Ford & Etal is a great family day out with something for everyone to enjoy. There are many activities around the Estates to keep the children entertained throughout your visit.
Starting at Etal, the Castle offers a book box for children as well as a giant book on display about the castle, and there are tables outside for castle visitors to enjoy a family picnic.
Moving across to Heatherslaw the railway room at the Heatherslaw Light Railway displays model railways and paper and crayons for children to draw. At Heatherslaw Mill explore the mill, pick up a mouse trail and find the mice, take the Junior Miller's Quiz and get hands-on in the Dough Zone (bread making/baking sessions on selected days in school holidays - check events listings for details.) Talk to the miller and learn how the massive machinery works - you may even be able to start the mill up! There's a Victorian cottage too, with dressing up clothes for all the family and artefacts from that era. All this and more is included in the normal admission charge. Outside there's a large grass paddock and a sandpit, with picnic benches outside the mill and tearoom. Whilst mum and dad have a cup of tea, crayons and paper are available for children to draw and colour at their tables at Heatherslaw Tearoom.
While your'e are Heatherslaw take a walk - or drive - up to the Heavy Horse Centre at Hay Farm where you can meet the magnificent Clydesdale Horses who's ancestors worked the land here, explore the exhibition area, discover other rare breed animals and enjoy a picnic in the company of the horses.
Over to Ford, in Lady Waterford Hall the 'Kids Zone' offers a range of activities including quizzes, drawing and using slates just as the children in school would have done in Lady Waterford's time.
The Estates are very child-friendly and high chairs are available to use at the various tearooms. You will also find baby changing facilities located in the public toilets at Etal, Heatherslaw and Ford as well as facilities for customers at The Lavender Tearooms and Heatherslaw Tearoom.
Pushchairs are welcome, with easy access into most attractions. At Lavender Tearooms there is plenty of room to leave pushchairs outside the shop and there is room for small pushchairs inside too. Heatherslaw Mill, Shop and Tearoom are only accessible by stone steps and are spread over three floors, however young children are very welcome and pushchairs can be left in the Visitor Centre. Ford Moss and Maelmin Heritage Trail may be difficult for some pushchairs to access as there are uneven surfaces along the trails, parking is close by to both these attractions to leave pushchairs in the car. Heatherslaw Railway is fun for all the family and can accommodate pushchairs in the two wheelchair and buggy compartments.
Family tickets are available from:
- Etal Castle: 2 adults & 3 children £16.40
- Heatherslaw Mill: 2 adults & 3 children £12.00
- Lady Waterford Hall Family ticket £10.00
Children under the age of 5 also have free entry to these 3 venues and a discounted joint ticket (approx 20% off normal admission) is available for Lady Waterford Hall and Heatherslaw Mill, costing £17.50 for a family.