The Best Garden Cafés in the North East
Staindrop, Darlington DL2 3NF
The charming Stables Café is a must-visit during any visit to Raby Castle. Inside you’ll find quirky interiors (featuring wooden stable partitions, many of which still feature the name plaques of the horses that were once housed there), while outside there’s a spacious covered and decked outdoor seating area, so there’s plenty of space to relax. The menu makes the most of what’s in season locally, and offers coffee, cake and afternoon tea too.
Wynyard Hall, Tees Valley TS22 5NF
After exploring the Walled Garden (packed with David Austen roses), the Edible Garden (which grows fruit, herbs and veg for the café and hotel’s restaurant), and the Woodland Walk here, you’ll be ready to retire to the Café. Choose from a hot dish of the day, artisan sandwiches, homemade soup, quiche and plenty of mouthwatering cakes. The adjacent Farm Shop is packed with local produce, from gourmet sausages to cheese, pies and relishes.
Sled Lane, Wylam NE41 8JH
The 19th century Glasshouse Café takes pride of place in the beautiful surroundings of Bradley Gardens. The menu features seasonal dishes made with local produce, all made on site by their talented team of chefs. Small plates, sandwiches and snacks are available, as well as more substantial dishes (we can’t recommend their cheddar cheese and spinach soufflé highly enough) and a range of cakes and pastries. Their sparkling afternoon tea (with delicate finger sandwiches, homemade scones and pastries and glass of Prosecco or a chilled Bellini) is a real treat – make sure to book in advance to enjoy this. While you’re here, take the opportunity to explore the gardens and the on-site shops.
Barnard Castle, County Durham DL12 8NP
You don’t actually have to be a museum visitor to enjoy Café Bowes, but we’d strongly recommend making a day of it and exploring the museum’s three floors of exhibitions, and its grounds as well (if you’ve never seen the 18th century silver swan automaton, don’t miss it). The menu at Café Bowes ranges from breakfast and light bites to afternoon teas and lunches, with sophisticated dishes including smoked haddock chowder, Bowes rarebit and gin and maple cured salmon with heritage potato salad, beetroot, creme fraiche and blinis.
Denwick Lane, Alnwick NE66 1YU
Whether you want a pit-stop while exploring the extensive gardens here, or a stand-out restaurant for a special occasion, Alnwick Garden has the answer. The Treehouse restaurant offers destination-dining in a truly magical setting. Dine on modern British dishes under the beautiful woodland canopy, amongst twinkling lights and wooden walkways – think twice-baked Northumberland nettle cheese soufflé or North Shields mussels with Alnwick pale ale. In the garden itself meanwhile, the Pavilion Café is a light-filled contemporary space with views directly onto the iconic dancing fountains of the Grand Cascade.