In Northumberland and the North East of England there are gardens galore all just waiting to be discovered, there is everything from grand estates to hidden retreats and from naturally wild to neat and manicured and you will find there really is something for everyone to enjoy.
Howick Hall in North Northumberland, best known as the home of Earl Grey tea, is a garden lover’s dream and offers extensive gardens with everything from formal gardens with their impressive herbaceous borders and rockeries, to the bog garden, Silverwood, the sensory garden and the woodland walk. The Arboretum at Howick Hall covers around 65 acres and amazingly has almost virtually all been grown from seed collected in the wild since 1985. It boasts about 11,000 trees and shrubs and holds one of the largest collections of wild origin plants in the UK and there are paths and way markers to help you navigate your way around this wonderful botanical garden. To find out more about Howick Hall please go to their website.
If you prefer something on a much smaller scale then The Garden Station at Langley is just a 20 minute drive from St Oswald’s and is a destination for a peaceful afternoon in tranquil surroundings. This woodland garden and beautifully restored wooden Victorian railway station sits on the former Hexham to Allendale railway. What you will find here is a rather quirky garden together with a small cafe along with a woodland walk that was created in 2003 along the old railway track between two arched bridges and it is bordered by plants which thrive in this pretty woodland. There is outdoor seating in the garden which is just perfect for sitting soaking up the peace and tranquility of these lovely surroundings that sit within the Northumberland National Park. The Garden Station does close when it hosts private events so do check they are open before you visit.
Birkheads Secret Garden is another small but perfectly formed North East gem and is located in rural Gateshead halfway between Tanfield Railway and Beamish Museum. The garden sits on a sloping 3 acre site and has been divided up into 14 smaller inspirational gardens and each with a different theme to suit the planting conditions and displaying a wide variety of hardy plants to provide something for all the senses and to create year round interest. This small family run garden and nursery has been developed and grown by the owners with love and with care and has sustainability and bio-diversity at it’s core. Opening times vary throughout the year and more information on this gorgeous garden can be found on their website. Oh and if you have an old and unused key take it along and all your wishes might just come true!
Holy Island is a well known visitor destination but perhaps lesser known is the Gertrude Jekyll Garden which lies beside Lindisfarne Castle and is located where the Castle’s garrison originally had it’s vegetable plot. This delightful walled garden was designed by gardening guru Gertrude Jekyll for her friend Edward Hudson in 1911 and was re-established by the National Trust using Jekyll’s original planting scheme when it was restored in 2003. The garden has a geometric layout of paths and beds containing hardy annuals, stunning perennials and even vegetables that ensure the garden is interesting all year round. The garden was designed to be particularly stunning during the summer months when Edward Hudson was said to visit the garden and to show it off to his visitors. Don’t forget to always check the safe crossing times when visiting Holy Island.