative, friend your other half enough.
Recruiting my mum to join me, we sped up the A1 to the country house treat, nestled within the rolling Durham dales and immersed ourselves in 24 hours of pure relaxation.
Images provided by Headlam Hall.
Upon arrival we were greeted by the friendliest of staff who gave us a quick tour of the hotel and its facilities before showing us to our room. It’s safe to say we felt instantly at home, not only due to the warm hospitality, but also the cosy yet luxurious interiors, which are beautifully sympathetic to the 17th Century property. As such, it came as no surprise to learn that Headlam is a family-owned hotel as the thoughtful touches, homely spaces and impeccable service shone through.
Following a quick change, we wasted no time in heading to the hotel’s spa, which is located in a tranquil spot on the Headlam estate with stunning views of its surrounding grounds and gardens. The perfect country haven housing a 15-metre swimming pool, outdoor hydrotherapy spa pool, sauna, steam room and drench shower, plus a fully-equipped gym, treatment rooms, brasserie and gorgeous relaxation areas both indoors and out, there is plenty to while away the hours.
But before exploring for ourselves, we started ‘operation unwind’ with an Illuminating Radiance Thalgo facial, which was heaven. Given my desire to rest, I would have been quite happy laid with my feet up in the snug treatment room for 45-minutes though the treatment I received was one of the best I’ve had to date, both in terms of the experience itself, and also the results. Instantly booting the skin’s radiance with enhancing active ingredients to restore moisture levels I was left with a fresh, glowing complexion as promised that has lasted weeks beyond. This is one treatment I would definitely recommend for fellow brides-to-be looking for a radiance boost ahead of their big day and I’m now keen to try out more Thalgo products and treatments myself.
Feeling wonderfully refreshed we made our way around the other facilities before coming to rest in the outdoor hydrotherapy pool where we idly chatted away (all things weddings, of course) while enjoying a glass of prosecco delivered directly to us (you can ring through your drink order from the spa to the brasserie so you literally need not lift a finger – genius!)
Several dreamy hours later we returned to our room to shower and change for dinner, making use of the Molton Brown goodies and soft fluffy towels.
Come dusk the hotel’s spaces are even more charming with roaring open fires and soft candles burning from room to room. Following more fizz in The Library Bar we were shown through to our table and made our selections from menu of modern British cuisine. While we awaited our starters, we were treated to an amuse-bouche of silky carrot and coriander soup which certainly brought the taste buds to attention. Our first course of pan seared scallops served with cauliflower and a raisin and caper dressing, and tempura king prawns with sweet chili dip were equally flavoursome and delicately presented. For mains we both opted for a special of roasted salmon on a bed of fresh spring-like pea risotto, which was delicious and definitely an adequate portion size, leaving us debating whether we could manage a dessert. But we just couldn’t resist our waitress’ recommendation of the treacle sponge and custard, which was, as she described, a wonderfully nostalgic choice, if not a somewhat naughty selection for a soon-to-be bride! Although we did share, which reduces the sin, right?!
Retiring to the ambient lounge area, we had a final glass of wine by the open fire, content in our secluded bubble and I could feel my previous depleted energy levels rising, which were further replenished by an amazing night’s sleep in our Deluxe Room located within the Main Hall.
The following morning, we continued the indulgence with a breakfast of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon within the hotel’s beautiful Orangery before taking a walk in the gorgeous grounds and having a farewell mid-morning coffee before our departure.
So, my message to all my fellow brides-to-be out there – amidst all the planning, please do make some time for you. It’s surprising how even just one day of R&R can perk you back up, and if you’re looking for a tranquil haven of peace and luxury then Headlam Hall would be high up there in my suggestions. Whether, like me, you escape with your mum or a friend, relative, or your soon to be Mr or Mrs, this gorgeous family-owned hotel has something to offer all, with a range of fabulous Spa Day Packages, which can be further enhanced with overnight-stay and afternoon tea additions.
Alternatively, if you’re struggling to fit in a break this side of your wedding, Headlam also makes a dream minimoon destination with spa, golf, accommodation and high-quality dining all part of its offering.
And if you’re a newly-engaged about to embark on the venue hunt, you could even choose this idyllic setting for your entire big day celebrations, with you and your guests able to experience all the estate’s fine facilities as part of your stay.
With less than four weeks to go until my own wedding I’m desperately trying to invent another reason for an imminent return visit – post-hen do recovery perhaps?!
Stan Seaton Photography