Marshall Meadows, in Northumberland – and right next to the Scottish borders – is England’s most Northern hotel. Georga Spottiswood stayed the night and tucks into superb food at restaurant 1782.
Characters you meet at hotels have always intrigued me – and at Marshall Meadows Manor House Hotel, we bumped into quite a few.
Sitting in this Georgian Manor’s Drawing Room, while tucking into a delicious slice of red velvet cake from the Afternoon Tea (the cream cheese frosting wonderfully on point), we got chatting with a couple sitting on the table next to us.
The gentleman, Mr Gavin Holt, a well-heeled chap who was on a two-night stay for his partner’s birthday, started chatting about his first visit to the venue when it was privately owned by the Ayre family – and whom he had visited when the house was their family home, for a job interview at their accountancy firm.
“The bar area wasn’t here and if I remember correctly, this was the main living room,” he informed us.
Although he didn’t take the job at the time, he settled on fishing in Vancouver instead, we chatted more about the history of the house, from it being built in 1782 by a wealthy merchant and trader, to being transformed into a hospital during World War Two, to then being acquired by the Ayre family who lived in it until the mid-80s.
It then passed through the hands of numerous hospitality companies and was transformed into a hotel, but it wasn’t until 2020 when MCN Hospitality, a small brand that delivers big things, took it over and set about their mission to revolutionise it into an ‘exquisite hotel, restaurant and wedding venue in Northumberland’.
What stands today is a stunning property that’s been completely modernised, while still retaining its character and charm, and where every bit of the guest’s journey has been thought about.
The Manor House and adjoining Stables feature 27 individually designed bedrooms. Our room for the evening was in The Stables: a modern apartment-style suite with two bedrooms (one with bunk beds and ideal for families), a living room area and a garden with its own private hot tub.
But it’s not just these features that make Marshal Meadows a must-visit place. Each room has a complimentary mini-bar (you read that right, it’s complimentary), with Prosecco, red and white wine and a top choice of snacks. You can Chrome cast to Netflix after you’ve retired from the tub and catch up on The Lincoln Lawyer, or whatever series you’re currently binging.
In a field at the back of the property, there are spacious luxury pods, with their own private hot tubs, super king-size beds, air con, underfloor heating and a sound system so you can listen to all your favourite tunes through Bluetooth – and trust me, the pictures on the website don’t do these pods justice. They’re the Rolls Royce of any kind of camping-style pods I’ve seen.
And the staff, well, they are all incredibly friendly and really do go above and beyond to ensure that guests feel relaxed. Even the Operations Manager, Jo, took our one-year-old for a spin around the grounds in his pram while we enjoyed our evening meal in Restaurant 1782.
It’s the little touches like this, the finer details, that make Marshall Meadows stand out from the Northumberland crowd.
The Menu at Restaurant 1782
Richard Chilver is the executive chef at Restaurant 1782 and as well as overseeing the food here, he looks after the wedding catering at Marshall Meadows and the Group’s two other venues, The Parlour at Blagdon and Shotton Grange, both in Newcastle.
I’ve known Richard for years, having met him in his former roles as head chef at some of the North East’s top venues. He’s creative, meticulous and strives to serve up some real punchy dishes.
On the menu, which changes seasonally, starters include lime cured mackerel, potato and horseradish salad, soused fennel and radish with a cucumber gel and tomato dressing as well as ham hock terrine, pig cheek croquette, Pease pudding, crackling and fried quail’s egg.
It was the pan-fried king scallops, butternut puree, apple salad, pistachio crumb and pumpkin seeds that caught my attention and the sweetness of the crunchy apple with the earthy, nutty flavours of pistachio was a great combination with the tender scallops.
My partner opted for the wild mushroom velouté, with mushroom ravioli and truffle oil, and although truffle oil can overpower a dish, it was clearly used sparingly as the mushroom velouté was superb.
Although my partner wanted the steak, I advised him (on good advice from Richard himself) that the beef dish was a playful one full of flavour that was not to be missed.
Cue the honey BBQ glazed beef short rib with Chimichurri crumb, oven-roasted 30-day dry aged beef rump, sweetcorn puree, mac ‘n’ cheese fritter, crispy onions and Jack Daniel’s jus.
This proper palate pleaser was a hearty affair and even though it features quite a few ingredients, they didn’t get in one another’s way, each one shining through.
The halibut fillet was also a huge hit. It was tender, lean and perfectly cooked – and served with leek and Parmesan risotto, sauteed wild mushrooms, saffron jelly and herb oil.
And, of course, we got a side of beef-dripping chips because, quite frankly, it would have been rude not to!
We took dessert on the terrace while the wee one slept in his pram and thankfully, he didn’t stir while we lapped up the Butterscotch sauce that coated the sticky toffee pudding, which was also served with vanilla ice cream.
It was here we also bumped into BAFTA winner Brenda Blethyn and her beloved dog, Jack, enjoying some downtime. Marshall Meadows may just lie off the A1 – and is a 10-minute drive into Berwick itself – but surrounded by 12 acres of land, and pretty gardens, it is
secluded enough to make you feel ‘away from it all’.
For more information about room rates and special offers, check out Savour’s Guide on Marshall Meadows Northumberland here.