North East's Best Gardens to Visit |

The North East's Best Gardens to Visit

Autumn is here and shedding new hues – head to the region’s best gardens to see them in action
Floors Castle and Gardens
Bradley Gardens

Denwick Lane, Alnwick NE66 1YU
01665 511350

Alnwick Gardens are spectacular all year round. Come October, the famous fountains are still stunning, but there’s also autumn colour to be found in the katsura trees and sweet gum. You can find thousands of crab apples hanging from the pleached and hedged malus, and if it’s flowers you’re looking for, the autumn crocuses, serine lilies and asters will tick all your boxes.

Belsay, Northumberland NE20 0DX
01661 881636

Autumn brings a new flush of colour to Belsay. At the quarry entrance, a towering beech displays its newly-copper leaves as it rises from the red-hued euonymus. Aralia provide more colour along the fern walk, and as you enter the meadow, light purple autumn crocuses add to the show. Even the quarry rock face dresses for the season in mosses and lichen.

Sidegate, Durham DH1 5SZ
0191 384 8028

The grounds of this Grade I-listed medieval hall have surprises around every corner, from an unexpected view of Durham Cathedral to a bust of Shakespeare. Wander in and out of the various garden areas to find a variety of statues and then stumble upon the moat pool and the surrounding trees, which turn golden in autumn.

Dilston Mill House, Corbridge NE45 5QZ
07879 533875

Plants, herbs and trees with unique healing and medicinal properties grow in abundance at Dilston Psychic Gardens; filled with intoxicating scents, winding paths and sculptures, there is always plenty to see and do here. Try their Autumn Harvest Remedy Making Workshop, where a local medical herbalist will uncover the uses of the autumn harvest to make cough syrups, honey infusions and salves for the upcoming winter months.
Closed December to February. 

South Road, Durham DH1 3TN
0191 334 2887

Explore collections from around the world in these unique gardens. Whilst the end of the year may not provide many opportunities to see flowers in bloom, the Cactus House provides year-round interest. Representing the dry, bright conditions of a desert, you’ll find prickly pears, barrel cactii, aloes and agave from Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Africa and Madagascar. You’ll also discover a woodland garden, alpine garden and bamboo grove too, but don’t miss our must see, the money puzzle tree that stands dominating the centre 
of the garden.

Eggleston Lane, Barnard Castle DL12 0AG 
01833 650230

Known as the Nursery Garden of the North, this working garden continually grows and nurtures both new and rare plants, meaning no two visits here are the same. Take advantage of the trained staff and their expert knowledge, before taking home something for your own garden.

Langley, Hexham, Northumberland NE47 5LA
01434 684391

Originally a country rail station, this quirky garden is dotted with sculptures from William Pym, Sophie Thompson and Dennis Kilgallon. The old station buildings are painted a cheerful green and the old railway track is now a woodland walk which, in autumn, becomes a river of crunching leaves, canopied overhead in reds and golds. 

East Park Road, Gateshead NE9 5AX
0191 433 3267

This 55-acre Victorian park has woodland, landscapes, ornamental gardens, and everything else you might want in a public park, from sports facilities to play areas. Take a stroll down to the dene and watch the water trickling downhill, or let the children weigh down their pockets with conkers from the park’s horse chestnut trees.

Burdon Road, Sunderland SR1 1PP
0191 561 2323

Even on a rainy day you can explore this undercover tropical paradise. The glass rotunda contains over 2,000 plants, flourishing throughout the year. On the treetop walkway (if you can handle the heights) you can even experience the gardens from a bird’s eye view — look down onto the gardens or out over the beautiful Mowbray Park.

Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 3LB
01665 577285

There are bulbs blooming throughout the year in Howick Hall’s gardens. In autumn it is the turn of the purple and white colchicums, larger than most modern ones, which were planted by Lady Grey herself, previous owner of the hall and daughter of Charles Grey. Trees in autumnal hues are everywhere, from the katsura to the cotinus coggyria, north west of the croquet lawn. It is however, in the 65-acre arboretum where the energetic can embark on a long walk and admire the most spectacular show that autumn delivers – you’ll find around 11,000 trees and shrubs from six different geographical groups.
Closed early November to early February.

Monteviot House and Gardens, Jedburgh TD8 6UQ
01835 830380

This living and breathing family home opens up to the public to showcase their much-loved gardens. Surrounding Monteviot House and extending to some 30 acres, wander from lawn to woodland and explore over 10 different gardens, from The Water Garden, where the gentle sound of running water makes it the most peaceful area, to the The Garden of Persistent Imagination, intended to provide space for quiet meditation and contemplation of the combined effect of plants and stones. Just be sure to go via the Winter Garden; designed and planted in the last decade, cornus, helibores, witch hazel and korean pines lie within a structure of silver birch, tibetan cherries and poplars, all carefully selected to provide the most vivid colours. Closed November to March. 

Longframlington, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE65 8BE
01665 570382

Set in the peaceful Northumbrian countryside, you’ll find over 1,000 different types of trees, shrubs and perennials planted in the gardens and arboretum at Longframlington. Offering interest throughout all seasons, including plant associations, specimen trees and shrubs, as well as the attraction and beauty of plant flowers, fruits and foliage, colours, shapes, scents and aromatic values, bark and textures. Meander down their grass paths, through 12 acres of gardens, and admire their growing plant collection and living exhibition of plants, wild meadow areas, rope art and tantalising ‘look throughs’. 

Sled Lane, Wylam, Northumberland NE41 8JH
01661 352176

These 18th century walled gardens are a hidden gem on the edge of the Tyne Valley, offering a tranquil escape just nine miles from the heart of Newcastle. In autumn, the delicate lacecap hydrangea are still brightly flowering. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, don’t fret – there are plenty of shops, offering quality handcrafted furniture and home accessories, to shelter (and browse) in and a glasshouse café, so you can enjoy views of the gardens while ensconced safely inside with a hot drink and slice of cake.

Wynyard Hall, Tees Valley TS22 5NF
01740 665415

The intricate design of the walled garden here, created by award-winning architect Alistair Baldwin, is stunning in any season. Explore the meandering paths and discover graceful water features against a backdrop of autumnal trees. You can even learn how to keep your own garden bright throughout the colder months at their Preparing Your Garden for Winter event on 6 October.

Kelso, Roxburghshire TD5 7RW
01573 223333 

Walk from the imposing castle to the Millennium Garden through the evergreen canopies of the Star Plantation. A line of sweet chestnuts, which survive from Daniel Defoe’s visit to the estate in the 18th century, scatter their spiky green shells across the woodland floor. Once you reach the Millennium Garden, you can admire the formal beauty of the intertwined initials of the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe.

Published in: October 2018

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