The Best Gardens to Visit Now
Packed with seasonal colour and interest
Open until 31st October, Monteviot Gardens are designed to be enjoyed long into autumn. With a series of different gardens there is so much to see, from the Laburnum Tunnel to the walled Rose Garden, now surrounded by copper leaves. The large walnut tree is a sight to see in all its autumn glory, while the vivid reds of the Acer borders stand out against the gold, purple and green of surrounding leaves. Bordering the winding River Teviot, throughout the gardens there is an imaginative use of water features to complement the river below, while at this time of year the Sorbus Avenue is our favourite, backed by a hydrangea and spirea border, and fronted by an avenue of deep blue agapanthus.
Monteviot House, Jedburgh TD8 6UH
Wallington Hall Gardens
As summer makes way for autumn, a trip to Wallington’s walled garden means you need to look out for dahlias, asters, salvias and rudbeckia blooming in the borders until the first frosts, while being sure not to miss the vibrant red, yellow and orange maples tucked away in a quiet corner of the East Wood. We recommend walking beneath the changing colours and seeing them reflected in the still ponds. With so much to see, hire a bike from the edge of the West Woods and discover the huge estate on two wheels.
Cambo, Northumberland NE61 4AR
Durham Botanic Gardens
The first tints of autumn start to show in late September at the Durham Botanic Garden, one of the highlights being the sweet sugary smell of the Katsura tree as it turns golden yellow. The season’s colours are particularly prominent in the Oriental Collection and the North American Arboretum, with leaves falling to reveal surprisingly colourful bark, such as the shining coppery-bark of the Tibetan cherry. If the weather isn’t co-operating, escape to the warmth of the glasshouses where you will find everything from a tropical rainforest to desert cacti. For a more in-depth visit, tours and talks with the head gardener can be arranged.
Hollingside Lane, South Road, Durham DH1 3TN
0191 334 2887
Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
A must-visit on those rainy autumn days, the Winter Gardens are an undercover tropical paradise. Find more than 2,000 plants thriving in the glass rotunda, pay a visit to the exotic resident Koi Carp, as well as enjoying a bird’s eye view of Mowbray Park from the treetop walkway. This autumn, immerse yourself in art and nature at the same time with the Where We Are Now exhibition, which explores the experiences of the last year through artwork, community response and Sunderland residents’ photography.
Burdon Road, Sunderland SR1 1PP
0191 561 2323
Lowther Castle Gardens
Every year the gardens at Lowther Castle grow richer and more intriguing, with layers of new planting continually being added to those that have survived for hundreds of years. Rather than attempting to discover these amazing 130 acres alone, Head Gardener tours will take place on selected dates during the autumn, so let Martin Ogle guide you around, followed by a Q&A session and cake. Within the extensive gardens surrounding the castle ruins, you can expect to find everything from sculptured hornbeam sentinels to a rose garden (planted in the shape of an old English rose) inspired by the Sleeping Beauty myth.
Lowther Castle, Penrith, Cumbria CA10 2HH
Wynyard Hall Gardens
Set within 120 acres of private grounds, the gardens and arboretum of Wynyard Hall are open seven days a week, year-round. There is so much to see, from the Rose Garden with 3,000 David Austen roses, to the hub of horticultural inspiration that is the Kitchen Garden with fruit, vegetables and herbs, all used to create the most authentic dining experience in the Glass House restaurant.
Wynyard Hall, Tees Valley TS22 5NF
Take in the spectacular colour of the autumn leaves at Allen Banks and look out for the huge range of rare and colourful fungi that grow there. The walk to Staward Pele gives stunning views over the gorge at this time of year and you might even catch a glimpse of animals preparing for hibernation amongst the trees. Rhododendron, which were introduced into Allen Banks during Victorian times as an ornamental plant, now cover a significant proportion of the site, so on your visit see how rangers now make space for other plants by cutting down the rhododendron, stacking it in the kiln and producing up to 55 bags of charcoal at a time.
Bardon Mill, Hexham NE47 7BP
The Alnwick Garden
As summer draws to an end there is still plenty going on at The Alnwick Garden. Kept behind black iron gates, the small but deadly Poison Garden is filled with toxic, intoxicating and narcotic plants. To enter, guided tours take place daily – but be sure not to smell, touch or taste any of the plants on your way round! For something a little less dangerous, the garden’s Cherry Orchard has the largest collection of ‘Taihaku’ in the world, comprising of 329 trees. Although the defining white flowers do not bloom again until the end of April, in autumn the Taihaku are just as stunning, with their leaves turning an impressive copper colour.
Denwick Lane, Alnwick NE66 1YU
Belsay Hall Gardens
The autumn colours are spectacular at Belsay’s Grade I-listed gardens. At the entrance to the Quarry Garden (a unique micro-climate with exotic plants around every twist and turn) the brilliant white bark of the Himalayan birch, along with the red leaved Euonymus, gives colour underneath a massive towering copper beech. Meanwhile a planting of large Aralia give colour along the fern walk, while you can also expect to see light purple autumn crocus flowering in the meadow.
Belsay, Northumberland NE20 0DX
Thorp Perrow Arboretum
There is something to see all year round here, and during the autumn months the woodland trails are set ablaze to dramatic effect as the leaves on the trees and shrubs morph through hues of gold, orange, red, brown and purple. There are plenty of ways to spend your time at Thorp Perrow: meet exotic birds and animals, explore the 100 acres of arboretum or let little ones run wild in the adventure play area. This season is celebrated with guided tours led by curator, Faith, and Fungus Forays offer a fascinating insight into the world of Fungi in the arboretum.
Bedale, North Yorkshire DL8 2PS