The Most Unusual Wedding Cakes You’ve Ever Seen!

Cutting your wedding cake is one of the first things you’ll do as a newly married couple, so you’ll want yours to stand out from the crowd.

Having hosted well over 1,000 weddings at The Morritt Country House Hotel, we’ve seen a lot of wedding cakes over the past 20 years. From traditional fruit cakes to “cheese” tiers, we’ve witnessed a wide range of cake styles and we’re sure to see more in the years to come.

Stuck for cake inspiration but want something a bit different? Here are some of the most unusual weddings cakes in the world.

10) This cake designer definitely has an artistic flair.
10) This cake designer definitely has an artistic flair.
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If you’re getting married and need help to choose a wedding venue, call our expert team on 01833 627 232 and they’ll talk you through how The Morritt can turn your wedding dreams into reality.

The Morritt – Environmental Policy

Based in the heart of Teesdale and surrounded by nature, The Morritt Country House Hotel sits among picturesque countryside. We feel strongly about giving something back to nature and take many actions to reduce our carbon footprint. Some of the things we do to be kinder to the environment are highlighted in the video below.


For more information regarding our Environmental Policy or to see what other actions we take to reduce our footprint please click here.


10 Top Ways to Propose That Your Partner Will Love

Popping the question, “Will you marry me?” is a big deal. You’re declaring your love for the rest of your life. So it makes sense to plan your proposal and sweep your beloved off their feet. Some brides like big gestures while others appreciate a more low key approach. Whatever your preference, we’ve compiled a list of 10 top ways to propose to your partner.

10. Take your special someone to the first place you’re eyes met and re-live memories for both of you.


9. If you love movies then why not produce your own movie trailer and play it in the cinema? This is sure to get their attention.


8. Sometimes simplicity is best. Cook your partner their favourite meal. Go all out and make a starter, main and dessert, place rose petals leading from the front door to the dining room and let candles light the way. After dessert, tidy up and return with a rose, hiding the ring among the petals.

The Morritt top 10 ways to propose - North East weddings - Romantic Dinner

7.  If you’ve stashed away some cash take your loved one to Paris – the city of love. They may expect the proposal while you’re there so surprise them by popping the question just before you depart.


6. Love is in the air! Get a skywriter to write out your proposal for everyone to see.


5. Did your love of music bring you closer together? Ask your local radio station to propose for you and read out your proposal (preferably before or after your special song).

The Morritt top 10 ways to propose - North East weddings - Radio Proposal

4. Take your loved one on a treasure hunt. Leave hidden messages to find the next clue. At each stop leave a “treasure memory” such as a photo or a letter. At the end of the treasure hunt get down on one knee!

The Morritt top 10 ways to propose - North East weddings - Romantic Treasure hunt

3. Everybody loves the old “ring in the dessert” proposal. But make sure they don’t eat the pudding in one mouthful! Maybe place on top of some ice cream so it isn’t devoured in a single bite. 


2. Take a picture of you holding a sign asking for their hand in marriage. Save this as their screensaver on their computer and then play the waiting game.


1. Take them on a romantic weekend, do everything for them and treat them like royalty. Get home and act like nothing has happened and start to play on your phone. Ask them to watch this funny video you have found on YouTube, pass them the phone and there is a video of you proposing all over the internet.


Are you engaged and looking for the perfect wedding venue? The Morritt Country House Hotel has planned and  hosted more than 1,000 weddings over the last 20 years. Our expert team will help plan every last detail to make your special day perfect.

Call: 01833 627 232 or email: for information.

Guests Look Fabulous Thanks to Hair by Claire

Claire Stoddart is our residential hairdresser, providing a range of hair services for visitors to The Garage Spa and The Morritt Country House Hotel. She also looks after wedding hairstyling for brides, bridesmaids and mothers of the bride.

We caught up with Claire to find out more about her and her approach to hair styling.

What made you want to become a hairdresser?

I love interacting with people and transforming their look. I wanted to be part of an always evolving, fashion-focused and exciting profession, and hairdressing is exactly that.

Where did you train and work before you set up at The Garage?Har

I started hairdressing when I was 15 and completed my training at a salon called Tracy Chipperfield in Darlington. I later went on to work as a stylist for Saks in Barnard Castle where I spent nine and a half years before deciding to set up my own business.

