A Luxury Short Break in County Durham with Seaham Hall

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A Luxury Short Break in County Durham with Seaham Hall

In 2019 I was a Regional Ambassador for This is Durham. I am delighted to share with you what to expect from a luxury short break at Seaham Hall - the perfect destination for celebrating a special occasion and exploring County Durham. Steve and I spent 48 hours here in September 2019 and left feeling on cloud nine. I'd highly recommend if you're looking to stay somewhere a little bit special.

A Luxury Short Break in County Durham with Seaham Hall

Seaham Hall has always been regarded as a prestigious hotel in North East England - the 5-star Country House Hotel boasts an award-winning spa, fine dining restaurant and an enviable cliff-top position set in over 30 acres landscaped gardens. It's easy to see why many celebrities choose to stay here when performing in the region and if my Instagram messages are anything to go by, it's a go-to destination for many couples when celebrating with many returning time and time again.

Explore Durham's Heritage Coastline 

I can't think of another 5* hotel which sits on the North East Coast. In terms of location, Seaham Hall definitely gets 10/10. Durham's Heritage Coastline is on your doorstep and a wonderful place to take a stroll, hunt for some famous Sea glass or stop for ice cream. 

Seaham Beach is less than one mile away and I'd recommend a brisk walk along the coast here as a brilliant way to start your day. There are plenty of quirky cafes and bistros to stop for coffee along the way and a trip to Lickety Split has to be at the top of your list. This 1950s themed diner is the place to enjoy a premium shake or sundae in County Durham. I'd visit here for the playlist alone. It has such a good vibe.

A Luxury Short Break in County Durham with Seaham Hall  - Seaham Harbour Beach

A Luxury Short Break in County Durham with Seaham Hall  - Lickerty Split Booths

A Luxury Short Break in County Durham with Seaham Hall  - Tommy in Seaham

Continue a little along the coast and you'll reach Blast Beach. A bit of a hidden gem, you'll often have this place to yourself and it's a gorgeous place to enjoy a romantic picnic for 2 (Seaham Hall can put together a picnic basket for you if you ask in advance). The walk to Blast Beach from Seaham Hall Beach is just over 2 miles or there is free parking at Nose's Point (postcode SR7 7PS).

A Luxury Short Break in County Durham with Seaham Hall  - map to Blast beach

A Luxury Short Break in County Durham with Seaham Hall - Blast Beach

A Luxury Short Break in County Durham with Seaham Hall  - Seaham Hall Picnic

Experience Outstanding Customer Service

We mostly received outstanding customer service at Seaham Hall and all staff seem to go the extra mile. From the concierge fetching our car in the rain and us being given a spa tour on arrival (hardly anywhere seems to do this anymore) to the lovely cocktail waitress who made us the best cocktails with our very specific requests and the warm and friendly Amy who served us our dinner in the evening, service really stands out here. 

The manager is hands-on and always around and a special touch I was impressed with was the evening turndown service - curtains drawn, lights dimmed, water by the bed, Temple Spa pillow spray and a handwritten note letting you know the staff are on hand to take care of any requests. Perfect. We definitely felt looked after at Seaham Hall.

A Luxury Short Break in County Durham with Seaham Hall  - Temple Spa Pillow Mist

Relax in Sumptuous Suites

We stayed in Suite 10. It's a beautiful room with everything you could possibly need. There are so many thoughtful touches from a personal tablet from which you can order room service, book a spa treatment or request for your room to be freshened up to the bubble bath, candles and Seaham Hall Rubber Duck left in the bathroom for you. 

Robes are provided as standard for guests (and you're encouraged to walk down to the spa in them - more on that later) and the towels are huge, white and fluffy. There's an in-room fridge with complimentary soft drinks, Nespresso machine, fresh fruit, huge TV and the complimentary WiFi is fast with no need to log-in.

Breakfast can be delivered to your room for an additional £10 per room. We took advantage of this and ordered a late breakfast to be delivered after a morning in the spa (check out is 12noon). Breakfast in Bed is something we never turn down and Seaham Hall's version did not disappoint - the homemade granola comes highly recommended, its the best I've ever tasted. Steve thoroughly enjoyed his salmon and eggs too.

As far as I'm aware, there isn't a function suite at Seaham Hall so you're pretty unlikely to be disturbed by the noise associated with functions like you can be at other luxury hotels. Our room was silent in the evening - you could hear a pin drop. Just the way I like it.

