Thorp Perrow in Autumn

This post is based on a visit in October 2023. Please check with venue direct for the most up to date information. 

I have wanted to visit Thorp Perrow near Bedale for ages! I know that Autumn is the best time to visit to see all the trees in their stunning autumn shades but for whatever reason have never made the 1hr 20min journey from our home in Cramlington until now. I am SO pleased we finally made it! Thorp Perrow really lived up to my expectations.  

  • A 50 minute drive down the A1 from Durham
  • Not easily accessible by public transport 
  • Under 4s and Carers go free, admission is fairly expensive at £44.65 for 2A, 2C (worth it though)
  • Stunning walks with beautiful trees and colourful displays - some of the best in the UK 
  • Dogs on leads welcome in the grounds (not the Birds of Prey/Mammal Centre/Tea Room)
  • Admission includes entry to the Birds of Prey Centre with over 100 birds & three displays across the day 
  • Admission also includes entry to the Mammal Centre with Goats, Meerkats and walk through Wallabies (you can also buy animal feed) 
  • Nice Adventure Playground 
  • Fabulous Halloween Trail runs until 5 November 
  • Pop Up Pizza until 5 November with covered outdoor seating 
  • Accessible for mobility scooters and all terrain pushchairs - some areas are muddy so stroller style pushchairs/manual wheelchairs may struggle in some areas at this time of year. You can avoid most of the muddy parts if needed  
  • I'd recommend at least 1/2 day for a visit, you could easily stay all day 
  • Wear wellies and take a change of shoes for the drive home if there's been a bit of rain 

Location & Admission at Thorp Perrow 

Thorp Perrow is located just off the A1 near Bedale/Northallerton. If travelling by car, it should take around 1hr 15 mins from Newcastle and around 50 minutes from Durham. There is free onsite parking. 

There is no public transport info on their website and from what I can see, there isn't a bus stop nearby. I think the closest is outside The Castle Arms Inn which is a 20 minute walk along country roads to the entrance and would take around 3.5-4 hours from Newcastle with several changes.

It's not really a trip I'd recommend by public transport but probably is acheviable if you're keen. 

It's not a cheap day out, we paid £53.50 family entry (2A,3C) + £1.87 booking fee online (so £55.42 in total) plus £2.50 for our Halloween Trail sheet. It does mention that you should book online to get the best price but for us, the price with the online booking fee was only 8p cheaper than paying on the door so it doesn't really save you much. 

It also says they strongly advise booking ahead in case they reach capacity  however today it was busy but I would say most people were just paying on the door. I'd certainly do this next time. 

When you book ahead online you book an arrival time slot but don't worry if you're running late/early, they'll still accommodate you. 

They're open daily for the rest of the year (except Christmas Day) from 10am-5pm (tea room and home/gardens close at 4pm). We arrived at around 11:15am and did find it to be pretty busy, it was noticably quieter after 2pm and we said if we visited again, we'd head over late afternoon instead.  

You can save a bit of cash by using the 2for1 Gardeners World Deal which usually comes out in April/May each year.

This offer is not valid in the months of March, April, August, October or November so quite restrictive! I might try using it at the start of May in the hope of seeing the end of the blossom or February in hope of seeing the first bluebells and snowdrops. 

Thorp Perrow Arboretum 

An Arboretum is a Botanical Garden devoted to trees. As someone who loves visiting gardens, I've visited a few in my time and have to say this one is outstanding! It's packed with so much colour and is home to 51 Champion Trees and 5 National Plant Collections. It's stunning and a wonderful place to explore and have a potter. You just don't know what you'll see next. 

I could not find an access statement on the Thorp Perrow website but I did see quite a few people with mobility scooters and pushchairs - I'd recommend an all terrain type pushchair rather than a more flimsy umbrella type one. Someone had one like this and ended up with so many leaves being stuck around the wheels. 

The walkways are mostly accessible and surfaced but there were some areas which were grassed and pretty muddy too. These can be avoided though if needed. 

You can hire a mobility scooter direct from Thorp Perrow if you call 01677 427 203 

It was our first visit and I wished we'd been given a normal map as well as the Halloween trail as we didn't really know where we were going and although there were signposts, they were mostly animal symbols and we didn't know what they meant. If you're a first time visitor, make sure you ask for a map.

We did enjoy our wander but I'm certain we probably missed some parts. 

The lake by the house is beautiful and you can see ducks and swans here. There is a little jetty you can walk out onto. 

Walking through the trees brought me so much joy. It's a perfect autumn outing. I'd love to visit out of school holidays when it wasn't so busy and just spend an afternoon enjoying nature and taking photos. Bliss! 

Dogs at Thorp Perrow 

Dogs on leads are welcome across all of the grounds and it's a beautiful place for a walk. Fozzy loved it and there were plenty of other dogs to meet along the way. It is muddy in places.

We walked around 5000 steps and covered around 2.5km so it's not a huge walk, I do think you could extend it but I think 5km would maybe cover it all. 

Dogs are not permitted in the Birds of Prey Centre, Mammal Area or Tea Room. There is a little dog station where you can secure your dog if you're by yourself and want to visit these areas but that isn't an option for us with Fozzy (he'd howl the place down!).

We just left Fozzy with Harry who walked around with him when we went in to see the animals as he wasn't too bothered. 

There are plenty of waste bins, dog water bowls and there are picnic tables and covered outdoor seating areas too. Overall, I'd say it's a pretty good place for a dog walk although there are restrictions in place. 

