When we were invited to visit The Sill in Northumberland, I was curious.
Described as the “UK’s National Landscape Discovery Centre“, I couldn’t think what that could be?
But, I like learning new things, especially when we’re travelling, so I agreed to visit.
While we were there, I wanted to visit lesser-known attractions as part of our visit, and The Sill was perfect.
What is The Sill?
So, what is the national landscape discovery centre?
It’s not just one thing; it’s many things.
At its heart, I would describe it as a landscape education centre. But, not boring education, immersive education.
I didn’t know I was interested in the landscape until I visited, which is a good sign that The Sill is effective.
Things to do at The Sill
There are permanent and rolling exhibitions. Meaning no two visits are the same.
See: What’s On
During our visit we:
- I had a go of VR
- Changing Landscapes
- Bringing the Landscape to Life
- Lunch in the Cafe
- I visited the Grassland Roof
Virtual Reality Tour of the Landscape
The first thing I did was go on a virtual reality tour of the landscape.
Granted, it’s not my best look, but I enjoyed it.
It’s odd at first, but you soon get the hang of flying over the landscape like a bird.
On a broader point, virtual reality tours are helpful when you have mobility problems.
They’re not as good as the real thing but make places accessible that otherwise wouldn’t be.
The second thing we did was create a landscape using coloured sand.
That is a rubbish description of the impressive exhibit. But you know me; I’m rough around the edges.
When I finished shaping the landscape, the exhibit worked its magic, and I watched the weather’s effects on our landscape.
Bringing the Landscape to Life Exhibition
We spent most of our time in a state of the art Permanent Exhibition.
It’s a journey through time and brings the landscape to life.
And I quote:
It includes geological exhibits, interactive displays, artwork installations and audio-visual displays.
The Exhibition aims to transform how people discover and explore the natural and cultural heritage of the landscape.
It will ignite your curiosity about the environment and empower you to ask big questions about the world around you.The Sill – National Landscape Discovery Centre
Here are a few photos. The lighting was low, so don’t blame the photographer.
Refreshments at the Sill
We had a quick cuppa in the cafe then headed for the roof terrace.
Wildflower and Grassland Roof Terrace
Clever design means you can access the roof using an inclined but doable ramp.
It ambles up the side of the building culminating in a viewing terrace to relax and enjoy the vistas.
This is a one of a kind, never been tried before roof terrace.
If you can manage the incline, I highly recommend it.
Have a read up on how unique the Whin Wildflower and Grassland roof terrace is?
Accessibility at The Sill
The Sill’s website says that accessibility is at the heart of what they do.
And do you know what? I believe them!
There are dedicated disabled parking and drop off points.
Moving around the building is effortless with a wheelchair.
And there is an accessible toilet and Changing Places toilet on the ground floor.
If you plan on visiting the Sill, take a moment to read their Access Statement.
It’s one of the most comprehensive access statements I have ever seen.
Worth a visit?
Yes, I would say it is.
The thing is, you don’t have to be an eco-warrior to find The Sill interesting.
If anything, it’s the kind of place that expands your mind and opens your eyes.
It’s a journey of discovery, a way to discover your landscape.
I came away appreciating our landscape. Understanding it is not just something to look at but something to participate in, respect and protect.