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Things to do in Crook Hall Gardens

View of a sunny garden with flower borders, in front of a stone manor house
Summer flowering borders in front of the house at Crook Hall Gardens | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

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.

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.

A stony garden path between borders filled with green leafy plants and colourful flowers of various shades, shapes and sizes. The path leads to an open gate in a wall almost completely covered with climbing plants. A large mass of frothy pink flowers hangs over the gateway.
The walled garden in June | © National Trust/Alison Elrick

Seasonal highlights in the gardens

Watching the seasons change at Crook Hall Gardens is reason to return again and again.

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.

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.

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.
Sunny view of summer flowering borders in front of the Georgian townhouse

Discover more at Crook Hall Gardens

Find out when Crook Hall Gardens is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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