Matfen Hall in Northumberland

Birds are chirping and geese are honking on the far side of the fairway as I raise the sash window of my vast guestroom at Maften Hall in rural Northumberland. It’s pleasant to wake with a view overlooking a championship standard golf course.

Hope and Anchor South Ferriby gastropub

The building dates from Victorian times and underwent extensive repairs and refurbishment following flooding caused by the Humber’s tidal surge of December 2013. The pub reopened in March 2015 with wood-panelled walls and maritime-themed details, including framed pictures of sailing ships, decorative ropes and a female figurehead complete with strategically placed shells to protect her modesty. British cuisine forms the mainstay of the menu, which changes seasonally. As you’d now expect, vegan and vegetarian choices are available. The glass-fronted meat aging cabinet is a clear hint that steak counts among the specialities of the kitchen

A night at Langley Castle in Northumberland

As the location for surprise meal and overnight stay, Langley Castle proved memorable. I enjoyed the experience and would happily visit again. When it comes to choosing date night locations the gauntlet is down — to use saying derived from issuing the challenge to a duel medieval times. I’m now going to have to raise my game.

Hotel Zumnorde in Erfurt, Germany

Erfurt is an attractive, history-rich city with 210,000 inhabitants. Several of the Hotel Zumnorde’s 56 guestrooms and suites overlook Anger, a pedestrianised shopping street in the heart of Thuringia's state capital. Don’t believe anyone who says you shouldn’t look back on that particular shop-lined thoroughfare.

Best weight loss retreats in the UK

The idea that every residential boot camp is a fat camp isn’t necessarily true. Weight loss is often a key objective for participants. Focusing on fitness may be too. Getting away to focus on mental well-being may be driver alongside the physical training.

The Cookie Jar in Alnwick, Northumberland

The Cookie Jar is in premises previously occupied by the Convent of Mercy. If you’re looking for a special treat, reserve the Chapel, a suite whose stained glass windows and name provide unmissable hints as to the room’s former use. We popped in for a glance around and were impressed by the sinfully opulent decor.

Abode Hotel Chester

Abode Hotel Chester is a smart, modern hotel located an easy ten minute stroll from the half-timbered buildings of the city’s historic centre. The hotel overlooks England’s oldest active racecourse and the distant hills of Wales.