14 Reasons to Visit Seaton Delaval Hall

This post was first published in August 2020 and updated in October 2020.

Beautiful gardens near Whitley Bay with a surprise around every corner. Perfect for a stroll (many areas are suitable for a pushchair) or as a place for little ones to run about. You can grab a coffee / ice cream from the kiosk and toilets are open. Dogs are welcome on leads. 

We are National Trust members yet have not really made use of our membership this summer. We have used our National Trust membership to visit Dunstanburgh Castle (book your timeslot via the English Heritage website and just type National Trust when it asks for your membership number - do not forget to take your cards when you visit). 

Other than that though, we have not booked anything. I think the main reason is you need to book ahead and as we would only really visit on a weekend, you need to book 8 days in advance and I am just not keen on booking something when I do not know what the weather is going to be like. Trying to bring three tweens / teens out for a walk in the pouring rain is never going to work. I do understand why pre-booking is required though and hopefully it will not be forever. 

For most North East properties, booking slots are released just after midnight on Thursday evening / Friday morning for the following Monday-Sunday. I stayed up late to get tickets to Seaton Delaval Hall but others have mentioned you can usually bag a slot if you try as soon as you wake up on Friday morning. Slots can be reserved free of charge for members (you need your membership number) or you can pay if you are not a member. 

I mainly wanted to visit Seaton Delaval Hall as it is only a few miles from our home in Cramlington. I have also been following their Curtain Rises project closely and was keen to see the developments. 

We lucked out with the weather and it was a beautiful sunny day. We booked a Saturday 3pm slot. Arrival is a little different to usual, you check in while you are still in your car - you will see a member of staff as you approach the car park. Let them know your name and they will tick you from their list. Park up and enter through the gate.  

14 Reasons to Visit Seaton Delaval Hall 

The first 13 points in this post are based on a visit in Summer 2020. Scroll to the end for an Autumn update and information / photos of the new play park. Protocols and opening may have changed since I first published this post so please always check with their website direct before making plans and setting off. 

Before I continue with the rest of this post, I will say that it was not Harry (13), Heidi (11) and Jack's (9) favourite day out. I think they are sick to the back teeth of going out for walks.

I had a mini argument with Heidi as we left because her hair was a mess (anyone else's tween have hair that is constantly a tatty mess) and Jack is going through a phase where he says we hate him all of the time. Apparently today we hated him because his carton of juice was too small!

The kids were pretty moody throughout but sometimes they are and that is just life. I refuse to pander them and only do things they love though. Myself and Steve really wanted to visit and being part of a family means you compromise on stuff like this. 

1 - Lots of hand sanitiser & no masks/face coverings needed

There are hand sanitising stations throughout the site which you are encouraged to use and as you are always outdoors and gardens are not on the list of places you need to wear a face covering, it is not required. 

I am not against wearing a mask or face covering at all but it is nice not having to worry about it / carry one around with you. Of course if you wish to wear one, you can. Nobody wore one on the day of our visit. This may change as more of the hall begins to open so please do bring a face covering with you and ask on arrival. On 8 August however, they were not compulsory as everything is outdoors. 
2 - Very easy to socially distance
There is loads of outdoor space at Seaton Delaval Hall and admission is restricted with reduced numbers. It is so easy to socially distance and never felt crowded for us. Some people have visited and commented that they have felt like the only ones there. 

3 - Peek at the South West Gardens 
The South West Gardens are part of the renovations that have been happening thanks to Heritage Lottery funding. They are so different and you may stumble upon a couple of surprises which have been designed by William Hardie and incorporate the mischief that the Delavals are known for. 
4 - A surprise around every corner 
Seaton Delaval is smaller than some other NT sites but it is full of surprises. There are lots of hidden paths and corners to peer around. If you see a little gap in a hedge, poke your head through and you may be in for a surprise. 

The gardens are not fully open due to COVID 19 but we did spot a couple of exciting features which I am sure will be unveiled in due course. 

