Friday 1st of April 2016


2016 is VisitEngland’s ‘Year of the English Garden’ and also marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown who was born in Northumberland at Kirkhale so what better year to visit some of our county’s wonderful gardens whilst staying with us?

Howick Hall Gardens are spectacular throughout the year with extensive grounds offering a wide variety of plants. Wild flower meadows, formal gardens, herbaceous borders, terraces, woodland and an arboretum containing many unusual trees and shrubs from around the world, this place has it all!! BBC Gardener’s World magazine rated it as one of the top 5 coastal gardens in the country and as the home of Earl Gray it also has a wonderful Tea House!

Cragside, near Rothbury, is a real treat and a fantastic family day out with something for everyone. Once home to the Victorian inventor, innovator and landscape genius Lord Armstrong, Cragside was truly a wonder of its age. Adventure play area, rhododendron forest maze, waterfall, one of the largest rock gardens in Europe, a house crammed full of ingenious gadgets with most still working, what’s not to love? It is also one of the last shelters for the endangered red squirrel so keep your eyes out whilst exploring the 30 miles of lakeside and forest walks – oh, and dogs are even allowed on many of the walks too!!

Probably the most well known, Alnwick Garden, is home to Europe’s largest Treehouse and a Poison Garden. It has a modern, contemporary edge and includes not only one of the UK’s biggest rose gardens but also the world’s largest Japanese cherry orchard. With loads of events on throughout the year, many geared towards children, and 4 eateries (1 in the treehouse!), it’s a visit you will be unlikely to forget.

Also worth a mention are Wallington Hall & Gardens with its wonderful hidden walled garden and Belsay Hall Castle and Gardens home to the Quarry Garden offering some delightful and surprising sights. Capability Brown’s work can still be seen around these areas and further afield. There is an exhibition about his life at Kirkhale Courtyard, which will guide you to the various sites in Northumberland where you can experience his landscapes.

Closer to home is the stately Floors Castle in Kelso, just over the border in Scotland with its lovely walks, walled garden and formal garden plus a wonderful deli and gift shop, as well as the Terrace Café……the garden is currently undergoing major development with the renowned vinery and glasshouse being opened for the first time this year!

Last but by no means least is the wonderful Mindrum Garden which is just a 5 minute drive from all of our properties. A magical combination of old fashioned roses, violas, hardy perennials, trees, lawns and water. Much of the garden was laid out in the 1920s and the limestone rock garden was bought as a display garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in the 1930s. Visit their website for further information and opening times throughout the summer