Blogging has taken me many places but one place I didn’t expect to visit so early in my blogging career was Lumley Castle! I first visited Lumley Castle, which is in Durham in July. I was speaking on a panel for the North East Chamber of Commerce’s annual ‘Inspiring Female’s’ conference. I was on the panel with two other girls and we were talking about the future of business, it was such a fun day and I completely fell in love with Lumley Castle that day. It was a gorgeous summer’s day and the castle looked beautiful. With blue skies and lovely weather, it was a picturesque day! After the amazing day at the NECC conference, I was invited back to do a hotel review and experience the castle in the winter.
As I pulled up to Lumley Castle, at around 5pm I was amazed at how beautiful it was in the evening. It was dark, but the castle and pathways were all lit up. It was truly beautiful. Upon arrival, I was greeted by the receptionist and taken to my room. My bags were carried for me as we wandered to the top floor. Straight away the service was impeccable and I felt welcomed and comfortable instantly.
I think I was most excited to see what the room looked like, it’s the easiest part to get wrong in a hotel. The last hotel room I stayed in was like something from a horror film. I won’t name names, but it was generally dirty and had an infestation of ants, which I noticed as soon as I walked in. Although the hotel apologised and got straight on the phone to a Commercial Pest Control Services business, it’s fair to say I left pretty smartish. You’d think after that experience I wouldn’t be expecting much, but I had high expectations for Lumley Castle. I expected royal and grand. My expectations were met and succeeded, the bedroom was breathtaking. Everything from the wallpaper to the soaps in the bathroom are perfect. Being in this room was like stepping back in time (minus the hairdryer and you know, the telephone). And no ants!
Filled with period features, and keeping to their roots, my room was filled with gorgeous furniture and a beautiful washbowl for your face, complete with mirror. (At least I think that’s what it is?). Our room really did have it all. High ceilings, a beautiful bathroom and a bed that was hard to pull myself out of. If someone told me I could stay in there all day, I would. In fact, if I could eat food in that bed, I probably wouldn’t have moved all weekend. There were a few events on at the Castle and Hotel while we were there, one right next to our room actually. I mean RIGHT next to it. I was completely surprised to find that once we shut our door, we couldn’t hear anything, only the faintest sound of Robbie Williams’ ‘Angels’.
After a quick outfit change, we headed down to the Elizabethian Banquet. Oh yes, you heard that right. A night of entertainment, food… and no cutlery. I thought the website was joking when they said we would only be eating with a dagger! I went into the experience not really knowing how it would unfold. My mum and I made sure we went early (because we thought we might get lost, but there’s plenty of signs so you won’t) and we ended up being the first ones at the bar. The bar was a large room with decor worthy of a king, where the banquet-goers would have a drink before we wait for the fun to begin. One gin later, we were waiting for the fun to begin.
Once refreshed and ready to eat, our houses were called. There were a few birthdays going on and a hen-do, which were taken into the banquet. Now, I don’t want to give TOO much away – mainly because I’ll be writing forever. This really was a jam-packed evening full of singing, dancing and eating.
After we were called in, we started to drink the mead and get to know the people next to us. We had a chat and shortly after everyone was seated we started. The entertainment began with an introduction and a song. Shortly after, the first course was brought out.
Soup for starters. Yes. I know what you’re thinking… how on earth are we meant to eat soup without a spoon? I thought the exact same thing. The vegetable soup was served with bread. Of which we were instructed to ‘dunk and suck it’, but I opted for good old’ drink it from the bowl. I enjoyed the soup, it was chunky vegetable and if I had a spoon I probably would have been able to finish it. Each course was passed up, so bowl after bowl was passed up towards the top of the table. It definitely added to the evening but I admit, after the third course I was getting envious. I was starving!
Next up was the fish course, served in a shell. A creamy fish pie, which was my favourite of the courses. Now, I’m not usually a fish person and I dislike most seafood but I thoroughly enjoyed this. Between each course was entertainment. Songs, comedy and of course some history. I learned a lot about Durham and the castle, and I got to embrace my Geordie heratige.
Third course, ribs. In a gravy sauce. They we’re lovely but I’m not a huge fan of meat on the bone. Everyone on our table loved them though, the gravy they were in was lovely too. Three ribs, a generous serving size.For some reason, I neglected to take any other picture of the fourth course but the baked potatoes, but I assure you a chicken breast and salad accompanied them. It was a whole meal in itself for me and at this point, I was rather full. So don’t worry, you won’t be hungry after this meal. Vegetarian options are also available.
Last course – Apple Crumble with fresh cream. I could just eat that again, happily. The apples were sweet and not too sour and the top was perfectly crisp. This was a welcomed course after lots of savoury food. I have an incredible sweet tooth so I loved it.
After our five courses, more entertainment and singing was had. By this time, it was quite late so we decided to head back to our room to get some well-needed rest – and finally get to lie on that wonderful bed. I’d just like to show appreciation for those pillows, I wanted to take them home with me. So comfortable.
Waking up to such beautiful surroundings is something I wish I could experience every day, it starts your day off with a smile and put me in a great mood! As you can probably agree, the castle is beautiful and I could have taken photographs of it all day. Breakfast was the choice between a continental and a full English, I decided on the full English and my mum went for the continental. There was a selection of fruit, cereal, meats and cheese available for the continental breakfast, and toast was provided at the beginning of breakfast along with coffee!
I had such a wonderful time at Lumley Castle Hotel and I just can’t wait to go back. The service was excellent, the bedroom was comfortable, clean and beautiful. Staying here would be perfect for a little getaway and I felt so relaxed during my whole stay!
A huge thank you to Lumley Castle Hotel for providing such a wonderful weekend, you can visit their website HERE and there’s plenty to do! From Elizabethian Banquets to Afternoon Teas. Whether you’re looking to book for a weekend away or a conference, Lumley Castle has your needs covered.
Have you ever visited Lumley Castle? What was your favourite part?