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Floors Castle
June 2021
Reading time 15 minutes
Here's our guide to the greatest gardens to visit in the North East.
The Alnwick Garden

Set in 12 acres of magnificent, meandering grounds – the award winning Alnwick Garden is now open. The Alnwick Garden anticipates the blossom trees will be in full bloom from mid-April – so be sure to experience the blossom while it lasts. You can also visit their exceedingly popular rose garden in all its glory during the summer months, with 300 highly-scented roses to observe in fascinating varieties, whilst the walled Ornamental Garden is a formal gardener’s paradise.
Tip for your trip: Pre-booking your trip to Alnwick Gardens is now essential – so be sure to purchase your tickets prior to arrival.
Denwick Lane, Alnwick NE66 1YU
01665 511350

Bradley Gardens
This 18th century walled garden is a hidden horticultural gem, located just nine miles from the heart of Newcastle. At Bradley Gardens’ nursery you can buy shrubs, perennials, bulbs and fruit trees, as well as getting expert advice about how to transform your garden. While you’re there, why not stock up on quality gardening equipment, items made by artisan producers from around the UK, and a section of vintage stoneware, pots and planters.
Tip for your trip: After a day of exploring horticultural wonders, Bradley Gardens is also home to a range of gorgeous shops to dip into. The Bridgewater Homestore offers fabulous furniture and home accessories, and their Ladies’ Accessories store boasts luxury jewellery and handbags to peruse.
Sled Lane, Wylam NE41 8JH
01661 852176

Howick Hall Gardens
Howick is best known for its beautiful spring bulbs, including its famous snowdrops, various varieties of daffodil and some native fritillaries, as well as its Silverwood woodland garden, which is home to an extensive collection of colourful rhododendron species. In summer, the south side of the Hall comes alive when the large herbaceous borders are in flower, bursting with geraniums, lupins and delphiniums.
Tip for your trip: Be sure to visit the impressive wild bog garden around Howick’s pond during the summer months, which features plants which have been grown from seeds collected on expeditions all over the world.
Alnwick NE66 3LB
01665 577191

Raby Castle Park and Gardens
Raby Castle

Set within 200 acres of parkland, Raby Castle is home to an abundance of wildlife, including several herds of wild red and fallow deer. Explore the East Garden’s herbaceous borders and various tree species including the liriodendron tulipafera, or tulip tree, and the Wedding Day Rose, whose petals transform through three colour changes. The castle’s Kitchen Garden was once watered straight from the ornamental pond and is now home to a range of delicious fruits, including raspberry canes and the famous Raby redcurrant.
Tip for your trip: If they’re on a lead, four-legged friends can join you on your visit to Raby’s gardens and grounds, as well as being welcome at the castle’s charming Stables Tearoom.
Staindrop, Darlington DL2 3NF
01833 660207

Cragside’s three acre garden is home to The Orchard House – one of the largest surviving glasshouses dating from the 1870s – which to this day produces figs and pears. The Italian Terrace, with its glass roof and sides, is the centrepiece of the Formal Garden’s lower level, while the carpet bedding display in summer is a sight to behold. Once home to engineer Lord Armstrong, Cragside also boasts one of the largest rock gardens in Europe, with specimens of heath and heather, evergreen and deciduous shrubs and bright azaleas. Completely man-made, the Rock Garden slopes all the way down from the house to Debdon Burn and the Pinetum – an arboretum which holds a collection of North American conifers, many of which were originally planted by Lord and Lady Armstrong around 140 years ago.
Tip for your trip: One of the best times of year to visit Cragside is rhododendron season, usually from the end of May to mid-June, when the estate is transformed by a sea of colour. This impressive show is complemented by bursts of azaleas around the grounds, which give off a beautiful scent and showcase vivid yellow and bright orange flowers.
Rothbury, Morpeth NE65 7PX
01669 620333

Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens
Surrounding its grand hall, Belsay has 30 acres of gardens for visitors to explore. Take a stroll through the deep ravines cut into ancient rock which lead to the Quarry Garden, planted with exotic trees and shrubs. Throughout spring, Belsay’s stunning Rhododendron Garden will be in flower whilst the formal Yew Garden and Magnolia Terrace are well worth a visit – look out for the charming blue spring flowers of the chionodoxa sardensis on the terrace. During the summer months, the unusual Voodoo Lily is in flower, growing up to two metres in height.
Tip for your trip: Wander along the beautiful Crag Wood Walk to work up an appetite before visiting Belsay’s Victorian tearoom.
Belsay, Near Morpeth NE20 0DU
01661 881636

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens Museum and Winter Garden

