Minh and I did a little mini roadtrip over the weekend to visit Hadrian’s Wall and some other National Trust and English Heritage properties in the north (but not too far north) east. It was a just an overnight trip, with Hadrian’s Wall occupying Saturday, and we were able to cram in 4 properties plus a roadside attraction in on Sunday.
Although you can’t roam the ruins of Gibside Hall, you can still visit the surrounding “pleasure grounds”, which include a chapel, walled garden, stables, a banquetting hall (we didn’t walk this far), the shell of the orangery, and the Column to Liberty.
I was rather disasspointed that the exterior of Seaton Delaval Hall was covered in scaffolding, but I can only imagine what it will look like once the restorations are complete. There was also a small Mini meet-up going on while we were there, so we got to see some cool little cars ranging from the very old to the very new.
Overlooking the North Sea and the River Tyne, Tynemouth Priory and Castle is an excellent justaposition of the old versus new – with the ruins of the priory and castle standing beside more modern fortifications built for use during WWI and WWII.
Souter Lighthouse and the Leas
Souter Lighthouse was the first lighthouse in the world to be purposefully designed and built specifically to use alternating electric current. It was in use until 1988, when the advent of GPS made the lighthouse unnecessary.
The Angel of the North is a large steel sculpture (66ft tall and 177 ft wide), designed by Antony Gormley. It was erected in 1998 and can be seen from the A1. I was a little surprised as we drove past it on the way up, not expecting to see it so clearly from the motorway.
Visiting this many properties is one day is not generally something that I would recommend doing, especially not if you are going with the kiddos. But Minh and I are used to it and we like to make the most of the long drives. We managed alrigt, but I would suggest spending a little more time at each place so you can explore at your leisure.