On the National Trust website, Wallington is described as “Magnificent mansion with fine interiors and collections, set in an extensive garden and parkland”. It is an accurate description of what was once the home of the Trevelyan family, in Border Reiver country.
As you approach the estate,one of the first sights to greet you are the Griffins on the east lawn.
However, these stone heads do not mark the entrance to the site, you will have to continue a few hundred yards to the north to find the car park and entrance. The estate now owned and managed by the National Trust, is at the centre of a number of working farms which supply produce the farm shop at the southern end of the car park.
Having paid your entrance fee, or shown your National Trust membership card, you enter the Courtyard by walking through the archway under the clock. The Courtyard is a mis-leading description for this area of the estate as there is a large grassed, well tendered lawn to cross or walk round before reaching the big house itself. This area provides an ideal space for a picnic if the weather is nice, whilst other took the opportunity to kick a ball around during our visit.
Formal stable blocks house displays showing the history of the estate, some carriages, as well as the obligatory gift shop, tea room and restaurant. During the visit I stopped for a cup of tea and a scone, very reasonably priced and served quickly with a smile.
The house itself did not open until 1pm, so that provided ample time to take a look around the extensive grounds and woodland areas. One of the highlights was the walled garden, whose formal displays were clearly the result of many hours work by skilled gardeners. However, all this work was upstaged by mother nature herself, when a dragonfly made an appearance at the pond.
This rare sight drew cameras from bags and pockets from everyone in the area.
After the walled garden came a long walk in the extensive grounds of Wallington, though be warned, make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear. Thick soled shoes or boots are best as the paths vary in quality. That said virtually all sections are accessible to those who use wheelchairs.
Overall, you should allow yourself a good four hours to get the most out of your visit which includes the interior of the house itself. Contrary to the plaintive cries of one young man who said “What are we doing in here, it’s all just old stuff?” there is plenty to see and do.