As the year 2021 comes to a close so does our membership to the National Trust. For a while we had planned on renewing them however, as we didn’t get a load of use out of them towards the end of the year due to working full time, it didn’t seem worth it to renew.
Before the year is up I wanted to list off the top sites in the North East for anyone who is thinking of getting a membership, or just looking for great days out! And if you are looking for more National Trust sites then visit the page here on Mackem Life all about it!
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- Cragside, Northumberland
The number one spot absolutely has to go to Cragside. Not only is it the best national trust site’s in the North East, but I think it could be up there for the whole of the country and is one of the best tourist attractions in England.
The site was built in the 19th century by the same people who landscaped Jesmond Dene. However, when they created Cragside, they went above and beyond! Every tree, plant, path and lake has a story to tell and it is an outstandingly beautiful place.
Cragside is just 20 minutes north of Morpeth and you can get there by following Postcode: NE65 7PX. For information about ticket prices check with the venue as they change seasonally. Speaking of seasonally, I would highly suggest that you visit more than once and in different seasons. because of the natural landscape here, it changes very dramatically throughout the year. So if you get a hot sunny day, then a bright autumn day, or a fresh snowy day, head up to Cragside!
For more information about the site, and what to do there, have a look at my guide to visiting!
2. Gibside, Gateshead
Gibside is sitting pretty at Number 2 because it’s what I like to think of as Baby Cragside. It is not quite as big or pretty but it is still a great place for a day out. It is also cheaper than Cragside so it’s winning on that front. It is also a lot closer to home and the terrain is a lot more manageable.
There is some fascinating history to this site which I will save for you and your visit. But it all makes the site so much more than it is on the surface so I would definitely recommend unpacking some of that before or during your visit!
If you are looking to visit then follow postcode: NE16 6BG
I think Gibside caters for the widest range of visitors on this list because there is so much to do without having to walk very far. At the very start of the site, there is the cafe and book shop. Then just a little further is the Avenue which leads to both the chapel at one end and the old hall at the other. These are the main areas of Gibside and are all within a short distance of each other.
If you are looking to visit, you can view their prices here. Alternatively, if you want to read my full guide to visiting then you can do so here.
3. Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island, Northumberland
How could you forget about this place! Lindisfarne Castle sits on top of a hill and is nothing less than spectacular!
Now then, I never got around to creating a post about visiting and there is a reason for that. The inside of the castle is a little underwhelming. There really isn’t a lot to it and just walking up to it and walking around the site is enough to enjoy the beauty of the site. If you haven’t been before then I do recommend visiting the island at least and just walking around.
However, if you want to get the full experience then by all means visit the castle. It is part of the national trust and is one of the only sites in the North which you do still have to pre-book your timeslot for visiting. Prices can be found on their website and booking information is there too.
Please Note, Lindisfarne Castle is now closed for the winter season and won’t reopen until 2nd April 2022.
In order to get to Lindisfarne you have to cross the causeway which at some point during the day, will be cut off by the tide, so planning ahead with your visit is a must! You can check the time times here.
If you want to read more about Northumberlands Castles, then check out this post.
Overview of the National Trust Membership
Our memberships were a Christmas present from my parents last year which is something I was incredibly grateful for. The membership for the two of us was £120 for the full year, which seems like a lot but let’s just tally up how much Shaun and I saved.
3x visits to Cragside in high season: £20pp = £120
2x visits to Gibside: £12pp = £48
1x visit to Lindisfarne Castle: £9pp = £18
1x visit to Wallington: £15pp =£30
1x visit to Seaton Delaval Hall: £8pp = £16
1x visit to Allen Banks: £3 all day parking
Yearly total: £235, membership cost per couple: £120, saving of £115.
So as you can see, we broke even with just the visit to Cragside we’ve made in the year. So I do think it is worth it. however I feel this year with everything being uncertain, we will take a year off and perhaps get another membership next year and see how much we miss visiting these sites.
Overall, I have absolutely loved discovering these sites and if you are looking for a reason to get outdoors and have more days out then I do really rate them! The staff are always incredible, the sites well maintained and generally great places to explore. You can have a look at joining here if I have convinced you!
Other than that, this may be my last post for 2021 and I would just like to say a huge thank you to you all for supporting mackemlife.com this year in whatever way you have. If you don’t already then consider joining my mailing list to be notified of any and all my new posts, or follow any of my socials which are linked below.
Stay Safe and Happy New Year!
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