A GRADE II listed hotel, and former ancestral home of the Shafto family, has been bought by a leisure operator which says it will be one of the UK's most glamorous wedding venues.

The Apartment Group has taken over at Whitworth Hall Hotel and Deer Park, near Spennymoor, just months after purchasing Jersey Farm Country Hotel, in Barnard Castle, which will reopen as Runa Farm.

The company, which owns venues across the region including Northumberland hotels Newton Hall and Le Petit Chateau and Newcastle bars As You Like It and The Holy Hobo, plans to invest millions of pounds at both sites to create five star boutique hotels aimed at the leisure, wedding and corporate market.

Chief Operating Officer Debrah Dhugga said: “The hospitality and leisure industry has been under a lot of strain as it deals with the current Covid-19 pandemic and our industry has seen many casualties.

"However, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"We are thrilled to welcome to the TAG family Whitworth Hall and The Jersey Farm Hotel.

“We have a reputation for creating innovative and marketing leading venues, and I can assure you that both these hotels will be exactly that.

"We’re so excited.”

The Northern Echo:

Whitworth Hall is a stately mansion which sits within its own private deer park, which has been a feature of the hall for over 300 years.

The property dates back to the mid-17th Century and was home to politician Robert Shafto, who was immortalised in the famous North East folk song Bobby Shafto's Gone to Sea.

The Northern Echo:

Mrs Dhugga said: “Our plans for Whitworth Hall are completely different to Runa Farm.

"Where Runa Farm will be luxurious boho and earthy, Whitworth will be an excess of opulence, sophistication and glamour, with a chapel, ballroom, and bedroom suites like nothing else in the UK.”

Runa Farm will open, with a luxurious boho Balearic style, at the end of this year and Whitworth Hall will be refurbished by early 2021.

Both venues have already taken wedding bookings.