Heritage Open Days: 10 National Trust places which are unveiling their secrets for free
On selected dates from September 13-22, a number of National Trust places across the North East will throw open their doors to celebrate Heritage Open Days.
By Katy Wheeler
Published 9th Sep 2019, 06:00 GMT
Updated 9th Sep 2019, 06:00 GMT
We’ve rounded up ten of the best historical gems that non-National Trust members, as well as members, will be able to visit for free.
1. Cragside, Rothbury, Northumberland, September 19 10am-5pm
Enter the world of Lord Armstrong - Victorian inventor, innovator and landscape genius. Cragside house was truly a wonder of its age – it was the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity and is crammed full of ingenious gadgets, most if which still work. Outside, one of the largest rock gardens in Europe leads down to the Iron Bridge, which in turn leads to the formal garden, and there are miles of path through the towering fir trees and past man-made lakes. Look out for the tallest Scots Pine in the UK – it’s 40m (just over 131ft) tall! Children will love the adventure play area, exploring Nelly's Labyrinth, a network of paths and tunnels cut out of a vast area of Rhododendron forest and meeting Douglas, the huge face carved from a fir tree. Photo: National Trust
2. Wallington, near Morpeth, September 17, 10am-5pm
Sitting in a rural corner of Northumberland yet only 20 miles North West of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Wallington is a large estate where an historic house meets rolling hills and extensive woodland and gardens. Once home to the unconventional, socialist Trevelyan family, the informal house displays beautiful collections, whilst the three outdoor play areas capture the spirit of the adventurous Trevelyan children. Take time to explore the gardens and woodland and keep your eyes peeled for the native wildlife – from red squirrels and nuthatches to white-clawed crayfish and otters. Stroll along the River Wansbeck on a 3km circular walk, where only the sound of trickling water and birdsong disturb the peace, and spend time in the tranquil walled garden, with an Edwardian Conservatory that’s full of colour all year round. For an active adventure, hire a bike or bring your own and tackle the Dragon cycle trail on two wheels and be inspired by far-reaching views across the Northumbrian countryside. Refuel at the Clocktower Café and treat yourself to gifts and souvenirs from the shops and plant centre. Photo: National Trust
3. Souter Lighthouse, Marsden, September 21 & 22, 11am–5pm
Visit for free over this weekend and discover why Souter Lighthouse truly was 'a Marvel of its age'. It was the first lighthouse in the world designed and built to be powered by electricity and it remains an iconic beacon on the coastline midway between the Tyne and the Wear. Climb the 76 steps to the top of the tower, visit the Victorian Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage to learn about the life of a Lighthouse Keeper and his family, and discover the Engine Room and fully working machinery which operates the foghorn. There’s also a new audio-visual exhibition uncovering the lost village of Marsden, a colliery village which used to be to the north of the lighthouse before being demolished soon after the pit closed in 1968 – explore the stories, memories and images of life in this once-thriving community. Photo: Stu Norton
4. Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island, September 21, 11am–5pm
Travel across the causeway to Holy Island and discover this magical place. Lindisfarne Castle was converted by famed architect Sir Edwin Lutyens into a private holiday home for Edward Hudson, founder of Country Life magazine. This year, this atmospheric and romantic castle, without the majority of its furniture, is hosting a contemporary exhibition bringing to life the last 500 years of the castle's history. Beyond the castle, you can explore the intimate Gertrude Jekyll walled garden, discover Victorian lime kilns and visit the National Trust shop. Find out more: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lindisfarne-castle Photo: National Trust