Thorp Perrow Dog Walk

Birds of Prey & Mammals at Thorp Perrow

There is a mammals section where you can walk through a wallaby enclosure and see some goats and meerkats. You can buy food from the gift shop next to the entrance to feed the wallabies if you want to. I wouldn't recommend doing this as they didn't seem that bothered.

That didn't deter some families though who climbed over the fence and started approaching the wallabies to feed them. Erm the fence is there for a reason. Luckily the wallabies just hopped away rather than getting angry. 

We did find it strange that there were no staff around the animals at all. The gate is supposed to work like one of those where you go through one gate, close it, then open the other as a precaution. It was just a free for all when we visited with people just holding both gates open. 

Maybe we just visited when staff were on a break? The enclosures did seem nice and the animals well cared for. 

Thorp Perrow Wallabies

Thorp Perrow Meerkats

There is also a pretty big Birds of Prey Centre which is excellent. They have loads of birds on display including lots of owls, hawks, falcons, kookaburra and more. In fact there are over 100 birds here. The Snowy Owls stole the show for me - absolutely adorable. 

If you visit in Spring from April onwards, you should be able to see some fluffy chicks. 

The Birds of Prey Centre run the following activities across the day (subject to weather/conditions). No need to book - just pop along. It's all included with your ticket cost too. 

  • 11:30am - Meet the Owls 
  • 1:30pm - Bird of Prey Flying Display 
  • 3:30pm - Bird of Prey Flying Display 
I'm pleased we didn't skip past the Birds of Prey section and that Harry kindly offered to stay outside with Fozzy as it was excellent. 

Thorp Perrow Birds Of Prey

We caught some of 'Meet the Owls' which was brill - educational and fun! We got to see some of the owls fly and up close. 

Thorp Perrow Owl Flying

Food Options at Thorp Perrow 

There were a few options for food and drinks when we visited: 

The main tea room at the entrance.

This looked lovely and judging off their instagram they serve epic hot chocolates! They use local suppliers and serve light bites, lunches, refreshments, children's options, cakes and more.

There is indoor seating (no dogs) or covered and uncovered outdoor seating or you could just grab a hot drink to enjoy as you walk through the grounds. 

Thorp Perrow Tearoom Menu

Thorp Perrow Kids Menu

Pop Up Bute Pizza 

Bute Pizza are running a pop up near the Birds of Prey Centre every weekend in October and daily from 28 October - 6 November. There was a queue when we arrived but they were super efficient - in fact the most efficient pizza place we've ever ordered from.

They were super organised with pizzas constantly being prepped and ready to go and their huge pizza oven could cook several pizzas at once. 

They accept cash or card and sell cold drinks and local brownies too. We paid £45 for 4 pizzas and 4 soft drinks and they were lovely. 

I will say, there are picnic tables under cover and several benches but they were all taken when we visited and there was nowhere in the vicinity to sit. We did walk around for a bit to try and find a free bench but couldn't find one so in the end just ate them standing up which wasn't easy whilst holding Fozzy at the same time but we managed. 

I'd recommend brining a waterproof picnic blanket (which you'd have to wash when you get home as it's pretty muddy) just in case the same thing happens to you. 

Pizza at Thorp Perrow

Pop Up Refreshment Van 

There was also a refreshment van near the Birds of Prey Centre serving hot and cold drinks and lighter bites like sandwiches and crisps and you can buy drinks and ice creams in the Birds of Prey Gift Shop. Everywhere seemed to accept cash or card. 

I loved the pizzas and if they're there next time we visit, I'll get one again. I would also love to try a hot chocolate from the tea room. 

Halloween Trail at Thorp Perrow 

In 2023, the Halloween Trail runs daily from 7 October - 5 November. You can purchase a trail on arrival for £2.50 per person (bring cash if you don't need to pay admission as well) or add one onto your online booking and collect it when you check in. 

You are given a trail map and your prize at the same time (it's a make at home skull decoration craft kit which is pretty good). There are also signs for you to follow along the way. 

The basis is of the trail is, you need to find certain skeltons and scenes along your walk. I would say one map per family is enough (unless you specifically wanted more than one prize). I would personally just buy one trail and bring my own little prizes for everyone if I had more than one child. 

Thorp Perrow Halloween Trail Map

The Halloween Trail is fantastic! It's not just a few skeletons hanging around, lots of effort has clearly been put into creating intricate scenes. It's not too scary and suitable for all ages. The younger kids along the trail were having so much fun and were very excited at all the different scenes. It was cute!

 My teens didn't show quite so much enthusiasm but I did spot them taking their own photos which to me, is a sign they're enjoying it. 

As an adult, I really loved the displays and it definitely put me in the mood for spooky season. 

Some of the scenes have added sound effects and for some you need to clap your hands for something to happen. 

This scene below was my favourite as we had the exact same pushchair when the kids were little and it could have easily been us / will be us when we're grandparents. Loved my Baby Jogger! 

Thorp Perrow Adventure Playground 

Finally, there is a pretty decent adventure playground towards the entrance. It was so busy (as expected) so I couldn't really take many photos but there were climbing areas, zip wires and little dens to hide in. I also noticed a Halloween rock painting activity set up nearby which looked cute. 

Thorp Perrow Adventure Playground

Ah what a lush day! Thorp Perrow is somewhere I'd recommend for a romantic stroll / catch up with friends or with kids young and old - there's something for all ages. 

The entrance fee is fairly expensive but I do feel like you get good value with the beautiful walks and nature plus the Birds of Prey and Mammal Centre which is all included. I will definitely visit again. 

Find out more: Thorp Perrow Website 


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