Thursday 18 July 2019

Bike Riding and Cycle Hire at National Trust Wallington, Northumberland

As we're all friends here I'm not afraid to tell you that as I write this I'm nursing a bit of a sore bottom that's making sitting at my desk a little uncomfortable! This morning we decided to try out the cycle hire scheme at National Trust Wallington and after a couple of hours of bike riding, we're both feeling a little saddle sore.

Bike Riding and Cycle Hire at National Trust Wallington, Northumberland
I've been wanting to try the cycle hire at Wallington ever since I first saw it advertised last Summer. As we don't have bikes of our own and definitely wouldn't have the confidence to peddle out on the roads we thought it would be a great way to reintroduce ourselves to cycling in a safe environment. What I didn't realise was what hard work it would be and what fun we would have. I decided I just had to share our experience with you - if you want to get back into cycling or just fancy going on an adventure by bike you really must give this a go.

The cycle hire at Wallington is part of a National Trust partnership with British Cycling and HSBC UK, offering great value, affordable bike hire to visitors wanting to get out on two wheels.  There are currently only three National Trust properties that offer the cycle scheme so we are incredibly lucky that Wallington is one of them.

 Cycle Hire at National Trust Wallington, Northumberland

You'll find the Cycle Hire Hut at Wallington along a path just off the carpark on the left hand side as you drive in. Easy to miss, especially if like us you never usually access the site that way. If you're unsure just ask where to find the bike hire as you drive into the carpark and you'll be pointed in the right direction. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time as pre-booking isn't available and the cycle hut can get busy.

We turned up around 30 minutes after opening and it was already fairly busy with a small queue of families forming wanting to hire bikes. When it was our turn we had to fill in a short form and we were then matched to our bikes. The first one I was given was a little too big for me so it was easily swapped out for a smaller frame and once I'd given it a quick test drive I was confident I'd be able to handle it around the Estate. Next we were fitted with our helmets and once we were ready we were off on our great adventure.

 Cycle at National Trust Wallington, Northumberland
The Dragon Cycle Trail at Wallington begins at the far end of the main carpark and is around 3 miles, the blue trail is the main trail, however there is also a shorter green trail which is ideal for families with smaller children.  The two hour bike hire time is more than enough to complete the entire trail and still have more than enough time to stop to admire the scenery and have a picnic.  We're pretty unfit and still managed to finish the trail with 30 minutes to spare despite stopping regularly to rest and take photographs.

Cycle Hire at National Trust Wallington, Northumberland - Dragon Cycle Trail

The majority of the Dragon Cycle Trail is only accessible by bike, making it a pretty special way to explore Wallington and experience a side of the estate that you won't have seen before. The terrain and scenery changes pretty frequently so one moment you can be cycling on a nice flat path and then next you'll be racing down hill through the delicious smells of the pine woods. It's a real treat for the senses.

The route is definitely not without its challenges as Simon and I discovered when we reached the Broomhouse Farm part of the trail and suddenly found ourselves cycling up what felt like a never ending hill in the middle of a sheep field.  We were surrounded by the cutest lambs on either side of the path so it was a beautiful route but wow did it work out our legs. Being a complete kid I absolutely loved cycling straight through all the sheep poo on the path, but be warned it does get a little messy.

Bike Hire at National Trust Wallington, Northumberland

Unfortunately as hard as I peddled I couldn't quite make it to the top of the hill in one go, if you're not a super fit cyclist you probably will need to walk your bike up a few hills. Don't worry though, we saw plenty of others doing it, in fact there was only one guy that I saw that managed to do the whole of that hill in one go.

Cycling at National Trust Wallington, Northumberland
Of course, what goes up must also come down and to give your legs a lovely rest there are some really fun big hills down that are brilliant if you want to feel the wind in your hair and forget all your troubles.  Luckily there's plenty of warning before they come up because a couple of them are very big hills (I did worry I might end up in a bush at the bottom at one point!)

As we're not regular cyclists (it had actually been a good couple of years since we'd last been on a bike) we definitely found it tough on the ol' legs and sore on the privates but there are plenty of places you can stop and rest if you fancy a break. There are some absolutely beautiful views across Northumberland at various points along the trail which are ideal for stopping or if you want to cool off the pine woods would be a great place to take a breather. There are also plenty of gates that have to be opened and closed throughout the trail which although a little bit of a pain at times, definitely acts as a welcome rest after some of the more strenuous parts of the route.

Cycling Trail at National Trust Wallington, Northumberland

As with any great adventure that we both love Simon has completely run off with the idea now and has decided that we should buy our own bikes and take up cycling. I absolutely love that our little trip to Wallington has left him so passionate about wanting to start a new hobby and I think the cycle hire probably leaves a lasting impression on most people that partake.

We had the most incredible morning and it was one of the most enjoyable experiences we've ever had in Northumberland - if you're wanting a great adventure in the outdoors with the family I highly recommend giving it a go .. just be prepared to not be able to walk the following day!

Cycling Trail and Bike Hire at National Trust Wallington, Northumberland
 What you need to know:
  • Cycle hire at Wallington is available every day during Spring and Summer between 10:00 - 16:00 (last hire is available at 15:00)
  • Bikes are hired out for 2 hours with the first bike costing £4.00 and any additional bikes £3.00 each
  • Trailers or Tagalongs are also available and cost £1.00 to hire
  • Balance Bikes and Helmet Hire are both free
  • For more details about the cycle route check see here
Find Wallington at:

Near Morpeth
NE61 4AR


  1. It seems very reasonably priced! We really should do this, maybe over the summer. I don't have a bike anymore but we are desperate to get Charlie more confident on his. This would be a great way to do this and those views are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing x

    1. It's an absolute bargain and a great place to help kids with their cycling! It's really family friendly and it's great being able to cycle about without worrying about traffic or getting lost. We hadn't been on bikes for years and it was a great place to have a go and get our confidence back


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