Cambo, Morpeth, Northumberland, England, NE61 4AR. Tel: +44(0)1670 774283. Opening Dates and Times: 1st April to 30th October
Daily except Tuesday Open 1pm to 5.30pm or dusk
Also open November to March 10am to 4pm. Grounds also open: all year, d „
I recently reviewed membership of the national trust and in my review I mentioned Wallington Hall in Northumberland. As the mention was only brief I thought it was time I wrote a more in depth review, so hope it will be of interest to anyone thinking of visiting!
Wallington hall is situated in the heart of the beautiful Northumberland countryside. It is not easy to get to Wallington using public transport. However there is an infrequent bus service from Morpeth on Wednesdays and Fridays- snaiths 419.
From Newcastle the Arriva 508 runs on Sundays but only from June until October.
Wallington is 11 miles west of Morpeth near the tiny village of Cambo. If you are coming from the south then you will need to take the A 696,signposted Ponteland and the airport. This leads you to the B 6342 sign posted to Cambo. Wallington Hall is well sign posted from all directions.
What is at Wallington Hall?
Wallington hall is a large 17th century mansion. It is set in over 100 acres of parkland. When you arrive at Wallington you will notice that the lawns sweep down to the roadside. The house is easily visible from the road. Where the lawn meets the road are 4 large Griffin heads. The area surrounding Wallington hall all belongs to the national trust.
Parking is free and there are plenty of spaces. The car park is set amongst the trees and as there is no hard standing, can get very muddy when its wet. Before you leave the car park it is worth spending some time in the excellent farm shop situated in the car park. They sell lots of local produce and their vegetables are excellent! They also sell some delicious home made cakes.
From the car park it is a short 200-yard walk to the entrance hut. The hut is not set up to take credit cards. The drive to the house and grounds is another short walk. Once through the clockhouse you enter the main estate. This area contains the shop, restraurant and toilets.
I thought it would be helpful for me to give you a potted history of Wallington Hall here. In 1475 the Fenwick family, who were an important Northumberland boarder clan, lived in a Pele tower on the site. They fell on hard times and were forced to sell the site to the Blacketts. In 1688 a new house was built that incorporated the Pele tower. In 1777 the house was sold to the Trevelyan family, who rebuilt it in the Palladian style. The house has been in the care of the national trust since 1942.
The house is a square affair and to be honest looks a bit austere .The entrance is by a few stone steps, in addition there is a ramp for wheelchair users. Pushchairs are not allowed inside the house. In the centre of the house is a large hall decorated to look like an Italian courtyard. There are 8 large wall frescoes painted by Sir William Bell Scott, which depict scenes from Northumberland history. My favourites are the building of Hadrian's Wall and the Viking invasion of Tynemouth.
There are numerous rooms all containing various items of furniture, ceramics and paintings. There are lots of helpful members of staff on hand to answer any questions you may have. There is a large collection of dolls houses on view all beautifully furnished. My children really enjoy looking at all the miniature rooms. I like the fact that there are extra high viewing platforms so that children can see into each house-certainly saves having to keep lifting them up!
Upstairs are bedrooms, bathrooms and right at the top of the house is a room that houses a collection of stuffed birds and animals. There is also a collection crystals. My children were fascinated by the stuffed birds of prey. I had to reassure them that killing birds is thankfully no longer allowed!
The grounds of Wallington are for me, what makes this place so special. From the front of the house the lawns roll down to the road. I like the fact that children can play on the lawns and you will see no keep off signs here! As you would expect you are not encouraged to walk on the boarders however! The gardens were designed by Capability Brown who once went to school in the village.
Several paths lead from the house to the woods. From the house it is a two-minute walk to the adventure playground. The playground has rope swings, logs to balance on and my children's favourite- a pulley type rope swing. There are a few picnic tables in this area, so you could bring a flask and sit and watch your children having fun! The playground has been made to blend in perfectly with the surroundings.
There is a large lake complete with water birds and boathouse. Follow the signs to the animal hide and spent some time watching the many birds that come to the area to feed. Until recently this was a great place to see red squirrels. However due to a virus carried by grey squirrels the feeders have been removed. I have not seen any red squirrels here for a while now but you never know you may be lucky!
Once you have explored the woods I suggest you walk back to the house and cross the road. The path leads to a beautiful walled garden complete with large conservatory. In the spring the colours and amazing! There are plenty of benches for you to sit and enjoy your surroundings.
No day out would be complete without some kind of refreshments! We usually take a picnic when we visit Wallington, as there are plenty of places to eat. However there is a restaurant situated just beyond the clock tower. We recently had a light lunch of soup and a roll there. The soup was very good although at £4.50 a bowl was not cheap! The restaurant is situated up a steep flight of stairs, however if stairs are a problem then staff will open a downstairs seating area for you. There are a few tables outside in front of a large lawned area. We have enjoyed a pot of tea here whilst our children played on the lawn. Ball games are allowed on this lawn too!
Next to the restaurant is a small shop selling national trust goods as well as a small selection of toys. Like all these places the prices are high although most things on ofer are of good quality. There is also a plant shop with some interesting plants and shrubs of offer. There are toilets with baby changing facilities both in this area and in the house.
