Garden

Lord Armstrong's garden

Lots to see in the Formal Garden, whatever the season © National Trust / Peter Sutcliffe

Lots to see in the Formal Garden, whatever the season

The Formal Garden is a magnificent example of a Victorian garden. Laid out in three terraces it covers over three acres and is an idyllic, colourful spot to take in views of Northumberland. 

The Orchard House

Visit the magnificent Orchard House this autumn © Alison Pringle

Visit the magnificent Orchard House this autumn

One of the largest surviving glasshouses dating from the 1870's, the building has three sections and was built to provide shelter from the Northumberland climate for the cultivation of hardy and tender fruits. Today, there are large earthenware pot sets producing many fruits including; figs, peaches, and pears to name a few, ready for harvesting in the autumn. 

The Italian Terrace

A perfect place to relax on a bench and take in the view © Karen Tracey

A perfect place to relax on a bench and take in the view

The Italian Terrace is the centrepiece of the lowest level of the Formal Gardens. The Loggia is a cast-iron structure, typical of Armstrong’s innovations, combining familiar forms and material with a glass roof and sides and an open front. 

Carpet bedding

Approximately 20,000 plants are used for the annual carpet bedding  © National Trust

Approximately 20,000 plants are used for the annual carpet bedding

Cragside’s carpet bedding uses approximately 20,000 plants which have to be raised in the nursery with different designs used each year. Each bed is about 18 metres long by 3 metres wide and usually takes about 6 weeks to complete. 

Europe's largest rock garden

Visit the rock garden at Cragside and take in the views of the Iron bridge © Neil Cuthbertson

Visit the rock garden at Cragside and take in the views of the Iron bridge

The largest rock garden in Europe surrounds the house on three sides. The west garden contains fine specimens of heath and heather which bloom during the late summer and autumn months, while the lower west garden has plantings of both evergreen and deciduous shrubs. The south garden has plantings from the warmer parts of Europe and New Zealand, along with azaleas. 

The Pinetum

The magnificent conifers soar above the Pinetum © Faye Morris

The magnificent conifers soar above the Pinetum

In the Victorian era it was regarded as a supreme symbol of wealth and status to own an arboretum or Pinetum. Our Pinetum holds a fine collection of conifers mainly, but not exclusively, from North America. Young trees have been planted in this area to redress the problem of balance, with the original trees maturing and dying at the same time. 

Autumn colour

Autumn colours in the Formal Garden at Cragside

During the late summer and autumn months the colours around the estate begin to change.

Heaths and heathers bloom in the Rock Garden, Dhalias burst with colour in the Formal Garden and deciduous trees transform the woodland, which really comes into it's own during the autumn.

Take a stroll through the Pinetum and up towards the Formal Garden, admiring the changing autumn colours along the way. 

Seasonal highlights

  • April and May: spring displays and fruit tree blossoms
  • June and July: carpet bedding, tender perennials being planted in the open ground
  • August and September: tender perennials in flower, Dahlias and summer bedding provide a riot of colour
  • October and November: fruit in the Orchard House ripen, bedding remains colourful until first frosts, planting for spring displays gets underway.

UK's tallest Scots pine at Cragside

It's official, we've got the tallest Scots pine in the UK on our land.  At 40m (just over 131ft and the same height as 10 double-decker buses stacked one on top of the other), the conifer has been confirmed as the largest of its kind by officials from the Tree Register.

Wildlife hide

Look out for red squirrels, birds and deer at our wildlife hide

Look out for red squirrels, birds and deer at our wildlife hide

At the Formal Garden car park you’ll find one of the best spots to see Cragside's wildlife. Our wildlife hide provides a good opportunity for anyone with a fancy for birds, squirrels and nature to do a bit of spotting.

Read our garden blog

Enjoy a leisurely stroll in the formal garden  © National Trust

Our assistant gardener Holly has been writing a blog telling us what's been happening in the formal garden.  To find out more, visit it here.

Follow us online

Learn about our news, events and special offers on Facebook and Twitter © National Trust

Share your photos of the gardens and keep up to date with all the latest news and behind-the-scenes info.

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