Claire stoddart hairdressing at the garage spa, greta bridge near Barnard castle residential hairdresser

Have you any hairdressing idols and how do they inspire you?

I have two hairdressing idols, one of which is Andrew Barton. He’s super talented and can transform your look amazingly but still put you at ease with his down to earth manner. My second is Tracy Kidd who I used to work for. She is truly amazing and I love everything she does. I admire her drive, positivity and massive creativity.

What’s it like working within The Garage?

I adore working in such a serene and tranquil environment. The Garage is so warm and inviting – it’s the perfect place to relax and have your hair pampered.

You do bridal hair for many people marrying at The Morritt. What kind of styles and trends are you noticing?

Most brides ask for hair that’s a little more finessed, hair that’s as beautiful as it is effortless. It can be anything from romantic, elegant “up dos”, to soft timeless curls. Versatile but always stylish.

What is your most memorable moment as a hair stylist?

My most memorable moment was becoming a regional finalist for the l’Oreal Colour Trophy. The experience and atmosphere was amazing.

Claire stoddart hairdressing at the garage spa, greta bridge near Barnard castle residential hairdresser

What’s the biggest mistake women make with their hair?

The biggest mistake people make is when they colour their own hair at home. As a l’Oreal Colour Specialist I learnt so much about the science of hair and colour. Every client needs a thorough consultation from a professional in order to achieve their perfect colour.

What’s your top hair care tip or product suggestion?

My top hair care tip is to always cleanse, care and protect! Invest in good professional products and use a treatment on your hair regularly!


For more details and how to book an appointment please visit The Garage Spa website.

Our Top 15 Weird Wedding Photographs

The Morritt Country House Hotel has hosted over 1000 weddings and has been a wedding venue in the North East of England for over 20 years.  Thousands of photographs have been taken at our venue, we normally see the more traditional photos such as husband, wife and family.

You’ll want to make special memories to last a lifetime when you tie the knot. To capture your special moments your photographer will be click-click-clicking away all day but there’s no need to settle for typical wedding pictures. Take inspiration from these 15 weird wedding photographs.

15. Love is in the air and from the look at this image so is this newly married couple. This brings another meaning to taking love to new heights.
15.  Love is in the air and from the look at this image so is this newly married couple. This brings another meaning to taking love to new heights.
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If you are getting married and need help choosing a wedding venue. Call our expert team on 01833 627 232 and they will gladly talk you through how The Morritt can make your wedding dreams a reality.

Brides-to-Be to Get ‘Hands On’ Wedding Inspiration

“The Morritt has hosted a huge number of weddings in its long history. We’ve helped to plan well over 1,000 since we came here 20 years ago,” says Barbara Johnson, owner of The Morritt Country House Hotel.

Sitting in one of the deep leather sofas in the cosy lounge of this historic coaching inn, nestled in the heart of stunning Teesdale countryside, Barbara continues: “We spend time a great deal of time talking to couples long before they book their wedding at The Morritt. In this time we learn everything about the kind of atmosphere the bride and groom want. We ask searching questions about how they’d like their guests to feel and what they want to remember.”

As well as spending time with couples and providing guided tours of the hotel, landscaped grounds and adjoining spa – The Garage Spa – The Morritt’s wedding team encourages brides-to-be to visit the venue casually for coffee or lunch so they get to know the staff who will work during their wedding.

The Morritt prides itself on delivering outstanding customer service and flexibility to all its wedding clients. “Our ethos to all our customer requests if that we will do anything so long as we reasonably can and it is legal,” says Barbara. It’s vital to focus on how you can be the best you can be. Staying ahead of competition and offering the very best service you can is much more important than worrying what competitors are doing.”

Giving newly engaged couples an opportunity to get ‘hands on’ with some of the decorations, table settings and styles for their special day, is one of Barbara’s latest ideas for inspiring brides-to-be.

“A lot of couples get engaged over Christmas and on Valentine’s Day, so this year we wanted give them a chance to get a feel for their wedding day and play with some of the bits and bobs we have in the hotel,” explains Barbara. “We have many different decorations and styles for couples to try out while enjoying a glass of prosecco. We’ll also have a professional photographer and will be taking complimentary engagement photographs.”

