SET in rural Northumberland, close to Hexham, Langley Castle is a jewel in the North East’s crown - a perfect example of secluded beauty.

Commissioned in 1350, the castle has a colourful history, from burning down in the 1400s to being used as an army barracks during the Second World War.

In 1986 Microsoft co-founder, Dr Stuart Madnick, purchased the castle and converted it into an nine-bedroomed hotel.

With nine bedrooms inside the castle itself and a further 18 in the grounds, each room is in keeping with period decor, boasting large four poster beds and huge bathrooms (some equipped with spa baths), vast wardrobes and thick drapes. Staff work hard to maintain the luxuriously grand feel that would be expected from a castle of this stature.

Due to stay for two nights in the impressive Josephine Room, it’s safe to say we felt a little out of place as we pulled up the enormous driveway in a battered Golf, and parked in front of a fountain, surrounded by Bentleys and Mercedes.

However, the sting of being a jobbing reporter with barely two pence to rub together was soon lost as the staff made us feel more at home than a boutique B&B host would, chatting away and asking us what our plans were for our stay.

Unpacking and marvelling at the enormity of our room, we then had a wander round the castle, which boasts a tower room for weddings and functions, able to accommodate up to 122 people, a ground floor restaurant with a pavilion room for smaller functions, and a huge drawing room decked with portraits and paintings, ornate suits of armour and gigantic sofas.

With all the splendour you would expect from such a venue, we hastily showered and changed, keen to sample the menu, which we’d heard was pretty special.

And it didn’t disappoint, as the cuisine was to die for, with locally sourced produce cooked within an inch of perfection. We could not fault our dining experience one bit.

Starting with the risotto, then moving on to the lamb, the succulent flavours exploding in our mouths, it was, hands down, some of the best food I’d ever tasted, with the portions being enough to satisfy a rumbling stomach.

Having sipped our way through a bottle of wine and a couple of espresso Martinis, we ventured forth to see what the local nightlife had to offer.

One of the downsides of staying in a castle in the middle of nowhere (actually the only downside) meant we had to call a taxi to take us to the nearest village of Haydon Bridge where the locals made us most welcome, so welcome in fact that we found ourselves locked out of the castle due to the late forcing us to sheepishly summon the night porter

The next morning, suitably hungover, we stumbled down for breakfast and ordered an absolute feast - a full Northumberland with croissants, toast, fruit, orange juice and lots and lots of coffee.

Hangovers not subsiding (much to our dismay), we dragged ourselves outside in search of a little Sunday stroll.

With not many on-site amenities, and only so many times you can walk around the castle grounds trying to grab selfies with the resident peacocks, we decided to take ourselves on a gorge walk a few miles back down the A69 towards Carlisle.

The 10km Allen Banks and Staward Gorge walk was relaxing, the path meandering along the river through ancient woodland before reaching a pinnacle allowing stunning 360 views.

A quick detour back to the castle saw us stumble upon a cute little cafe in a disused railway hut in Langley, followed by cake in Allendale Town and a pint and game of Jenga in a pub in Haydon Bridge.

That evening we decided to keep it low key so sat in the drawing room and devoured a delicious steak, before retiring to the spa bath with a glass of wine.

Before checkout the following morning, we were treated to a tour of the castle and got to learn about its interesting history.

Apparently it’s haunted too, but we didn’t witness any ghostly goings on during our stay (probably because we were too drunk!).

Rooms at Langley Castle start at £83.50 (B&B) and go up to £145 (B&B) – this is per person per night based on two sharing.

Langley Castle is 30 miles from Newcastle, with the closest villages being Haydon Bridge and Hexham.

There are plenty of walks to challenge the avid hiker, and the castle is between the North Pennines and The Northumberland National Park, separated by Hadrian’s Wall.

Castle tours start at 10.15am and cost £5 per person.

The castle is also available for wedding parties, with the option to hire out the whole venue...should you be able to afford it.

Contact: 01434 688888 or