St Oswald’s Farm is so well placed for days out and we’ve recently enjoyed putting together our guide to 60 Dazzling Day Trips all within just a 60 minute drive of Heavenfield Cottage. So whether you stay for a weekend, a week or two weeks you won’t be short of places to visit and enjoy. In fact we’re pretty sure we could list enough to keep you busy for at least a couple of months! When it comes to days out, gardens are one of our favourites and we have some absolute beauties in Northumberland, some historic, some newly created, some formal, some wild and some even show off our artistic side.
Here’s our top 5 gardens to visit!
No.1 – Alnwick Garden is magnificent at any time of year and is always developing and changing, every time we visit there is something new to enjoy! Each season is beautiful and any time of year is a joy but a visit in April brings an extra treat as Alnwick Garden boasts the largest collection of “Tai-hauku” cherry blossom outside Japan. It only blossoms for two weeks, but my goodness does it blossom and is 100% worth seeing…keep an eye on their facebook for their up to date ‘blossom watch’!
No.2 – Cragside is vast and beautiful. The many gardens, the estate drive and the house are truly incredible, we always enjoy a day at Cragside! The formal garden is laid out in three terraces and covers over three acres, it is an idyllic spot to take in the fabulous views. Within the Formal Garden you will also find The Italian Terrace and The Orchard House. The rock garden magnificent on a gigantic scale with winding paths and steps twisting and turning through the many heathers and shrubs.
Cragside boasts the tallest Scots pine in the UK and at just over 131ft is the same height as ten double-decker buses stacked one on top of the other; the conifer has been confirmed as the largest of its kind by officials from the Tree Register. A trip in the Spring finds the Formal garden in full bloom and in June when the rhododendrons are flowering the Estate drive and gardens are truly staggering. Cragside doesn’t do small and understated, everything is large and oh so elegant!
No.3 – Belsay Hall Gardens are unique and span across 30 acres and lay claim to the largest collection of rhododendrons in the country. Within the Grade I listed gardens you will find the quarry garden with its very own micro-climate and therefore able to boast exotic plants. You can also enjoy the yew garden, the magnolia terrace and a Crag Wood Walk which ensure you can enjoy a visit to Belsay Hall at any time of the year.
No.4 – Bradley Gardens is a Victorian Walled Garden near Wylam, it’s small in comparison to our other favourites but perfect if you only have an hour or so to spare and are looking for a coffee and cake or a perhaps a light lunch in elegant surroundings. Bradley Gardens offers a leisurely stroll within the walled garden, a small garden shop together with a couple of boutique shops hidden within its Victorian walls. The beautiful Glasshouse Cafe is well worth a visit!
No.5 Cheeseburn Sculpture Gardens are a unique destination for contemporary art in the North East of England and we’re lucky enough to have it just 20 minutes away from us. Each summer their programme features three curated gallery exhibitions together with new sculptures, installations and performance throughout the gardens. The gardens are only open to the public a few times through the summer each year, but time it right and Cheeseburn is truly worth seeing. Check their website for open days.
We love our days out to gardens and we hope you do too! Make 2020 the year you come to Northumberland and see our gardens in all their glory!