Things to do in Crook Hall Gardens
Wander through a series of interlinked gardens, each with its own character. Intriguing paths lead you to blooming borders, secluded walled gardens, an orchard and a tranquil moat pool. Sheltered spots tempt you to sit a while and soak up your surroundings. Views of Durham Cathedral are a reminder that this green oasis is close to the heart of the city. Find out all the things to see and do here.
Easter at Crook Hall Gardens
Our Easter trail runs on 31 March and 1 April; explore the gardens and meadows to complete a series of ten activities then collect a chocolate egg at the finish. Hop on over to our what's on page for all the details.
Good news - if you buy a new membership via Direct Debit at one of the places in our care between 23 March and 14 April 2024, you'll get free unlimited Easter trails for all under-18s named on your membership.
Exploring Crook Hall Gardens
The gardens complement each other, while differing in age and personality. Formal areas with neat lines and topiary hedges border traditional English cottage gardens, boasting a colourful medley of roses, wisteria, perennials, trees and shrubs.
The serene moat pool is planted with water lilies, hosta and iris. The gentle sound of running water and views towards fields and woodlands beyond the gardens enhance its peaceful appeal.
The gardens are a haven for wildlife, alive with bees and butterflies collecting nectar from flowers, ducks and moorhens on the pond and songbirds in the trees.
Seasonal highlights in the gardens
Watching the seasons change at Crook Hall Gardens is reason to return again and again.
Spring in the gardens
Spring grows into a riot of colour. Hellebores ease us out of winter, with snowdrops and winter aconites joining them as an early sign of spring. Bright splashes of anemones, cyclamen and crocus soon appear. The vibrant yellows of daffodils, forsythia and kerria bring sunshine on even the dullest day. Tulips, grape hyacinth and fritillaria add variety to the palette.
A large magnolia, benefiting from spring warmth in the shelter of the walled garden, puts on a magnificent display of flowers. And a frothy mass of blossom makes the orchard an unmissable sight.
Summer in the gardens
Roses come into their own each summer, filling the gardens with their beauty and scent. From June, phlox, oriental poppies and ox-eye daisies vie for attention in the walled gardens. The moat pool teems with life, including frogs, newts and dragonflies.
Autumn in the gardens
Keep an eye on the maze in the autumn. A living puzzle planted mainly of cotoneaster, at the beginning of September it sports dark green leaves; red berries soon appear, then develop over the coming weeks in a fascinating transformation.
Several shrubs have an autumnal ‘wow’ moment. Look out for beautyberry with its vivid purple berries. Autumn crocuses also provide unexpected pops of colour.
Family fun in the gardens
- There are benches dotted around the gardens which make an ideal picnic spot.
- Adventurous visitors can explore the maze next to the café.
- Head to our wildlife hub to discover what creatures you might see. You're welcome to borrow a pair of binoculars to watch the birds.
- We’re sorry but, for the safety of all our visitors and to protect the gardens, bicycles are not permitted in the gardens.
- We welcome under 5s on trikes or balance bikes (no pedals, but please be aware that there are limited hard paths and that these often have a loose (gravel) surface, and few are flat.
A stone’s throw from Durham’s World Heritage Site, Grade I listed Crook Hall is considered one of the city’s most significant medieval domestic buildings.
We're lucky to currently have a full team of volunteers at Crook Hall Gardens, so have paused recruitment for the time being. Please check back for future opportunities.
Find out where dogs are welcome at Crook Hall Gardens and the facilities on offer for your canine companions.
It's almost time for blossom to be in full bloom, covering the UK in swathes of pink and white. From ornamental magnolias in gardens to hawthorn scattered across the countryside, discover some of the best places to see blossom in our care and beyond.
Try our step-by-step origami tutorial and fill the world with blossom. See if you can make lots of flowers in different sizes and colours to decorate your home or give to friends and family.
From 18th-century water gardens and Arts and Crafts landscapes to intimate woodland gardens, there are so many places to discover.