As this week is half term, we’ve been making the most of having time off together which hardly ever happens due to Hubby’s shift patterns! We decided to visit Belsay Hall, Castle & Gardens (courtesy of English Heritage) for their Pumpkin Week.
Belsay Hall, Castle & Gardens are situated in the tranquil village of Belsay, Northumberland. Beginning as Belsay Castle in the late 13th Century, the owners added a further wing to the castle followed by the construction of Belsay Hall in 1817. This means there are centuries of history to explore and enjoy!
Arrival at Belsay Hall was straight forward and very easy to find. Parking was ample with spaces available directly outside the building, as well as an overflow car park.
The staff on the ticket desk were really pleasant with a good knowledge of the grounds. They explained what there was to see and introduced us to the Halloween activities that were happening that day. We were also given advice about the walking distance to the castle so we could decide whether or not to take the pram.
Exploring the Grounds
As this week is Pumpkin Week, pumpkins had been placed all around the grounds for the children to find. Some were decoys but others were amazingly carved pumpkins displaying one of five letters which could be unscrambled to reveal a word. This made exploring the grounds very exciting for my 16 month old who loved searching for the “papwans” and squealed with delight every time he found one.
As well as searching for pumpkins, we really enjoyed uncovering all of the history of the buildings. In the Greek-style Belsay Hall, you could wander through the incredible Pillar Hall or explore original features in other rooms. Surrounding the hall were the beautiful gardens.
On the other hand, the medieval Belsay Castle is a ruined building which still has remnants of how it’s owners used to live. We enjoyed climbing the stairs and looking out of the windows across the beautiful grounds. One disappointment was that the Pele Tower was closed so we weren’t able to climb to the highest floor however, we still enjoyed what we could see.
Our favourite part of our day was the walk from the Belsay Gardens to the Belsay Castle through the Quarry Gardens.
From walking through huge ravines to discovering stone arches and ornate doors, the surroundings are worth visiting.
It was such a lovely atmosphere. We will definitely be back to visit it again in all its floral glory in the summer!
As mentioned earlier, there were Halloween crafts going on which were held in Belsay Hall. As our little one was too young, we didn’t take part in the activities. However, it did look like lots of fun and we saw lots of children carrying their pipe cleaner creations.
If you like to have a bite to eat whilst out and about then there is a lovely, little Victorian tearoom across from the entrance. This was the original kitchen of Belsay Hall and still has all the features to admire. The tearoom sells a selection of hot and cold sandwiches, cakes and drinks. We ordered 3 sandwiches (brie and cranberry, bacon and blue cheese and cheese on its own), an americano and a latte for around £20. This was a little more than we expected to pay but our sandwiches were delicious!
If you’d rather bring your own packed lunch then there are picnic benches available close to the tearoom.
For those of you needing baby changing or disabled toilets, there are facilities available in the block of toilets next to the tearoom. These facilities were basic but clean.
Take Part in the Halloween Event
Belsay Castle are hosting their Pumpkin Week until 29th October 2017.
Why not try your hand at pumpkin carving this weekend?!
To find out more about events: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/belsay-hall-castle-and-gardens/events
Want more English Heritage days Out? Read our review of Helmsley Castle.
Disclaimer: We received a free family pass courtesy of English Heritage however all words and opinions are my own.