A classic recipe: I. Luxury of a country house hotel. II. Taste of award-winning food. III. Comfort of a destination spa. IV. Timelessness of the Teesdale countryside.
Surrounded by rolling fields and grazing sheep, the River Greta and the handsome hamlet of Greta Bridge, The Morritt Hotel is just a 5-minute drive from the market town of Barnard Castle, where a French château is famed for housing some of the world’s finest European art.
The Garage Spa needs no preamble – from the adorable log-fired shepherd’s hut sauna, to the outrageously exclusive Rolls Royce couple’s suite – it’s a destination through and through. Doze off in its sunken garden (the fireside hammock is a favourite of ours).
As night falls, sit down to 2-AA-Rosette-awarded cuisine in Gilroy’s Dining Room. If it’s not fine dining you’re after, then, tuck in to a tasty home-cooked fish pie washed down with a pint of traditional cask ale in Dickens bar and bistro – allegedly he stayed here while researching Nicholas Nickleby.
Atop the ruins of a Roman settlement, The Morritt Hotel dates back to the late-17th Century. Down the years – first as a Georgian coaching inn and then as a hotel – it has honed the art of hospitality. Follow in the footsteps of Dickens and find your inspiration.
TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2019 Winner
Best Boutique Spa Winner – Good Spa Awards 2018
5 Bubble rating – The Good Spa Guide
1 AA Rosettes for culinary excellence
We say: From an orange and white-canopy bed in one classic double (Room 11), to a red and white-floral colour scheme and beamed ceiling in another (Room 31), no two rooms are alike at The Morritt. Country style en suite bedroom, offering free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, digital radio, direct dial phone, alarm clock, ironing station, tea and coffee making facilities, Noble Isle toiletries, and hairdryer. Double bed. Accessible? A limited number of classic double rooms are located on the ground floor. Bath and shower combined.
We say: Each lovingly named (Jenny, Pamela), no two rooms are alike at The Morritt. Country style en suite bedroom, offering free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, digital radio, direct dial phone, alarm clock, ironing station, tea and coffee making facilities, Noble Isle toiletries, and hairdryer. Two single beds. Accessible? One classic twin room is located on the ground floor. Bath and shower combined.
We say: Bright and spacious - many with views over the gardens - superior rooms are larger than classic doubles and benefit from seating areas. Country style en suite bedroom, offering free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, digital radio, direct dial phone, alarm clock, ironing station, tea and coffee making facilities, Noble Isle toiletries, and hairdryer. King-sized bed. Accessible? Superior rooms are located on the 1st and 2nd floors. Bath and shower combined.
We say: The last word in luxury at The Morritt Hotel, feature rooms are perfect if you want to treat someone (or yourself) on a romantic break away – be it spa, food-focussed, or heritage. Features range from exposed beams and rich burgundy fabrics, to bubbling spa baths and canopy beds. Country style en suite bedroom, offering free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, digital radio, direct dial phone, alarm clock, ironing station, tea and coffee making facilities, newspaper, bathrobes, slippers, Noble Isle toiletries, and hairdryer. King-sized bed. One feature double room is located on the ground floor. Separate bath and shower.
Named after North East artist John Gilroy - best known for his Guinness advertising posters - The Morritt's award-winning restaurant serves up innovative dishes that vary according to what's in season. Ingredients are carefully sourced from local suppliers - pork and eggs come from the owner's farm, just a few miles away. Fruits - apples, pears, plums, damsons and grapes - handpicked from the farm are used to make deliciously fresh jams and sauces. Gilroy's is smart without being stuffy - splashes of colour juxtapose with oak panelling, a woodblock floor and leather-upholstered seating. Head chef Lee Stainthorpe treats diners to a complimentary amuse-bouche, followed by oven-hot homemade breads and flavoured butters. After your entrée, there's an appetite-whetting pre-dessert course. Finish with one of the pastry chef's signature puddings, or an intense Anglo-French cheeseboard (if you've room, try all 8) complemented by a full-bodied red. The wine list features Craggy Range, New Zealand's premier producer of single vineyard wines. Artistic flair - on the walls and in the kitchen - make Gilroy's a first-rate dining experience.
Please reserve a table for dinner in advance.
In 1838, a young Charles Dickens travelled north to research his third classic, Nicholas Nickleby. At that time, Teesdale was at the centre of a scandal - the home of the notorious Yorkshire schools, severe residential academies that subjected inmates to inhuman regimes. It is thought that Dickens stayed at The Morritt during his travels and it’s certainly something that’s taken to heart - the bar has huge murals depicting Dickensian scenes. Hand-painted by the famous Northumbrian artist John Gilroy, they’re one-of-a-kind. New murals were commissioned in the bistro to celebrate Dickens’ 200th birthday, on February 7th, 2012. Food is freshly prepared, with the menu updated weekly. Some staples remain, however, such as The Morritt burger - we needn't reinvent a classic.
