Rockliffe Hall Review, a Luxury Hotel in County Durham – Rockliffe Hall is a beautiful family friendly country house hotel in County Durham. It’s set in stunning grounds and has its own golf club and spa. We visited last weekend with the children. It was so nice to visit a luxury hotel with such a relaxed and friendly feel that actively welcomes children. I also made a video of our room review and our visit to MischMasch.
Inspired by Alice in Wonderland author, Lewis Carroll who grew up in nearby Croft, MischMasch is a quirky family attraction set in a woodland area of the hotel’s grounds. There are a series of pretty cabins that are really cleverly thought out with a different surprise in each one. The children were very excited to open the doors, followed by a lot of loud exclamations of ‘wow!’.
One of the cabins we visited was a games room with a pool table in the centre and a large TV on the wall. Around the room were high seats to perch upon while the others play pool. There is a menu near the door that lets you know you can ring and order food to be delivered while you play!
Another of the cabins we visited was a private cinema! With a huge flatscreen TV and lots of comfy bucket chairs you could watch regular TV or pay for a movie. We struck lucky and were in there when Frozen was on the TV. Master T who has shunned anything vaguely Frozen related for years, sat and watched it and found it funny! There are even heaters in the cabins to keep you nice and toasty. You can read all about the other cabins on the Rockliffe Hall website.
After watching our film, we wandered the few steps to the adventure playground.
We spent a good amount of time here. I can imagine spending the whole afternoon here in Summer, especially with the addition of the water attraction which was not on when we visited (October).
Miss H before she disappeared ‘Down the rabbit hole’.
Master T being a pixie on a toadstool!
It took lots of takes to get this photo right for Miss H!
Rockliffe Hall Brasserie Restaurant Review
We had dinner in the Brasserie restaurant. It’s a lovely relaxed environment, decorated in a light contemporary style. The service, which I had come to expect from Rockliffe Hall was excellent, courteous, warm and friendly, with a great eye for detail.
To begin with we were brought bread, with butter, olives and balsamic vinegar mixed with olive oil.
This is a particular favourite of Master T’s when we visit Greece, so he was very happy. I had to caution more than once not to fill up in case he didn’t eat all his dinner (which he still managed with gusto!). Whilst we were eating the bread, a server visited us with the salt, pepper and mustard trolley. This isn’t something I have ever seen before, but I loved the theatre of it! I was invited to chose three items from the trolley. Eventually (it was hard making the decision!!) I settled on roast garlic salt, Moroccan salt and dill pepper. I added a little of the garlic salt to my bread and butter, and I am here to tell you that it was utterly delicious! In fact, writing this has reminded me that I want to contact the hotel to see if I can buy a jar of this wonderful concoction. If you go, try it!
For a starter I had the beetroot and watermelon salad with feta cheese and a citrus vinaigrette. It was light and so tasty with the little chunks of salty feta giving a bite to the sweet beetroot. I loved the little pea shoots too.
Mr W went for the king scallops with pork belly, sweetcorn puree and dill pollen. He loves seafood and this was a treat for him.
My main course was the 10oz sirloin steak with triple cooked chips. The steak was perfectly cooked (I asked for medium) and was divine sprinkled with my selection from the salt and pepper trolley. The chips were, I think, made from cooked potatoes formed into tubes. They looked pretty but they were not my favourite. It was the only part of the dinner I have anything negative to say about but in honesty I was still happy to eat them!
Mr W chose black garlic chicken, girolles and tarragon. Now, I have to confess to not knowing what a girolle was, but fortunately Google was invented to prevent you looking unsophisticated and informed me that girolle mushrooms ‘are an apricot yellow, woodland variety with delicious nutty, peppery notes’. He said the whole dish was delicious.
Both Mr W and I indulged in the Pear jam jar vanilla rice pudding for dessert. It was so pretty it was almost a shame to eat it. Almost but not quite! It was a highlight of the whole meal for Mr W. (this was just the lid – there was a whole jar of loveliness too!)
Now -the Brasserie has a great children’s menu too. Master T went for battered fish with mash.
While Miss H chose cheesy penne pasta. Both were very happy with their choices.
