Cragside is one of the most beautiful sites within Northumberland National Park, and incredibly popular for days out in the North East. It isn’t very far from a town called Rothbury and is just 20 or so minutes North of Morpeth. The site is also a part of the National Trust and is under the conservation of it.
It was created by Lord and Lady Armstrong during the 19th century who were an incredible couple of people. Lord Armstrong was nothing short of an engineering genius and has helped shape the prectices of modern mechanics. Lady Armstrong was just as incredible and she very much had a green finger and interest in the natural sciences. This influencial couple were gifted the land we now know as Jesmond Dene for their wedding present in 1835 where the couple first had a go at landscaping. They created Jesmond Dene as we know it today before moving onto Cragside where they did it again.
Cragside House was the first house in the world to have lighting powered by Hydro-Electricity. It is also of the Victorian era with much detail being put into the house design itself.
How to get to Cragside:
Postcode: NE65 7PX
Driving there from Sunderland was a very easy drive. We opted for the A1 route (you can take the A19 and go through the Tyne Tunnel if you want). You then follow the A1 regardless to just after Morpeth where you turn left onto the A697. You stay on that road for about 15 minutes untill you see the sign for Cragside. It took just over an hour to get there and the route was really easy to follow!
Parking at Cragside:
There are a number of car parks around the area you can park in. Today when we visited of course there were many restrictions in place. The main being capacity. None of the car parks were full and there was still plenty of spaces throughout the day. However on a busy day (in none covid times) I can imagine it gets incredibly busy!
Tickets and Booking Cragside:
In order to visit, Cragside have a really great covid safe system in place right now. You have to book a timeslot, regardeless of if you are a national trust member or not. These timeslots help limit how many people are coming into the park at the same time.
The tickets are realses one week at a time and they come out on a friday (at midnight as soon as it becomes friday!) the week before you want to go. So if you wanted to book for next week (Friday onwards), your timeslots would be live to book from Midnight this coming Friday.
You get a 30 minute timeslot and you must arrive within that timeslot as they can turn you away if you are late.
If you do want to book click HERE to go to their booking page!
The site is open 10am-5pm everyday.
When we booked, my sister and brother-in-law were on the website at midnight in a virtual queue trying to get tickets because it can get busy on the website. It was for good friday and Easter weekend which may be why the wsbite was busy, but still, bare this in mind if you want to go somewhere.
You must also book the tickets online prior to visiting right now. Ticket costs are as follows:
Things to do at Cragside:
One of the main things to do here is of course explore Cragside House. Right now this is unfortunately closed but I cannot wait to be able to go back and go inside! It looks incredibly beautiful from the outside I can only imagine how amazing it is inside!!!
All of the gardens and grounds are open which is the other main element of Cragside. The only way to descibe this place is other worldly because when you are walking around it does not feel like you are 20 minutes from Morpeth. It is utterly beautiful. Even today when it was fairly grey skies and cold it was incredible. I can’t believe it’s took me this long to go!
I feel like when people do go, they focus on the house and the beauty of the architecture. But there is so much more to this site. There are so many routes you could take around this place you could have a completely different experience everytime you go.
One of the best view points of the house is from the Iron Bridge. You can follow signs to it and I highly reccomend you do!
There are two lakes you can walk up too, and a number of clearly signposted routes you can follow easily. Overall the entire area is very well signposted which I think is necessary as you could easily get lost!
If you were to bring a pushchair or wheelchair, the best walk is the Nellys Moss walk which is around the two lakes at the top of the site. There is disabled parking up there too which makes it really easy for you if needed. This walk is around 1.5 miles and it is incredibly pretty up there!
You can also do the carriage drive. This is a 6 mile drive around the outer edge of the site which is a very nice way to end your visit! You drive past many of the main places including through the courtyard of Cragside House!
The tearoom is open for takeaway as is the smaller takeaway outlet near the large play area (which is not open yet). You can also get lost through Nelly’s Labyrinth. And most importantly, the toilets are all open!
More information on routes and a map is availible here.
Finally, Cragside is very generous in seating areas. There were so many picnic benches dotted around the place that it makes perfect sense to take a picnic with you. We stopped up by the lake and it was just a perfect place to stop and take in the view. The only thing to remember with this is that BBQs aren’t allowed.
Things to remember about your visit to Cragside:
- Take your rubbish with you
- Remember to book your timeslot and tickets before you go and arrive within the 30 minute window
- Don’t forget your mask for going into the tearoom or toilets
- Wear sensible shoes as the terrain is uneven
Thank you for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it and found it helpful for you when planning your visit to Cragside. As always, if you do enjoy my posts then i’d love it if you could drop your email address below to be notified of every new post I upload.
Stay Safe, Happy Adventuring
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