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The wildlife and garden at Gibside

A young girl looks at a sunflower.
Admiring the pictorial meadow in the Walled Garden at Gibside. | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

From peaceful strolls through the Walled Garden to walks along the winding river and wildlife spotting in the ancient woodlands, there are many ways to experience nature at Gibside.

A Georgian landscape garden

Gibside is a Georgian landscape garden, an early expression of the natural movement. Although some features like the tree-lined Avenue feel formal, the design of Gibside was inspired by Stephen Switzer's work, which moved away from formality and took on a naturalistic approach.

Eighteenth century landscape gardens were influenced by the liberalism of Whig politics and the idealism of classical art. They were designed to imitate nature, to arouse emotions with ‘wow’ moments and create a sensory experience.

As you roam around Gibside, you'll witness this artificial imitation of nature, using colour, light and shape. Meandering paths of dark foliage open to reveal spectacular vista views, and architecture is highlighted by amphitheatres which surprise the wanderer on their journey.

Sunflowers with a red brick wall in the background.
Sunflowers in the Walled Garden at Gibside. | © Photo Credit * National Trust Images/Tom Carr

What is growing in summer?

Landscape garden tours

In the eighteenth century it was a fashionable pastime for the wealthy to tour around Britain on holiday, visiting stately homes and gardens. Gibside was a popular destination and George Bowes wanted to astound his guests with his landscape garden.

Visualise the Georgian grandeur of Gibside by walking in the footsteps of George Bowes. Learn about the early expression of the natural movement and why landscape garden design was fashionable on a landscape garden tour. Find out more.

Enjoy garden tours? After your visit to Gibside, discover Crook Hall Gardens on a garden tour every Friday at 11am.

Spotting summer wildlife

At Gibside you'll find tree dwelling wildlife from birds and squirrels to hundred-legged insects. Get closer to the waters edge to spot otters and amphibian pondlife or look for signs of roe deer and nocturnal beasts like badgers and bats.

Two swallows sitting on a branch
Swallows on a branch | © National Trust Images/Dougie Holden

See swallows swoop

Swallows migrate to the UK for breeding season, arriving from April. Many make their mud and straw nests in the Stables at Gibside, and chicks are born throughout the summer. You might catch a glimpse of them cosy in their nests or calling for food.

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A blue tit perched in emerging apple blossom at Gibside

Celebrating blossom at Gibside 

Take part in the Festival of Blossom by finding ways to connect with nature.

Young girl smiling holding a small fluffy dog.

Visiting Gibside with your dog 

Gibside is a three pawprint rated place. There are 15 miles of paths for you and your dog to explore, lots of facilities and they’re even welcome inside the coffee shop.

Visitors walking though woodland at Gibside

Wonders of Nature trail at Gibside 

Explore woodlands, meadows, wetlands and along the riverside, with estate highlights. You'll see nature at work and, if you are lucky, spot some wildlife at play.

DistanceMiles: 5.5 (km: 8.8)
Family visitors exploring the garden in autumn at Wallington, Northumberland

Gardens in the North East 

As the weather gets warmer, there are some quite spectacular moments in store in gardens across the North East this spring. Discover wow moments set to lift your spirits, delicate, gentle blossom and colourful borders teeming with wildlife.