SOMETIMES you need to get away from it all, take time for yourself, and simply relax.
That's exactly what me and my wife did during an overnight stay at Redworth Hall, the stunning 17th Century Jacobean manor house nestled within 26-acres of picture-postcard landscaped grounds in County Durham.
The four star hotel - part of The Cairn Collection's signature property portfolio - proved the perfect winter bolt-hole for us to unwind and re-charge our batteries, thanks, in part, to its newly-refurbished spa and leisure club.
The facility has undergone a £2 million transformation with spa and treatment rooms, state-of-the-art fitness suite, heated indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and lounge - a sophisticated space serving light bites and refreshments.
We sampled all of the above on more than one occasion before kicking back and watching the world go by on loungers by the pool, immersed in our own little world. It brought new meaning to the phrase 'lazy Sunday'.
After a couple of drinks at the bar, where prices are reasonable (£9.50 for a pint of lager and glass of Prosecco), we went to check out our deluxe spa accomodation, one of 143 in rooms the hotel within a labyrinth of corridors and lifts.
The rooms feature all the mod cons, including flatscreen TV with Freeview, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, tea and coffee-making facilities, and a good size, comfy, double bed. But its crowning glory has to be the large spa bath and 'multi-jet' shower - which certainly wakes you up after a lazy afternoon.
We dined at the 1744 Bar & Restaurant in the heart of the hotel, where chefs serve the best seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients possible. A selection of English and European dishes are on the menu - I'd recommend giving the delicious Redworth burger with hand-cut chips a try.
Away from the hotel, Durham city centre is just a 30 minute drive and makes for a great day of exploring. You can sample a slice of history at the cathedral and castle, or potter round the many shops which line the cobbled streets.
Closer to Redworth Hall you'll find The Locomotion at Shildon, Auckland Castle and the beautiful Durham Dales.
If you're looking for a spot to unwind and beat the January blues, then Redworth Hall is a place you need to visit.
- Stays at Redworth Hall start from £116 per night for bed and breakfast in a standard double room.
- Residential spa breaks with treatments start from £89 per person, while spa days start from £40 per person.
- The family offer includes accommodation in a spacious suite with breakfast and dinner, priced at £139. You can save 10 per cent by booking directly through the website, at http://www.redworthhalldurham.co.uk or call 01388770600.