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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Exploring (or getting lost in) the Labyrinth at Cragside

We love Cragside and have visited on numerous occasions - as NT members it is free for us to explore and it's one of those places where every time you visit there is something new to discover. 

The Labyrinth at Cragside -  lake view

We started our latest visit with a picnic by the main lake near the entrance. OMG it was sooooo breezy here and Steve and I hadn't brought our coats! As soon as our picnic had been devoured we packed up and met up with grannie and grandad before driving through the estate to Crozier car park. 

The Labyrinth at Cragside - picnic tables by the lake

Crozier car park is where you park if you'd like to visit Cragside's play area and I would highly recommend you do this as it's fab and our three love it. There are loo's up here plus and ice cream/coffee kiosk and plenty of picnic tables too. Thankfully it was a lot warmer up here and actually quite pleasant. 

The Labyrinth at Cragside - play park

The Labyrinth at Cragside - play park

The Labyrinth at Cragside - play park

The kids wanted to take part in the barefoot challenge which is next to the play park and free of charge. Grandad dutifully walked around with them and I think they enjoyed it!

The Labyrinth at Cragside - barefoot walk

The Labyrinth at Cragside - barefoot walk

The Labyrinth at Cragside - barefoot walk

The Labyrinth at Cragside - barefoot walk

The main reason for our visit though had been to visit the labyrinth - a part of Cragside we had yet to explore. The labyrinth has it's own car park but we decided to walk from the play area. It's just under one mile on easy terrain and you are rewarded with spectacular views of the countryside. There are 4 'trim trails' along the way too which help to break up the journey - they are basically mini obstacle courses. 

The Labyrinth at Cragside - countryside views

The entrance to the labyrinth kind of snuck up on us but to be honest we already felt like we'd been on a bit of an adventure as we'd walked past giant boulders, dens and ancient trees. 

The Labyrinth at Cragside - about to enter the labyrinth
Looking like real adventurers as we entered the Labyrinth

Walking around the labyrinth started off well - it seemed all pretty straight forward. However as we wandered deeper into the forest we had to choose which paths to take and after a few twists and turns it's fair to say we were lost. The kids loved it and I truly think they had a real 'labyrinth' experience.

The Labyrinth at Cragside - music box in the centre

In the centre of the labyrinth is a rather magical music box which was lovely to discover. You could pedal the swan boat too to light up a light bulb which pleased little miss. 

The Labyrinth at Cragside - swan and music box

Parts of the labyrinth were very muddy, we had to duck under trees, climb hills and jump from boulders. We didn't bump into many people but when we did I asked them if they knew the way out to which they answered 'noooo' with a little bit of a chuckle. Hmmmmmm.......

In the end though, we made it! Hurrah! I have never felt more victorious. It felt like we were in there for hours but it was actually not much longer than 30 minutes........not sure if 'time flies when you are having fun' is an appropriate phrase here or not? 

The Labyrinth at Cragside - victorious
Victory is ours! We survived the Labyrinth!

We walked back to the car on familiar territory feeling very relieved and proud of our achievement. It was a real team effort (albeit with the kids leading). Map My Walk informed us we'd walked just under 2.5 miles in total (from the play area, through the labyrinth and back again).

We decided to drive back to the main car park to explore the house. It was around 4:30pm at this point and we were disappointed to see the house had already closed. I had asked on entry what time the house would close and I was told as long as you are in before 5:30 pm it's fine. Hmmmm! I have to say I was annoyed for my in laws who had actually paid the more expensive entry fee to see the house. Nevermind though I suppose - there is always next time. I would advise to anyone visiting Cragside who would like to see the house though to stop here first.

The Labyrinth at Cragside - view of the house

The Labyrinth at Cragside - Cragside house

The Labyrinth at Cragside -  Cragside House

The Labyrinth at Cragside - Cragside House

We headed down the steps from the house to the river in hope of spotting some otters. We weren't lucky on this visit but it was a lovely pleasant stroll along the bridges and there are plenty of places to stop for a spot of pooh sticks. 

The Labyrinth at Cragside - waterfall

The Labyrinth at Cragside - bridge

We ended up at the pump house near the entrance and it was nice to see this in action before it was time to climb the bank to the car park and head home. 

The Labyrinth at Cragside - archimedes screw

The Labyrinth at Cragside

We were worn out after our trip to Cragside and the kids fell asleep in the car on the way home. It is such a lovely place for a family walk. I would advise the Labyrinth on days where the ground isn't too wet and think it is best suited for school-aged children and teens. Let the children take the lead and you may be surprised and their skills. 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


  1. I love Cragside, there is so much to see. We did the house last time but I want to go back and explore the gardens. The labyrinth looks great

    1. The gardens are beautiful, especially at this time of year x

  2. Looks a great place to visit. Glad you all had fun, just a shame the house was closed when you got back.

  3. Oh wow the music box looks cool!
    Shame you disnt get to visit the house what a same. But looks like it was a great day out xx

    1. The music box was fab - we nearly missed it but a passing stranger told us where to go :D

  4. I've been obsessed with labryths ad mazes since I was little so definitely need to try this out over the summer, sleeping kids on the way home is the true sign of a great day out! X

    1. My only advice would be - pack a compass! LOL

  5. Oh wow, it looks great there. We've never been but I'm adding it to 'my list now'. I'll be sharing this tomorrow on my north east Friday.

    1. Thanks lovely - it's perfect for families x


I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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