earthy grey soft furnishings. Boutique touches include Egyptian cotton sheets, under-floor heating in the bathroom and divine smelling Arran Aromatics toiletries. Our dining experience began in the cocktail bar where we sat on plump sofas and enjoyed a refreshing Cucumber & Elderflower Collins with lashings of gin.
Fresh bread rolls came with unusual but excellent seaweed butter. The mouth-watering venison carpaccio with horseradish was an excellent starter and North Sea halibut with black garlic and Jerusalem artichokes was a perfect choice for main. Dan, the sommelier, came up trumps, too, with a crisp, perfectly chilled Assyrtiko, a white whine from Santorini. After a brisk walk around the park, afternoon tea in the Billiard Room is a well earned treat. We tucked into a tiered display of goodies including roast beef, rocket and horseradish sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream and sticky toffee cheesecake. Delicious! The River Ouseburn runs through the wooded valley alongside the hotel splashing under ornamental bridges and tumbling over waterfalls.
On the west bank cast your eyes over the 12th-century ruins of St Mary’s Chapel. Once thought to house holy relics it is now a shrine where people come for quiet contemplation.
On Sunday mornings Armstrong Bridge, overlooking the Dene, is the location for a lovely arts and crafts market selling everything, from paintings and jewellery to wooden toys, all made locally. Lord Baden-Powell and Rudyard Kipling were once guests when Jesmond Dene House was the home of Sir Andrew Noble.
Jesmond Dene (0191 212 3000/ jesmonddenehouse. co.uk) offers doubles from £160 per night, B&B
FAIRYTALE SPOT: The Ouseburn tumbles through Jesmond Dene
STYLISH STAY: Each suite is individually designed