5 - Views for days 
The views are just fantastic - they span for miles and you can spot the sea too. 

6 - There are horses
If your children love horses, there is a field of them right by the car park. Obviously, do not feed or disturb them but I remember my three always loved waving hello to them when they were little. 

7 - Stunning architecture
You may not be allowed inside of the hall at the moment but you can fully walk around the outside and admire the beautiful building and see some of the renovations too. 

8 - Meet a friend for a coffee 
Trying to find a spot for a quiet coffee with a friend can be tough at the moment but as National Trust limit numbers, you are guaranteed to find a spare table / seat. Tea, coffee and ice creams are served from a little hatch so you do not need to go indoors.

It is a little on the pricey side (£1 for Pom Bears) but these places always are. We bought a round of soft drinks for £11.25 which actually wasn't too bad. Payment is by card / contactless and if you buy something from the cafe, you are helping out the charity so it has a feel-good factor too. 

I love the attention to detail including little queue markers for socially distancing. 

9 - Enjoy the beautiful gardens 
I have always enjoyed the gardens at Seaton Delaval Hall but if you follow me on Instagram you will know that like many of the population, I have taken up gardening this year. I love my new hobby and walking around the gardens admiring the plants is even more interesting for me now. I could visit for the flowers alone. There are so many plant varieties to enjoy. 

10 - A quiet spot for a picnic 
I am regularly asked for recommendations for quiet picnic spots, well now I have the answer. There are plenty of picnic tables and seating dotted about the site. Bring snacks / a full picnic or just a flask of coffee and enjoy the peace and quiet & space. 
11- The Laburnum arch is still there
The Laburnum Arch is a bit of an institution and I know when the renovation project was announced, many people were worried it would disappear. It is going nowhere and although it is not in full bloom at the moment, we still love walking through it. 
12 - Toilets are open 
The new toilets next to the Brewhouse are open - the lady on arrival mentioned that they hope to open the brewhouse in a few weeks. I cannot wait to visit! 

13 - A feast for the senses 
Seaton Delaval Hall really is one of those places that is a feast for the senses. I love the colourful borders, the sound of trickling water in the pond and the beautiful scent of the roses as you walk past the rose garden. 
14 - The Play Park 

The play park is now open! Yeah! You will find it in the North West woods (admissions will point you in the right direction). There is a one way system in place (walking in and out of the park rather than around the equipment), hand sanitiser on arrival and no food or drink is allowed in the area for now. 

It was great fun and Heidi, Evan and Jack loved playing the floor is lava. I would say it is best suited to under 10s who like to use their imagination. The park is in the middle of a wooded area so there might be a few spiderwebs / creepy crawlies around. I am sure once the park has some use, they will hide though! 

Need to know: 

  • Tickets should be pre-booked online. Tickets are released in the early hours of Friday morning for the week ahead and available on a first come, first served basis. It is free for members to visit, admission charges apply (and can be paid online) for non-members. Sometimes there may be space to accomodate people who just turn up on a weekday but I strongly advise booking ahead to avoid disappointment. 
  • Once you have been admitted, you can stay on site for an unlimited amount of time until closing
  • Click here to read their accessibility statement 
  • Ample free parking and accessible by public transport (X7 but double check this before setting off )
  • Toilets are open including baby changing and accessible
  • A small selection of takeaway drinks and snacks are available from a kiosk 
  • Dogs on leads welcome
  • Picnics allowed 
  • Find out more and book online here
  • Nearby: St Mary's Lighthouse and island (perfect for rockpooling but check tide times), East Cramlington Nature Reserve, Whitley Bay Beach & Spanish City are all within a few miles drive. 
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Thank you for your support as always. 

Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area, leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Remember face coverings are required for indoor attractions / shops for those aged 11+ (usual exemptions apply)  

Check for local lockdowns / travel restrictions before visiting anywhere. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed after this post was published. 


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