If you cross over the road from the Bonny Moorhen in Stanhope, head down a little street called The Butts and, and go over the ford behind the front street, you will come to a hidden gem known as Unthank Hall.
The term “Unthank” comes from the old English for ingratitude or displeasure. It is not a good way to describe the hall. As far as my research shows, it dates back to 1250. Myself and my family recently had the pleasure of staying there for a week and what a week it was!
The stunning house is decorated with all kinds of beautiful pieces of art, it’s spacious and welcoming for the whole family. 8 of us stayed, including a baby and a dog!
The hall has four bedrooms – a master bedroom with a smaller room perfect for children attached to it, and two smaller rooms, one with a double bed, one with twin beds; 2 bathrooms – 1 including a roll top bath; a toilet, sitting room, fully equipped kitchen, dining room and huge walled garden.
The sitting room has a huge, gorgeous fire place, and the entire house is warm and cosy. The beds and couches are comfy, and there are reading nooks everywhere. Upon entering, I didn’t know what I was more excited for – sitting at the huge dining table, finding a window seat for reading, or jumping into the bath.
The owners are lovely, very welcoming and so friendly. They even made us fresh chocolate muffins, that were so delicious – thank you!
I of course took many photos over the course of a week – 1088 to be precise! – so here are few for those that are curious!
Stunning exterior and walled garden, complete with double “netty” at the bottom.
The lovely bedrooms
These images show only a few of the beautiful things to see in the house. We unfortunately missed the grand tour by the owners, so be sure to catch it on arrival to hear the history of the hall.
In the living room, you will find a full package sky box and DVD player, as well as a selection of games and jigsaw puzzles. I would like to warn everyone that if you pick a jigsaw, the 1000 piece puzzle with odd shapes is a GREAT one, super addictive but really hard and HUGE. I bought one from a nearby farm shop. There are fluffy towels, a small selection of toiletries and books everywhere, not forgetting cute baskets of magazines.
They even provide torches, hairdryers and hot water bottles! It truly is an amazing place. Given the chance, I think I would have stayed forever.
I found this place so relaxing. Waking up and doing yoga first thing in the morning, followed by a huge breakfast in the dining room. Then off on a long walk, or wander around the town. I got lots of writing done, I felt so inspired.
This lovely place really grabbed my attention as far as writing goes. Of course it’s the perfect setting for creepy ghost story – nothing like walking out of your bedroom in the dark, after putting the baby to sleep, to your mother standing on the landing and whispering “are you okay”, to make you jump out of your skin – but it’s such a beautiful place that I feel I nicer story should sprout from it.
There’s lots to do and see in and around Stanhope as well. A quick walk over the ford via either the stepping stones or the bridge takes you into the village.
Once there, I can definitely recommend the Bonny Moorhen pub for food, drink, friendly staff and if you’re lucky some live entertainment! There is also a lovely pub called the Grey Bull. I recommend getting a copy of the “Walkabout Stanhope” booklet, and taking a historical journey around the town, where you can learn all about Stanhope Castle, Stanhope Hall, the Fossil Tree and much more.
Don’t forget to call into the Dales Center too!
On the front street, you’ll find the Weardale Tea Rooms. Here the staff are friendly and the food is delicious! Just a few doors down, there is an old fashioned sweet shop filled with all sorts of delights!
If you’re lucky, you will catch the Open Air Pool. We left the day it opened.
Venturing further afield, there is high force, Raby castle, lots of different farms and farm shops, Hamsterly Forrest and Killhope Museum. Lots to do and see!
If you have the opportunity, go to Unthank Hall. I have never been so in love with a place.
I would like to thank the wonderful owners for having us, and I do hope we can visit again!