They shared a bowl of fresh veggies. Miss H had a field day with all the carrots (there was another bowl of just carrots and she ate all those too!).
Miss H then went for sticky toffee pudding as you can see –
While Master T’s eyes lit up for this ‘Tuck Shop Sundae’ – he got to add all these ingredients to his ice cream and you can imagine how happy that made him!
After our delicious dinner we rolled back to our room (so nice to both be able to have a glass of wine with dinner!)
New Hall Junior Suite
We stayed in a New Hall Junior Suite. It’s an extremely large room and beautifully furnished. We had a super king bed which was fabulously comfy (and I have very high standards).
The children had the sofas converted into beds. Often the beds for the children are a bit lacking – they are not very strong or the mattresses are thin – but these were large and sturdy and the kids had an excellent view of the TV so were very happy!
A lovely touch were the kids towelling robes and slippers folded neatly on the end of their beds – oh, the excitement!
We visited Rockliffe Hall just a couple of days before Master T’s 11th birthday. I had mentioned it when booking the room. He was absolutely delighted to find a card to wish him happy birthday as well as a tube of jelly beans (which he shared with his sister in an act of sibling heroics!).
The bathroom was huge with a double shower, twin sinks and a deep bath.
The pièce de résistance being the ‘Tile TV’, a waterproof TV situated at the foot end of the bath. Miss H spent ages in there while watching Harry Potter!
The toilet was in a separate (and large room). Which is useful I imagine if you can’t get your other half out of the bath due to the fabulous TV! Next to the bathroom there was a dressing area complete with dressing table, stool, mirror and hairdryer. A large wardrobe also featured here, complete with a safe. The wardrobe had lights in it, so you could see everything easily (including the lovely robes and slippers provided for the adults!).
All of the New Hall Junior Suites, have either a Juliet balcony or a patio with seating. We were on the ground floor so had a patio with a pretty cast iron bistro set. I can imagine whiling away a summer’s evening with a glass of Champagne there! Ideal if the children are younger as you can let them get to sleep without disturbing them. Many’s the night where we have had to sit silent with the lights dimmed, waiting for them going to sleep! This is a much better arrangement!
Spa Garden, Rockliffe Hall Review
Rockcliffe Hall has a large swimming pool, hydro pool and an outdoor hot tub. It also has a private Spa Garden area that is an extra charge. The hotel also has its own childminders, so with the children happily taken care of, we donned our swimsuits and headed for a spot of luxury! I usually use my own photos – but didn’t like to be taking them in the spa, so have lifted these from the hotel’s website.
The central feature of the Spa Garden is the beautiful outdoor infinity pool. It was a cool, drizzly October day when we visited but that didn’t matter because the pool was lovely and warm, more like a super large hot tub than a pool. This effect was increased by the very powerful air jets that you can set off at each side. We spent a long time in here, just having an uninterrupted chat – bliss for parents! The garden itself is filled with pretty outdoor furniture which must be fabulous in warmer weather. After our long soak,we headed into the sauna. This really is a sauna with a view, as the whole wall is clear glass and looks out onto the hotel grounds.
After a refreshing shower we wrapped up in our towels and headed over to the comfortable lounging sofas. I demanded that Mr W bring me a hot chocolate from the help yourself drinks machine (there were tea, coffee and cold drinks too), before snuggling down with one of the many magazines laid around d for our amusement.
I can imagine that the Spa is beautiful on an evening as there is circular seating around a fire pit. Surrounding the seating there are many candles that must give the place a magical air.
When we finally emerged from the spa, we were greeted by two happy and excited children who had been taken to MischMasch and then on a walk by Sam, the hotel childminder. I was a bit worried that the children would not be happy to be left, but they had a marvellous time, and brought back all sorts of treasures from their walk (they are both magpies). They loved it and wanted to do it again (immediately!).
As you can probably tell, we had a marvellous time at Rockliffe Hall. The hotel staff were so courteous and friendly with the children, and nothing was too much trouble. The only negative point I can muster is that we were not there long enough!
Rockliffe Hall invited us to stay and review. All the opinions expressed – as ever – are my own.