Feel Pampered at Serenity Spa

Guests have complimentary access to all spa areas at Seaham Hall from 12noon on the day of check-in to 12noon on the day of check out. A follower messaged me to say that she visits with her husband every January as a post-Christmas treat. 

They check into the spa at 12noon, book treatments at 2pm and then check into their room from 3pm before heading back to the spa in the evening. This seems like the best way to make the most of the spa as it truly is a wonderful place. I like that you don't have to pay extra to visit the best parts of the spa as you do at Ramside or Rockliffe - the whole spa is available to you with no restrictions.

The spa at Seaham Hall is a bit of a tale of two halves for me. We visited at 6pm on our first evening and I found it to be too busy (and loud) with groups. I think there should be two types of spa - one for singles and couples craving peace and quiet and another for groups who want to catch up. I sometimes fall into the second category and don't begrudge people having a chat. 

I found the spa to have more of a party atmosphere than a peaceful one on the evening of our first visit though. We did find sanctuary in the relaxation room where you have to stay silent. There's dried fruit to nibble on, infused water and reclining chairs with blankets looking out onto the garden here. Definitely one of my favourite rooms.

Determined to enjoy the spa at it's finest, I decided we'd forego a lie-in and pay the spa a visit at 6:30am when it opens. This was definitely the best decision and watching the sunrise from the heated outdoor infinity pool just us two with the birds tweeting around us was simply heavenly. 

We pretty much had the spa to ourselves bar a few early bird swimmers and it really was a wonderful experience second time around. Worth setting your alarm for. I'm going to do this every time I stay in a spa hotel now.

As previously mentioned, guests are encouraged to head down to the spa in their robes. Access is via a glass staircase. Once you've descended, two wooden doors automatically open from the main hotel into the spa and your journey begins through a gorgeous spa walkway with water flowing beside you, mood lighting and gentle spa music playing. 

This is the best way to begin a spa experience and really sets the scene for your experience. It very much reminded me of the Mayan Spa we visited in Mexico on our second honeymoon.

There are a few different areas to the spa and I really appreciated a familiarisation tour during our first visit. All of the staff at Seaham Hall are all super friendly and welcoming and their customer service skills are up there with the best. Outside you have a heated infinity pool and two hot tubs, then inside you have the main pool, a vigorous bubble pool, gym and plenty of loungers and magazines. 

Then in terms of thermal experiences, you have a salt room, steam room, herbal steam room, sauna, ice plunge pools and foot baths. Drinks are not allowed around the pool area (except water) but you can enjoy food and drinks in the adjoining Ozone restaurant or lounge area away from the pool. I really enjoyed the indoor thermal suites - unlike the pools and outdoor areas, they were never too busy. The Eucalyptus Steam room was my favourite. The herbal scent was strong and it was really hot - I hate it when you visit a herbal steam room and barely break a sweat or smell anything. 

The saunas were also brilliant. Both large and relaxing. Steve braved the ice plunge pools as he loves this kind of thing. He did a mix of alternating heat treatments and ice treatments three times throughout our stay and loved how invigorating it was. Definitely not my cup of tea but nice to have as an option if you like this kind of thing.

Steve and I both enjoyed a 'Drift Away' massage before check out which was just the best. Our therapists were professional and really worked those knots. If I won the lottery, I'd definitely be the kind of gal who books a massage every week. I've just realised that I never once thought about work, my un-answered emails or notifications and I was able to properly switch off during my treatment. 

The whole treatment is carried out face down so there's no awkward turning over and features an exfoliation and hot oils. Absolute bliss. After our treatments, we were taken through to a relaxation room, wrapped in a blanket and given fresh fruit sorbet and infused water which was lovely. I didn't want to leave.

A Few Little Points 

I really struggle to write reviews and leave out any of the negative aspects. Don't get me wrong, our stay was blissful and I'd return in a heartbeat but I wouldn't be true to myself (or you) if I didn't mention a couple of the niggles I had.
  • On checking in, I was directed to the stairs (so assumed there was no lift) and was left to struggle with my suitcase. No real biggie but I would have thought a 5* hotel would ask guests if they'd like their luggage brought up to their room/offer assistance. 
  • The basket of pastries was missing from our breakfast order.
  • The spa felt too busy and noisy (for us anyway) in the evening. 
  • Prices are expensive - cocktails are £14 and you're looking at £20-£30 for a main with sides in the Dining Room. 
  • You get this in all spas but after my treatment, I was given the hard-sell on the spa's products. Listening to a sales pitch for 5 minutes after a treatment isn't the relaxing ending I'd hope for and it would be refreshing if spas (all spas - not just Seaham Hall) stopped doing this unless a client particularly asked for advice or recommendations. That really would be a 5* experience. 

