Temporary Exhibition in the House: Cragside Unlocked

A fire lit in one of the rooms at Cragside

Welcome to Cragside House, home of industrialist inventor Lord Armstrong and his remarkable wife Lady Armstrong. The house, gardens, forest, and lakes at Cragside were intended to amaze the Armstrongs’ guests, and they have continued to delight our visitors. But this year for the first time in its history, the estate fell silent.

This has been an unsettling, and for some, tragic period. Like many places Cragside is still feeling the effects of the ongoing global pandemic. For now, parts of the house have to remain closed. In this temporary display we’d like to share with you some of Cragside’s stories and our experiences during lockdown, and invite you to reflect on your own.

In order for us to facilitate social distancing measures and respond to conservation challenges that arose during the Covid 19 lockdown period, we have had to reduce the visitor route through the house. We intend to open the rest of the visitor areas in the house as soon as we can safely do so. The ground floor and parts of the upper floor are open, including the Gallery, Drawing Room and Billiard Room are open for you to explore. The rooms on the Red Landing and those on the basement level, including the Plunge Bath are closed. We will be operating a one-way system through the house, starting at the main entrance and exiting via Gilnockie Tower.

With some of our rooms closed, we have taken the opportunity to display collections items from these spaces and from our stores, sometimes in surprising locations, to highlight stories from the house’s history and our time during lockdown.

Covid 19 restrictions and visitor facilities

In order to complete the necessary additional cleaning of surfaces and to maintain a safe environment for our visitors we are operating with slightly reduced visitor hours from 11.00 to 16.30, with last admissions at 16.00.

Due to safety restrictions we will have limited capacity inside the house, and you may be asked to queue prior to entry. There is no separate booking system for the house, but to help us manage numbers, please come to the house at the beginning of your visitor to the property.

Please be aware that the stairs in Gilnockie Tower exit are very worn. There are handrails on either side, but they may be difficult for visitors with access needs to manage. Please call the house in advance of your visit if you would like further details.

Wheelchairs are welcome on the ground floor, but unfortunately the upper floors are not accessible. There is a virtual tour with British sign language interpretation that includes the upper floors, which visitors can request access to upon arrival at the house. Buggies are not permitted inside the house, visitors with very young children are requested to use carry harnesses or slings instead.

Please note that due to current hygiene restrictions we cannot store any personal items at the house such as wheelchairs, buggies, and bags, and lockers will not be available. Please note the National Trust cannot provide wheelchairs for use around the house.

Following government guidance, we politely request that, unless medically exempt, all adults and children above the age of 11 wear a face mask inside the house.