The North of England is synonymous with gorgeous country houses. Most of them have enough stories buried in their walls to make movies from and write books about, and its in these inspiring places where we feel most relaxed.
Seaham Hall is a Georgian mansion, ten minutes walk away from the beach near the Durham Heritage coastline, one of the more beautiful spots for country walks. Dramatic landscapes have tempted legendary historical figures here, like Lord Byron who was married here privately in 1815 to Lady Annabella Byron, or the Marquess of Londonderry who developed the nearby town of Seaham.
History lesson over, it’s time to talk about why we were really here. Although the house has 21 suites and two very delightful restaurants, Seaham Hall is first and foremost a spa.
The Serenity Spa at Seaham Hall is enormous. There’s a 20m pool, along with steam, sauna and hydrotherapy rooms, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, a gym and a Zen garden to soak up the views over the sea. It’s all based around Asian healing traditions, from the herbal sanarium to the Asian fusion restaurant, to the giant elephant statue gliding on pools as a focal point to one of the rooms (Hint: Instagram pic opportunity here).
Fitness is a bit of running theme in the countryside, and those who don’t know the meaning of relaxing (not me) can do a bit more up-tempo activities like cycling or coastal walks.
The rooms are as grand as they were back in Byron’s day. Each one is a suite and have been designed to very epic proportions, with contemporary country house feel with a few luxury niches thrown in. When it comes to bathrooms, size matters, and Seaham Hall have got it right, with roll top baths and dual-sinks. All of our favourite things. Also, if you’re the kind of person that likes to take advantage of the toiletries, you should because they’re by Temple Spa and will remind you when you get home why you love going to spas so much.
Seaham House has two restaurants with different concepts. The main restaurant, The Dining Room, gives us Nordic vibes and looks great, but the service needs a bit of a tune up. The other restaurant is actually in the spa – Ozone is an Asian Fusion concept, with bao buns, Thai curries and wok fried dishes standing out as some of the favourites.
Ozone also do an Asian take on an afternoon tea, for something a little different. If you came for cucumber sarnies with the crusts cut off you’re in for a very rude disappointment. Here, they swapped out the salmon and scones and have replaced with chicken satay, duck bao and pork sliders with a teriyaki glaze. You won’t get a cake or a macron either, but you’ll get a coconut panacotta that wipes the floor with them all.