After being destroyed during the Second World War, the Winter Gardens were finally restored to their full glory in 2001. The tropical gardens have transformed the ground floor of the Sunderland Museum, proving to be an idyllic addition to the historic setting. With more than 2,000 plants thriving under the glass roof and a fascinating collection of plant species originating from different climates around the world, this covered garden can be enjoyed whatever the weather.
Tip for your trip: From the tree-top walkway you can enjoy a bird’s eye view over Mowbray Park, before heading back down to ground level to discover the Winter Gardens’ water features and fish ponds.
Burdon Road, Sunderland SR1 1PP
0191 561 2323

Durham University Botanic Garden
Set among beautiful woodlands to the south of Durham city, this 10-hectare Botanic Garden is both a research resource and a public attraction, with a wide variety of landscapes and plants to discover. Open all year round, there are always seasonal changes to discover in each individual area, including the Alpine Garden, Winter Garden, and Bamboo Grove. The Tropical Glasshouse recreates a humid rainforest climate where bananas, sugarcane, coffee, giant bamboo and epiphytic orchids thrive, while the Cactus House is home to desert plants such as prickly pears and aloes.
Tip for your trip: Stroll along the woodland trail to the Wildflower Meadow, an incredibly biologically-diverse garden which attracts an abundance of wildlife, from kestrels to butterflies.
Hollingside Lane, Durham DH1 3TN
0191 334 2887

Floors Castle and Gardens

The historic landscapes of Scotland’s largest inhabited castle is set with stunning grounds and idyllic gardens – ready to wow the public once again. Floors’ four-acre Walled Garden is home to herbaceous borders, which are packed with vibrant blooms throughout spring and summer, and impressive glasshouses which cultivate fresh fruit and vines. The garden’s charming summerhouse was visited by Queen Victoria during her stay with the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe in 1867, one of Floors’ most historic events. Be sure to visit the beautiful Star Plantation to experience the variety of hardwood trees, woodland shrubs and open glades.
Tip for your trip: 2021 marks Floors’ 300th anniversary, and there’s a new exhibition detailing the life and times of the first Duke as a celebration of this tricentennial milestone.
Kelso, Roxburghshire TD5 7SF
01573 223333

Tucked away on the Gibside estate you’ll find one of the few surviving 18th century-designed landscape gardens, commissioned by George Bowes. Wander through 600 acres of gardens, woodland and countryside to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life – the estate’s Wonders of Nature Trail is the perfect way to explore woodlands, meadows and wetlands along the riverside and spot some wildlife at play. The Orangery was built for Mary Eleanor Bowes between 1772–74 and was her only contribution to the buildings at Gibside. This unique space became home to a diverse collection of rare and unusual plants from around the world, and today it is still one of Gibside’s most beautiful locations.
Tip for your trip: Take a walk along the famous tree-lined Avenue and soak up the Derwent Valley views, before stopping for a picnic under the shade of Gibside’s idyllic woodland canopy. 
Near Rowlands Gill, Gateshead NE16 6BG
01207 541820 

Chillingham Castle 
Chillingham Castle reopens its Formal Gardens and Woodland Walks to visitors this May. The garden is home to the longest herbaceous border in Northern England, while the grounds of the castle can be further explored on the idyllic Woodland Walk, where you can see a range of significant tree varieties. Take a stroll down to Chillingham’s two lakes (fed by 12 springs and streams), which are surrounded by beautiful willow, alder, birch trees and native grasses.
Tip for your trip: On your way around Chillingham’s grounds, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the castle’s famous herd of Wild Cattle, the woodland’s red squirrel population, and the park’s resident deer. 
Chillingham, Alnwick NE66 5NJ
01668 215359

Wallington Hall 
This 13,000 acre estate was once home to MP Sir Charles Phillips Trevelyan, and boasts beautiful gardens, lawns, lakes, woodland and parkland. Nestled in the woods, Wallington’s secret Walled Garden is a horticultural treat whatever the season. Walk through Neptune’s Gate, descend the sweeping stone staircase and enjoy the garden’s colourful borders and Edwardian conservatory. Take the chance to spot some fantastic wildlife along the picturesque river walk, or look out for red squirrels from the estate’s Wildlife Hide.
Tip for your trip: The Dragon Cycle Trail has been designed with families in mind and is the perfect way to get out and about on the estate.
Cambo, near Morpeth NE61 4AR
01670 773600

Lindisfarne Castle and Walled Garden 
Travel across the causeway to the spectacular Holy Island and discover Lindisfarne Castle, a fort which was converted by famed architect Sir Edwin Lutyens into a 20th century private holiday home. In 1911, the small walled Gertrude Jekyll Garden was created on the site of an old vegetable patch and, to this day, the garden has stayed true to its original planting, becoming a riot of colour in the summer months. The combination of hardy annuals, heritage vegetables and colourful perennials creates a sensory oasis, with eight varieties of sweet pea, tall crimson hollyhock, and an array of gladioli.
Tip for your trip: Marvel at the spectacular coastal views from the garden or, on rainy days, take shelter and explore the castle itself. 
Holy Island, Berwick TD15 2SH
01289 389244

