Visiting Cragside's Formal Gardens


Visiting Cragside's Formal Gardens

We have been National Trust Members for over 10 years now and despite visiting many, many times, I am always discovering new areas. One such area was the Formal Gardens at Cragside. 

I was looking for a new walk to try when staying in nearby Rothbury and noticed the Formal Gardens on the property map. This is an area of Cragside we hadn't been to before so a plan was made. 

I didn't realise the Formal Gardens actually have their own car park but a lovely attendant on arrival let us know about it and pointed us in the right direction. Rather than heading for the main car park on arrival, kind of bear right / straight forward.

You can't miss the Formal Garden car park as it's just at the end of the short road and the car park is at the end of the road. I've shown the route in yellow below but do ask on arrival and the staff will point you in the direction of the exact turn off to take. 

Visiting Cragside's Formal Gardens  - car park location and map

From this car park you can walk around the rest of the estate. After visiting the Formal Garden we waled down the path to the iron bridge (no3 on the map) and then along through the Pinetum (no4) and right along the Gorge Walk (which I will save for another post). 

You can also pop back to the car and drive back to the main car park (or through the estate drive) if preferred. 

The shuttle bus service also stops in the Formal Garden car park. 

Visiting Cragside's Formal Gardens  - shuttle bus stop

The majority of the Formal Gardens are accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs with surfaced paths. There are steps in some areas but alternative step-free routes have been provided too. 

Visiting Cragside's Formal Gardens  - signposts

Dogs on leads are welcome in all of the outdoor areas of Cragside so feel free to bring your pooch on this walk. You can bring a picnic too. We usually stop for a picnic on the tables overlooking the main lake next to the entrance but I think the Formal Gardens will be our new picnic spot as it's much more quiet.

There are no picnic tables as such but you can bring a blanket or sit on one of the benches / deck chairs. There are no toilets in this section of Cragside, I think the closest would either be by the tea rooms or near the main house. 

Visiting Cragside's Formal Gardens

You're going to want to bring your camera here. The views are just incredible. 

We visited the Formal Gardens in the last week of April, I'm sure they are a place which will change with the seasons. On our visit, there were lots of pretty flowers and plants to admire. 

And we got to see the last of the Spring Daffs. 

I love that there was a live experiment taking place in the garden. Very interesting! 

Below is a picture of the Orchard House. I'm not sure if it is sometimes open but on the day of our visit it was closed to the public. You could get a good view through the windows though and see the staff tending to the plants. 

This glasshouse dates back to the 1800s and it's purpose is to shelter fruit trees from the Northumberland climate. It is home to pear, fig and plum trees amongst others. The house has little hatches for ventilation and to allow bees to enter to aid pollination. 

Visiting Cragside's Formal Gardens  - the orchard house

Then we move onto the Italian Terrace and Quatrefoil Pool. It's a beautiful spot on the lowest level of the gardens. Very peaceful with lots of flowers. 

Visiting Cragside's Formal Gardens  - Italian Terrace

The fernaries are just next to the Orchard House and feature lily pads, fish, newts and ferms. 

Visiting Cragside's Formal Gardens  - fern pool

The Formal Gardens is home to a holiday cottage. Sadly not dog-friendly but it looks like such a lovely place to stay. A typical price is £649 for 3 nights for up to six people in March including unlimited access to the Cragside estate which I don't think is too bad at all. You can find out more about renting the cottage here. 

Visiting Cragside's Formal Gardens  - holiday cottage

The Formal Gardens aren't huge. You could be around them in 10-15 minutes at a fast pace but I'd say set aside 45 minutes to an hour to explore properly. I would recommend starting your visit to Cragside here and then going on to explore another area afterwards. 

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Visiting Cragside's Formal Gardens


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