Amazing National Trust Properties in the North of England

Lyme Park, Disley
Stockport
Cheshire
Lyme Park, Disley Stockport Cheshire | © Andrew Hopkins / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Emma Lavelle
26 August 2020

From well-preserved manor houses and beautifully designed gardens to native wildlife spotting, there’s much to see and do at a National Trust property. From more than 300 houses across the UK, we’ve chosen the family-friendly best in the north of England.

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Natural Feature
Map View
The Great Hall at Dunham Massey, Cheshire.
© The National Trust Photolibrary / Alamy Stock Photo

Boasting one of the best deer parks in the north of England (fallow deer have roamed the estate freely since 1748), Dunham Massey is an incredible day out for the family. History buffs will enjoy visiting the grand Georgian manor house and learning about the estate’s previous owners, while nature lovers will want to spend time wandering around the gardens and wider park. Don’t miss a visit to the beautifully restored 18th-century stable block, now housing a restaurant that is flooded by light from new windows and offering fabulous views.

Cragside, Northumberland

Natural Feature, Historical Landmark
Map View

Anyone who loves the eccentric Victorians will delight in a visit to Cragside, the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity. Owned by Victorian inventor William Armstrong, it is a bit like a historic version of Wallace and Gromit – featuring many labour-saving gadgets and devices designed by Lord Armstrong himself, which are still on display. You can also visit the electrical room, where his experiments have been recreated for a contemporary audience. The house sits in 405ha (1,000 acres) of land, with paths suitable for slow strolls as well as more ambitious hikes.

Wallington Hall, Northumberland

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark, Park
Map View
Home to the slightly unconventional Trevelyan Family, Wallington Hall has an unusual collection that draws in scores of visitors. The dolls’ house room contains 18 miniature houses, the oldest dating back to 1835, all of which are amazingly detailed, but the star of the collection is Hammond House. This tiny replica home has 36 fully furnished rooms with 77 dolls occupying it. The rooms have electric lights and the house even used to have running water. Once you have finished admiring the tiny houses, head outside to explore the 5,261ha (13,000 acres) of moorlands and gardens.

Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View
Calke Abbey Estate, Derbyshire
© Nick Harrison / Alamy Stock Photo

Built as an Augustinian priory in the 12th century, Calke Abbey was handed over to the National Trust in 1985, but unlike many of the other properties on this list, it wasn’t in great condition. Rather than restoring the rooms, however, the Trust decided to preserve them as they were, with peeling wallpaper and empty spaces only adding to the ambience. The collections include an array of peculiar possessions, such as an assortment of stuffed animals.

Lyme Park, Stockport

Natural Feature
Map View

Anyone who’s a fan of the BBC’s version of Pride and Prejudice simply has to visit Lyme Park. The spectacular lake in front of the property is where Colin Firth emerged, dripping, as Mr Darcy. As well as the lake and mansion house, Lyme Park has particularly impressive grounds, with manicured gardens, a deer park, woodland and sprawling moorland. For the best views, head up to the Cage, or take a hike past the deer sanctuary to the Lantern Building.

Nostell

Architectural Landmark, Park
Map View

A marvel of 18th-century craftsmanship, Nostell is, in fact, best known for its collection of furniture, designed by Thomas Chippendale, the majority of which can still be seen and appreciated. The 121ha grounds (300 acres) include wildflower meadows, lakes and a forest, and there’s even an adventure play area, in case you need an extra incentive to convince the little ones to tag along.

Nunnington Hall

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark, Park
Map View

North Yorkshire is a region of amazing vistas, and many can be found along the route of the River Rye, including Nunnington Hall. Dating back to the 13th century, this manor house boasts a walled garden, meadows, a rotating photography exhibition schedule and perhaps most excitingly, a resident pride (yes, pride, look it up) of peacocks who freely wander the grounds looking pretty.

Wentworth Castle Gardens

Historical Landmark, Botanical Garden
Map View
Early summer planting in the Victorian flower garden at Wentworth castle gardens near Barnsley, Yorkshire, England.
© Andrew Kearton / Alamy Stock Photo

Near Barnsley, in South Yorkshire, Wentworth Castle Gardens only exists because Thomas Wentworth was jealous that his cousin had inherited the family home, so he took it upon himself to build something better nearby. Petty? Well, yes, very, but the results speak for themselves. It is the only Grade I-listed landscape in South Yorkshire, and stretches seemingly endlessly with green and woodland. Also in situ is Stainborough Castle, a sham castle with what looks like a more ancient design than the other structures around. Don’t be fooled.

Speke Hall

Building, Historical Landmark
Map View
Speke Hall North Front
© Ruth Craine / Alamy Stock Photo
The River Mersey is in many ways the lifeline of the northwest, running through Lancashire and branching out in Liverpool to the Irish Sea. There are many old estates on it, and Speke Hall is one of the biggest and best. It was built by the influential Norris Family in the Tudor era, and now sits as a monument to the various periods of turmoil it lived through. You can trace the timeline of the restorations made to the house in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, as well as exploring the gardens and woodland nearby.

Seaton Delaval Hall

Historical Landmark, Architectural Landmark, Park
Map View

Northumberland offers plenty to see and do, and visiting the former home of a family of certified maniacs should be one of them. Just north of Newcastle, Seaton Delaval Hall was once home to the Delaval family, who were in every sense the party animals of their day. Georgian aristocracy was known for its foppish decadence, and the Delavals were known for throwing huge parties and pranking each other – one of the beds in the house was built so that it could be lowered into a tank of cold water. While such prank rooms are no longer there, the hall and gardens offer plenty to see and do.

Additional reporting by Callum Davies

These recommendations were updated on August 26, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.