The Alnwick Garden
Open until the beginning of November, The Alnwick Garden continues to offer horticultural delights long into autumn. The tours of the Poison Garden take place every day – the tour guides will regale you with gruesome anecdotes and legends that will thrill adults and children alike, and you can discover the lethal varieties that we often grow unwittingly in our back gardens… Looking for something a little less dangerous? The fountains still stun whatever the weather, and the katsura trees and sweet gum provide a riot of autumnal colour.
Denwick Lane, Alnwick NE66 1YU
Floors Castle & Gardens
There’s plenty of seasonal interest at Floors Castle and Gardens. Stroll through the evergreen canopies of the Star Plantation towards the Millennium Garden, where you can admire the formal beauty of the intertwined initials of the present Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe. Warm up in the Terrace Café, where the menu changes to reflect the seasons and contains dishes made from the estate’s produce.
Kelso, Roxburghshire TD5 7SF
This tranquil four-acre garden in the Tyne Valley was originally designed in the 18th century by esteemed architect John Dobson, and has since been redesigned as a productive nursery while preserving the few plants left around its walls. At this time of year it offers plenty of autumn colour, including their lovely lacecap hydrangeas. If the weather turns foul, take refuge in their cosy Glasshouse Café (where a welcoming fire roars on chilly days) and enjoy a slice of cake and tea or something more substantial, or indulge in a little retail therapy in the home-store and gift shop, where you’ll find interior inspiration and gifts galore if you want to get ahead on your Christmas shopping.
Sled Lane, Wylam NE41 8JH
With miles of footpaths and trails on the Wallington Estate, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to watch the changing seasons in the beautiful Northumbrian countryside. The Dragon Cycle Trail is a great way to get families out and about, and see if you can spot any wildlife at the Wildlife Hide – just remember to wear your wellies.
Cambo, near Morpeth NE61 4AR
Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
A must-visit destination on a rainy day, discover the fascinating history of the area before immersing yourself in an undercover tropical paradise. Home to 2,000 tropical plants, the glass rotunda is a riot of colour all year round, and you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the gardens and changing leaves in Mowbray Park from the treetop walkway.
Burdon Road, Sunderland SR1 1PP
With over 12 acres of gardens to explore, there’s something to discover in every season here. Wander through the meandering paths, admire the rope art, and peer through the ‘look throughs’ at stunning vistas. You’ll find over 1,000 different varieties of trees, plants and shrubs, as well as expert advice when it comes to growing your own. The plants in the nursery are all container-grown in hardy conditions, meaning they can be planted all year round.
Longframlington, Morpeth NE65 8BE
Durham Botanic Garden
Escape the chill in the humid atmosphere of the Tropical House where you’ll find bananas, sugarcane and giant bamboo, as well as a host of tropical creepy-crawlies sure to thrill the kids. Then, if you need a break from the humidity, step into the dry atmosphere of the Cactus House which offers year-round interest with a variety of cacti and succulents from Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Africa and Madagascar.
South Road, Durham DH1 3TN
Eggleston Hall Gardens
No two visits to this garden are the same, as the ‘Secret Garden of the North’ is continually nurturing new and rare plants in their collection. The staff here are very knowledgable and will only be too happy to offer you advice on anything you take home for your own garden.
Eggleston Lane, Barnard Castle DL12 0AG
Wynyard Hall Gardens
Open seven days a week, year-round, Wynyard Hall is the perfect spot for a green-fingered day out. The intricate design of the walled garden is stunning in any season, and you can enjoy the elegant water features against the backdrop of the golden-hued trees. Get a little more hands-on with their horticultural masterclasses too, and try your hand at making autumnal and festive floral wreaths using greenery foraged from their grounds.
Wynyard Hall, Tees Valley TS22 5NF
The park at Raby Castle is open daily throughout autumn and into winter, so you can enjoy a brisk walk around their vast grounds – keeping an eye out for deer – while the Walled Gardens are open until October. Although the gardens have been altered somewhat over the last century, many of the original plantings remain which you can still
admire alongside the gardens’ ornamental features.
Raby Castle, Staindrop DL2 3AH
Thorp Perrow Arboretum
There are plenty of ways to while away the autumnal days at Thorp Perrow: meet the owls and feed the wallabies, explore the 100 acres of the arboretum, and let the kids run off steam in the adventure play area. There’s something to see in every season here, and autumn sets the woodland trails ablaze with dramatic colour changes, through hues of red, gold, orange and purple. Sign up for a Fungus Foray which gives you a glimpse into the fascinating world of fungi in the arboretum, and scare yourself silly on the Halloween Trail.
Bedale, North Yorkshire DL8 2PS