Wray Castle in the Lake District

Anyone who reads my blog regularly will probably know that we love a good visit to a National Trust property and make the most of our membership. On our recent trip to the Lake District we visited a number of National Trust properties, and one in particular was unlike any I’ve been to. Wray Castle.PhotoGrid_1494495988682

It’s a really unusual place as unlike most National Trust properties, it was never anyone’s home. The original owner inherited a ridiculous amount of money and built this incredible mock-Gothic castle purely as a showpiece. It was used as a sort of holiday home I guess, Beatrix Potter and her family even summered here when she was a teenager. So people brought their furniture with them, and then took it away again. It was eventually inherited by a teenage boy in Lincolnshire and being wealthy already he didn’t want it (can you imagine that? Bonkers) and it was very much unloved. It has been used as offices (there are sockets all over the walls, what a fabulous place to work!) and all sorts.

So unlike most other National Trust properties it came to them empty, with no family furniture or family history, and I adore what the Trust have done with it. It is probably the most child friendly National Trust place we’ve visited, and that’s saying something as most National Trust places are quite child friendly. There is some history downstairs but as soon as you go upstairs it is all about the kids. There is a colouring room for them to colour their own crowns and the walls are decorated with framed children’s drawings. There is a story room with lovely children’s books where the walls are decorated with lovely fairytale murals.PhotoGrid_1494497213531

The next room is all about dressing up as Knights and Kings and Queens and Princesses. Most  costumes were far too big for LM but they were perfect for Monkey and we did find one dress that just about fit LM (and she does love a pretty dress), aren’t they adorable? Good childhood fun!PhotoGrid_1494497319431

Continuing through the house you come to The Peter Rabbit Adventure. A whole wing of the castle dedicated to the stories of Beatrix Potter. The kids adored this area and we could have stayed there for hours. Playing cooking and tea making in Peter’s burrow, planting and watering in Mr McGregor’s garden. Then upstairs is squirrel Nutkin’s Tree house, and Jemima Puddleduck’s nest, with yet more dressing up, as Peter and his sisters.PhotoGrid_1494497580614

It didn’t end there as there was a room filled with soft play bricks for you to build your own castle (which we all had great fun with), a room with a table tennis table, a room with a billiards table, a room dedicated to the local area with stones to build your own stone wall, and magnifying glasses for you to investigate the rings of a tree.PhotoGrid_1494497880398

Honestly, there was so much to do! When it was time for lunch we were unsure about eating our picnic outside (as it was pretty chilly) but thankfully there was an indoor picnic room on the top floor. Set up as a tea party you could play and eat in there. So after eating our yummy lunch we had fun with yet more dressing up and all enjoyed trying on the various hats available.PhotoGrid_1494498185738

With our energy restored after lunch we headed outside. The castle has some lovely grounds and woodland to explore…PhotoGrid_1494498472575

… But of course we were drawn to the fantastic adventure play area. The kids (big and small) all had a whale of a time outside.PhotoGrid_1494498631817

I think you can probably see what I was saying in terms of it being all about the kids! It is a spectacular place to see from the outside and a fantastic fun-filled place to visit. I definitely recommend it to anyone visiting the Lake District with children.

11 thoughts on “Wray Castle in the Lake District

  1. What an interesting place to visit, it’s fab that you found a National Trust property that almost fully dedicated to the kids enjoying their day out rather than the history of the building. The gardens and grounds look like a fab place to explore, their play area looks like a fab place to burn off any excess energy left over after exploring the adventures inside the castle.

    Thanks for sharing with me on #CountryKids.

  2. Looks like a really great place to visit. I don’t think we would get to see much of the castle as my little ones would not leave that outdoor play area! (and I can’t believe someone would inherit it and not want it!!! eek) #countrykids

  3. We went to Wray last year and totally love the castle.. I think the building was used for the military or navy training at one point too, it’s pretty nuts… I think my little was a bit young when we went because he was only just walking but he loved crawling around the place, it’s very kid friendly. I love how every room is different. I don’t know why we didn’t explore outside when we went. I’ll add it back to my todo list because at almost 2 I think he’d have more fun now!! #countrykids

  4. what a great bit of historic back ground you have provided, imagine building something like that just for the sake of spending money.
    Nice to see that it is being appreciated now and looks brilliant inside for the children, both big and small, such fun ideas for a day out. #countrykids

  5. This looks absolutely brilliant for kids. We saw the castle when we visited the Lake District a few years ago (without the kids) but we didn’t go in and had no idea all this was there. If we are in the area again with the children this will definitely be on the to-do list!

  6. Oh wow this looks like such a wonderful place to visit with children. I love the look of the story room and my girls would be in heaven in the dressing up area. Monkey makes a very smart knight and LM is adorable in a princess dress. The outdoor area looks fabulous too. I’m quite tempted to take a trip to the Lake District later this year purely to visit Wray Castle now! 🙂 #countrykids

  7. Wow what a great place for children.The woodland especially will be a great expereince for kids. I am officially planning checking this out with my kids. Good work and thank you

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