Cragside – National Trust

1128 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

March, 2019

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

On your own

Reasons for trip

A splendid wooden staircase leads to the upper floors. A corridor to the left leads to the bedrooms and the morning room.

The red bedroom overlooks the rock gardens and still retains its 1930s decoration with pale coloured walls. These were intended to make the bedroom feel lighter when the conifer planted in the rock garden had started to make the bedroom feel dark. Next to it is a small dressing room with two doorways, so the maid could enter and set out the clothes for the day without disturbing anyone.

The bamboo bedroom at the end of the corridor has bamboo wallpaper and furniture is carved with bamboo shoots.

Next to it is the morning room, which was originally another bedroom until it became Lady Armstrong’s sitting room and private retreat. The Latin inscription above the door translates as “it is not those who ask but those who are asked that I admit” . It is a large and attractive room with a splendid plaster ceiling and comfortably furnished. There is a beautiful fire screen made out of peacock feathers.

A short flight of stairs from the main staircase, leads to the gallery and drawing room. This was the last part of the house to be built and is built into the solid rock face.

Originally the gallery was intended as Armstrong’s study and a place to keep his collection of scientific, geological and natural history specimens. Once the drawing room was built, it became a display area for his paintings and sculptures. It is a long narrow room lit by fanlights in the roof. Sculptures line the walls and there are display cabinets with shells. A small room off is used to display Armstrong’s collection of water colours.

A short staircase leads from the gallery to the owl suite in the tower. This was used for the five day visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1884. There are two bedrooms, dressing room and private lavatory. The beds have carved owl finials at the corners.

The main bedroom is an impressive room with a barrel ceiling. The window looks down onto the Debdon Burn and the Iron Bridge. Furniture is made from American black walnut and there is a half tester bed. There is a wash stand and sitting area at the far end of the room. The smaller bedroom has a sunken bath, complete with plumbed in hot and cold water.

At the far end of the gallery is the drawing room which was completed in time for the royal visit, when it was used as a banqueting hall as there were too many guests for the dining room. It is the most impressive room in an already remarkable house. It is a huge room, formal and ostentatious, and intended for grand gatherings.

It is dominated by the massive carved marble fireplace at the far end. This weighs 10 tons and the room is built on the solid rock of the hillside, the only way it could support this weight. The fire was mainly decorative as the room was heated by below from its own boiler and pipe system.

Apart from a small window set in a bay at the far end, the room is lit by a large skylight.
Round the base of the skylight is a decorative plaster frieze. Walls are covered with deep red wool damask, giving the room a warm and cosy feel, despite its size.

Beyond the drawing room is the billiard room which is very much the gentlemen’s retreat. It is a dark room and, being built into the rock face, the only light is from the skylight. Walls are panelled around the base with dark green wall covering above. At the far end is a wooden fireplace set back in an archway with pillars.

Beyond the billiard room is a small room described as Armstrong’s laboratory. This has a display of scientific equipment in wall cabinets. In the centre are different push button experiments illustrating some of the different aspects of electricity.


Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.