One of the best parts of running our holiday cottage is undoubtedly getting to meet our guests, hearing why they’ve come to Northumberland and what they hope their visit will hold for them.
Part of the charm of Northumberland is undoubtedly the sparse and often remote countryside which can mean that towns and the picturesque villages and the visitor attractions are relatively spread out.
We know first hand that some guests are uncertain where to begin to ensure they make the most of their stay and with so much to see and do in our lovely County and with such a huge offer of places to visit it really is no wonder that choosing can be difficult.
One of our all time favourite days out has to be Wallington Hall, a National Trust beauty that we quite simply love to visit. This elegant 17th century mansion is built around the core of an earlier medieval house and pele tower and is set in acres of beautiful gardens, woodland, nature trails, ponds and even a hidden walled garden and restored Edwardian greenhouse.
Wallington Hall is just a 30 minute drive from St Oswald’s Farm, leaving you time to indulge with a lie-in before setting off to enjoy a relaxing day out. Heading north-east on the B6342 will take you on a scenic route through some lovely rural countryside and small hamlets.
Twenty minutes into the journey you’ll spot Kirkharle Courtyard, and with a small number of craft shops, galleries, a lakeside walk and a cafe it’s the perfect stop for coffee or a late breakfast, they open at 10am and serve a delicious brunch menu.
Kirkharle is in fact the birthplace of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, an English Landscape Architect born in the early 18th century and once described as the Shakespeare of Gardening and as England’s Greatest Gardener! The courtyard at Kirkharle holds an exhibition of his life and work and you can even admire a recently created piece of Capability Brown’s design which has now been made a reality.
Following the discovery of long forgotten plan by Brown, the past 10 years have seen the creation of a serpentine lake surrounded by swathes of new planting. The project began in 2009 and visitors can now enjoy the 1km walk around the lake and there are several benches and viewpoints to sit and take in the design and landscape as once envisaged by Lancelot Brown himself.
A further 10 minute car journey takes you to Wallington Hall itself, and as the Mansion comes into view with its Ha-Ha and Griffin Heads it’s unmistakable. A visit to this impressive and once home of Sir Charles Trevelyan gives insight into this remarkable man and his unconventional family. You can explore the history of Northumberland in huge pre-Raphaelite paintings around the Central Hall or take time to admire the furniture and occasional quirky curiosities in every room.
The Trevelyan family loved being outdoors and close to nature, and the house and grounds are testament to that. The natural yet landscaped gardens are in the style of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, who schooled just around in the corner in the village of Cambo, and the gardens compliment the rural Northumberland setting. There are plenty walks to enjoy, lakes, farmland and woodlands to admire, with lots of places to sit quietly and take in the abundant beauty. Don’t forget to keep your eyes open for wildlife hides, as you never know what you might spot!
The path through the East Wood is a mass of towering trees, colourful shrubs and huge ponds, and is also home to red squirrels, otters, bats and great spotted woodpeckers. Whichever path you take through the East Wood, whether it’s the Serpentine Path, the Centenary Walk with views over to Paine’s Bridge or the longer path that loops around the China Pond and past the impressive Portico House, you can revel in the nature and soak up the tranquility of the landscape.
When you reach Garden Pond, a mini-lake often covered in waterlilies and home to a family of geese, you will catch a glimpse of the jewel in this very large crown, the enchanting Walled Garden. Hidden beyond Neptune’s Gate at edge of the wood, the Walled Garden is an unexpected treat. Although originally built to grow fruit and vegetables, this irregular shaped Walled Garden is now filled with colourful planting & decorative shrubs. Stone steps runs down either side of the Mary Pool, a pond of clear water which feeds the stream that continues down through the garden. Further on yew hedges hide a small nuttery with spring bulbs and ornamental trees, while the cut flower borders erupt with colour through the summer months.
As with most National Trust properties there are toilets, a cafe and gift shop. There are plenty of walks to choose from and all signed so you can pick the one suitable for you, a gentle 1 mile stroll or even a 6 mile hike if you need to burn off that indulgent brunch! With the house and grounds to explore it would be easy to spend 3 to 4 hours at Wallington Hall or you may need slightly longer if you’re going on a longer walk or looking to soak up the atmosphere with coffee and a piece of cake!
Wallington Hall is truly a joy to explore, you’ll find picnic benches and areas to pop down a rug to soak up the summer sun, the colours are something to behold during autumn but yet the displays of snowdrops and crocuses in the Spring ensure a visit to Wallington Hall is a great day out all year round. We hope you love it as much as we do!
If your day out in this breathtaking part of Northumberland has left you in need of refreshment and you’re looking for a pub, real ales, log fire and great food, make your way back but take a quick detour at Chollerton and on to Barrasford and head to the Barrasford Arms where you will find a warm welcome and superb food.
There really is no end of wonderful days out to be enjoyed in Northumberland, whether you’re planning your first visit, you’re visiting for the second or the hundredth time you’ll be sure to leave with fond memories of your time here. If you’d like to enjoy all that’s on offer in Northumberland and stay in an award winning 5* cottage here on top of Hadrian’s Wall itself you can find all prices & availability here. We look forward welcoming you to Northumberland and to St Oswald’s Farm!