The Prince of Wales was welcomed by a Northumbrian piper as he started a series of engagements in the North East.

Charles started his two-day trip to Northumberland by visiting The Sill, a national landscape discovery centre, where he was told about the range of learning and research activities carried out at the venue.

He seemed impressed by the building’s grassed roof which has been built to mimic the shapes and geology of The Great Whin Sill – a natural rock feature – saying “Ah ha, look at that”, before unveiling a plaque.

Charles met local schoolchildren at the site, which is based in the heart of Hadrian’s Wall and opened in July 2017 at a cost of £14.8 million.

Charles at a farmers market The Prince of Wales visits a farmers market in Hexham (Owen Humprheys/PA)

He could be heard jokingly asking the youngsters whether they were going to be given lunch, and he laughed when one enthusiastically nodded in reply to his question on whether they had learnt something during their visits to the centre. He and a teacher agreed that the children seemed “well trained”.

Among the crowds was a baby holding a Union flag, with Charles saying to him: “Bed time, rest time”.

Charles also met with staff from The Sill’s 86-bed youth hostel and discussing the running of the business with them.

In his second engagement of the day, Charles met with market traders from the Produced in Northumberland scheme in Hexham.

The prince then travelled to Kirkharle, the birthplace of heritage gardener Lancelot “Capability” Brown in the early 18th century.

Whilst there, he climbed up to a special viewing point in order to take in a lake which has recently been restored to match Brown’s original plans, before taking a stroll round the nearby gardens.

He then met with members of the Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services (UTASS) group, which helps address the needs of those living in rural isolation.

In celebration of the group’s 25th anniversary, Charles cut a cake baked by one of UTASS’s members, telling the assembled audience: “I do hope you all get a bit.”

Later on Wednesday afternoon, he is due to visit the Kielder Salmon Centre and Hatchery, where a new visitor centre is due to open this month.

On Thursday, the prince will travel to a Hepple Gin distillery in Morpeth, before concluding his trip at the Alnwick Garden.