Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden

Howick Hall Gardens & Arboretum has been the Ancestral home of the Earls Grey since 1319. Located in Northumberland between Craster and Alnwick, they begin the year with a Snowdrop festival and it is one of the best places in Northumberland to spot these beautiful flowers.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for directions, opening times and admission.

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Howick Hall Gardens & Snowdrop Trail 

You can spot snowdrops at Howick Hall throughout February. After parking the car, the first stop is the admissions hut where you pay your entrance fee and collect various trails and maps. There are a choice of trails throughout the year depending on the season.

We went with the Snowdrop Trail, Animal Tracks Worksheet and Stick Sheet.  The trails are included with admission and available at no additional cost. 

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - admission hut.

The Snowdrop Challenge / Trail takes around 1 hour 15 minutes - 1 hour 30 minutes for first time visitors. The clues are pretty easy to follow and the walk is beautiful. 

We loved completing two separate challenges rather than three of the same. It led to less arguments over who spotted what first. 

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - animal tracks worksheet

There are thousands of snowdrops here in February, all planted by Lady Grey herself. They are gorgeous. Heidi took most of my Snowdrop photos - I am going to start paying her a photography fee soon! It is a brilliant walk for children to bring their cameras along to. 

We loved spotting animal tracks along the walk and were chuffed to find this very obvious bird track. 

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - animal tracks

Throughout the Snowdrop Trail there are various questions to answer or tasks to complete. Our favourite was to play pooh sticks at this little bridge. 

Pin Me 

The Best Snowdrop Walk in Northumberland

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - playing pooh sticks

There are 18/19 questions to complete in total and I would say the trail is best suited to those aged 5+ who can read. Little ones will still enjoy the walk. You can of course enjoy the snowdrops without taking part in the snowdrop challenge - the walking routes are clearly signposted.  

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - snowdrop challenge

Keep your eyes peeled for the Howick Snowdrop which has a yellow mark rather than a green one (see below). 

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - Yellow Howick Snowdrops

It is worth noting that you cannot enter the house here. It is beautiful though and can be admired from afar. 

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - Howick Hall

The Snowdrop Trail takes you through St Michael Church. You are welcome to pop inside. 

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - church

Then through the East Arboretum which is where you will find plenty of snowdrops. 

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - snowdrops

The trail is a circular route and you finish up at the entrance near the visitor centre/ tearoom. If you hand your trail back into the admissions hut you will be given a certificate.

I loved this trail. It was mostly flat, walked us through woodland, past gorgeous flowers and architecture and enabled us to learn a little more about the Grey family and snowdrops. You complete the trail in your own time and there is a short cut halfway through if you need to pop back to the loo/stop for refreshments.

Howick Hall Visitor Centre 

There is a small visitor centre next to the tearoom should you wish to learn more about the Grey family and their beautiful gardens. 

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - visitor centre

Howick Hall Sensory Garden

The Sensory Garden is not part of the trail but definitely worth a visit. We started with the trail, visited the tearoom then popped into the Sensory Garden before heading home. The Sensory Garden is not far from the estate entrance.

The Sensory Garden was built in 2018 to provide a safe space for children & adults with autism with a safe space and  stimulating environment to explore their senses. The garden is inclusive for all. There is no additional charge to visit this part of the garden. 

Facilities include:
  • A Labyrinth Circle 
  • Interactive Water Feature 
  • Willow Dome Circle
  • Tumbled Glass Pond and Bridge
  • Wooden Swing Seat

The Sensory Garden at Howick is a flapship garden in Northumberland for people with autism and other disabilities. It is a lovely space which has been set up in partnership with the National Autistic Society with the help of funding from the National Garden Scheme. 

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - water play

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden

The Earl Grey Tea House

I swear we cannot go anywhere without feeding the kids and we were all keen to try the Earl Grey Tea House. You can only visit here if you are visiting the gardens so it does feel a little exclusive and like a bit of a treat.

Find out more about the Earl Grey Tea House here. 

I was expecting it to be quiet but it was super busy and we had to queue to wait for a table. It was a little dis-organised and nobody knew whether we had to wait to be seated  (if it is busy, you do) or where to order food as there is both a counter and staff (they take your order at the table and you pay at the counter at the end). We got there in the end though. Card payments are accepted and there are high chairs and a few toys for children. 

After we ordered lunch, I was interested to read that the Greys have actually made no money from Earl Grey Tea. 

The menu is small but there is also a specials board. There is no separate children's menu but there is a delicious cake table.  The cafe is licensed. 

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - Earl Grey Tearooms Menu

There wasn't too much of a wait considering how busy it was and our food was all delicious and just as we expected. I wouldn't say it was a destination tea room but it was nice all the same. 

Heidi enjoyed a pot of tea and a slice of lemon drizzle cake. 

Steve opted for ham and pease pudding sandwiches which were tasty. 

I went with Northumberland Rarebit which was nice but I prefer my rarebit with a bit more of a mustardy punch. 

The boys' toasties were the pick of the day and at £4.95 each including crisps were good value. If we visited again I think it would be toasties all round. 

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - Earl Grey Tearooms Lemon Drizzle Cake

Our bill was £33 for the 5 of us which was fair. There is outdoor seating too.

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - Earl Grey Tearooms Tearooms

We spent three hours at Howick Hall and had a lovely day. It is a brilliant alternative to a National Trust property. If you miss the Snowdrop Festival, the daffodils are worth a visit in March. Check out this post by New Girl in Toon for information & lots of daffodil photos. 

Howick Hall - Need to Know / Tips 

Howick Hall does not allow dogs (other than assistance dogs).  The snowdrop festival usually runs daily throughout February (from 8/9 Feb in 2020).  The Earl Grey Tearoom is open to garden visitors only.  Both the admission kiosk and the cafe accept card payments.

Find out more about visiting Howick Hall here. 

Picnics are not allowed in the garden but there is a small picnic area next to the car park.  I think bottles of water / small snacks would be fine but remember to take your rubbish home with you.

Trainers / walking boots are best due to the woodland nature of the walk.

Howick Hall is open beyond February. As the snowdrops disappear, there are plenty of other seasonal flowers to spot. Daffodils are next. 

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - picnic table

Address & Public Transport

Howick Hall is accessible via public transport and offers free parking. See below for information. Use postcode NE66 3LB.  

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden -directions

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - public transport

Opening Times

Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - opening times


Howick Hall Snowdrop Walk & Sensory Garden - ticket prices

Howick Hall is a registered charity and receives no public funding.

Howick Hall Access

Most paths are accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. You can ask for a Physical Disability Map on arrival. Two power-assisted wheelchairs are available to hire (pre-book by calling 01665 577 191 between 10:30am - 5pm. Click here to read Howick Hall's accessibility statement.

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Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area. leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed since this post was published.  

1 comment

  1. Wow you had a beautiful day for it, just look at that sky! We're yet to see any snowdrop displays yet this year so if the weather is nice this weekend (hopefully this ridiculous wind passes!) then we may well pop along on Saturday!


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