We arrived on a lovely sunny day and unusually with Cragside, you pay your entrance fee/show your national trust cards whilst still in your car and then park up. Cragside is a vast estate and you can drive around the perimeter to various places of interest - we were feeling very energetic today though and chose to park in the main car park and leave it there.
We walked to the main house and picked up a simple children's trail for 50p at the entrance which kept our 7 and 5 year olds entertained. The house was absolutely amazing and we felt like we had stepped back in time. I loved how all of the rooms were beautifully furnished and sympathetic to their original style. Our 3 year old was not in the best of moods however so I waited outside with him for a lot of the time. I only managed a few pictures on my phone as I was too busy concentrating on him. This was easily the most beautiful and interesting house I have ever visited though so I will definitely be back soon without the children to properly explore more.
Next we decided to walk to the children's adventure play area. This walk is over a mile in length and mainly uphill (feels like a mountain at times) but our 3 year old managed ok and the views over the surrounding countryside were magnificent and worth it.
We loved the information posts that were situated every 100 metres - these kept us going and made the walk a little easier as we counted down how long was left to go. You can catch a free shuttle bus to the park or there is a car park next door if you don't fancy the walk.
We passed a beautifully tranquil pond and an outdoor gym en-route!
We finally arrived at the play area and were not disappointed. We stopped for a picnic on one of the tables nearby and our children played in the play area for well over an hour. There was a coffee and cold drinks kiosk outside the park so I could drink a lovely cup of coffee in the sunshine in peace. Heaven!
After the park we walked back down to the main car park (which was a lot easier than the walk up) to drop off our picnic basket and then ventured down the rock garden to the iron bridge and then down to the river to play a spot of pooh sticks. The views of the house and countryside are out of this world and I could not stop taking photographs!
We had probably walked about 5 miles by this point and our children were getting very tired. We weren't far from the Archemedes screw which had recently featured on the news with Robson Green! This is a lovely visual demonstration of how hydroelectricity works and our 5 year old in particular loved it.
We had such a busy fun-filled day at Cragside, it really is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I cannot believe we have been twice and we still have lots to see and do - I would really like to visit the tearooms for lunch one day and explore the house properly and my children are very keen to get me into the labyrinth!
Our children fell asleep within minutes of getting in our car for the drive home - just goes to prove how the great outdoors can really wear them out!