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The Alnwick Garden

Alnwick, Northumberland

Location Guide

It has the country’s largest collection of European plants in the Ornamental Garden and unusual plants in the Poison Garden, there’s an enormous variety of plants and trees. A walk around the landscape will take you amongst many interesting and different planting styles. It is also a garden of many seasons from bulbs and blossoms in the spring , through to the summer roses and delphiniums in the summer and onto the fruits and rusty colours of the autumn. There are also some evergreen displays of topiary and bamboo.

There are lots of opportunities for the children/family to play and get wet including:

  • Collecting water in the mini tractors and paddling in the rills,

  • See the many ways water can move in the Serpent Garden and dodge the Grand Cascade’s jets.

  • Play hide and seek in the Bamboo Labyrinth

  • Visit The Treehouse with it's wobbly rope bridges up amongst the treetops in a lime tree copse, all accessible to wheelchairs and buggies.

The Treehouse  Christine Westerback  

Since the garden was first laid back in 1750 it has taken on many guises until during World War II when it was turned into a food factory, providing food for the country. It was closed as a garden in 1950 and remained derelict until 1997 when the 12th Duchess of Northumberland, a keen gardener decided to bring it back to life and create it as a huge public garden for people to enjoy. The Duke of Northumberland donated the site to the The Alnwick Garden Trust, a charity and together with the lead of the Duchess the project pushed forward. As at 2009 the garden is still being developed and there are many more wonders/visions to be developed, a look at the website will give you a taste of what's still to come.

In the meantime the current Garden Features include:

The Rose Garden contains more than 3,000 David Austin roses, everyone is fragrant, including a pink rose named the Alnwick Rose launched in 2001 at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The pathways are covered with pergolas covered in roses, honeysuckle and clematis, and in the garden there is a mix of climbing, shrub, old and English varieties.

The Ornamental Garden - at its centre a bubbling pool and pathways which guide you around the gardens and on into two small secret gardens. Plants in here include bedding roses, delphiniums, box, hydrangea, herbaceous borders, tree peonies, shrbus and ornamental trees.

Cherry Orchard - home to the only place in the UK of Tai Haku Cherry Trees. Each April or May the orchard becomes a bank of white flowers, with petals like falling like snow and underfoot. Underneath the tresses are spring bulbs and grasses, and at the orchards edge are azalea borders.

The Woodland Walk begins under the treehouse and its path is lined with mature trees, wild garlic, and the ground carpeted in spring with flowering bulbs. From here you get views of both the River Aln and Alnwick Castle.

The Poison Garden - is behind locked gates and is a guided tour garden only. It grows plants which have been in gardens in the past, but are now considered a danger, but it is also licensed to grow cannabis, opium poppies and coca and these are displayed in large cages behind bars.

There are also two Water Feature Gardens including:

The Grand Cascade, the gardens centrepiece a tumbling mass of water with displays, built on two earth banks. Every minute 7260  gallons of water tumbles down a series of 21 weirs, with displays on the hour and half hour, controlled by computer. Jets of water shoot high in the air and splash on the terrace and at the bottom children are able to collect water in mini tractors.

A View of the Cascade

Christine Westerback

The Cascade on display on the hour and half hour

Steve Fareham

The Serpent Garden - which has a topiary serpent snaking its way through the garden and amongst the mirror-polished stainless steel water sculptures to the centre piece of an interactive water sculpture, known as the Torricelli, that slowly fills with water before ground jets spring into life. Each sculpture shows the beauty and versatility of water.

One of the many water features in the Serpent Garden Colin Babb

They also have a 'In Bloom' page on their website to keep you up to date with what is currently going on in the garden. So take a look here.

Throughout the year various events and activities take place including creative performances and tours and hands-on workshops.

As well as the garden there is a Courtyard Coffee Shop, Treehouse Restaurant, and The Pavilion Cafe overlooking the Grand Cascade. As well as a shop.

Location: The Alnwick Garden, Alnwick, Northumberland

Grid Reference: NU192132 Ceremonial County: Northumberland

Map Link: StreetMap 

Aerial photo: Google

Getting there: Just off the A1 at Alnwick and well signposted.

Access: Car Park at main entrance
Website: www.alnwickgarden.com
Other Useful Websites:
Email: info@alnwickgarden.com
Address: The Alnwick Garden, Denwick Lane, Alnwick, Northumberland
Postcode: NE66 1YU Telephone: 01665 511350
Opening Times: Winter Fri-Sun and Bank Holidays 11am-3pm; Summer 10am-6pm;
Closed Xmas Day

Charges: To Garden and including the Treehouse. Adult £11; Concession £9; Child 1p

Nearby Locations: Alnwick Castle  Lindesfarne Island
Other Location Pages: Garden Section

Notes: Children can get wet running through water jets - may be idea to take change of clothes. Buggies can be taken on Treehouse walkways and rope bridges.

Toilets and baby changing facilities can be found at the Visitor centre and eateries.

Totally accessible to disabled visitors, wheelchairs can be taken in The Treehouse and on it's rope bridges and walkways. Scooters are available to hire - book in advance.

Disabled parking at main entrance.

Dogs are not allowed within walled gardens, can be walked in Woodland Walk.



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By: Tracey Park Section: Gardens Section Key:
Page Ref: alnwick_garden Topic: Gardens Last Updated: 03/2011

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