Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Middlethorpe Majesty

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Middlethorpe Majesty

Article excerpt

Byline: By Tamzin Lewis

It is a very pritty place, wrote the flamboyant aristocrat Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in August 1713.

"I think there is nothing to be done but to send an immediate note to Mr Harrison to let him know I will be at Middlethorpe Tuesday next."

Lady Mary made Middlethorpe her home and the brilliant essayist is still making her presence felt there. Her portrait dominates the elegant stairwell of this William and Mary country house.

Middlethorpe is still a very pretty place. Although certainly on the grand side of pretty. The building has a noble and distinguished bearing, with its red brick with white stone cornices. Middlethorpe maintains dignity in its symmetry.

On your approach to Middlethorpe's entrance hall, you are scrutinized by an enormous stone buzzard perched on the roof. It's mate observes the rear of the house. Although the roof seems a natural place for the buzzards, I later learnt that this was a new development following a rather bizarre attempted theft of these giant stone birds from the garden.

The main door whizzed open as we reached the top step and from thereon we were treated like house guests by an immaculate host. The uniformed staff were friendly, cheery and welcoming enough to make us feel utterly at ease, but the sense of decorum was such that we definitely felt we were being made a fuss of.

I was at Middlethorpe with my husband, and our large corner room with views over the 20-acre estate was exquisitely decorated and well stocked with complementary Clarins toiletries and handmade chocolates, which we scoffed within seconds of discovering the finely wrapped package.

We arrived early enough on Saturday afternoon to make use of Middlethorpe's spa, which was so lovely that we also made a pre-breakfast visit on Sunday morning. The spa is disguised as an immaculate Edwardian country cottage, neighbouring the hall, which could be called a "very small pritty place".

Hiding inside is a decent-sized swimming pool, big enough to swim up and down for 30 minutes and not feel too constrained. …

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