The Planning, Prosecco & Photos Wedding Event at The Morritt Country House Hotel will be held on Sunday, March 29th from 11am to 2pm. All brides who pre-register for this event will be offered a complimentary engagement photograph taken by Camera A. For more information please call 01833 627 232 or email


Hurrah for Graham and Service with a Smile!

Good humour, cheerful greetings, unfailing pleasantness and a willingness to help out with almost any problem: These are just some of the many reasons why road sweeper Graham Sallan won the award for Customer Service Provider of the Year in the Pride of Teesdale Awards recently.

The awards look for the Dale’s unsung heroes, applauding the dedication, hard work, kindness and commitment of those who work in the area. People like Graham who make Teesdale such an amazing place to live and work.

The category was sponsored by The Garage Spa – which prides itself on delivering outstanding customer service to guests – and Barbara Johnson from the spa presented Graham with his prize of a spa treatment. Visitors to The Garage Spa frequently comment about the great service they receive from staff so sponsoring the customer service category was a natural fit.

As both Graham and the staff at The Garage Spa understand, it’s often the little things that count. A genuine warm welcome, service with a smile and a chat can be the difference between a good and a great memory.

On behalf of everyone at The Morritt Country House Hotel & The Garage Spa, we’d like to congratulate Graham and all of the winners and nominees in this year’s Pride of Teesdale Awards. We hope that Graham’s prize of a Garage Spa treatment helps him relax and rejuvenate after a hard day out-and-about in all weather, making the streets of Barnard Castle tidy and safe.

Along with indulgent and relaxing facilities, The Garage Spa offers a wide range of treatments, including Germaine de Capuccini and CACI facials. For more information visit the spa website, email or call 01833 863 100.


Teesdale - The Garage Spa

Barbara Johnson presents Graham Sallan with his prize of a Garage Spa treatment for Customer Service Provider of the Year in this week’s Pride of Teesdale Awards


Article from The Teesdale Mercury (11 February 2015) about the Pride of Teesdale Awards.

Article from The Teesdale Mercury (11 February 2015) about the Pride of Teesdale Awards.




How can you get lips like Angelina, Scarlett or Jessica?

We can’t all be blessed with perfect pouts such as those enjoyed by stars like Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansen or Jessica Alba – widely regarded as having some of the best-looking lips in the word.

Ageing, lips damaged by smoking and other factors can cause wrinkling around the mouth, detracting from that perfect pucker. So it’s important therefore to take care of this delicate facial feature and treat your lips well – protect them from the sun by wearing a lipstick or lip balm with sunscreen and bless them with a pampering now and again.

The question “Why do we have lips?” was recently asked by a BBC article in a series about evolution and it turns out that our lips are really quite important – and not just for kissing! As well as being vital to ensure we can feed right from the moment we’re born (babies need their lips to help them suck), they’re essential for speech and attracting a mate.

An article in MailOnline explains that, according to research, men are drawn to a woman’s pout more than any other facial feature. Scientists found that in the 10 seconds after meeting a lady for the first time, the average man spends more than half his time gazing at her mouth. And big lips are definitely better than thinner lips that can be perceived as mean. Another BBC article explains that lip size is key to sexual attraction, and that good lips can make an attractive face even more gorgeous.

So how can you get hot lips like Angelina, Scarlett or Jessica, without resorting to invasive surgical procedures?

Thankfully, beauty specialist CACI has a solution in the form of the Express Lip Plump treatment, now available at The Garage Spa. The 15-minute treatment uses LED red light therapy, an Amino-Lift Peptide serum and the CACI wrinkle comb to plump up your top and bottom lips. The instant result – which lasts around three days – is fuller looking lips, perfect for a special occasion such as a first date, wedding, party or day at the races.

The CACI Express Lip Plump at The Garage Spa costs £15 and can be performed as a standalone treatment or combined with other facials. For more information or to book call The Garage Spa on 01833 863 100 or email


Article from Woman and Home magazine (December 2014) about the fabulous CACI Express Lip Plump treatment



A Dining Experience with a Difference – Taste Nights on February 27th & 28th

Interview with Lee Stainthorpe, Head Chef, The Morritt Country House Hotel

As someone who enjoys cooking and could never see himself sitting in an office from nine to five, becoming a chef seemed logical to Lee Stainthorpe, head chef at The Morritt Country House Hotel which boasts Gilroy’s Dining Room as its restaurant and was awarded 2 AA Rosettes in 2013.

