Croft Castle is a lovely National Trust property in Herefordshire. It’s a great family day out with plenty of places to explore, fun playgrounds and cosy, warm tearoom. The parkland and gardens are dog friendly, as is a section of the tearoom. Dogs aren’t allowed inside the buildings.
About Croft Castle
Croft Castle has belonged to the Croft family for 1000 years. In 1957 they began working with the National Trust to preserve the building and its grounds for future visitors.
These days, you can go inside the castle itself to have a look around and discover what life was like during different eras of the castle’s history. The children were delighted to be able to sit and listen to a pianist playing a grand piano. The church is also open for people to explore.
Being able to go inside the buildings and warm up was ideal for little ones on the cold, rainy day when we visited. Whilst my husband and the children were busy indoors, I took the dog for a walk around the walled garden and started to explore the grounds.
Croft Castle’s garden is somewhat smaller than Croome’s walled garden, but it’s fascinating in its own way. It contains 450 vines and each year when the grapes are harvested, they are taken to a local wine maker so Croft castle can produce its own white wine. There’s lots for children to explore too, including spotting an abundance of birds and visiting the gorgeous bug hotel.
You’ll find a small National Trust shop near to the castle, then up the path behind it is the cafe. The glass part of the building is dog friendly. With its log fire and delicious cakes (including a vegan option), this was a welcome respite from the weather.
Children’s Playgrounds at Croft Castle
When we visited during January, the children’s playground was closed for refurbishment. I’m not sure whether it’s going to take the same format when it reopens in the spring, but it previously had a miniature castle for children to play in, as well as swings and other play equipment.
Instead, we headed for the natural play area, a short walk from the castle. It is one of the best National Trust natural play areas I’ve seen with several rope swings, obstacles, dens and even a stage.
The girls spent about half an hour playing in here but could definitely have stayed for longer. While we were there, no other children were in the playground so the girls claimed it as their own. A definite advantage to playing outdoors when everyone else would rather be at home keeping warm.
Walks from Croft Castle
Over lunch, we picked up a leaflet about the walks in and around the Croft Castle parkland. Walks vary in length and difficulty. The very short walk we did to the playground was about 1/4 of a mile. A 1 1/2 mile route takes you around the ancient trees on the parkland.
Then at the other end of the scale, there’s a 5 1/2 mile walk that allows you to incorporate a pub. We have already made plans to come back and do the pub walk.
What’s your favourite National Trust property? I’d love to hear any recommendations, bonus points if they’re dog and family friendly!