Located near the town of Rothbury in Northumberland, Cragside is one of the most popular attractions of the National Trust.

The house

Cragside was the home of Tyneside industrialist and innovator William Armstrong.

Armstrong was ahead of his time when he filled Cragside with ingenious electrical gadgets, making it the first house in the world to be lit using hydroelectric power.

Wonders included a hydraulic jigger-engine passenger lift, a water-powered rotary spit in the kitchen, one of the earliest dishwashers, hot and cold running water, Turkish baths and an impressive collection of arts and crafts.

The grandest room of the house is the Drawing Room. With its huge intricately carved marble fireplace, ornate plasterwork and a number of important paintings including a Turner.

The exterior of the house is eye catching! Part Gothic and part Tudor with many gables, tall chimney stacks, high-pitched roofs and timber additions.

The grounds

The house is built into the craggy sandstone hillside and makes use of the rocks to create romantic vistas.

All the Scots pines, firs, redwoods, azaleas and rhododendrons surrounding the house were planted by Armstrong. It is said that they dug in seven million trees and bushes!

The glen north-west of the house is spanned by an iron bridge, crossing the Debdon Burn at some height offering a superb view of the house through the trees.


Within the wider grounds, there are 40 miles of footpaths, so we suggest you explore the grounds on foot.

With 14 waymarked walks to choose from, you can discover a different corner of Cragside every time you visit.

On a rainy day you can explore Cragside by car via the circular 6-mile Carriage Drive.

Starting at the archway of the House, the drive was originally created for Lady Armstrong to view the estate while horse-riding and driving. This scenic route gives you access to the upper estate and to Cragside’s extensive network of walks.

Images by Cool Places Britain

Cool Places to Explore: Northumberland Coast AONB | Coquetdale | Wallington Hall & Garden | Dunstanburgh Castle | Alnwick Castle | Holy Island of Lindisfarne | Howick Hall & Garden.