After leaving school in the late 80s, Lee spent three years training at Darlington Technical College before carving out a career spanning almost 25 years, cooking in numerous hotel and restaurant kitchens throughout the north east and north west of England.

“When I started in this industry, celebrity chefs such as the Roux brothers and Anton Mosimann were the old masters,” says Lee. “Then, with the emergence of Marco Pierre White, the industry was turned on its head and chefs suddenly had rock star status. The industry was in your face and here to stay.”

Although he doesn’t pick out any particular individual as an inspiration, Lee has a large collection of books from a wide range of different chefs. “I look at them all in the same light,” says Lee.

He describes the approach to food in Gilroy’s Dining Room at The Morritt as, “Classical flavours with modern twists and techniques.” Although prepared with a great amount of creativity and inspiration, the food and flavours in the restaurant are still recognisable to customers.

“The dining experience is about the dining room and overall ambience as well as the food served,” explains Lee. “We’ve created a relaxed venue for guests to enjoy their whole evening. From the initial introduction from food and beverage manager, Dan Moult and his team, right through to finishing with coffee and petit fours, we put an emphasis on our guests’ complete experience.”

Fresh, locally sourced ingredients are important to Lee and he finds inspiration from what is currently in season and what he feels guests would like to see on the menu. The menu is changed with the seasons to take advantage of the best produce and classic or popular dishes are re-visited as required.

“I don’t favour any particular ingredients,” says Lee. “As long as they’re fresh and in season then they will be considered for our dishes.”

Gilroy’s Taste Nights are one of the latest opportunities for guests to try an 11-course tasting menu of dishes created through Lee and his talented team’s approach of using freshly prepared, locally sourced seasonal ingredients.

Lee explains the concept behind the event as, “An opportunity for our guests to enjoy a food experience they may not have had before. From the food, the flavours, the presentation and the little bits of theatre thrown in, I’m sure guests will leave thinking and talking about the evening for a good while afterwards.”

The next Gilroy’s Taste Nights take place on Friday, February 27th and Saturday, February 28th in Gilroy’s Dining Room at The Morritt. The 11-course tasting menu is £55 and special overnight accommodation offers, including the tasting experience, are available from £199 per couple. For more information or to book, please call 01833 627 232 or email

The next Gilroy’s Taste Nights take place on Friday, February 27th and Saturday, February 28th in Gilroy’s Dining Room at The Morritt. The 11-course tasting menu is £55 and special overnight accommodation offers, including the tasting experience, are available from £199 per couple. For more information or to book, please call 01833 627 232 or email

Lee Stainthorpe, Head Chef at The Morritt Country House Hotel


Ask the Experts Wedding Open Day – January 18th 2015

The Morritt Country House Hotel was dressed in all its wedding glory for an Ask the Experts Wedding Open Day on Sunday, January 18th.

The doors were opened wide for blushing brides-to-be to learn how the hotel’s experienced wedding team and recommended suppliers can help plan their fairy tale wedding.

Although the weather had a mind of its own that Sunday –snowing one minute and raining the other – it didn’t deter around 100 guests from attending the special event and enjoying the displays.

The Morritt’s spacious Ballroom (seating up to 200) was set for a wedding breakfast beneath glittering chandeliers. A roaring log fire blazed warmly in the background and a multitude of recommended suppliers were available to advise guests on their services. The Garden Room (seating up to 100) was beautifully decorated for a civil ceremony with a red carpet creating a stunning aisle for the bride to walk down.

Suppliers including Amy from The Garage Spa, Muscari Flowers, Camera A and many others were on hand to talk to couples and help plan their perfect day. The Yorkshire Chauffeur Company came along to the open day for the first time – a popular addition to our incredible list of trusted suppliers.

With a driving simulator from LMS Events and The Morritt’s popular new Victorian sweet cart, the event didn’t lack fun and entertainment!

Don’t worry if you missed our Ask the Experts Open Day this January. When you sign up to our newsletter you’ll be one of the first to know the date of our next event.

We would like to thank all of the beautiful brides to be that attended our open day and we would also like to thank all of our recommended suppliers who  made our open day that bit more special.