Howick Hall Gardens are deliberately aimed at garden lovers and are a plantsman’s delight with extensive grounds offering a stunning variety of unusual plants throughout the seasons.
BBC Gardeners’ World magazine included the gardens in a list of the top five coastal gardens in the country, and The Independent newspaper voted it one of the best ten gardens to visit in spring. In 2009 the garden was voted 'Garden of the Year' by Garden Museum and Gardens Illustrated magazine.
The garden year starts with the Snowdrop Festival in February, followed by carpets of vibrant yellow daffodils between March and May. The woodland garden (Silverwood) also flourishes until late spring with camellias, magnolias and species rhododendrons. Howick is also well known for Lady Mary’s ‘Botticelli Meadows’ where colourful tulips are randomly planted in the wildflower meadows.
The more formal borders and terraces are at their best in summer and the Bog Garden, with its unusual herbaceous plants grown from seed collected in the wild abroad, blooms throughout July, August and September.
Autumn brings brilliant colour across the whole Estate when every leaf becomes a flower and the berries glisten and ripen. There are over 65 acres of woodland walks in the Arboretum which is planted with over 1,800 different species of trees and shrubs, most of which are labelled.
The Sensory Garden is a new addition to the main garden attraction featuring a special selection of plants and materials laid out in such a way as to stimulate the senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. The aim of the garden is to provide both children and adults with autism (and other disabilities) a safe and stimulating environment to explore their senses.
Families can take on a seasonal ‘Family Challenge’, meandering through the woodland walks, nature spotting on the way – look out for red squirrels, and ducks, swans and herons on the pond.
The stately Earl Grey Tea House serves home made light lunches, snacks and afternoon teas. Howick was the Grey family seat and home to Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, who was Prime Minister during the time of the passing of the Great Reform Bill of 1832, although he is probably better known for the famous tea which was blended especially for the water at Howick and named after him. His monument stands at the top of Grey Street in Newcastle.