best gardens to visit in Northumberland

Gardens to Visit in Northumberland

Northeast England, the home of legendary landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, is a garden and landscape lover’s paradise. ‘Capability’ Lancelot Brown, born in Kirkharle, Northumberland, and started his gardening career there, transformed the face of 18th-century England by designing stunning landscapes at many notable grand residences. He redesigned the terrain north of Alnwick Castle, constructing hills to conceal the castle from view until it seemed most spectacular to visiting visitors: an impression that can still be appreciated today. You can also explore the Sicilian-inspired rock garden at Belsay Hall and the secret walled garden at Wallington Hall. The stunning ‘Snowdrop Festival’ at Howick Hall takes place in early February. Cragside’s rhododendron show is in complete and brilliant bloom from mid-May to mid-June. There are a lot of beautiful gardens in Northumberland. So here’s our guide to the best gardens in Northumberland to visit.

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Northumberland is a beautiful place to explore. It has craggy hills and coastlands with sandy beaches, old homes, and numerous lovely gardens. If you’ve never been here before, now is the time! So, to help you plan your trip, we’ve compiled a guide to the greatest gardens to see in Northumberland.

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Map of Gardens to Visit in Northumberland

Map of Northumberland Gardens to Visit

You can also see the map here.

The Best Gardens to Visit in Northumberland

Cragside

Cragside is Lord William, and Lady Margaret Armstrong’s ancestral home and the birthplace of hydroelectricity. Lord Armstrong’s technical abilities and passion for efficiency and Lady Armstrong’s love for horticulture and innovative landscaping helped make Cragside a pioneering Victorian masterpiece. The estate has 1000 acres of craggy mountain environment, expanses of woods, a Pinetum, and classical gardens. A formal garden with a giant Arts & Crafts home in the centre. Perched on a rocky cliff, the mansion is loaded with pioneering innovations and modern Victorian ornamental arts and furnishings. Learn more about this man-made landscape that produced the hydroelectricity that lighted the estate throughout your visit. Take in the landscape and keep an eye out for the local wildlife!

Cragside Northumberland Garden to visit
  • Address of Cragside: Cragside House and Gardens, Rothbury, Morpeth, United Kingdom, NE65 7PX
  • Opening times of Cragside:
    • House – 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
    • Formal Garden and Rock Garden – 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
    • Shop – 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
    • Tea-room – 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
    • Carriage Drive – 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Cost to enter Cragside: Children under the age of five are free. National Trust members get in free. There is no charge for parking.
  • Admission (9 Apr – 30 Oct)
    • Adult – Gift aid £23.10, Standard £21.00
    • Children – Gift aid £11.55, Standard £10.50
    • Family – Gift aid £57.75, Standard £52.50
    • Family (1 adult) – Gift aid £34.65, Standard £31.50

Belsay Gardens

Visit Belsay Gardens and enjoy the huge 30-acre Grade I listed gardens. Follow the path through the rock ravines to reach the Jurassic-themed Quarry Garden. The Quarry Garden, which was inspired by Sir Charles Monck’s travels, has its own microclimate, which means that all kinds of unusual plants flourish here. They feature one of the most extensive rhododendron collections in the country. The traditional Yew Garden and Magnolia Terrace provide year-round seasonal appeal. And if you’re feeling energetic, why not do the Crag Wood Walk? Climb 56 spiral steps to the top of the 14th-century defensive ‘Pele tower’ at the pinnacle of the destroyed medieval castle to take in the view. Join English Heritage and get in for free all year round!

Belsay Northumberland Garden to visit

The castle (which is one of the best Castles to visit in Northumberland) was erected as a sanctuary during Anglo-Scottish fighting, which was also meant to impress. You may also want to explore the labyrinth of chambers, looking for evidence of beautiful medieval wall murals. The ancient cooking range and fireplaces may still be seen in the manor house-style wing. The Middleton family created the whole ensemble here for seven centuries. Finally, visit the Victorian Tearoom. They serve hot meals and lighter fare such as soups, sandwiches, and sweet delights. There are also hot and cold drinks available to soothe your thirst. Their stotties are really the star of the show; try the bacon and blue cheese.

