Britain’s Original Smart House

Just outside the market town of Rothbury, Northumberland is an estate like no other.

This is Cragside, once home to Lord Armstrong, notable for having invented the hydraulic system that enables the famous Swing Bridge in Newcastle and the Armstrong gun used in World War 1.

Lord Armstrong bought the Cragside property in 1860 and it evolved to be a unique house and ahead of its time in so many ways.

Here are three attractions at Cragside that are a must see:

The Gardens and walks.

The House and the technology behind it. This was the first house in the world to be powered by hydroelectricity using a system invented by Lord Armstrong. In fact, the sheer intelligence that was involved with running this house is astounding and it doesn’t start and end with hydro-electric power!

Some other features that were firsts at Cragside:

Fire Hydrants

Running water


Passenger lift/elevator

Electric lighting


Servant bell

Fire Alarms

Dinner gong

Kitchen spit (rotisserie)

The interiors of this house are simply beautiful – have a look out for the Owl Suite, the Turkish baths and the very ornate fireplace in the drawing room.

The house and gardens are now maintained by the National Trust and more information can be found here

And that brings us to the third thing that you should experience at Cragside and that is the sausage rolls at the National Trust café!

Just WOW!

(And I’m not only referring to the sausage rolls!)

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Opinions expressed are our own based on personal experience.

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