Reviewed by Catherine Dolan
On a recent visit to the Beatrix Potter attraction centre, my family and I unfortunately ran out of time on the day in question to visit Wray Castle. However, we were fortunate enough to spend the day there on Sunday 31 May 2015 and what a wonderful day we all had!
Wray Castle built around Lake Windermere isn’t actually a real castle but a private house which was built in 1840. It was designed by an accountant who was interested in architecture. This was John Jackson Lightfoot’s one and only design as he sadly drank himself to death. The design was then completed by H.P. Horner and was rented by Beatrix Potter’s family from 1882 where they entertained many guests. Beatrix Potter fell in love with her holiday home so much that she then went on to buy Hill Top where she wrote most of her books.
Wray Castle is situated in a lovely open space with breath-taking scenery and lovely walks. There is an adventure playground for the children and plenty of woodland. The inside of the castle has an elaborate hall and rooms with so many different things to keep the children entertained, it really has the feel good factor for children’s entertainment as well as being a refined building. You can easily spend a full day at Wray Castle, picnic in the grounds, a walk to the lakeshore as well as the indoor space. As I had my 10 week old granddaughter with me, I quickly realised that I would not be able to take her pram upstairs in the castle, we would have been better taking her ‘carry sling’ with us. There was loads of fun for the children inside, from making a castle out of foam bricks, dressing up as Knight’s or Queen’s, a craft room where the children made their very own crowns. We then went onto the Peter Rabbit Adventure area where there was a room which resembled Mr McGregor’s garden, a room where the children could ‘make Peter Rabbits dinner’, a picnic room, not to mention a room where they could scribble on the wall as it had been made into a chalk board! There are also couches for parents/carers to sit on whilst their children are engrossed in the rooms. Ideal as we had to carry my granddaughter so gave us the chance to take the weight of our feet.
Outside they also had ‘husky’ rides where the children could be taken on a carriage which would be pulled along by the beautiful huskies at certain times in the day. However, be aware that there was an extra charge for this. Due to the weather being so poor, we chose not to partake in the husky rides, we did however, go and see them and the staff were very helpful and encouraged the children to sit with them.
Overall, we all had an excellent day. However, if you are hoping to visit an historical building full of grandeur, please be aware that this is not what Wray Castle is about. It is a beautiful building, in wonderful grounds and does have a lot of the original features but it is predominately more suited for children inside. I have every intention of visiting again with more of my family but will remember that it is not suitable for prams/pushchairs!!
Tickets cost (with Gift Aid): Adults £9 (£8), Children £4.50 (£4), Family £22.50 (£20)
National Trust membership gives you unlimited access to over 500 sites and costs from between £30 to £104 per year (which can be taken as a monthly Direct Debit).
For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wray-castle.
Wray Castle, Low Wray, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0JA | 015394 33250