  • Address of Belsay Gardens:  Belsay, Nr Morpeth, United Kingdom, NE20 0DX
  • Opening times of Belsay Gardens: Belsay Gardens Opens every 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday to Sunday.
  • Cost to enter Belsay Gardens: Additional charges for English Heritage members and non-members may apply on event days.
    • Adult: With donation £11.20, without donation £10.00
    • Child (5-17 years): With donation £6.60, without donation £6.00
    • Concession (student with an official student card or over 65s): With donation £10.10, without donation £9.00
    • Family (2 adults, up to 3 children): With donation £29.00, without donation £26.00
    • Family (1 adult, up to 3 children): With donation £17.80, without donation £16.00
    • Overseas Visitor Pass (9 or 16 days unlimited): Buy Now

Wallington Hall Gardens

Wallington is located in a rural region of Northumberland, yet is just 20 miles northwest of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Wallington is the National Trust’s biggest estate, with 13,500 acres. A historical mansion nestled amid rolling hills with huge trees and a magnificent walled garden may be found here. Take your time exploring and discovering the places, both inside and out. Keep a lookout for the natural species, including anything from red squirrels and nuthatches to white-clawed crabs and otters.

Wallington Hall Northumberland Garden to visit
  • Address of Wallington Hall Gardens: Wallington Hall, Cambo, Morpeth, Northumberland, United Kingdom, NE61 4AR
  • Opening times of Wallington Hall Gardens: Cafe, shop, and house opening times may be extended at Christmas. The Walled garden is open daily from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Cost to enter Wallington Hall Gardens Adults/children: Car parking is free for National Trust members and is included in the ticket price for non-members.
    • Adult – Gift aid £16.50, Standard £15.00
    • Children – Gift aid £8.30, Standard £7.50
    • Family – Gift aid £41.30, Standard £37.50
    • Family (1 adult) – Gift aid £24.80, Standard £22.50

Whalton Manor Gardens

Whalton Manor is a beautiful 17th-century manor with 3 acres of walled gardens designed by Sir Edward Lutyens for Mrs Eustace Smith in the early 20th century with influence from Gertrude Jekyll. Tours of the gardens are provided for both groups and individuals. Lutyens and Jekyll collaborated to create a little jewel, a landscape of endless inspiration, highlighted by elements like a game larder, pergolas, a stone-paved courtyard, and an Italianate summerhouse. The manor was considerably remodelled by architect Edwin Lutyens in 1908 when he was also working on the Tudor castle of Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island. He meticulously rebuilt the manor’s interiors, keeping the plastered ceilings and Georgian panelled chambers. The nearby West Manor House was once part of Whalton Mansion, completed in 1729, but is now an entirely different home. A circular bedroom on the first floor of the Manor is modelled after the Viceroy’s royal chamber in New Delhi.

  • Address of Whalton Manor Gardens: Whalton Manor Garden, Whalton, Morpeth, United Kingdom, NE61 3UT
  • Opening times of Whalton Manor Gardens: From April 6th until October 26th, 2022, the garden will be available to the public every Wednesday from 9:00 am -5:00 pm; enter via the arches between the main house. You will be greeted by a member of the Gardening Team, who will guide you around the facility and answer any questions you may have.
  • Cost to enter Whalton Manor Gardens: The entrance cost is £8 per person and is payable upon arrival (please note they have no card machine). There is no need to reserve.

Lindisfarne Castle Gardens – the Gertrude Jekyll Garden

The Castle on Holy Island was renovated into a vacation home by Edwin Lutyens. He was a regular collaborator and friend of Jekyll, whom he called ‘Bumps.’  And so Jekyll built a garden with a lowered wall on the Castle side that would blossom into a riot of colour in the summer for Edward Hudson’s guests to enjoy from the Castle using the position of a vegetable patch that had provided food for the soldiers at the Castle. The mix of hardy annuals, colourful perennials, and heritage veggies offers stunning looks and fragrances in the summer and a green, sheltered oasis all year.