In the summer, dining at The Morritt Hotel reveals an altogether different flavour. Take a seat in the fresh open air – sunny or shade – and dine al fresco. Dickens bar and bistro leads out into the hotel grounds, offering guests tasty home-cooked meals, traditional cask ales and attractive views of the landscaped gardens. After exploring Barnard Castle or the Teesdale countryside on foot, find your perfect spot - an intimate grove with tree-branched archway, or The Spirit of Teesdale sculpture with its dry-stone seating, perhaps? - to wile away an hour or two.
Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in afternoon tea whilst staying in this glorious setting - savour homemade scones with fruit preserve and cream, sandwiches, cakes and a pot of tea. Both traditional afternoon tea and champagne afternoon tea are available to order and can be enjoyed in Dickens bar and bistro, served on Royal Albert 'Old Country Roses' china. Afternoon tea can be booked in advance, at a special price, when booking your room via classicbritishhotels.com.
The unique surroundings of The Morritt Hotel present a wonderful setting for private dinners and celebrations. The hotel caters for reunions, anniversaries, family gatherings, birthday parties, charity and club events, and business dinners. Choose from a range of private rooms, each with its own individual character. Call Classic British Hotels on 0844 967 0984 for advice and let us help you organise a memorable private dinner.
Once an ancient stopping station for travellers wynding their way between London and Carlisle, time-mellowed stonework and exposed timber exude a warm, rural simplicity that belies the 21st Century facilities you would expect (and some you wouldn’t) from a destination spa. Once inside this motoring-themed maverick, you’ve plenty of invigorating thermal experiences to enjoy. But first… brace yourself in the car wash… be perfectly pampered in the Rolls Royce couple’s suite… nourish your cuticles in the paint shop… and sit back and relax in the forecourt… Notice the theme? Even the changing facilities are garage-style.
Experience serenity in the heart of the Teesdale countryside. The Garage Spa has come a long way since the 17th Century.
Spa access: access to the Spa is charged at £25.00 per person for 4 hours Mon-Thu and £35.00 per person for 4 hours Fri-Sat. Access is complimentary when you book a spa package.
In the 1800s, a shepherd’s hut was a haven of warmth where a shepherd could retreat day and night whilst looking after his flock in the fields. Fast-forward to the new millennium, and it’s been reinvented as a log-fired sauna haven of warmth. There’s something about the aromatic steam mingling with the crisp country air that invigorates and invites. Inside, large oak barrels offer you 3 different thermal experiences on your bathing journey – there’s a hydrotherapy tub, a hot tub and a plunge tub to immerse yourself in – perfect for cooling down after the shepherd’s hut sauna or outdoor hot tub.
We’ve put the brakes on. So, take a towel, flip-flops and a waffle robe. A soothing grey palette of mood-lit spaces carved out of time itself is designed with cossetting in mind – you’ll find room to roam and Zen-like calm at The Garage. The ambient salt relaxation room is our starting point – using the therapeutic effects of salt blocks (halotherapy) forged by nature over hundreds of years, you can sit back and relax, letting their warm, soft glow lull you to sleep. Or you may want to head outside to the secret garden and stretch out in a hammock by the open log fire, hot chocolate in hand. The whispering lounge is your pre-treatment destination. Later, make a beeline for the forecourt where you can browse exclusive The Garage Spa products. If you’d rather refuel, however, the relaxation lounge features the perfect combination of deep Chesterfield armchairs and delicious home-made cakes.
You won’t find a task force of treatment suites. Here at The Garage small is beautiful. The ‘must mention’ award goes to the Rolls Royce couple’s suite – an exclusive spa within a spa featuring its very own rainfall shower and cabriolet – an outdoor hot tub with fireside lounge chairs – on a secluded rooftop terrace. Just the two of you.
A full range of spa treatments, using Germaine de Capuccini products, are available to book. The Garage Spa’s exclusive skincare range contains antioxidant-rich honey sourced from local Teesdale beekeepers – used in the signature facials ‘classic MOT’ and ‘Formula One’.
Greta Bridge, nr. Barnard Castle, County Durham DL12 9SE, Great Britain
The Morritt’s quiet, rural setting lends itself to local walks, such as the scenic ‘Meeting of the Waters.’ For long-distance rambles, however, the North Pennines – designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and a UNESCO Global Geopark – is nearby. The North Pennines is a spectacular landscape of open heather moors and peatlands, dales and hay meadows, tumbling upland rivers and sprawling forests. Traces of communities grown up around mining can be seen on the landscape, too, as documented in museums like Killhope and Weardale. Bowlees visitor centre enjoys a stunning woodland setting, next to the Low and High Force waterfalls. It’s the best place to start your North Pennines adventure.