Ford & Etal Estate – Northumberland

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If you’re ever holidaying in the beautiful county of Northumberland, make sure a visit to Ford & Etal is included in your itinerary.

Situated in the north of the region, Ford & Etal is a large rural agricultural estate encompassing many attractions and activities. Nestled in the valley of the River Till, between the Scottish border and the Cheviot Hills, you’ll find villages like Ford, a tranquil Victorian spot with its pristine gardens, attractive cottages, picturesque post office and historic church, Heatherslaw and Etal.

We spent a couple of nights in the region and enjoyed strolling around the area, admiring the wonderful countryside and such gems as Ford, which is home to the world-famous watercolour murals of the Lady Waterford Gallery. A visit to the gallery, which served as the village school for over 100 years and still exhibits several items dating back to its educational days, is a must and we’d recommend watching the short film about the life of Louisa Waterford, too. When we visited, we were welcomed by a jovial, extremely knowledgeable member of staff which made the visit much more fruitful.

(c) Richard Webber

(c) Richard Webber

Stop at the local shop-cum-post office-cum-tearoom and enjoy some refreshments and take the opportunity to appreciate one of the many footpaths which snake their way across this lush estate.

(c) Richard Webber

(c) Richard Webber

We particularly enjoyed visiting Heatherslaw, just down the road from Ford. After wandering around the visitor centre, we popped along to the family-friendly Heatherslaw Cornmill with its fully-restored 19th century machinery. Unfortunately, we’d just missed a bread-making session for kids, much to Hollie and Peter’s disappointment. But we still received a tour of the mill before heading for lunch at the tearoom overlooking the River Till.

(c) Richard Webber

(c) Richard Webber

(c) Richard Webber

If we visit again, we’ll make sure we jump aboard the Heatherslaw Light Railway for the 50-minute journey along the banks of the river from Heatherslaw to 14th century Etal Castle, which was captured by James IV just before being defeated at nearby Battle of Flodden.

Overall, it was a most entertaining visit to the villages scattered across this sparkling piece of countryside and we’d recommend it to everyone.


More information:, tel: 01890 820338, tel: 01670 622152



Reviewed: August 2017

By | 2018-10-08T10:31:55+00:00 September 19th, 2017|Attractions, Destinations, Latest Reviews|2 Comments


  1. Oliver Jay 21st September 2017 at 8:15 am - Reply

    Hi Richard,
    As a business operating mainly on the Ford and Etal Estates it was great to see your lovely review of our villages. It sounds like you had a great time but I just wanted to mention at least 2 other activities ideal for families and that is the Heavy Horses at Hay Farm and Canoeing at Etal with Active 4 Seasons. Hopefully catch you next time you are up.
    Many thanks,
    Ollie Jay
    The Canoeman

    • admintl 20th October 2017 at 8:11 am - Reply

      Yes, definitely like to try those out next time. Sadly, our stay was brief else we’d have explored more. Thanks for the comment, though. Richard

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