Background and Concept
Going back to the very start, the property was originally built for Sir Edward Blackett in the early 1800s, on the site of what had previously been a Jacobean house. Nearly two centuries later, in 1999, the building opened as a 31-bedroom hotel under the ownership of Sir Hugh and Lady Blackett. An additional wing was later added taking the bedroom count to 53, followed by a complete refurbishment in 2021. This timeline has ensured it retains an imposing original Gothic architecture, alongside modernised elements, forward-thinking innovations and the lavish luxury that comes with a five-star establishment.
Matfen Hall closed in November 2020 and opened in March 2021 having invested millions of pounds into upgrading the dining, bar, spa, and golf facilities while maintaining the elegance and history of the hotel. The Emerald Restaurant, 1832 bar, and Needham bar have all been updated with new furniture and luxurious decor. The Retreat spa experience has also been reimagined, with investment into both the equipment and pool. Meanwhile, the golf facilities have been upgraded, including the course, driving range, and the Keepers Lodge clubhouse.
Close to Hadrian’s Wall, six miles from the town of Corbridge and just off the B6318 in a rural countryside idyll, the hotel is well situated; whether you wish to visit heritage sights, try your hand at falconry, go fishing, bird-watch, cycle, or just escape the city you can do it all at Matfen. It’s within easy reach of Newcastle (12 miles away) for central rail and air links, as well as being close to the beautiful Northumberland coastline. Getting here and getting around is a breeze, allowing you to begin your break in a relaxed fashion. It is worth noting there are charging points for electric cars in the car park too.
Rooms & Suites
Choose between the Great Hall and its opulent luxury suites and the Old Hall for their classic, premium and balcony rooms that offer a warm home-to-home atmosphere. In the Grand Hall’s Luxury Suites you’ll find high-end touches such as Penhaligon’s of London toiletries (like the hotel, this brand’s heritage dates back to the 19th century), marble bathrooms with rolltop tubs, monogrammed cushions, Emperor beds, Nespresso machines and gorgeous period details. There are three fully accessible rooms (plus ground floor amenities) and six family rooms in total, ensuring all guests are fully catered for.
During our visit to the hotel, we stayed in room 6, one of the best suites in the hotel. This suite offers plenty of space at 51 sqm, with a spacious living area, dining table as well a business desk, and an incredible marble bathroom.
Welcome Drink in the Great Hall
We started our stay with a delicious rum punch welcome drink in the Grand Hall before being shown up to our suite.
Lounge and Bedroom
Views from the suite look across the golf course and to the manicured gardens (which look fantastic for an afternoon drink in the summer months).
I loved the top to toe marble bathroom, with a roll-top bath and separate rain shower.
Food & Drink
Guests at Matfen Hall have many culinary options. Dine on fine food in the glamorous two AA Rosette awarded Emerald Restaurant, followed by drinks in the plush surroundings of the 1832 bar. Tuck into bistro-style food at Needham, or gastro-pub-style food at The Keepers — overlooking the hotel’s golf course. Soak in parkland views with alfresco beverages and meals on The Terrace, and don’t miss Matfen’s own take on the British tradition of Afternoon Tea. If you’re travelling as a family, rest assured the hotel provides children’s menus, alongside the more sophisticated adult dishes.
The Emerald Restaurant is the hotel’s premier dining destination and it guarantees to deliver a 5-star experience. Here you can enjoy breakfast, afternoon tea, evening meal, and Sunday lunch, with imaginative seasonal menus, which focus on using the finest, carefully sourced ingredients highlighting the best that Northumberland has to offer.
Located just off the restaurant, 1832 provides a beautiful setting to enjoy the perfect pre-dinner cocktail, glass of champagne or post-dinner nightcap.
Our Dining Experience
During our stay we dined in the Emerald Restaurant.
Pre Dinner Cocktails
We started the evening with cocktails in 1832 and being a balmy summer’s evening, we enjoyed them outside, while looking over the dinner menu.
Breakfast is served in the Emerald Restaurant, there is a concise continental buffet with juices, pastries, and cereals on offer and hot dishes are cooked to order.
Many come here for a detox of the body and mind. At Matfen Hall’s spa, The Retreat, you can swim in a 16-meter swimming pool with an apex glass roof (for views of the sun and stars), linger in the thermal suite, recline in a Pure Air treatment room and work out in the fitness area. Book heavenly rituals from Germaine de Capuccini and Natura Bissé, such as a Pollution Defence Face Therapy, a Baobab Tranquil Scalp Massage, a Mediterranean Candle Massage and a Rose Quartz Collagen Eye And Lip Treatment. Or simply kick back with a glass of champagne in your fluffy robe and slippers.
Championship Golf Course
Such extensive grounds provide the ideal opportunity for an upscale golfing holiday. Boasting a par-3 short course, a 27-hole championship course, a golf academy, a driving range and a purpose-built clubhouse, you’ll find Matfen Hall to be a sociable and rewarding place to play, whatever your ability. For those who are serious about their swing, there are some challenging features like the dry stone ‘Ha-Ha’, the fast-flowing River Pont and the option of expert tuition from the hotel’s pros, to really up your game.
The North East’s Premier Wedding and Events Venue
Two decades of experience in hosting weddings has gained Matfen Hall awards for its stellar bespoke events. With large, grand spaces as well as more intimate nooks, the hotel is a stunning backdrop for nuptials big and small, at any time of the year. The Cloisters and Courtyard with their stone archways and stained glass windows are especially popular and photogenic, creating truly unforgettable memories for couples tying the knot at the hotel. Additionally, Matfen Hall hosts events throughout the year, such as cabaret nights, garden parties and country pursuit weekends.
By chance, our stay at Matfen Hall coincided with one of their summer experiences. Taking place down in the Cloisters bar, talented singer Paul Skerritt gave a two-hour set of the best in Jazz and Swing which provided the perfect backdrop to allow guests to sip on cocktails and let down their hair by taking to the dance floor. It was a wonderful way to end the evening.
Matfen Hall has one more Summer Experience on their calendar to look out for their Summer Garden Party taking place on Sunday 28th of August.
Matfen Hall displays Northumbrian hospitality at its best. Combine this with refined country elegance, unique rooms, a stately yet relaxed atmosphere, superb amenities and epic scenery, and you have the recipe for a magical stay.
This property is included in our guide to the best hotels in Northumberland.