In the town of Alnwick, Northumberland, adjacent to Alnwick Castle is Alnwick Garden, a complex of formal gardens. The Garden features a range of themed plants, all centred on a gorgeous water cascade.
The first garden was laid down by the 1st Duke of Northumberland in 1750, but it was the 3rd Duke who pushed forward a century of development, bringing seeds from all over the world. In the mid 19th century, the 4th Duke of Northumberland created an Italianate garden with a large conservatory. In 1950, the garden was closed, having fallen into disrepair due to post WW2 austerity.
Fast forward to 1997, and Jane Percy, the Duchess of Northumberland began a redevelopment of the garden led by Belgian landscape designers Jacques and Peter Wirtz. The ambitious plans cost a total of £42 million.
The Alnwick Garden also features a Poison Garden, opened in 2005. In it, they have Strychnos nus-vomica, hemlock, Ricinus communis and foxglove, amongst others. One of the main aims of the Poison Garden is to educate people about drugs, meaning it also houses cannabis, coca and Papaver somniferum, an opium poppy.
Whilst walking through The Garden is the obvious appeal, Alnwick is more than just that. On the site, is a gorgeous Treehouse, built from sustainably sourced Canadian cedar, Scandinavian redwood and English and Scots pine. The Treehouse serves as one of the restaurants in The Garden, with a roaring log fire, trees growing through the floor and most importantly, locally inspired delicious food. There are wobbly rope bridges for bouncing on, on the Treehouse’s deck there’s Roost, an education room that shows films and hosts activities during the year.