If you’re looking for a family-friendly day out where you can take the dog for a walk, explore a perfectly preserved old manor house, wander around beautifully designed gardens and spot a variety of native wildlife, you can’t go wrong with a National Trust property. There are over 300 houses to choose from in the UK – here are seven of the best that are located in the north of England.
Dunham Massey, Cheshire
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 entire 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 their time wandering around the gardens and wider park area. Don’t miss a visit to the beautifully restored 18th-century stable block, now housing a restaurant that is flooded by light from the newly added large windows, offering beautiful views of the grounds.
Dunham Massey, Woodhouse Ln, Altrincham +44 161 941 1025
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, the house is a bit like a historical version of Wallace and Gromit, featuring many labour-saving gadgets and devices designed by Lord Armstrong himself and still on display for guests to admire. You can also visit the Electrical Room, where his experiments have been recreated for a contemporary audience. Outside, there are 1,000 acres of land to explore with paths suitable for both slow strolls and more ambitious hikes.
Cragside, Rothbury +44 1669 620333
Treasurer’s House, York
Perhaps you’d like to explore one of the most haunted National Trust properties in the UK? York is famed for its ghosts, and Treasurer’s House is no exception with its own spooky stories to tell. Many people claim to have seen the spirits of Roman soldiers in the cellar, most famously a man named Harry Martindale, who has recorded a short film talking about his experience for guests to watch as they stand in the allegedly haunted room. If you’d rather keep your distance from the spooks, the gardens won the Gold Award in the Yorkshire in Bloom competition for four years in a row, providing a complete contrast from the gloomy basement.
Treasurer’s House, Minster Yard, York +44 1904 624247
Allan Bank, Cumbria
Although the building is still very much a work in progress, Allan Bank is one of the most charming National Trust properties in the north of England. Located in Grasmere in Cumbria, this building had a very famous previous owner: William Wordsworth. Lovers of the poets work will surely relish a chance to explore his former abode, although there are many other features of the house that will appeal to anyone. The reading room is the perfect place to get comfortable on a cosy armchair, help yourself to a complimentary cup of Twinings tea and indulge in one of the many books on display. Or there is also an art room where you can unleash your creativity and draw or paint the surroundings landscapes, and a craft room with everything you need to learn how to knit.
Allan Bank, Grasmere, Ambleside +44 15394 35143
Wallington Hall, Northumberland
Home to the slightly unconventional Trevelyan family, Wallington has an unusual collection that draws in scores of visitors. The dolls’ house room contains 18 miniature houses, the oldest dating back to 1035. All of the dolls’ houses are amazingly detailed, but the star piece of the collection is the 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 houses, head outside to explore the 13,000 acres of moorlands and gardens that are begging to be discovered.
Wallington Hall, B6342, Cambo, Morpeth +44 1670 773600
Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
Calke Abbey was originally built as an Augustinian priory in the 12th century, and was handed over to the National Trust in 1985. Contrary to many of the other properties on this list, the building wasn’t in a great condition when the Trust took over, and rather than restoring the rooms, they were preserved in their current condition with peeling wallpaper and empty spaces only adding to the ambiance of the property. The collections include an array of peculiar possessions, including an assortment of stuffed animals.
Calke Abbey, Ticknall, Derby +44 1332 863822
Lyme Park, Stockport
Anyone who adored the BBC’s version of Pride and Prejudice simply has to visit Lyme Park. The beautiful lake in front of the property is the exact lake that Colin Firth emerged from in the television adaptation of the classic tale. As well as the iconic lake and huge mansion house, Lyme Park has particularly impressive grounds to explore, 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.
Lyme Park, Disley, Stockport +44 1663 762023