A summer of art and drama is under way at a Northumberland visitor attraction — and local schoolchildren were the first to try it out.
Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, near Ponteland, will stage a number of garden and landscaped themed activities for families throughout the school holidays, including an Outside In contemporary art exhibition.
The display features work from notable landscape artist Halima Cassell.
Children from nearby Belsay First School were invited along for a sneak preview, as well as to have a go at coming up with their own creative designs, including making wild garden art and Play Doh sculptures inspired by the collection.
Headteacher Lillian Harris said: “The children always love coming to Belsay as it is such an exciting place for them to explore and it’s great for them to see something new like this exhibition.
“They’ve loved getting their hands dirty and making art.
“I’m sure this sneak preview will inspire many of the children to come back with their family during the holidays.”
The exhibition runs until September, with Garden Explorers’ activities taking place throughout the summer.
Young visitors to the English Heritage attraction will be encouraged to make their own garden art, photograph it and upload it to Belsay’s Facebook and Twitter social media sites for the chance to win a family hamper of goods and tickets to a bank holiday event at the end of the summer.
Hands On History: Garden Explorers runs daily until Friday, September 2.
The site will also offer some outdoor dramatic entertainment as it welcomes back Chapterhouse Theatre Company.
The group will this time present an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility by Laura Turner, telling the tale of sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, their first foray into Regency society and the trials and tribulations of love.
The company returns to Belsay in its 17th year of touring the UK and Ireland, performing in idyllic garden settings.
Sense and Sensibility can be seen at Belsay on Wednesday, August 3, at 7pm. Gates open at 6.15pm.
Tickets cost £13 adult, £11 concs, £11 child in advance, and £15 adult, £13 concs and £13 child on the night.
People are advised to take their own rugs or low-backed seating, picnics and warm, waterproof clothing.
For further information or tickets call 01661 881636 or visit www.seetickets.com