Lindisfarne Castle Northumberland Garden to visit
  • Address of Lindisfarne Castle Gardens – the Gertrude Jekyll Garden:  Lindisfarne Castle Gardens, Holy Island, Berwick-upon-Tweed, United Kingdom, TD15 2SH
  • Opening times of Lindisfarne Castle Gardens – the Gertrude Jekyll Garden: The Garden is open every Monday to Friday from 9 am until 4 pm.
  • Cost to enter Lindisfarne Castle Gardens – the Gertrude Jekyll Garden: The £8 entry fee includes a printed guide with plant lists and a map. Morning coffee/tea may be included for ten pounds per person for groups of ten or more.  National Trust Members enter for free.

Coming to Holy Island is one of Northumberland’s best days out – here’s inspiration for some more!

Howick Hall Gardens

Howick Hall is a magnificent eighteenth-century house with a terrace and wooded grounds. It is built on the concept of transitioning from terrace to grass to forest garden. Rhododendrons and other acidic bushes are planted in the latter. Until 1973, Howick was the Grey family’s ancestral home. In 1832, the second Earl Grey (2nd) became Prime Minister and instituted significant election changes. Earl Grey tea is named after him.

  • Address of Howick Hall Gardens: Howick Hall Gardens, Howick Estate Office, Alnwick, United Kingdom, NE66 3LB
  • Opening times of Howick Hall Gardens:
    • Early Season – From February 12th to March 31st, 2022, the Garden is open every day at 10:30 am and closes at 4:00 pm.
    • Main Season – From April 1st to September 30th, 2022, the Garden is open daily from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm (last entry 5:00 pm)
    • Late Season – From October 1st – November 13th, 2022 (inclusive) opens every day at 10:30 am and closes at 4:00 pm.
  • Cost to enter Howick Hall Gardens:
    • Adults £8.80, Over 60s £7.70, Children 5 -16 years £2.50, and Children 4 years & Under (FREE)
    • Season tickets price: Single – £34.00, Double – £60.00, Family – £75.00

Longframlington Gardens

Longframlington Gardens is a lovely destination to come to whether you are seeking plants to purchase for your own garden, a unique garden to visit, or just an excellent area to locate a coffee shop. Longframlington Gardens, which began as green pasture fields in 1998, is being developed in stages. It is being designed as an educational and recreational garden, with over 1000 different trees, shrubs, and perennials being planted. The Garden & Arboretum Walk allows you to enjoy the plant collection and seasonal variations of the planting schemes in this ‘Living Exhibition of Plants’- an informal plant garden nestled in the calm and fascinating Northumbrian countryside. The Nursery & Plant Centre sells a wide variety of trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, herbs, climbers, and rock garden plants — a gardener’s assortment of containers grown in hardy conditions may be planted all year round.

  • Address of Longframlington Gardens:  Longframlington Garden, Morpeth, Northumberland, United Kingdom, NE65 8BE
  • Opening times of Longframlington Gardens: Longframlington Garden is open every Wed-Sat, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm.
  • Cost to enter Longframlington Gardens:
    • Nursery (No Fee): separate unit to gardens & greenhouse.
    • Arboretum & Gardens £7.50: it includes Garden & Arboretum Tours, Living Plant Collection, Rope Art in the Garden, Climate Change Interpretation, Gardeners Quiz Maze, Native Tree Trail, and ‘Seats in the Garden’ are all included in the £7.50 ticket price (children under 16yrs old accompanied by parents f.o.c).
    • Groups: Pre-book only.

Alnwick Garden

The world’s biggest Tai Haku Cherry Orchard, a Grand Cascade with 120 water jets, and the world’s largest Treehouse Restaurant are all located on 12 acres of meandering and spectacular Gardens. Families and children can wander The Garden, play on the mini diggers, and participate in the daily summer street theatre program. At other times of the year, The Garden is a serene and tranquil retreat. You may spend hours roaming through the Roses, the Ornamental Garden, and the Cherry Blossom or just relaxing on one of its 50 swinging seats. Visiting Alnwick Garden is one of the best things to do in Alnwick.

