Nelly Elliott

Newcastle based person, she/her, mama, creative, colourful, caffeinated, plus-size fashion lover, lefty feminist killjoy #funbutmakeitfashion


Cragside - The Great Outdoors

Cragside is a victorian house and grounds in rural Northumberland. It has a lot to offer from stunning views and gardens, to the wonderfully decorated house (William Morris prints galore!) which was one of the first to have electricity thanks for Lord Armstrong and his hydro-electric inventions. The house iteself is really fun and we've been a few times now. They give children little explorer bags and magnifying glasses to go on a bit of a treasure hunt - I would really recommend it. This time however, we stuck to the great outdoors.

Photos from our last visit to the house in August 2018

I have visited Cragside alot in my life, growing up in Northumberland it tends to be a popular school trip destination. I have also taken Zoe a few times but we often just stick to the house and young engineers zone which has toys and crafts. I've never really explored that much further and always drove to the play area as the signs suggest its 3 miles to walk there from the house - which felt a bit far for little (and big) legs. This visit it was just me and Zoe without a car so we decided to go on an adventure. I let Zoe pick the direction at each intersection and we headed into the woods...

The benefit of letting a 4 year old take control of things is that they feel empowered and have so much fun, the downsides is they have boundless energy and no sense of danger. We climbed the tallest/steepest hill known to man, went down many slippery stone steps and we briefly chatted about what we would do in an emergency if mummy fell over and couldn't walk. Fun times.

The views from the top of the hill were stunning, these pictures do not capture the full beauty of this view - worth the mud, sweat and tears.

It was muddy and we were not wearing adequate footwear - birkenstocks and saltwater sandals are cute but not hiking attire. In fact part way up we bumped into another family who were fully kitted out in outdoor gear and walking boots. I heard the young girl say to her dad 'see they are walking in sandals' and I imagined some exhaustive father daughter argument over why she couldn't wear sliders to go walking. I didn't hear his response but I can imagine it involved deep sighs and discussion of our silliness.

We spent about an hour and a half exploring and walking, we discovered a labrynth and lots of little play equipment as we went round. We eventually made it to the main play area and spent the next two hours playing and making friends. It was a wonderful day and I was definitely aching for a few days after. I hope its one of those days that Zoe remembers.

On a side note, National Trust are never the greatest for vegan options (jacket potato and beans anyone?), so we packed our own little picnic of sandwiches, fruit, homemade peach tart and lots of water. Probably saved ourselves a fair few quid too as the £20 entry fee stung a little. If I was to come here more often I would definitely investigate National Trust Membership.

As you can tell from this post we arent really outdoorsy as a family, I would like to be more so, and be more active. If you know of any good walks in the north east which are accessible by public transport - let me know.