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 the whole Delaval family. 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 majesty 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.

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, under-managed tree plantation to a thriving space where plants, trees and wildlife have the space to grow and flourish. Taking inspiration from the 1781 estate plan, Vanbrugh’s path networks and sightlines have been reinstated, 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, known for being the location of many a ‘gay Delaval’ party involving (amongst other things) 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 spirit of the Delavals’ love of mischief and playfulness, there are two brand new 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 and features, the Mirror Cube and Dark Matter Cube recapture the gentle mischief and illusionary fun for which the Delavals were known and provide playful opportunities for all ages.

Parterre

The first commission of designer James Russell and created between 1950 and 1953, the 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, agastashe, and fushias. Later in the year, the surrounding trees and hedges look spectacular in their bronzed autumn colours.

Seaton Delaval Hall's laburnum arch with low hanging yellow flowers

Plant of the Month - June

Our laburnum x watereri is also known as the golden chain tree for its spectacular display of hanging clusters of yellow pea-like blossoms. Seaton Delaval Hall's laburnum arch was planted by Lady Hastings in the 1990s. Approximately 20 trees grow over the arched tunnel, which require regular pruning to remain small and grow into the stunning canopy of long trailing flowers. Gardener Chris spends several of the coldest months of the year unpinning the branches, pruning and removing old wood. Where the flowers are produced each one needs to be cut back to two buds before being re-pinned. Left to their own devices they would grow into very large ornamental trees.

Seaton Delaval Hall's laburnum arch with low hanging yellow flowers

Plant of the Month - June

Our laburnum x watereri is also known as the golden chain tree for its spectacular display of hanging clusters of yellow pea-like blossoms. Seaton Delaval Hall's laburnum arch was planted by Lady Hastings in the 1990s. Approximately 20 trees grow over the arched tunnel, which require regular pruning to remain small and grow into the stunning canopy of long trailing flowers. Gardener Chris spends several of the coldest months of the year unpinning the branches, pruning and removing old wood. Where the flowers are produced each one needs to be cut back to two buds before being re-pinned. Left to their own devices they would grow into very large ornamental trees.

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. As it's so old, you're welcome to give a hug but please don't swing on it! 

Herbaceous Borders

From early spring the herbaceous borders start to come alive with the first signs of the new season. From the subtle yellows and pinks of spring flowers such as camellia, to the vivid explosion of summer colours, these borders are an ever-changing delight. 

Privy Garden

Originally a private garden created for Lady Hastings, this peaceful spot is enclosed by yew hedging and unusual Ghent hybrid azaleas, and contains a small pond and summerhouse, which serves ice creams and light refreshments during the summer.

Arboretum and Laburnum Arch

The Laburnum arch comes alive from mid-May to early June with its masses of yellow hanging flowers.  It leads through to the arboretum which is planted with various specimen trees and rhododendron bushes - one of our most popular picnic spots.  From here you can also visit the beautiful Church of Our Lady (note: the church is not managed by the National Trust. Please check opening times directly with the church before visiting). 

The Secret Garden

Located next to the Carriage House toilets and the café kiosk, this small garden is ideal for any children to run around 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

Timed entry to Seaton Delaval Hall (23 June - 27 June)

Thu 24 Jun 2021
10:00-16:00
Book your timed entry to visit Seaton Delaval Hall.