Alnwick Northumberland Garden to visit
  • Address of Alnwick Garden:  Alnwick Garden, Denwick Lane, Alnwick, United Kingdom, NE66 1YU
  • Opening times of Alnwick Garden: From March 25th, 2022, the garden’s operating hours will be 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.
  • Cost to enter Alnwick Garden:
  • Online Ticket Prices for Spring/Summer 2022
    • Garden Adult: £15.95
    • Garden Concession (Over 60’s or Student 17): £14.30
    • Garden Child (0-16 Years Max 4 Per Adult): £0.00
    • Garden Additional Child: £6.60
  • Walk-In Prices
    • Garden Adult (Gift Aid): £17.05 (no Gift Aid): £15.50
    • Garden Concession (Gift Aid): £15.40 (no Gift Aid): £14.00
    • Garden Child (0-16 Years max 4 Per Adult): £0.00
    • Garden Additional Child (Gift Aid) £7.70 (no Gift Aid) £7.00

Bide a Wee Garden

If you’re in Northumberland, visiting the Bide-a-Wee Cottage Gardening is a must for everyone who enjoys gardens and creative planting. The gardens include a wide range of perennials, shrubs, grasses, and ferns planted in both formal and casual arrangements. Bide-a-Wee has received significant recognition, with Gardeners World Magazine describing it as a “really exceptional garden.” While The English Garden named the garden one of the top eight plant-gardens lovers to visit in 2017. It has also been on TV, in magazines, and in journals (Royal Horticultural Society Journal – vol.120, part 7). It is a frequently recommended attraction by numerous websites, including the English Tourist Board’s website, which says that “you’ll adore it.” Take in the calm and relaxation while admiring the views of the garden and the neighbouring Northumbrian countryside from the several seating vantage points.

  • Address of Bide a Wee Garden:  Bide-a-Wee Cottage, Stanton, Netherwitton, Morpeth, United Kingdom, NE65 8PR
  • Opening times of Bide a Wee Garden:
    • Every year, from mid-April until mid-September, the garden is available to the public.
    • On Fridays and Saturdays, regular visit hours are from 1 pm to 5 pm.
  • Cost to enter Bide a Wee Garden: The entrance fee is £3.00

Herterton House Gardens

Early summer is the ideal time to appreciate the intimate workmanship of this small but much-acclaimed rural Northumbrian Garden, which was built from the ground up around a derelict 16th-century farmyard. The magnificent Herterton House Gardens took 40 years for painters Frank and Marjorie Lawley to plan and cultivate – a lifetime endeavour that continues to thrive. The Lawleys’ knowledge and resourcefulness with hybridized and wild plants and their sensitivity to structure and pattern are shown with a strict free spirit. Some of the knapweeds and hesperis grow unusual white variants of wild rosebay willowherb and rose campions. Hoverflies, butterflies, and bees thrive as elegant veronicas, circiums, and self-seeded poppies flow down little passages. Making their way through precisely trimmed box swirls and buttoned columns in the floral arrangement. Even the walls become green, covered with waistcoats of ivy that follow the outline of a window or door with maximum accuracy. It’s no surprise that it’s been called a “living piece of art.”

  • Address of Herterton House Gardens:  Herterton House, Cambo, Morpeth, Northumberland, United Kingdom, NE61 4BN
  • Opening times of Herterton House Gardens: The garden is open every day from April through September. Except on Tuesdays and Thursdays. From 1.30 pm until 5.30 pm.
  • Cost to enter Herterton House Gardens: The price of admission to the gardens is £3.00 per adult.

Chillingham Castle Gardens

The garden is a rare 1828 survivor and was designed by royal designer Sir Jeffry Wyatville, fresh off his royal victories at Windsor. The urns and sculptures are contemporary composite reproductions that create an aura of uniqueness. Northern England’s famed herbaceous border is the longest in the country. In ancient times, the far wall, which was fifteen feet thick, served as a jousting “grandstand,” wrapped initially around the castle grounds. The castle, set in lovely gardens, has magnificent views of the surrounding countryside, including small farmsteads and the picturesque magnificence of the Cheviots. There are lakes, wildlife, and valuable and well-recorded trees for specialists. You may sometimes spot the famous herd of Wild Cattle in the distance. Deer, red squirrels, and badgers are lurking in the woods, waiting to see whether you’re fortunate (and be quiet!). There are also foxes and rabbits and a variety of bird and plant life that is unaffected by pesticides and poisons.

