April’s walk of the month: Cragside House

With spring flowers ready to be in full bloom this month, there’s no better time to visit the National Trust’s Cragside.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 29.03.2023

Distance: 12.4km (7.7 miles)  

Elevation: 968 feet

Time: 3 – 4 hours



The trailhead for the Cragside House Walk can be found at the Cragside car park next to the visitor centre.


We’re noticing them already: swathes of bright yellow daffodils, purple crocus and violets, tall muscari and even the occasional tulip.

Yep, spring is springing up all around us.

And it’s amazing what a little colour in the natural world can do to our mood. Add seeing these flowers dotted about the place with the clocks finally going forward last weekend and we’ve found we’ve unearthed a new lease of life.

Energy we’re determined to put to good use: by getting out and about in the fresh Northumberland air this month.

Enter: Cragside.

Walking through the gardens and forests that surround this Victorian country house (which is also known as “Britain’s original smart home”, thanks to its impressive hydraulics), is guaranteed to offer a slice of serenity among an undoubtedly busy social calendar growing ever more packed with engagements this month.

Better yet, Cragside’s gardens are known the world over for their flowers – and April is one of the best times to see them in all their glory.

Soon, you won’t be able to miss the famous ‘rhodies’ here – the long driveway up to the main house is lined with a vibrant kaleidoscope of colour, thanks to the considered planting of rhododendrons and azaleas along its entire length. It really is something to behold and is a guaranteed serotonin-booster.

The Formal Garden covers three acres and is set across three levels facing south, so as well as a gorgeous variety of flowers up close you can also enjoy views of the rolling landscape surrounding Rothbury and the Simonside Hills on a clear day.

And for anyone with little ones to entertain, hop along to Cragside during the Easter holidays and you’ll have a cracking time exploring the Easter trail – with the promise of chocolate eggs to be found at the finish line.

Relaxing, entertaining, mood-boosting – whatever you’re after from your next outdoor adventure, you’re likely to find it at Cragside.

HLN Hint: as it’s owned by the National Trust, you will need to pay a fee to visit Cragside. We’d strongly suggest you don’t miss a tour of the house while you’re here, which has an impressive collection of artefacts to explore and was used as the set for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.


Setting out from the car park, head to the southeast corner and pass by the charging station, following along Carriage Drive as it heads south towards Cragside House.

Here, you will pass by the magnificent, Victorian country house that was constructed between 1869-1895 and served as the home of industrial magnate and scientist, William George Armstrong.

After passing by (or visiting) Cragside House, continue along Carriage Drive for the next 2.7 miles as it winds through the serene woodland landscape to arrive at the shores of Nelly’s Moss (South). Just before the lake, turn right onto a footpath and follow it briefly through the tree cover to make your way along the charming shoreline of the lake.

In a third of a mile, you’ll come to a junction in the trail next to Nelly’s Moss (North). At this point, turn left and continue on for another 0.1 mile to reach the road. Turning left for a short distance, find a track on the opposite side of the road and follow it to continue on to the northwest

Here, you will come to a series of junctions in the trail. Heading left at the first and right at the second, make your way through the tranquil forest setting for another 0.3 miles, winding around the trees towards the northwest until you reach the terminus of the route. This is a great place to pause and take in the natural beauty of the forest or spread out for a picnic under the canopy of trees.

After exploring the area, simply backtrack along the same route to return to the car park having completed the Cragside House walk.


For more information about the Cragside House walk or for more walking inspo across Northumberland, visit the 10 Adventures’ website

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