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Gibside family highlights trail


Discover the fun side of Gibside with an action-packed walk tracking the park’s top family highlights including Strawberry Castle Adventure Play Area, the Low Ropes Challenge, Nature Playscape and Mini-Gibside Hall.

Visitors walking the family trail at Gibside, Tyne & Wear
Visitor following family highlights trail along the avenue National Trust Images / David Levenson


Map route for Gibside family highlights trail
Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey


Visitor reception, grid ref: NZ172583


Join our pushchair-friendly footpath from visitor reception, around the side of the Sun Dial Garden to the back of Gibside Chapel. Here you can pick up the new trail to Strawberry Castle Adventure Play Area. With Park Fields on your left and woodland on your right, keep a look out for sheep, cows or wild birds.

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When you've had your fill of swings, slides and zip wires, find the new footpath on the far side of the Strawberry Castle Adventure Play Area. It continues to skirt around Park Fields before winding downhill into West Wood. At a crossroads of paths, cross over the main track and take the narrow footpath directly in front of you. After 100m fork off to the right for the Low Ropes Challenge. The West Woods are a great place to hunt for bugs. Try lifting a fallen log or pile of leaves to see what's hidden beneath.

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Leave the Low Ropes Challenge by following the little stream-side trail back to the narrow footpath you turned off from. Turn right and continue uphill deeper into West Woods. When you reach the main track, turn left and continue until you reach the West Wood activity area - in among the trees on your left hand side. It's the perfect spot to build a den from fallen twigs, branches and leaves.

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After you've completed your den - continue along the main track and after 10 or 15 minutes you'll find the Nature Playscape on your left hand side. It's well-hidden in the undergrowth so listen out carefully for noisy children and rustling leaves. Challenge your parents or siblings to balance on fallen logs or squeeze between the trees.

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After all this exploring, you and your parents might be in need of a breather. So continue downhill from the Nature Playscape to the Stables. This large stone building with huge doors is hard to miss. Inside you'll find toilets, baby-changing facilities, a café for refreshments and ice creams, and,if you're lucky, real horses. Don't forget to have a go at milking Daisy the Cow too.

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Leave the Stables courtyard the same way you came in through the archway and great double doors. Turn left and continue straight ahead on the main track. Don't take the track which heads downhill to your left. Ignore the second track downhill to your left, but turn off on the third footpath to your left (signposted to the Column to Liberty). After a short walk, the wildlife hide appears on your left. Pop in, but try to keep quiet so you don't scare away any birds or animals.

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When you have finished trying to spot woodland birds, red kites, deer, or maybe just sheep, leave the hide and turn right, returning the way you came and on to the main track. Ignore the first track downhill to your right, but take the second track downhill instead of walking back towards the Stables. At the bottom of the hill you'll see a big dip called the Hollow Walk on your right. This is the best place at Gibside for rolling down a hill.

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After a good roll down the hill, clamber up to the path again and up the slope on to Gibside's beautiful tree-lined avenue. If you have come prepared, Green Close Field on your right (a large open space with a lump in the middle, just passed the ruined hall), is an ideal spot to fly a kite. If not, follow the avenue back towards the chapel and visitor reception.


Time for ice cream and a cuppa in the Potting Shed Café. If you've enjoyed your visit, why not return after school one day for a quick trip to Strawberry Castle?


Visitor reception

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Gibside family highlights trail


This is a circular route of the West Woods starting from visitor reception, calling in at all Gibsides play areas including Strawberry Castle and returning along Gibsides flat avenue. All on pushchair-accessible footpaths and tracks, there are no steps or stiles but there are some steep gradients in the first half of the walk.

Gibside family highlights trail

Contact us

Gibside family highlights trail

How to get here

Visitor reception, grid ref: NZ172583
By train

Metrocentre 5 miles (8km); Newcastle 8 miles (12.8km)

By road
Entrance on B6314 between Burnopfield and Rowlands Gill; follow brown signs from A1, taking exit on to A694 at north end of Metrocentre
Parking: free, 100 yards
By foot

½ mile from Rowlands Gill

By bus

Go North East 'The Red Kite' 45, 46, 47 from Newcastle (passing Newcastle railway station and Metrocentre), alight Rowlands Gill, 0.5 miles (0.8km)

By bicycle

0.5 miles (0.8km) from Derwent Walk (National Cycle Network Route 14)

Gibside family highlights trail

Facilities and access

  • Wheelchair and buggy-friendly shuttle bus service to help visitors get around Gibside more easily
  • 14 easy access parking spaces for blue badge holders
  • We've two powered mobility vehicles to help you get around the estate
  • Three adventure play areas
  • Baby-changing facilities
  • We have numerous cafe's, restaurants as well as a gift shop and toilets