A load of old cobbles... Restoring the Stables

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Latest update 26.01.2014 17:56

Last autumn we invested £100,000 to restore the Stables courtyard’s historic star-shaped cobble design, while improving seating, access and drainage.

This is one of the final pieces of a conservation jigsaw that began when the National Trust acquired Gibside’s stable block as a virtual ruin just 13 years ago.

As well as recreating the central star design, there is now a wide level path around the edge of the courtyard to help visitors with mobility challenges. We’ve also really enjoyed an end to winter floods and muddy puddles.

The Stables has had many uses since George Bowes originally built it in the 18th century as a grand symbol of his love of horses. In the late 20th century it was even used as a pig farm with the farmer living in a bus in the middle of the courtyard! 

After a major conservation project in the early 2000s, the upstairs of Gibside Stables is now a thriving Learning and Discovery Centre offering day and residential visits for schools and community groups, plus function rooms for corporate meetings and private events. It also hosts several local creative businesses in the Garden Shed studios.

Downstairs, the rooms combine visitor facilities and exhibitions with authentic historic stable booths, several of which are inhabited by horses each summer when the Magic Trust , a charity which offers carriage driving for people with disabilities, operate from Gibside.

In summer 2013, a new Carriage House Coffee Shop also opened, offering a comfortable and cosy place to take a break on your walk and watch the world go by with plenty of outdoor seating for sunny days. The old Renwick's Coffee Shop will reopen as a reading room and second hand book shop in 2014.

For more information, please email us or ask our team when you visit.