The best National Trust places to visit in the North of England

Days out, Educational

Posted by Ed Roberts on 10th January 2023

National Trust in the North of England

The North of England is a treasure trove of visitor attractions, be they places of historic interest or natural beauty spots. 

The National Trust manages, owns and protects many of these special sites, and we’ve compiled a helpful guide so you can choose some of the best to visit. Among these extraordinary National Trust places in North England, you can discover stately homes and country estates, places with strong literary ties such as Beatrix Potter’s former Lake District home, or a wealth of gorgeous gardens.

We have some wonderful cottages within easy driving distance of these great National Trust properties in the North of England; click the button below to browse our full collection in this scenic part of the UK and start planning your next memorable break.

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The National Trust’s best places to visit in the North East

Roseberry Topping

Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire

This distinctive hill in Cleveland resembles the Matterhorn in the Alps with its peculiar peak. At just 320 metres high, Roseberry Topping has a very unique shape which was caused by a geological fault and a mining collapse in 1912. Ever since, the hill has become one of the most beloved landmarks in the Tees Valley area and is one of the best walks in the North York Moors

Whilst lots of people come to experience this area of countryside owned by the National Trust in the North East with climbing on their minds, there are plenty of other scenic spots to uncover locally too. Explore bluebell woods, heather moorland, the open expanses of Roseberry Common, and a long-abandoned quarry. The views across Yorkshire and Cleveland are breathtaking.

  • Don’t miss: A climb to the top will inspire some top photo opportunities
  • Best conditions: Mild and sunny
  • Facilities: Parking, signposted pathways 
  • Stay nearby: Roseberry View | Sleeps: 8 guests + 3 dogs 

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Penshaw Monument

Penshaw Monument, County Durham

Close to Sunderland, Penshaw Monument is found atop Penshaw Hill. Officially called the Earl of Durham's Monument, this National Trust property stands at a towering 70 feet high, and is a replica of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens. One of the best days out in County Durham, the monument can be seen for miles around and is thought to be Wearside's most iconic landmark - even appearing on the logo for Sunderland FC.

Enjoy a stroll around the local walking trail called Lambton Worm; it’s just over 2.5 miles and the views of the surrounding countryside are impressive. The walk takes you along the banks of the River Wear and through Ayton’s Wood and Pensham Woods.

  • Don’t miss: Sunset at the monument is astonishing - bring a camera
  • Best conditions: Sunny
  • Facilities: Parking
  • Stay nearby: Eaststone Cottage | Sleeps: 3 guests + 1 dog 

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Biddulph Grange Garden

Biddulph Grange Garden, Staffordshire

Biddulph Grange Garden offers fantastic prospects for a rewarding day out and is home to a terrific Victorian garden designed by James Bateman, showcasing his collection of exotic and rare plants from all around the world. The National Trust gardens were inspired by Bateman’s excursions to Italy, China, Egypt, and the Himalayas. Enjoy a wander along the impressive Dahlia Walk and marvel at the UK’s oldest known surviving larch.

First opened in 1862, visit the on-site Geological Gallery, full of wonderful artefacts and specimens. Elsewhere in the gardens, you will find the ornate, Cheshire Cottage with its black timber beam and embellished exterior, and the grassy Wellingtonia Avenue. 

  • Don’t miss: The Geological Gallery is fascinating
  • Best conditions: Sunny days
  • Facilities: Shop, café, plant centre, WCs, parking, disabled access, tours, assistance dogs only
  • Stay nearby: The Garden Loft | Sleeps: 2 guests + 2 dogs

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Cragside, Northumberland

This distinctive National Trust property in the North East of England is a delight for fans of architecture. This Northumberland heritage building was once home to the Victorian-era inventor, landscape gardener and scientist, Lord Armstrong. Cragside was also the first stately home in the world to have been powered by hydroelectricity and it’s full of interesting artefacts and obsolete gadgets to illustrate how far modern technology has come since Victorian times.

The gardens are fantastic, home to one of Europe’s largest rock gardens, a formal garden, and an eye-catching iron bridge. For children, there is an adventure playground and a spider’s web of pathways and rhododendron tunnels to investigate. 

  • Don’t miss: The exhibition of weird and wonderful Victorian-era tech
  • Best conditions: Autumn to appreciate the different colours of the trees in the gardens
  • Facilities: Café, parking, WCs, assistance dogs only allowed in the house but dogs on leads welcome in the grounds, tours 
  • Stay nearby: Bridge View Retreat | Sleeps: 4 guests + 1 dog

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The National Trust’s best places to visit in the North West

Hill Top

Hill Top, Lake District

The Lake District has inspired famous creatives for hundreds of years. Arguably one of the best-loved children’s writers of all time, Beatrix Potter made the Lake District her home, dreaming up her impossibly polite and zany menagerie of creatures like Peter Rabbit, Two Bad Mice (Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca), Jeremy Fisher, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland and so many more.