Chillingham Castle Northumberland Garden to visit
  • Address of Chillingham Castle Gardens:  Chillingham Castle, Chillingham Alnwick, Northumberland, United Kingdom, NE66 5NJ
  • Opening times of Chillingham Castle Gardens: From May to September, the garden opens daily except on Tuesdays. It is open every day from 12 pm to 5 pm in July and August.
  • Cost to enter Chillingham Castle Gardens: The adult admission charge is £6.75.

Dilston Physic Garden

Dilston Physic Garden is a Northumberland Garden dedicated to planting power and plant medicine. It’s a one-of-a-kind location that’s great for a stroll or bringing the kids. Dilston Physic Garden is located in Northumberland, just outside of Corbridge. It was rather simple to get there by car. A Physic Garden is a garden where every plant that grows can cure or keep you well. On 2 acres of ground, there are approximately 700 strong plants to explore. When you arrive, you may pick a trail map to follow (which is free with entry – extra trail maps are 50p each), although getting lost is tough. There are only six Physic Gardens in the UK; therefore, I believe Dilston is a rare and unique area for everyone to enjoy. The garden is overflowing with plants that improve both physical and mental health. Above all, I found it to be a pleasant and soothing place to visit. This, I believe, was one of the garden’s primary goals, and it has unquestionably been met. There are several quiet spots for meditation and reflection and a designated silent seat. The garden really mesmerizes you in nature.

  • Address of Dilston Physic Garden:  Dilston Physic Garden, Corbridge, Northumberland, United Kingdom, NE45 5QZ
  • Opening times of Dilston Physic Garden: Please keep in mind that the garden is closed if the temperature is at or below 1C. The garden is open every day by appointment for group or school visits and workshops, events, and private hires.
    • March – Wednesday, and Saturday 12–3 pm
    • April – Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday 12–3 pm.
    • May to September – Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11 am – 4 pm
    • October – Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday 11 am – 4 pm
    • November – Wednesday 12–3 pm
    • December – Christmas Open Days
    • January and February – Closed
    • Open any day for Group or School visits by appointment and for workshops, events, and private hires.
  • Cost to enter Dilston Physic Garden:
    • Adults – £6 Adults (including senior citizens)
    • Children – £4 Children 5-15y, FREE Children under 5y
    • Season Pass (Come anytime during opening hours) – £15 One-year Season Pass (excl. Jan-Feb when the garden is closed)
    • Family Season Pass (Come along anytime during opening hours) – £35 One-year Season Pass for 2 adults and 2 children (excl. Jan-Feb when they are closed)

Travel Tips for Exploring Northumberland

Final Words on Gardens to Visit in Northumberland

England is the world’s most garden-loving country, with more gardens available to the public than any other country. London is the Garden Capital of the World. It has a more considerable percentage of garden-loving citizens than any other capital city in the world.   Cornwall has a whole lot of amazing gardens to visit, but Northumberland is an avid gardener’s dream, Northeast England, the birthplace of legendary landscape gardener Lancelot “Capability” Brown. ‘Capability’ Lancelot Brown, who grew up in Kirkharle, Northumberland, transformed the face of 18th-century England by creating stunning landscapes at several famous stately residences. He built hills north of Alnwick Castle to hide it from view, creating an effect that can still be seen today. Visit the Sicilian-inspired rock garden at Belsay Hall and the secret walled garden at Wallington Hall. Cragside’s rhododendrons bloom from mid-May to mid-June, and Howick Hall hosts a lovely Snowdrop Festival. Northumberland has many stunning gardens that you should visit. So, plan your visit now and tell me how these gardens made you appreciate Northumberland’s beauty even more.

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