Jesmond Dene House is an enchanting Georgian mansion designed by Newcastle’s most prolific architect of his time – John Dobson. Originally built in 1822 for Lord Armstrong and later bought and extensively refurbed by Sir Andrew Noble, there’s definitely a sense of something special when you drive into the historic valley and pull up outside the house.
Surrounded by greenery, you’d be forgiven for forgetting you’re only ten minutes from the city centre. There’s elegance and grandeur in abundance from the moment you step into reception – a perfect blend of modern comforts and historic architecture.
Having been used for a number of purposes over the years adds character – among its most notable – a civil defence establishment (there are still underground tunnels) and a school.
After a pleasant check in, we were shown (personally) to our beautiful room. Number 1 in the main house and located at the far end of the hallway in the main building, the interiors by Karen Walker Design are inspired by nature, which of course works well given the surroundings. A huge window looks out onto the dene and literally makes you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, while the furnishings are classic with a hint of contemporary.
The bathroom, stylish and spacious, got extra points for its Molton Brown toiletries – fiery pink pepper shower gel and serene coco and sandalwood body lotion welcome additions to any bathing ritual, but throw in some underfloor heating and a fuffy robe and slippers and the experience is elevated to new heights!
While there are actually 40 rooms all individually styled at Jesmond Dene House, they somehow make you feel like yours is the only one. We loved the window seat in our room and actually sat here to enjoy breakfast the next morning.
Dinner is served at the Fern Dining Room & Bar just a few steps away from us, down the main hallway. The charming bar area still has many of the original features, although the dining room itself has been updated significantly while still managing to retain some of that old school charm including stone carvings and stained glass windows.
Head chef Danny Parker (a former finalist on Masterchef: The Professionals), serves up fuss free, good, honest food, using local suppliers where possible. While each plate almost looks too good to eat, the dishes really do speak for themselves and the simple ingredients sing together. We devoured chicken and duck liver pate with onion jam, toasted brioche and creamy truffle butter. The sweet mild taste of the perfectly pan fried halibut was elevated by a perfect café de paris butter sauce, while shrimps and samphire added the finishing flavours. We also tried the pork ribeye – juicy and seasoned well, served with Stornaway black pudding which was moist, rich and crumbly with a lovely texture owing to the Scottish oatmeal. We finished our meal with cheese and biscuits washed down with a Sauternes.
Breakfast delivered to our room the next morning was a real treat. One of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve had in a long time (definitely down to the quality of the ingredients), we enjoyed coffee and crispy bacon, stacks of toast and perfectly poached eggs while looking out into the dene. Again, the black pudding was excellent.
Because of Jesmond Dene House’s secluded location, it’s a great choice for weddings, with four private rooms to choose from and a secret garden. Packages start from £110 per person. Meanwhile, with Mother’s Day less than a month away (Sunday 19th March) there’s live music in the Great Hall and a luxurious afternoon tea (£46 per adult / £20 per child) being served up from 1pm including a glass of fizz. Scones include Earl Grey tea and raisin and mature cheddar cheese, while there’s roast turkey sandwiches, Cumberland sausage roll savouries and victoria sponge along with chocolate and orange macaron among the many patisserie delights. Pre-booking is essential and you can check out the full menu with details of how to book, here.