The Lowdown:

If you’re in the market for a lounging around, cosy scenic country break (frankly who isn’t?) then this newly opened boutique hotel is a sweet little option. The family run and owned main house, Middleton Lodge has been available for private hire (weddings et al) for years, but the owners have very stylishly re-vamped the old stable block turning it into a darling 9 room hotel and cavernous restaurant and bar. Set in the picturesque North Yorkshire countryside just outside Darlington (around a 15 minute drive away), if your fantasy mini break is directed by Richard Curtis you’ll be in heaven. Roam around the surrounding woodland, indulge in a bit of farm yard animal spotting (cows a plenty in the next field) and ruddy up those cheeks before retreating fire-side with a chunk of cake. In the summer it will all be about cocktails (if you like) and croquet on the lawn. It’s the perfect tonic for a relaxing, get away from everything break (wifi, but patchy phone reception means you can be nicely cut off from the world while you’re here). 


The Rooms:

We’re going call it modern, farm house cosy chic. Crisp white linens, giant bed, earthy toned accents, beamed ceilings, free standing bath (hello), and plenty of conveniently placed plaid blankets make for v stylish surroundings. Room names have literary leanings (ours was Swallows and Amazons) which gives the place a pleasing edge of academia. Also, a Roberts radio, which is always a joy.


Head chef Gareth Raynor is fresh from double rosette glory at his previous employ and in a few short months has already turned the extraordinary restaurant space (a spectacular cavern of a place) into a local hot spot (we visited a couple of weeks after the opening and it was reassuringly packed). The food is all locally sourced in season British with a twist. I had melt in the mouth Ox cheeks followed by what is basically a very posh deconstructed crunchie bar for dessert. Divine. Do stop by the bar for a brilliantly mixed cocktail, the dirty martinis for one are a serious treat.


What To Do:

Frankly, not much, this is the ideal place to spend a weekend lounging around, eating and drinking till all you can do is winch yourself up off an armchair and go for a constitutional before bed. But if one is keen for country pursuits, then you can book in for a Clay Pigeon shoot, or if (fake) game isn’t your bag, the hotel has bicycles available for guests to explore the surrounding countryside. While, for those with more of a historical than sporting bent, the 12th century National Trust run Barnard Castle is within reach (less than 20 miles away). 


The Details:  Rates start from £150 per room per night. Book HERE.

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By Victoria Moss