The Robinson family are exemplary hoteliers: not only have they created the quintessential English pub in the Rose & Crown at Romaldkirk, but also the archetypal country-house hotel at Headlam Hall, located not far from Durham city. It helps that the hall is a fine-looking, 17th-century building of the palest stone with an idyllic setting in the rolling Durham dales. In its beautiful walled gardens, you can play tennis and croquet or just stroll around and admire the immaculate lawns and rose borders.Vegetables, herbs and fruit are also grown here to provide the excellent kitchen with the freshest possible ingredients. Inside, the exquisitely proportioned space has wood panelling and elegant, comfortable furnishings, and the 38 restful bedrooms and suites (plus a new stylish self-catering apartment with private hot tub) contain everything you could possibly need. With its own nine-hole golf course, fabulous spa and classic cars available for daily hire in the summer, this is a hotel that absolutely everyone will enjoy… Even the most dedicated of petrolheads.

Doubles from £145

+44 (0)1325 730238;

Headlam Hall