“Truly the palace of a modern magician” was how the Victorian periodical ‘The World’ described Cragside. It was the home of industrial magnate, William Armstrong, and the first house in the world to be lit using hydroelectric power (in the world!). But it wasn’t just the house that had people scrabbling around for different ways to say “Absolutely unreal!” The surroundings are equally as impressive with the plant collection being truly awesome. (Lord and Lady Armstrong themselves directed the planting of some seven million trees.) You can visit the Formal Gardens, Pinetum and Rock Garden and late May to mid-June is a particularly good time to visit as the estate is at its most resplendent, festooned in its famous rhododendrons. Add in the towering conifers and lakeside walks and you’ve got the kind of day out you can safely file away in the bit of your brain you keep your “Well, that was just splendid!” memories.
Cragside, Rothbury, Morpeth, Northumberland. nationaltrust.org.uk/cragside