The story behind our country house hotel

In our own words

Our Georgian country house hotel is rich in heritage, contemporary in style, and has been named among the best places to stay, dine, and celebrate in the North East. It's home to a collection of beautiful bedrooms - each one different to the next, but all featuring beautiful design, lots of luxuries, and unbeatable views. We're also home to the award-winning Serenity Spa - an inspiring wellness retreat that draws influence from Far Eastern healing rituals.

Home to delicious dishes

And then there are our two fabulous restaurants. The Dining Room, headed up by Chef Damian Broom, serves dishes inspired by the rugged North Sea and glorious Durham countryside. Our pan-Asian restaurant, Ozone, is where you can sample warming curries, vibrant stir-fries, and tempting tapas selections in a truly theatrical setting.

We're proud members

We're proud to be a member of PoB (Pride of Britain Hotels), a hand-picked collection of independent hotels in some of the most beautiful locations around the British Isles. Each has its own distinctive style and character, and all are run by people with a passion for great hospitality. To find out more about PoB click the button below.

Our brand ambassador

International cricketer, Ben Stokes, has played for Durham since 2009 and called the area his home for the past 11 years. Living just 10 minutes away, he has become a regular visitor of Serenity Spa with his family and, over the years, has also enjoyed several stays at the hotel. Ben is a celebrated local star here in Durham and we're proud that he is the face of Seaham Hall and our Residences.

Our history

Seaham Hall was built


Seaham Hall was built by Ralph and Judith Milbanke on the site of Seaham House.

Lord Byron


Lord Byron visited Seaham Hall in 1814. A year later, his daughter the Hon Augusta Ada Byron, later Countess of Lovelace, and commonly known as Ada Lovelace was born.

The Marquess of Londonderry


In 1821, due to health and financial issues, Sir Ralph Milbanke sold Seaham Hall estate to soldier, politician and Irish-born nobleman Charles Vane, Baron Stewart for £63,000.

World War One


At the outbreak of the 1914 Great War, the house was loaned to the British Army to be used as a military hospital. Seaham Hall was returned to the Londonderry family in 1919.

Spey Whisky & U.S. Prohibition


In 1922, the family auctioned off the contents of Seaham Hall and left the property uninhabited. It then became the secret bottling and distribution centre for Scotch whisky.

Seaham Hall in public hands


The house was gifted to Durham County Council who spent £20,000 converting it into a sanitorium for tuberculosis patients. A children's orthopaedic ward was added in 1929.

The first hospital radio


Reverend Paul Wigfield, borrowed records to play over internal headphones and called it "Radio Therapy" instead of Radio Luxembourg - this became the first hospital radio.

Another change in business


After laying empty for six years, the house was bought by Mr Kusia Jalal, who converted it into a hotel. In 1985, the lovingly restored house welcomed its first guests.

On the market


By 1991, the hotel was on the market again. Tom Maxfield left his role as a main board director at Sage in 1997 after his wife's death and bought the property in 2001.

Seaham Hall is sold


Tom sold the hotel to Von Essen Hotels who operated 27 luxury hotels. The group had a bad reputation and several hotels were axed from The Good Hotel Guide.

The finest hotel in the North East


The hotel was acquired by an independent hospitality group committed to ensuring Seaham Hall's future as the finest five-star hotel in the North East.