Creating a car-free walled garden

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The National Trust has invested in a major project to offer Gibside's visitors purpose-built, all-weather parking facilities and an improved arrival experience for pedestrians, cyclists and buses too.

This has enabled us to stop parking cars in our historic walled garden forever (it was previously our overflow car park!). Our gardening team can now begin the exciting work of restoring this highlight of George Bowes' 18th century landscape garden.

Here are some of the features we've introduced:

  • Our Walled Garden is now a car-free space for you to explore and us to restore
  • Our 'market place' around the cafe, shop and toilets is now a pedestrian zone with cycle parking, a shuttle bus stop and coach parking only
  • We have two new car parks and a new visitor reception near the entrance to Gibside
  • We have a raised walkway and steps to take visitors on a gentle slope up hill from visitor reception to the market place, by-passing the steep estate road
  • We have 20 accessible parking spaces (for blue badge holders) in our new car parks
  • We have a new wheelchair and buggy-friendly shuttle bus service from our main car park (the first you reach) to visitor reception and then to the market place

Frequently asked questions

'Can we still park next to the cafe?'

Now we have a car-free market place, all car parking is near the entrance to Gibside. This means it takes about five minutes extra to walk (or ride the shuttle bus) to the cafe and shop. Our shuttle bus service runs on a loop every 10 minutes and there are seats at the bus stops for you to rest at while waiting. Alternatively, you can borrow for free one of our powered mobility vehicles to take you up the hill.

'If we are not National Trust members, can we still visit the cafe and shop for free?'

On farmers market days and pub nights, our cafe, shop and market place remain free to enter for all visitors. On all other days, now that our visitor reception has moved near the entrance, our cafe and shop are only free to National Trust members. We ask that all other visitors pay our admission prices or consider supporting our work and gaining free entry to National Trust places by joining us.

Let us know what you think

Our new arrival route brings with it some considerable changes, so if you are a regular visitor to Gibside, it might take a bit of getting used to.

We are still learning how to get the best out of our new facilities and observing what works and what needs tweaking. Please bear with us and give us your feedback.  We are very happy to hear your suggestions and to address feedback wherever possible.