Cragside is a very impressive National Trust house and estate in Rothbury, Northumberland. The National Trust promote it as an ‘Extraordinary Victorian house, gardens and woodland – the wonder of its age’. It was home to Lord Armstrong, the innovative pioneer engineer who lit his home with hydroelectricity, the first house in the world.
Lord Armstrong had a huge influence on engineering in the North East, and his legacy lives on today in Scotswood where he had many of his factories. He was an English industrialist who founded the Armstrong Whitworth manufacturing concern on Tyneside. He was also an eminent scientist, inventor and philanthropist and is regarded as the inventor of modern artillery. Armstrong was knighted in 1859 after giving his gun patents to the government. In 1887, in Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee year, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Armstrong of Cragside, becoming the first engineer – and, indeed, the first scientist – to join the House of Lords.
The house itself is way ahead of its time, well worth a visit, and the gardens and estate are superb. Lady Armstrong organised the planting of thousands of trees from all over the world during her time and you can see them in full bloom now. You can also see a lot of the hydroelectricity infrastructure in the gardens, some of which have been turned into interactive experiments for children and adults alike.
Our 4* holiday cottage, Drakestone Cottage, is about 9 miles away from Cragside, so a quick drive out and you have a full day filled.