Room on the Broom Trail at Ushaw Durham


Room on the Broom Trail at Ushaw Durham

A new Room on the Broom themed activity trail has opened at Ushaw Historic House & Gardens in Durham. It will run from 21 January 2022 - 1 September 2022. 


Room on the Broom Trail at Ushaw Durham - trail board
Credit : Ushaw Historic House 

It is included with admission and no additional fee is required and you do not need to book - simply turn up and enjoy during usual opening hours. 

The family adventure will take you through woods, meadows, gardens and the lake at Ushaw. It is outdoor so dress appropriately for the weather. Much like the Superworm Trail at Hamsterley Forest, the trail is self-guided and can be enjoyed in your own time. 

Room on the Broom Trail at Ushaw Durham  - cauldron
Credit : Ushaw Historic House 

Ushaw state that they want their house and gardens to be accessible for all so I assume the trail will be pushchair / wheelchair friendly (please do check if this is essential for you though). 

Room on the Broom Trail at Ushaw Durham
Credit : Ushaw Historic House 

We will be reviewing this trail soon so keep your eyes peeled for more detailed information and photos. For now though, if you have any questions, please direct them to Ushaw Historic House who will be happy to help. 

Location: Ushaw Historic House and Gardens is located in Durham. Use postcode DH7 7DW. 

Room on the Broom Trail at Ushaw Durham  - map

A range of day passes and annual passes are available.

  • Day pass for the House, Chapels and Grounds:  Adults (£9), Children aged 5-18 (£6), Under 5s (free) 

  • Or you can choose to visit the Garden and Grounds only (which should include the trail - do check on arrival): Adults (£6), Children aged 5-18 (£4), Under 5s Free

  • Annual passes include unlimited entry for 12 months and parking: Adults (£19), Children aged 5-18 (£12.50), Under 5s (Free) 

  • A Family Annual Pass is available for £39 which includes 2 adults and a 'reasonable' number of children that together constitute a family unit 

  • Locals (DH7 9 / DH7 7 postcodes) are eligible for a lovely discount too (pretty much half price). 

Room on the Broom Trail at Ushaw Durham  - admission

Ushaw run lots of lovely events and seasonal activities through the year. If it was me, I would probably opt for an annual pass. You can buy an annual pass online or on the door and you can purchase day tickets on arrival. No need to book. 

Please check opening hours here before visiting. 

As well as the trail, depending on your ticket type, visitors can enjoy a range of exhibitions showcasing artwork and artefacts at Ushaw, beautiful grounds, sculptures and gardens. 

Room on the Broom Trail Review 

Thanks to our writer Gaia for this review of the Room on the Broom Trail at Ushaw House & the following photos (based on a trip in February 2022). Over to Gaia...... Highlights include:

  • Themed trail with activities along the way

  • A sticker and page of room on the broom puppets to cut out at the end

  • Historic house with trail and stamps - sticker once completed

We couldn’t have picked a worse day to visit the Room on the Broom trail at Ushaw house but high winds and icy rain don’t put us off so out we headed with waterproofs and wellies on. Our 3 and 7 year old have had Room on the Broom read to them at least 50 billion times so were very excited to check out the trail. 

We parked and paid for admission to the grounds and gardens - £6 per adult and £4 for kids aged 5-18 (which includes the trail) or you can include the house and chapel for £9 per adult and £6 per child.

The Room on the Broom trail starts straight after the car park and includes easy to spot signs and arrows with favourite characters from the story. There are little challenges at each sign which include collecting leaves and twigs to make things.

While collecting twigs and admiring a tree with a face (!) we wandered off the path and were promptly told to “stick to the path please!” by someone working there, I think they were planting shrubs nearby (which we weren’t stepping on!) this didn’t put us in the best mood and didn’t come across as very child friendly. 

Not to be put off we carried on with the trail with the wind and rain whipping us from all angles - similar weather to what the witch faces in Room on the Broom actually! The trail takes you across a field and then you see a cauldron, which the kids enjoyed putting leaves and mud into and pretending to cast a spell for a new broom.

