Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Alnwick Garden

Now 30 Days Wild has ended, normal service is resumed and I can get back to telling you about our Northumberland adventures. Amazingly it's been a month since our holiday! How I wish we were still there, we had such a good time. Never mind, it's nice to relive it through these posts and today I'm going to show you The Alnwick Garden which is part of, but separate from, the castle. The first gardens were laid down in 1750 but fell into disrepair over the years.

It was the current Duchess of Northumberland, Jane Percy, who masterminded their redevelopment in 1997 at a cost of many millions of pounds. The Grand Cascade was one of the first parts to be completed. There are different jets of water which fly into the air at regular intervals. It was a lovely sight as we sat looking up at it with our Turkish delight ice creams :)

Down each side were these cool green tunnels - very welcome on a hot, sunny day (and probably on the more usual rainy Northumberland days too!)
Apologies for the spots on the lens - darn those waterfalls!

One of our first ports of call, and the one I was most excited about, was the Poison Garden. You can only enter on a free guided tour and are warned not to taste, touch or smell any of the plants. Some of them can only be grown by special licence. A shame then that the tour only lasted about 10 minutes and covered barely a handful of plants. I wanted to hear and see so much more.

What we did see were plants like the giant hogweed, though this is only a baby.

And cannabis. You get the joke in the sign, right?

Luckily the rest of the gardens can be explored at will. One of my favourite parts was the cherry orchard.

It was past the flowering season of the trees but I loved the informal, billowy planting at their base.

Dotted around were characters which are part of the current fairy tale theme.

Now we're in the walled ornamental garden which was originally the kitchen garden.

Loved all the drifts of tulips.

More fairy tale characters.

Pretty peonies.


Then into the serpent's garden, so named because of the shape of the planting rather than what you can find there.

What you do find are eight water sculptures, designed by William Pye, which explore the effects physics has on water. This one is bowl vortex.

The water glass was our favourite as you could walk down into the middle of it...

...and experience the cascading water. This was definitely our favourite part of the gardens.

A short hop, skip and a jump away is the bamboo labyrinth. Chickpea liked it but I was a bit 'blah'.

Exiting the gardens we headed over to view the other well-known part of the site...

....The Treehouse. It's the largest wooden treehouse in Europe and houses a restaurant and cafe.

All the fairy lights must make it quite magical in the evening.

The rabbits were definitely impressed.

Best view of the day, looking down the river Aln with the castle on the left.

We really enjoyed the gardens and it must look spectacular in mid-summer when all the flowers are in full bloom. It's rather pricey but we bought a joint ticket for the castle and garden and also bought them at the tourist office which was cheaper.

Next time I think I'll show you a walk along the coast. x


  1. So nice to see with the flowers out, we did not go this year. the first time we visited the Tree house was not built, and another time the top gardens were just starting to develop. With the boys we have gone in March, the weather in past years has been kind to us but there has not been much growing.
    We will be going again and I'm sure a visit to the gardens will be on my list.
    Amanda xx

  2. Incredible gardens! I saw a tv show - or series? - when the cascade was being built and I have wondered how it looked now. It looks great doesn't it! Really settled in and beautiful too!

  3. Beautiful photos. The Treehouse was my favourite thing there!!

  4. Again, CBC took me here the first Summer we were going out and I loved it. In fact, my blog profile picture is,me standing in the Bamboo Labyrinth!!! Such a cool place. I didn't do the poison tour. A shame it wasn't longer!x