Whalton Manor
Whalton, Morpeth, Northumberland

Discover one of Northumberland’s hidden gems: Whalton Manor boasts a historically significant, 17th century house with three acres of vibrant gardens. Visit the charming Lutyens-designed summerhouse before exploring the vast stone-paved courtyard, decorated with beautiful blooms and shrubs. With heavy influence from Gertrude Jekyll and impressive architectural features designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, don’t miss the chance to experience the cultural and picturesque surroundings of Whalton Manor in the blooming summer months.
Tip for your trip: Be sure to allow a minimum of an hour and a half to explore the gardens in their entirety, with exclusive private tours and tailor-made visits also on offer.
Whalton, Morpeth, Northumberland NE61 3UT
01924 249777

Dilston Physic Garden 
The natural design and sensory focus of this unique two-acre garden is said to be immediately soothing for visitors wandering along its winding paths. Explore the natural labyrinth and discover hidden sculptures throughout Dilston’s gardens. Learn about the power of plants and traditional medicine in the aromatic herb gardens, or unwind by the Tranquility Pool. Steeped in history and folklore, the garden holds more than 800 medicinal plants, including their aromatic chamomile lawn, the mandrake, deadly nightshade and Japanese belladonna in the Plant Magic Garden, and the herbs and vegetables found in the Culinary Zone.
Tip for your trip: Bring budding gardeners along as there is plenty to do here for younger visitors. Children will enjoy playing in the Witches Den and the Drawing Hut, challenging themselves to a game of Giant Chess, or embarking on an adventure with the Explorer Trail. 
Corbridge NE45 5QZ
07879 533875

Longframlington Gardens
Longframlington Gardens were first established in 1998 from green pasture fields, but now visitors can enjoy more than 1,000 different varieties of trees, shrubs and perennials which have been planted with the changing seasons in mind. With 12 acres of nature trails, landscaped gardens and an arboretum, there is plenty to see and do at Longframlington. With their quirky design, the gardens feature hardy ornamental trees, rock garden plants and original art installations. Visit the Wild Meadow areas to explore a natural landscape full of native wildlife.
Tip for your trip: Head to Longframlington’s Nursery and Plant Centre and choose from the extensive range of plants for sale, which are sure to provide inspiration for your own garden. 
Longframlington, Morpeth NE65 8BE 
01665 570382

Monteviot House and Gardens
Monteviot House and Gardens

With 11 distinctly-designed gardens to explore at Monteviot you’ll be able to make the most of your trip to the official home of the Marquis of Lothian. Explore the Japanese-style Water Garden with curved bridges, impressive Himalayan poppies and golden flag lilies. Monteviot’s most modern garden is the Garden of Persistent Imagination, which is intended to provide a peaceful space for contemplation.
Tip for your trip: In spring, be sure to wander down the Sorbus Avenue, which is planted on one side with a beautiful hydrangea paniculata and, on the other, with a bed of weigela victoria and three prunus pissardii nigra trees. On the sloping grass bank, the spring fritillaries are a delight to see.
Jedburgh TD8 6UQ
01835 830380

Wynyard Hall Gardens 
The gardens at Wynyard Hall are well known for their staggering array of roses, and the Walled Garden features 3,000 stunning varieties, from floribundas and climbing roses to the statement English rose. Wander down the garden’s meandering paths and visit the Edible Garden where a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and herbs grow in raised beds and vegetable plots – you can try the Edible Garden’s fresh produce in the seasonal dishes served at the Wellington Restaurant and Gardens’ Café.
Tip for your trip: During your visit, be sure to browse the homeware, garden accessories and gifts on offer at the Victorian-inspired Glasshouse shop.
Wynyard Hall, Tees Valley TS22 5NF
01740 644811

Birkheads Secret Gardens and Nursery 
This three-acre hillside garden is 650 feet above sea level and aims to inspire green-fingered visitors with its wide variety of hardy plants. Owners Christine and Mike Liddle have planted each individual area of the garden to suit its own diverse weather conditions and to bring colour and scent to the garden. Situated in rural Gateshead between Beamish Museum and Tanfield Steam Railway, this beautiful garden is an RHS Partner garden, and is truly spectacular when in full bloom.
Tip for your trip: Enjoy a bite to eat and a drink on the coffee shop’s terrace and look out for Birkheads’ abundant wildlife – the garden’s boundary hedges provide the perfect habitat for hedgehogs, stoats and field mice.
07778 447920

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