Our family friendly guide to Ford And Etal - Northumberland
Updated: Jul 21, 2020
We just love Ford and Etal, one of Elliot's favourite places is located there and it is all about horses. There are quite a lot of things to do here and you can easily have a good day out.
One of my favourite pictures ever!
When we lived in Scotland we were just over the Border and the boys actually went to Scouts in Ford & Etal. We would visit quite regularly and were big fans of Hay Farm Heavy Horse centre. Elliot loved it so much that he would pester Anna, because he wanted to work there! (He's only 8) His favourite thing to do would be to chat to the horses telling them stories. He would sometimes be greeted by the farms 2 friendly labradors too.
Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre
A fantastic small museum and farm all about the Heavy horses. You pull into a small car park, someone always comes out and asks if you have been before and will tell you what you can do and see. In the car park is the pen for the pigs,geese and ducks.
You will find some gorgeous animals here. Pigs, Ducks, sheep and of course horses, there is a section on transport with some of the old equipment the heavy horses used to pull including a Vaux brewery wagon. I can just remember seeing them at work growing up in Sunderland. You walk through to the stables with little sections of history. Then this is where you will find Horses (if they are not outside). Merlin is probably the most well known horse that lives here, he is a right character and will have you feeding him delicious treats you can buy from the little shop. Elliot's favourite was Teddy. You can wander outside to the fields where you will see some of the gorgeous horses and ponies. They almost always come over to the fence to see you.
There is a cute picnic area in the barn and you can buy cakes and delicious sausage rolls from the gift shop which sells some really nice trinkets. We definitely miss being so close to the Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre.
An English Heritage property, Etal Castle is a nice small castle and museum.
You enter through the gift shop which sells the best jams! Through to the museum which will take you a good half an hour if you actually read everything. Then you come to another door which leads outside to the castle.
We are English Heritage members so it is always worth the visit for us but if you were to pay to enter for the day a family ticket will set you back £16.50 for a family of 5. Please remember to book online.
The mill is such a great place to spend a few hours, you can have a look around and experience a traditional mill. You can even make your own bread and grind your own flour. There is a gorgeous cafe on site too. We like the walk over the bridge, the boys just stand and look into the river for a while. There is a visitors centre too and toilets.
Heatherslaw light railway
The boys just love trains of any shape and size so as you can imagine when we lived not too far away from Heatherslaw they were regular visitors. It is the most northerly steam railway in England. You can get off to break up your journey and visit some of the other attractions.
Other places to visit