These really are minor niggles though and didn't really spoil our stay. I'll stop moaning now. As you were......

Sip a cocktail or two in the lounge and bar 

There are two main areas for drinks at Seaham Hall - the main bar and terrace or the lounge. Both are stylish and lovely places to enjoy a relaxed pre or post-dinner drink. We remembered the lounge as the old 'White Room' restaurant - it has changed a lot since then.

In-line with the rest of Seaham Hall, the service we received in the bar area was a big 10/10. It's all table service (with bar staff on the ball) and you're brought little nibbles to enjoy as your drinks are prepared. The staff are knowledgable and will make a drink off-menu or switch ingredients. My Espresso Martini was exactly how I like it.

The cheapest wine is around £30 a bottle which is standard for a luxury hotel. We went with the Chilean Merlot which is our go-to if we're on a budget and it was spot on (£29).

Enjoy the Best British Cuisine in The Dining Room

There are two restaurants at Seaham Hall - the relaxed Ozone restaurant in the spa area and the more formal 'Dining Room' in the main hotel. We have heard good things about Ozone and it looked so good but we just didn't have the time to fit another meal in this time - one for another trip though and ideal if you'd like to visit the spa in the evening and just relax in your robe over some good food.

We opted for The Dining Room and I'm so pleased we did. Although pricey, it's one of those places that is well worth splashing out on for a special treat. The menu changes regularly (you can see a sample here) and we enjoyed three wonderful courses. For me, I'd struggle to pick a stand out dish. My raw beef starter was just so fresh, my lamb main was packed full of flavour and served with the sweetest of carrots and the creamiest of mash and my salted caramel tart rounded off our meal perfectly.

The dining area, presentation and food served feels formal but there is actually a pretty relaxed vibe here which stopped the experience from being overly stuffy (staff wear jeans for example). Our server Amy was so friendly and we chatted about our mutual love for Primark headbands as she took our order. Service was slick and well-paced. It was just such a good night and really felt like a special place to be.

Visit Durham Cathedral

The beautiful City of Durham is just a 20-minute drive from Seaham Hall. The reception and concierge team can provide recommendations for places to eat & where to visit (plus the best places to park). After check out, we couldn't resist a quick trip to the Cathedral. Our last visit was a few years ago and it is one of those places that really takes your breath away. Durham Cathedral is also part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and FREE to visit (although donations are welcome).

The Cathedral was just as good as I remember. There's something for everyone from incredible architecture to art, LEGO models, places for quiet contemplation or prayer, history, Harry Potter links (the Cathedral was a film location) and a lovely cafe too. On the day of our visit, the Cathedral was setting up for a dinner for 780 guests that evening and I loved seeing the giant operation un-fold.

Next to the Cathedral is Palace Green Library - a free museum with changing exhibition. We popped by and were really impressed - I especially enjoyed the 'Women in Art' exhibition which challenges the struggles faced by female artists. Very interesting.

Durham is one of my favourite cities to walk around. It's super compact with a beautiful river, plenty of cute cafes and little places to grab a bite to eat. If you stay at Seaham Hall, you must visit!

Special Offers at Seaham Hall 

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Seaham Hall. Staying somewhere with a luxurious feel, attentive staff, wonderful dining options and unlimited access to an award-winning spa really helped us to unwind. The location on Durham's Heritage Coastline and just a short drive from Durham City, makes it a perfect base to explore the region too.

Have you stayed at Seaham Hall? Let me know if you'd like to.

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A Luxury Short Break in County Durham with Seaham Hall



  1. I have always thought of Seaham Hall as my no. 1 hotel on the lust list - I've always wanted to stay there and seem to be saving it for a very special occasion (think 10 year wedding anniversary style celebrations!) so I've really got it up on a pedestal and am expecting very great things!

    Been so lovely to have a little sneaky look round through your stories on Instagram, it looks lovely!

    Good to know that they have some great offers on, love when a fancy hotel stay is good value.

    Completely agree with you about the spa, I think it's probably one of the nosiest and busiest I've ever visited in the North East - can't be helped but it certainly isn't as relaxing as other spas I've been to!

    Can't wait for the day when we finally get to stay there !

    1. They really do have some fabulous offers - much better value than a few years ago x

  2. It looks and sounds lovely, we have been looking for a spa break for our first anniversary next year so I will add this to our list. x


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