Dogs are allowed on a lead. There are drinking bowls provided by the entrance and near the restaurant.
The ground are a bit uneven in places but can be accessed by wheel chair users. The downstairs of the house is accessible although the upstairs is not.
Wallington often has special events. In the summer, for example, there are music concerts and theatre groups. We recently visited during Halloween and there was a fun treasure trail for children with a small prize for each child at the end.
I forgot to say that you should wear good shoes or boots when you visit Wallington especially if it has been raining, as the walks can be very muddy.
Opening times and prices.
National trust members have free admission both to the house and ground.
House gardens and grounds-adult £8.40,child £4.20 or £21.00 for a family ticket.
Garden and grounds- adult £5.80,child £2.90,family ticket £14.50.
The house is open from 15th March until 2nd November. The gardens and grounds are open all year.
Overall I highly recommend a visit to Wallington hall. It has something for everyone!
It being the summer holidays and extremely hot, we tend to try to get out and about to places less busy than the beach. Since I am a member of the National Trust, its easy as we just consult the members handbook, and off we go.
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
Wallington Hall (as I found out) dates from 1688, although I assume the house which stands there now is not that old the little bit I know about architecture tells me it mut be later. It belonged to generations of the Blackett and Trevelyan families; I am assuming these were influential families since we do now in Newcastle have a Blackett Street in the center of the city. The gardens heavily influenced by Capability Brown, who went to school in the village.
Wallington Hall is in Northumberland, about 12 miles from Morpeth. For anyone trying to find it by car, the easiest way is to get to the center of Morpeth, and from there, the B6343 is clearly signposted, as is Cambo, which is where you are heading for.
THE HALL AND GARDENS.
Its a strange place because you find yourself driving along a road, and are then suddenly informed that you are on NT land, and there is the car park. Access to the hall and gardens is via a rather impressive pedestrian only arched gateway.
There is a large expanse of lawn which leads to the actual house, which itself overlooks the Northumbrian countryside, and looks rather like a painted landscape.
I gleaned bits of information from one of the people who work there and apparently, the exterior is Palladian; all I saw was a building which was quite austere an very symmetrical,which contrasted wildly with the interior, which was all ornate plasterwork. The large hall looks like a courtyard. And there are lots of paintings of Northumberland. There are also lots of examples of ceramics, dolls houses and needlework. However, the weather being as it was outside, we didnt linger too long inside because all little miss wanted to do was get outside and have her picnic! Obviously as much a Philistine as her mum!
Outside the house is where, I think, it is special. There are long, well signposted walks, and we took the walk to the walled garden, which is fabulous- all lawns, packed borders, water features and an orchard. These lead in turn to a huge greenhouse housing plants which will presumably be put into the gardens.
Take the longer walks (we did) and you walk through vast woodland areas and you pass the Folly at Rothley Castle, as well as numerous lakes sporting lots of wildlife. These were the things which fascinated little miss- the duck which had to run along the lilly pads because there were so many of them, they had almost completely covered the water areas. On the walks, there are lots of farm animals in the fields, and if you go with children, plenty to talk about. It was at this sage that I wished I knew more about trees, or had taken a book along, because for some reason, trees and nature in general inspire lots of questions.
In amongst the wooded area is a play area with a great selection swings, rope slides, climbing frames etc. these are, as far as possible, made out of wood, and blend perfectly into the environment.
These change throughout the year so its worth contacting Wallington for information.
Opening hours for summer for the garden is 10am-7pm and 1pm-5.30pm for the house, although the house does sometimes close.
House, garden and grounds, £20 for a family,£8 adult, £4 child
Garden and grounds only, £14 family, £5.50 adult, £2.75 child.
OTHER BITS OF INORMATION
Toilets Make sure you go as soon as you get in, as the only ones I saw were by the entrance, near the shop.
Shop Sells the usual bits and pieces, as well as a good selection of reasonably priced plants and herbs, including some which are in the walled garden
Restaurant Does have a childrens menu but its all fairly limited, and most people had picnics it was very hot!
Dogs Allowed on leads, but I didnt see any, and I assume should you take a dog you would need a poop scoop but I didnt see anywhere to deposit the deposits.
Activities Lots of activities arranged throughout the year, including outdoor theatre and musical productions, nature trails, seasonal craft days. Best to phone for details.
Northumberland. NE61 4AR
Tel: 01670 773600
E mail: email@example.com
WHAT I THOUGHT
We did go on a beautiful sunny day, so had a great day out. There are somequite steep and hilly walks so if its sunny, take lots of drinks as there is nowhere to get refreshments en route. This is ok when its dry, but I would imagine that its awful when its been raining and is all muddy.
The house is impressive and has some interesting bits and pieces, but it was the grounds we were most interested in. The walled garden is fabulous, and because it wasnt overly busy, lovely to just lie in the shade. One of the things I liked about the place is that they arent precious about the lawns. There were children happily running about, playing football, and families eating their picnics under the shade. The one thing they ask is that you leave the borders alone which is a perfectly reasonable request.
The childrens play area is in a shaded place with lots of seats dotted round, so no chance of sun burn, and plenty of places for the adults to sit down while still supervising.
For a pleasant family day out amongst beautiful countryside, this is a good one.
Thanks for reading