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Family activities at Wallington

A family play on and around the large play train in the woods at Wallington.
A family explore the play train at Wallington in Northumberland | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

There’s lots to keep the family entertained at Wallington, whatever the season. Zoom along the Dragon cycle trail, tick some activities off your ‘50 things’ list, look out for woodland art, and go wild in the play areas.

Planning your family visit

Here's the information you need at a glance to make the most of your family day out at Wallington:

  • Toilets and baby-changing facilities are available in the courtyard and in the café
  • There are four outdoor play areas at Wallington: The play fort, adventure playground, play train and Little Acorns nature play space
  • There is ramped access to the house, but please leave buggies outside
  • Adult and child bikes and trailers can be hired on site (open seasonally)
  • Drinks, snacks and ice cream are available at the Clocktower Café as well as the kiosks

Cycle the Dragon trail

Cycling is a fantastic way to explore the wider estate at Wallington and there are two family-friendly routes to choose from, an easy 1.5km green route that's perfect for little legs, or a more challenging but still family-friendly 4.5km blue route. Go as fast or as slow as you’d like – you can even stop for a picnic along the way.

Cycle hire

Cycle hire reopens for the 2024 season on Easter Friday, 29 March. Open every day in the Northumberland schools holiday and weekends in term time, from 10am to 4.30pm (last hire 3.30pm)

If you haven't brought your own bike, you can hire one from the cycle hire facility at Wallington, open every day in the school holidays, and weekends during term time. You don't need to pre-book, just head to cycle hire, just off the courtyard and the friendly team will kit you out with what you need.

Prices:

  • £7 for child sized bike for 2 hrs
  • £10 for adult sized bike for 2 hrs
  • £12 for electric bike for 1 hr
  • £16 for adult sized bike plus trailer (child or dog) for 2 hrs

Let off some steam in the play areas

Choose one of the four play areas and let your imagination run wild. Climb, swing and leap, or fly through the air on the zip slide in the adventure play area. Defend your territory in the play fort, slide down the firefighter's pole and scale the mini climbing walls to escape capture.

Take a journey on the play train or wave off your friends from the platform. And get closer to nature exploring the log stepping stones and willow tunnels in the Little Acorns nature play space.

Family-friendly things to do in the house

When it's raining outdoors, the house is a great place to explore. Take a seat in the reading room, complete with children’s book nook, and get lost in an adventure of the fictional kind. Head to the kitchen and imagine all the hustle and bustle there must have been preparing for parties back in the day. Pop into the Dolls House room to meet the teeny-tiny residents of the many grand houses on display and see the hundreds of toy soldiers all lined up ready for action. We bet you can't count how many there are!

Nothing Exists Alone -  contemporary art installation at Wallington
Nothing Exists Alone - contemporary art installation by INSTAR at Wallington | © INSTAR

Spot a sculpture in the woods

INSTAR, artist duo Trish Evans and Nick Humphreys from Nottingham, unveiled their new sculpture, Nothing Exists Alone at Wallington in March 2022. The piece was developed in response to the surrounding habitat, resident wildlife and the threats and challenges faced by the natural world. It involved workshops with staff and volunteers, visitors and the local school, Cambo First School.

This project is part of Trust New Art, the National Trust’s programme of Contemporary Arts, which is supported by partnerships with Arts Council England and Arts Council of Wales.

Head to Trout Bridge on the River Walk and discover this lenticular artwork of 7 running wolves inspired by the Trevelyan children and the beauty of the woods at Wallington. Maybe it will inspire you to make a nature-themed sculpture of your own.

Wildlife trails

Keep an eye out for wildlife as you pedal or walk around the estate, you might see a red squirrel, roe deer or one of several species of birds. Stop at the wildlife hide to get a closer look.

The river walk will take you alongside the banks of the river Wansbeck through the woods. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife – red squirrels, otters and native white-clawed crayfish all call the Wansbeck valley home. You can meet some captive crayfish in the visitor welcome building too and find out more about this fascinating species. 

Take in the fresh air and farmland views on the relatively flat circular farm walk around the Broom House and Prior Hall Farm fields, two of 15 tenanted farms on the Wallington estate.

'50 things to do before you're 11¾'

How many '50 things' activities can you complete during your visit to Wallington? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

No. 1 Get to know a tree

From the iconic nookta cypress in front of the house to the impressive giant sequoia in the East Wood, Wallington is home to some splendid trees. Look out for colours and textures changing with every season. You might even spot some of the wildlife that makes its home in the branches.

No. 4 Build a den

There are plenty of building materials for your den in the West Wood. Just make sure it’s not living before you take it.

No. 6 Go welly wandering

Enjoy a stroll along the Farm Walk or River Walk, looking out for some of Wallington’s resident wildlife as you go. Deer, buzzards and red squirrels can all be found here. Who will you spot on your welly wander?

No. 19 Play Pooh sticks

Stop on the bridge on the River Walk for a game of Pooh sticks. Pick up your stick on the way – will yours be the fastest?

No. 44 Go birdwatching

The Little Acorns nature play space and the family-friendly wildlife hide in the West Wood are great places to try birdwatching. With lots of tempting feeders, it won't be long before you spy a chaffinch, blue tit or even a woodpecker.

A boy stands amongst many tree branches as he climbs a tree at Wallington, Northumberland
Climbing trees at Wallington | © National Trust Images / Arnhel de Serra
A corner view of Wallington showing the south front and side of the house

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