A Visit to Sizergh Castle with Kids
We could be called regulars at Sizergh Castle, with me visiting at least once a month when my children were little! We know it inside out. So, here is all you need to know to plan a day out to Sizergh Castle, with all the family.
Where is Sizergh Castle?
Sizergh Castle is the ‘head office’ of the Sizergh estate, based (funnily enough) at Sizergh. You can find it just south of Kendal (marked on the map as National Trust – Sizergh).
Heading south along the A591: turn off at Low Sizergh Barn (read more about Low Sizergh Barn here), then turn right immediately and follow the farm lane. When it meets another road turn right, then right again into Sizergh Castle entrance.
Heading north along the A591: Turn onto the A590 signposted Grange/Barrow. Really quickly turn right, signposted Sizergh Castle. Follow this road and go straight ahead through the entrance gates.
Sizergh Castle is run by the National Trust, so members park for free. For non-members parking prices can be found here.
Sizergh Castle Gardens
For us as a family, the gardens have been the main draw while the children have been little. In fact, my eldest is 11 and still none of my children have been inside the castle! We have plenty to do in the castle grounds and in the local area.
The gardens are a beautiful place to explore for children.
To begin with, before entering the main gardens, if you walk through the payment entrance and keep going, you will see a pond on your left. Beyond this is a small wood with paths through it, which is perfect for a run around.
At different times of year you might find various trails through this wood; we’ve been on a Hallowe’en trail and a Wool Festival trail through here which have been lovely.
The Formal Castle Gardens
From the woods head back up towards where you came in, and you will see the entrance to the formal castle gardens on your left. Go through here, and explore!
You will find a walled kitchen garden, an interlinking series of ponds and stepping stones with beautiful plants and flowers, steps to climb up, an apple orchard, beehives, chickens, a little lake and a topiary garden.
Remember to look out for the castle cat in the kitchen garden, and to play hide and seek around the ‘triangle trees’ in the topiary garden!
The gardens are beautiful in every season, and the different seasons bring all different colours to the environment. As an adult it is simply a lovely place to be, and I find this a really easy place to be with children (although be careful near the waters edge of course).
Once you’re ready to finish exploring, head for the triangle trees and follow the path at the very end of the garden that leads you through the bushes and out. You will see an ancient barn with a second hand bookstore in it which is nice for a little browse.
Sizergh Castle Cafe and Shop
Once back at the main National Trust building, you will find the National Trust shop and cafe. The shop is lovely, with the usual National Trust gift shop offerings, along with some local products. The toy section is VERY appealing to any children passing by so be prepared for that!
Sizergh Castle café is further along after you have passed through the shop (the toilets are also here which is useful to know). There can be long queues but there is plenty of seating both inside and outside.
The Wild Trail (1 mile loop)
At the south end of the car park (the opposite end to the National Trust building) in the corner there is a field. If you walk through this and bear left, you will see the entrance to the Wild Trail.
The Wild Trail is an adventure trail taking you through a small wood on the fringe of the castle grounds. Follow the trail, reading the clues to help you find your way. There is balancing, climbing, swinging and exploring to discover. It can get VERY muddy here so be prepared for dirt!
The trail has been a bit battered by storms in recent years so there may be parts that aren’t quite complete, but the trail is still a fab way to burn off some energy.
Sizergh Castle itself is fascinating. It has been home to the Strickland family for over 800 years, who still live there today.
I would absolutely recommend a tour of the castle rather than just looking round, as the history of the castle is explained and the art and artefacts make much more sense with the story behind them.
It totally depends on the child, but I would say the older the better to actually go into the castle. Like I said before, my children have never been in (although I have). I think this year might be the year I take them for the tour, with my youngest being 6. They definitely wouldn’t have appreciated it before now, and there is plenty to do at Sizergh without actually going into the castle.
Sizergh Castle Walks
There are a couple of child friendly walks on Sizergh land that begin and end at Sizergh Castle car park. Our favourite one is Sizergh Fell which is 2.5miles long. It is detailed on the National Trust website with simple instructions here. It’s perfect for our children, aged between 6-11.
We saw brand new lambs on our walk here a couple of weeks ago, which made our day!
A day out at Sizergh is well worth it, with a massive range of things to do and a huge area for the kids to explore and play in. Highly recommend!