Dinah Hatch

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“What shall we do for New Year's Eve this year?” My husband asks me routinely each December. Whether you turn into a party animal or prefer quiet gatherings with loved ones come December 31, deciding where to kick off the coming year can be a tricky task. Here's my ten suggestions for ensuring an original, fun and relaxing start to 2014.
Duisdale House Hotel

Country mansion: Duisdale House, Skye Three night New Year house party anyone? They always see in the New Year in style in Scotland but at Duisdale House, a former hunting lodge at the southernmost tip of the romantic Isle of Skye, they go for it big time. Book yourself in from December 30th and prepare for a Bucks Fizz reception, seven course Highland banquet and fireworks at midnight on the 31st. And for your brisk and refreshing walk on January 1, you've 35 acres of gardens and woodlands at your disposal with truly lovely views across the Sound of Sleet channels and mountains beyond. This place ticks all the country house boxes, from the grand but cosy lounge with roaring log fire to beautifully furnished warmly luxurious bedrooms with simply awesome views.

Lumley Castle Hotel

Regal celebrations: Lumley Castle, Chester le Street Go the whole hog and book you and a group of friends into an Elizabethan banquet fit for kings and queens this New Year's Eve. The stunning 600-year-old Lumley Castle in Chester Le Street hosts awesome five course feasts complete with goblets of wine and mead amidst jaw-droppingly beautiful 14th century surroundings. Plus entertainment from the “lords and ladies of the court” followed by dancing and a piper at midnight. Then you get to wander off to your room featuring a velvet-curtained uber-romantic four poster bed and secret bathroom. Wake up to stunning views of the River Wear and Durham County cricket ground, tuck into a fabulous full English and then head off for a morning stroll or a restorative lunch in nearby Newcastle.

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