From iconic countryside spots to traditional stately homes, the National Trust operates and maintains a huge range of locations across the UK including the likes of Beatrix Potter’s home Hill Top in Cumbria, the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim and St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall.
The North West may not be blessed with as many National Trust sites as some other areas of the UK, there’s still some great places for days out whether you’re looking for a countryside adventure, an opportunity to explore a historic house or a chance to be beside the seaside. Here’s five NT sites not to miss in the North West.
Known for its annual flower show, Tatton Park is a large historic estate based in Cheshire with a mansion, 1,000 acre deer park, 50 acres of landscaped gardens and more. Owned by the Egerton family for 400 years, it became a National Trust site in 1958 and is today managed by Cheshire East Council.
Highlights include the farm which has a range of animals including pigs, goats, horses, chickens, llamas and a farm cat to meet as well as a maize maze, the Tudor Old Hall and the herds of Roe and Fallow deer which roam the parkland as they have done for centuries.
Unlike most National Trust sites, NT members still have to pay to park at Tatton Park (£6) and free entry is restricted to the house and gardens – which is due to its management by the council. The farm is 50% off for NT members (£3) and is well worth it. You can park in Knutsford and walk over instead of parking at the site, if you wish.
Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6QN
Lyme Park might be better known as Pemberley for most people as it famously played the home of Mr Darcy in the 1995 BBC TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (the one with Colin Firth and that lake scene!) – although it was only the exterior used for the programme.
But, it’s not just somewhere for Jane Austen fans to enjoy. Like Tatton Park, it’s also home to roaming herds of deer and the estate covers some 1,400 acres of hills, woodland and moors. There are some nice little spots to hunt out across the grounds including the Lantern Folly and The Cage hunting lodge, along with the mansion and landscaped gardens to visit.
Lyme Park is completely free to National Trust members, saving you £7 per car on parking and £10/11 on admission to the house and gardens. To travel by public transport, the nearest station is Disley.
Disley, Stockport, Cheshire, SK12 2NR
Close to Tatton Park and another NT site with deer wandering freely, Dunham Massey is similar to its nearby neighbour as it’s an old estate but it’s worth a visit in its own right. While walking through the parkland, there are a variety of little paths and trails to follow which lead away from the main areas so if you’re looking for spots for quiet reflection, it’s ideal. The actual gardens are also lovely and feature a chicken house, a pond and a unique dog graveyard – with some dating back to the 18th century.
There’s also a really good ice cream parlour on site if you have a sweet tooth!
Dunham Massey is free for National Trust members, saving you £6 on parking and £12.50/£14 on admission to the house and gardens. If you’re not NT, you can see the deer park for free anyway.
Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4SJ
One of the best beaches in the North West, Formby Point is a fantastic place for a day trip. Not only does it have a long sandy beach, it’s also got plenty of sand dunes to explore and its famous pine woods which are one of the few places in the UK where you can see red squirrels (although they are rarer than they used to be).
It’s free to enter for everyone although it costs £5.70 to park if you’re not a National Trust member. You can also travel by train via the Southport to Liverpool line as it’s a 20 minute walk from Freshfield station.
Victoria Road, Formby, Merseyside, L37 1LJ
Alderley Edge and Hare Hill
Alderley Edge and Hare Hill are actually two separate National Trust locations, but as they’re so close together it’s easy to visit both at the same time.
Hare Hill is a quaint garden, complete with a picturesque walled garden at its heart. Full of gorgeous flowers and fauna to spot, it’s a tranquil location for a stroll. To enter the gardens costs £6.50 but it’s free for National Trust members. Parking is £6.50, although this is refunded on entry to the garden.
Alderley Edge, meanwhile, is a small site which offers woodland paths and a red slope offering stunning views across Cheshire and to the Peak District. It’s got plenty of history and was once a Bronze Age burial mound. Unlike other NT sites, there’s not too much to explore which is why it makes sense to combine it with Hare Hill which is a short walk away. It’s free to visit the site although there is a pay and display car park (free for NT members).
Alderley Edge: Macclesfield Road, Nether Alderley, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 4UB
Hare Hill: Over Alderley, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 4PY