A very friendly pheasant appeared at this point and came right up to us which was a highlight for all of us! The trail takes you through different parts of the story and is easy to follow and get involved in (especially if the weathers better and you aren’t rushing!) there are fun facts as well as activities along the trail, it goes round in a manageable to walk loop for 3 year olds and over and ends up back at the car park where a sticker and activity sheet await.

There are broomsticks dotted about the trail which are another fun thing to spot. The trail takes about 20 minutes to complete and if you are just there for the trail it’s a lot of money to pay for a short activity. There are similar trails at Hamsterley Forest etc.... and National Trust properties that also have playgrounds and more to do, and I know a few people have commented that Ushaw isn’t offering much for the amount you pay. 

The House and Chapels

After the witch’s cauldron you end up at the front of the house so we decided to head inside and warm up. The friendly lady on reception gave us a map which can be stamped at various points in the building with clues to find aswell.

We ended up getting a bit of a tour from said lady who we found out was called Kath and it was great as she really brought the history to life for all of us, pointing out the animal carvings in the ornate chapel and the fact that a room was built around a painting which survived a sinking ship. 

There are several chapels, a theatre, a secondhand bookshop and probably more but we didn’t manage to get round it all. It’s all quite religious and a similar experience to visiting somewhere like Durham Cathedral. 

Cafe A quick note to say, you can only visit the cafe if you have purchased a ticket to visit the house and chapel. There is no option to upgrade if you have paid for the garden / trail only.

We headed to the cafe for some hot drinks but unfortunately their coffee and hot chocolate machine wasn’t working which was very disappointing. They were giving out free instant coffee instead but that’s no good for kids who have been promised hot chocolates.

I had some of their soup of the day which was butternut squash and it was tasty but too peppery for the kids (3.95 with bread roll) they also sell an assortment of sandwiches, cakes, scones, chocs, crisps and some quiche and pies.

There’s no kids lunch or anything, which does seem to miss a trick if they’re trying to attract families. There’s also nowhere to eat a packed lunch inside (apparently there are benches outside but we didn’t spot these and it was too cold when we visited for al fresco dining anyway!). I love that the Baltic now has a space to eat packed lunch and wish other museums would follow suit as it makes them much more inclusive for families, especially when you’re paying an admission fee (side note from Sam - Locomotion Shildon, Life Science Centre, Whitehouse Farm, Adventure Valley, Hall Hill Farm and Discovery Museum all offer indoor picnic areas too - please let me know if you know of any others and I will turn this into a blog post). The cafe does have a selection of board games which you can borrow, which is a nice touch and there is a takeaway hut with outdoor games at peak times.

Other things for kids 

There’s no playground at Ushaw but there are wooden statues dotted about (we spotted 3 in our dash around the outside areas) and the owl statue is next to a wooden seating area and tunnel made of willow branches. 


There are toilets opposite the cafe which all ticket holders can access.

All in all I would say Ushaw would be lovely in the spring or summer and I know they hold events like outdoor cinema screenings. Running around outside and having picnics would be ideal and I’m sure their floral displays are beautiful. They do need to work on their family-friendly facilities though. On the winters day we visited the weather was not ideal and neither was being told off for not sticking to the paths and the fact the cafe couldn’t make a simple hot chocolate. The value for money at this time of year is not great, given the other options in the North East. If you do visit wrap up warm and bring a flask is my advice!


1 comment

  1. I agree the costs just recently brought in makes it expensive I used to visit with kids when the grounds previously free but £3 to park car which was so much better.
    We always took picnics, there are few tables, plenty benches & in summer a blanket on the grass.
    There is a little takeway cafe to side of building for coffees.
    They usually have loads of outdoor toys for kids like balls & hoops etc to play with.
    The trail is one small area loop, but there is a bigger walk round & remember at least 7 wooden figures. At different times of the year the gardens are beautiful so many bushes & flowers so well maintained which maybe why the staff member ask to keep to paths (maybe the tone way asked was wrong but understand why) generally we have found staff very helpful & enjoyed our trips - Only thing puts us off returning is price


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