Enjoy the gardens at Seaton Delaval Hall

Designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, the landscape and gardens provide the same sense of drama and theatre within which the Hall was created. It showed off the power, wealth and status of Admiral George Delaval and became a playground for his descendants. Sweeping views to the North take in the coast and the Cheviot Hills, while around the Hall classic Vanbrugh design features can be found, such as hidden ha-ha walls with bastions, swathes of close-cut lawns and woodlands cut through with pathways and architectural structures such as the obelisk that draw the eye out into the distant landscape.

From the elegance of the formal gardens to the relaxed, wildflower-laden North West Woodland and the playfulness of the South East Gardens, there is something for people of all ages to enjoy in the gardens at Seaton Delaval Hall. We have Sir John Vanbrugh to thank for creating this wonderful landscape with its open spaces as well as some secluded spots too. Think of Seaton Delaval Hall as your extended back garden and explore all its nooks and crannies. 

Parterre

The first commission of designer James Russell who later went on to design gardens at Castle Howard, his brief was to ‘Italianize’ the garden.  Its position to the side of the building was carefully chosen so that Lady Hastings could look down upon the garden from her bedroom window.  The structure of the parterre is beautiful all year-round, with the formality of the hedges, the whitebeam ‘lollipop’ trees, roses, fountain and urns. At different times of year it bursts with colour from tulips, azaleas, lavender and fushias. Later in the year, the surrounding trees and hedges look spectacular in their bronzed, autumn colours.

The South East Gardens

Reinstated as part of the hall’s National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported Curtain Rises project, the South East Gardens have been transformed from a tired tree plantation to a thriving space where plants, trees and wildlife have the space to grow and flourish.

Based on the 1781 estate plan, Vanbrugh’s path networks and sightlines have been reintroduced, giving you views across the wider landscape and back to the hall.  Lady Tyrconnel’s (Sarah Delaval married the 2nd Earl of Tyrconnel in 1780) wildflower garden has also been reintroduced with a Tibetan cherry tree, Prunus serrula, as its centrepiece. 

In addition, The Oval - once the location of many a ‘gay Delaval’ party involving sack races, rope dancing and gurning matches - has been restored to its full size, ready for you to enjoy a quiet picnic and a spot of cloud gazing. 

Hidden Pleasures

Inspired by the Delavals’ love of mischief and playfulness, look out for two installations designed by Studio Hardie in the South East Gardens. Playing on the way the gardens were originally designed to conceal and reveal various views, the Mirror Cube and Dark Matter Cube recapture the gentle mischief and illusionary fun for which the Delavals were known.

Weeping Ash

Referenced in the letters of Rhoda Delaval, we believe the Weeping Ash was planted around the time that the Hall was being built (1720s).  One of the largest around, it is particularly unusual to see a weeping ash so far North. Sadly one of its main branches was lost to Storm Arwen in the autumn of 2021, however it remains a beautiful centrepiece in the garden.

Rose Garden

First planted in the 1920s, the rose garden we see today was created during the 1950s and 1960s under the direction of the late Lady Hastings.  The ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ rose has a particularly beautiful scent and is a favourite amongst the gardeners!  We’re currently planning long term conservation for the rose garden to reintroduce hedging where blight has attacked the old box hedge.

Herbaceous and Hot Borders

From early spring the herbaceous borders come alive with the first signs of the new season. From the subtle yellows and pinks of spring flowers in the herbaceous border to the vivid explosion of fiery summer colours in the Hot Border, they are an ever-changing delight. 

Privy Garden

Originally a private garden created for Lady Hastings, this sheltered and peaceful spot is enclosed by yew hedging and unusual Ghent Hybrid azaleas.  Home to a small pond and a summer house, which serves ice creams and light refreshments during the summer. Pull up a deckchair and relax! 

Arboretum and Laburnum Arch

The Laburnum arch blooms in later May, with over 20 trees frowing over its arched tunnel, its masses of yellow hanging flowers towering over the striking purple alliums that sit at its base.  It leads through to the arboretum and is planted with various trees and rhododendron bushes - one of our most popular picnic spots! 

From here you can visit the Church of Our Lady but this isn’t managed by the National Trust, so be sure to check the opening times directly with the church before visiting. 

The Secret Garden

Next to the East Wing courtyard, this garden is ideal for small children to run around in while you stop for refreshment. Relax with a coffee and let the kids run wild - just like the Delaval children would have done! 

Upcoming events

Sorry, there are no upcoming events at this place.