Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Short Breaks

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Short Breaks

Article excerpt

When I was growing up as a Geordie lass, Jesmond Dene House was a mansion which had definitely seen better days.

Now the place is a star again as award-winning North-east chef Terry Laybourne sets it sparkling.

The grand old house was built in Hollywood style by Newcastle's famous Georgian architect Dobson, for Lord Armstrong, the weapons magnate.

It's set pretty much in the heart of the city on the edge of the lush woodland dene that Armstrong donated to the townsfolk.

In recent decades it's been crying out to be loved, cared for and turned into a fantastic retreat where we can all pretend to be lords ( or ladies.

Jesmond Dene House is a beautiful, comfortable, welcoming hotel basking in its glorious setting and the perfect place to eat well and relax completely.

We Teessiders can flip up to Newcastle quick as a flash - and often do. But enjoying the buzzing after-dark scene of the city really does need an overnight stay.

And why drive for miles when an away-weekend experience is right on the doorstep?

So it was decided. Saturday in the city, an overnight at Jesmond Dene Hotel and then a trip to the seaside before heading home.

It was a blazing hot day so we headed first for the river and that fantastic Quayside area with its gobsmacking views. If this is the North-east, well who needs Barcelona!

Beneath a patio umbrella with the sun beating down remorselessly on the glittering Tyne, we tucked into tapas and fancied we were abroad.

Then it was off to the shops to take in John Lewis, Fenwick and all the rest - before we flopped.

A few minutes drive and we were in the happening suburb of Jesmond where we found the country-in-the-city Jesmond Dene House hotel.

It has been refurbished at a cost of pounds 7 million and that's bought spectacular, indulgent, no-fuss comfort.

We loved the welcome. Friendly, but efficient. Helpful, but not pushy. It was pretty much like wallowing in the luxury of a stately home ( without the snobbery. …

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