Northern National Trusts with a bit of WOW

Did anyone else get National Trust memberships for Christmas? If you’re looking out for how to make the most of them, here are some recommendations of the best the North has to offer! There are soooooo many fantastic places to choose from that I’ve wrestled with writing this… can I really not include my beautiful local property (Nostell) that I’ve spent so many happy times at? I’ve had to be ruthless, so here we go….

Cragside, Northumberland

Yep, it’s tops another one of my lists! I think because it has EVERYTHING. An absolutely stunning house in the most amazing setting, a great history and my favourite element; miles and miles of fantastic walking trails in their impressive estate. It’s worth a holiday in Northumberland just to visit. Honestly, just go. More here.

Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire

Obviously this World Heritage site has to be included. The magnificent medieval abbey ruins are in beautiful grounds, perfect for a leisurely day exploring! There’s a great adventure playground and good, accessible paths. More here.

Stickleback and the Langdales

If you’re into the outdoors, perhaps you already have a bit of a love affair with the Langdales. The scenery is spectacular…and there are miles of walking trails to explore this piece of paradise. We love the National Trust campsite at Great Langdale, where you can start the Stickle Tarn Trail, a great short but challenging walk.

Brimham Rocks, Nidderdale

The best natural playground you could wish for! Children (and adults) of all ages will love exploring and climbing these impressive rock formations. The views over Nidderdale are both breathtaking and extensive, and on a clear day you can even see York Minster! More here.

Mam Tor, Peak District

One of the Peak District’s favourite walks, the shivering mountain is great for families, and for little ones starting at the top car park it’s a realistic summit which still can give them a good sense of achievement.

Other notable favourites

These all have their own bit of wow;

  • Longshaw Estate in the Peaks has beautiful walks, including the unmissable Padley Gorge
  • Catbells is a favourite walk for many in the Lakes.
  • Gibside, on the outskirts of Newcastle is another go to place for family walks
  • Wallington Hall has some fab play areas and the walled garden is just gorgeous
  • Clumber Park is impressive in size and the amount of things to see!
  • The Lake District’s Great Wood is a starting point for many good walks
  • Wray Castle on the banks of Windermere in the Lakes is a favourite for children
  • Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge is a must see for anyone loving stepping stones!

Visiting Morpeth, Northumberland

Northumberland is truly a spectacular place to visit; beautiful sandy beaches, stunning castles at every turn, and historic towns to explore. And yet with all those visits, I rarely hear of people visiting Morpeth.
Just 20 minutes from Newcastle and 20 minutes from the golden sands of Druridge Bay, it’s not only a great base to see the region, but also a destination in itself. As an added bonus, you might bag some bargain accommodation compared to the tourist traps of Bamburgh or Alnwick.


Things to do and places to see in Morpeth

The Walk to explore Morpeth Lady Lucy’s walk along the river is beautiful to see, and can be made into a circular route by looping behind the Abbey remains and back to the town via a spectacular viewpoint. A good description of this walk is over on the great Rucksack Rose blog here (the second walk of the short routes). Just be aware that the paths can get extremely muddy, and part of the route passes through a residential estate where I definitely thought we’d taken a wrong turn. If you want to stick to the highlights, keep to the river path, the castle remains and viewpoint.

The Full Day Out If you’re a regular reader of my blog, or follow me on social media, you might be aware of my pure love of Cragside, the best National Trust property in the country. It is simply amazing, so if you’re visiting Northumberland DO NOT MISS IT. Rather than me bang on about it again, read this blog before you go. Because you ARE going, right?

The Family Farm Our daughter LOVES a good farm. And Whitehouse Farm is a great one. There’s a wide range of animals (with ample opportunities to handle and feed), as well as indoor and outdoor play areas. So it’s a good choice for a miserable day!
The Beach Now I’m sure, being a Northerner, that I am biased, but there is nothing quite like a Northumberland beach. Absolutely nothing. And wherever we go in the world, looking at a beautiful beach, a little voice inside me is always saying “it’s not a patch on Northumberland”. Just miles and miles and miles of golden sandy beaches. You’ll often be able to find your very own peace of paradise, and be the only one on the sand.Just 20 minutes from Morpeth is Druridge Bay; a stunning seven mile stretch between Amble and Cresswell. There’s plenty for little ones to discover; and take your bucket and net for the rock pools! If it’s a windy day, you can also visit the country park, where there is a lovely walk around the Lake. Details here.

The Place to kill a few hours
Plessey Woods Country Park is just south of Morpeth, and is probably one of the best places I can think of to explore woodland. There are lots of activities for children, and I don’t just mean the play area. Fairy doors, the ogre’s swamp, a wooden drum kit and outdoor games are just some of the fun things they’ve got going on. I really love it here, and it is perfect for a time filler between bigger trips, or to get some (more) fresh air at the end of the day.


And finally… the shopping! It’s a market town! Don’t forget to drop in to Market day on a Wednesday and soak up the atmosphere. The Sanderson Arcade should also be on your itinerary, which is home to some luxury stores, as well as some well known stores. So there you have it…. some of the best things to do in and around Morpeth. It’s definitely worth considering a visit. Other blog posts covering days out in the North East include;