Beatrix Potter fans can visit her former home at Hill Top, a National Trust-owned property in Near Sawrey. She bought the house in 1905, and nowadays, it’s a small museum, with an exhibition containing early editions of her books and illustrations. After you have explored the museum, you can enjoy the Beatrix Potter Trail. 

  • Don’t miss: The Beatrix Potter Gallery which is full of original artwork and artefacts from her life
  • Best conditions: It’s an all-weather attraction, so ideal for rainy days
  • Facilities: WCs, dogs on leads welcome in the gardens, close to pubs, small car park, gift shop, children’s garden trail (during summer holidays), assistance dogs welcome
  • Stay nearby: Bracken Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests + 2 dogs

Allan Bank

Allan Bank and Grasmere, Lake District

Allan Bank was once the home of the founder of the National Trust, Canon Rawnsley. Discover secret hideaways such as the Victorian viewing tunnel and admire spectacular views. Some of the poet William Wordsworth's most famous literary works were also composed at this National Trust North West property when he owned the building between 1808 and 1811.

While you're here, you can amble around the welcoming village of Grasmere where this property resides, also cared for by the National Trust in North England. It is nestled between two picturesque lakes, against a dramatic backdrop of Lake District fells. Look out for the Allan Bank colony of lesser-spotted red squirrels and discover more of the places where Wordsworth lived and worked.

  • Don’t miss: The vast carpets of golden daffodils
  • Best conditions: All-weather
  • Facilities: Limited blue badge parking, WCs, disabled access variable, dogs on leads in Allan Bank’s grounds
  • Stay nearby: Riverbank | Sleeps: 4 guests + 1 dog

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Dunham Massey

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Dunham Massey is a National Trust-owned stately home and ancient deer park close to Chester and Manchester. Its lovely country park garden attracts families who relish a good stroll and it’s a good place to enjoy nature too. 

A wander through the wild parklands and woods reveals peculiar follies and structures, along with gorgeous views of the house. Keep a keen eye out for Dunham’s resident herd of fallow deer and be sure to listen out for owls and woodpeckers. Guided walks are available to go deer-watching with the rangers, so check the National Trust website for dates. Unwind on one of the accessible circular walks before warming up with some lunch at the Stables Restaurant.

  • Don’t miss: The fallow deer are great to see
  • Best conditions: Any time of year is great for garden lovers
  • Facilities: Café/restaurant, gift shop, WCs, parking 
  • Stay nearby: Church View Cottage - Tarden | Sleeps: 4 guests

Tatton Park

Tatton Park, Cheshire

Explore the 400-year-old country estate of Tatton Park, which centres around its neo-classical mansion and features 50 acres of landscaped gardens, 1,000 acres of deer park, a rare breed farm, and more. The early 19th-century mansion embodies the theme of Victorian grandeur that extends into the garden with its glasshouses, formal gardens, and Italian and Japanese gardens.

The Stables restaurant and the Gardener’s Cottage are on site to cater for nibbles and lunch options. Take a visit to Tatton Dale Farm, where the clock has stood still since the 1930s; it’s a real journey back in time. There’s also a great children’s adventure play area, a woodland play trail, and a den building zone.

  • Don’t miss: The deer park is wonderful
  • Best conditions: Mild
  • Facilities: Restaurant/café, parking, WCs, gift shops, dogs on leads are allowed in the grounds, wheelchair and pushchair access  
  • Stay nearby: Primrose Retreat | Sleeps: 4 guests + 2 dogs

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Formby Sands

Formby Sands, Merseyside

Formby Sands is an alluring place; there aren’t too many places in the UK where pine woodlands stretch all the way down to the beach. Before you reach the Irish Sea, you'll follow the boardwalks over rolling dunes over which you will see stunning views. Formby Sands makes for a great family day out as the National Trust beach here stretches for miles, yet it’s not a seaside resort with a pier and shops. There are no buildings within eyeshot of the dunes, giving you the feeling that you have come a long way from the local towns and cities. It’s a lovely rural spot on the coast, and one of the best beaches in the UK.

Another reason to visit Formby Sands is for its unusual wild inhabitants. It’s here that you can see a rather friendly colony of red squirrels. They thrive here because of the size of their habitat and the constant attention that they receive from visitors to their woodlands. So, for a memorable and fun day out by the sea, head for Formby Sands, as once seen, it’s hard to forget.

  • Don’t miss: The red squirrels are awesome
  • Best conditions: Mild and sunny days
  • Facilities: Parking, WCs, dogs on leads along Squirrel Walk otherwise there are no restrictions for dogs, pushchair access to beach and woodlands 
  • Stay nearby: Victoria House | Sleeps: 12 guests

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Map of National Trust properties in the North of England

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Stay with us in the North of England

We have some lovely self-catering holiday cottages throughout the North of England, close to many National Trust properties and areas of beauty to inspire your visit. Where will you stay on your holiday in the North West or North East of England?

North of England cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.