This pioneering home is filled with Victorian gadgets for efficient and modern living. With man-made lakes, foaming waterfalls, and swathes of rhododendron, this 1000-acre fantasy mountain landscape was envisioned by inventor and arms manufacturer Lord William Armstrong, with his wife Lady Margaret Armstrong charged with leading its creation.
On your visit take a stroll through the winding path in the Pinetum. This collection of non-native coniferous trees, planted especially for their scale and size, is home to some of the tallest of they kind in the UK. You can enjoy a burn-side walk and hear the peaceful sound of the water burbling and birds tweeting in nearby trees before climbing the stone steps through the Rock Garden. Filled with rhododendron, this impressive garden flowers every June, framing the House in a sea of colour. Experience the change in season at the Formal Garden, a three-tiered masterpiece complete with loggia and quatrefoil pool on the Italian Terrace, an Orchard House, Fernery and gothic-revival Clock Tower, looking out of the coquet valley below.
You can see the whole estate by car on the Carriage Drive where way-marked walks, hilltop lakes and wildlife are waiting to be discovered.
If you are visiting with the kids, a trip to the adventure play area is a must. There lots of swinging, gliding and sliding to be had and friends to be made; and with the den building area next door you the whole family can get involved in creating a spectacular grand design.
For budding adventurers, stop by the labyrinth - a large, tangled maze of rhododendron. Perfect for the ultimate game of hide and seek, search the weaving paths for William the wizard and the story-tellers chair. Only those skilled enough will find Nelly's Den at its centre.
If you're feeling hungry on your adventures, there are three eateries at Cragside. Fuel up with a breakfast roll before exploring or stop by later in the day for lunch at the tea rooms. There's a selection of hot and cold options as well as freshly made bakes and cakes. The Still Room (open seasonally) can be found at the House. It's a great spot for grabbing something while on the go. Pick up a sandwich and a drink for your bag before heading up hill along the Gun walk. If you are running around the play area is Crozier's kiosk (also open seasonally). You can cool off with an ice cream or enjoy some snacks on one of the nearby picnic tables.
Take home a souvenir or find a gift for a loved with a trip to the shop. Also at the visitor centre, the shop's shelves are stocked full gifts by local designers and makers, sweet treats, books for all ages and home accessories. You can even find a plant for your garden so you can remember you visit every time in flowers.
Please wear sturdy footwear and weather appropriate clothing on your visit. The terrain at Cragside is hilly, with steep drops in places. The walking routes are uneven with many on gravel and stone paths.