Stay and Play – Northumberland
The North East of England is widely renowned for it’s shipbuilding and mining history along with it’s bustling, exciting nightlife. However, there are golf courses aplenty in this sport mad region of the England that are well worth a round.
The county hosts 41 golf courses ranging from Parkland to Links. As a lot of the area is protected by the Northumberland National Park it means most of the land is largely unspoilt.
If you’re looking to enjoy the highly acclaimed nightlife Newcastle has to offer then there’s a plentiful supply of hotels to choose from. Likewise, if you’re simply looking for a weekend away golfing then there are also quieter, more relaxing, hotels to suit you.
Where To Play?
Close House – Colt Course
There are two courses at Close House and both are of a very high standard. However, the Colt Course just edges it for us. The Colt Course is named after the famous British Golf Course Architect Harry. S. Colt who, as well as the Colt Course, designed courses such as Wentworth, Sunningdale and St Georges Hill.
Lee Westwood joined Close House as the Attached Tour Pro in 2011 and as a result you will see the Close House Badge on all of his clothing. The course plays at 6813 yards off the back tees although it will feel a lot longer as you make your way along the hugely undulating fairways and greens.
The course integrates both links and parkland golf together. The countless number of bunkers, undulating fairways and large greens really give you the feel of links golf. The course is also surrounded by trees with the odd tree-lined hole to give you that parkland feel as well. A tough test for any golfer.
Slaley Hall – Hunting Course
Like Close House, Slaley Hall has two courses to choose from with the Hunting Course proving the better test of golf over the Priestman Course. The resort at Slaley Hall is part of the Q hotel group, formerly De Vere, and has been named by golf critics “The Gleneagles of the North East.”
The course is over 7,000 yards long and is cut through a large pine forest meaning not only is it long, but it is tight too. The front nine at the Hunting Course is among one of the best front nines in the whole of England.
To add to the stunning course, Slaley Hall also has an excellent golfing academy to offer. The covered driving range is perfect to warm up your swing before a round, as well as the well maintained chipping area.
Goswick Links Golf Club
Goswick Links Golf Club is a traditional 18 hole links course situated in Berwick upon Tweed. The course itself boasts to be open virtually 365 days a year and in the winter you still play to normal greens, no temporary greens.
The course is a classic links course set in the most stunning scenery the Northumberland coastline has to offer. Like most links courses, it is only short but when the harsh Scandinavian wind is blowing off the North Sea it really does plays tough.
There’s a reason this course has regularly been used as an R&A British Open Qualifying course from 2008 to 2013. Oh, and watch out for the many pot bunkers.
The Northumberland Golf Club
The Northumberland Golf Club is a Heathland course that measures at 6687 yards off the white tees. The club, like Goswick Links, has also hosted qualifying for The Open Championship.
Tactical golf is needed around this golf course. Long golf courses tend to be a bit boring with most holes looking the same, however this is not the case at The Northumberland. No two holes are the same and positioning is key.
The Northumberland has one of the toughest final stretches in the North East. You cannot relax or lose concentration on the final four holes otherwise you will be severely punished.
Or try these:
Where To Stay?
Not only does Close House present two excellent golf courses but it also offers onsite accommodation. This luxurious hotel is just a short drive from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and is situated in 400 acres of country estate.
The No.19 restaurant at Close Houses offers panoramic views over the Tyne Valley whilst you enjoy the comforting home-cooked food.
As a tribute to course designer Harry Colt, all of the rooms are named after a course he designed so you can stay in a room named after one of your favourite courses. A different but pleasant touch nonetheless.
Slaley Hall is part of the Q Hotels chain formerly known as De Vere hotels. This Edwardian mansion situated in 1,000 acres of Northumberland countryside is perfect for families as well as couples looking for a weekend away.
There are a bundle of activities to indulge in from a relaxing spa day to quad biking, from kayaking to paintballing. One thing’s for sure, the kids won’t be bored during your stay.
Slaley Hall is also popular among stag and hen dos due to the various amounts of activities on offer. The hotel is just outside Hexham, which is perfect if you’re looking for a quiet night out. Otherwise, Newcastle is just a short drive away and won’t cost too much in a taxi for a large group.
Hotel Indigo is Newcastle’s newest 4 star boutique hotel and is situated in the heart of the city. The hotel is literally just two minutes from Newcastle’s Central Station.
Metro trains are frequent from Central Station which offers you the chance to explore more than just the City Centre.
If a big night out is what you’re after to top off a day’s golfing then this is definitely the hotel for you. Its city centre postcode makes it a popular hotel for partygoers who are looking to bless Newcastle’s many nightclub dance floors with their moves. It is also ideal for anybody going to an event at the O2 academy.
Or try these:
- Malmaison Newcastle
- Matfen Hall Hotel, Spa & Golf
- Sandman Signature Newcastle Hotel
- The Vermont Hotel
Five Things To Do
The North East really is a football-loving region. Football runs in the blood and can sometimes seem a case of life and death for some fans.
St James’ Park is just a short walk from the City Centre so if you’re around why not head down to watch a game or, even better, plan your trip around your side taking on the magpies.
If you’re looking to relax with some retail therapy then Northumberland is a great place for that. Choose from the bustling chain outlets in Newcastle’s Eldon Square, Metrocentre and many shops that make up the City Centre or head to one of the various market towns Northumberland has to offer.
Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site
If you’re looking to indulge in Northumberland’s rich history then there’s no better place to start than Hadrian’s Wall.
The best-preserved frontier of the Roman Empire and the nation’s finest Roman monument, great stretches of the Wall remain intact in Northumberland.
You can walk along the line of the wall and along the way you will see many Roman forts, milecastles and temples scattered about.
Newcastle is renowned for it’s incredible nightlife and one thing is for sure, you won’t be disappointed.
It has everything you need from quiet pubs and bars, to lively nightclubs. The “pre- bars” are usually free to enter however some may charge on a weekend. The 80s bar “Flares” is highly recommended.
The clubs are open to the early hours in the morning and those who are familiar with the show “Geordie Shore” can find themselves partying in the very same establishments as the cast themselves.
Go Ape’s tree top adventure at Matfen Hall is sure to get the blood pumping. Matfen Hall is nestled within one of the UK’s most un-spoilt areas of natural beauty.
Not only will the kids love it but you will too as you take in the incredible views from the tree tops whilst tackling the high ropes and zip wires.
By Car: The A1(M) passes through Newcastle linking the area to London, the South, Scotland and major routes across the country. The A69 links west to Carlisle, the Lake District and, via the M6, to the South and West of England.
By Train: Direct rail services run from many UK cities to Newcastle Central Station. Virgin Trains East Coast operate the Virgin Trains East Coast mainline from London King's Cross to Scotland via Newcastle and the CrossCountry route links the region with Scotland, the Midlands and the South West. Northern Rail operate from Carlisle, Teesside and beyond, while TransPennine Express services run from Manchester, Liverpool and stations across Yorkshire. A new London King's Cross service to Sunderland is operated by Grand Central Trains.
By Air: Newcastle International Airport is only 8 miles from the City Centre and flies to various European destinations as well as many UK destinations. The Metro service from the airport will have you in the City Centre in no time.
By Coach: National Express and Megabus both service Newcastle.
By Sea: There are daily sailings to Amsterdam from International Passenger Terminal in North Shields with DFDS Seaways.