Well, to begin with, I don’t do gardens, do I? But we saw this one and it was absolutely charming. Our initial thought was that the Duchess of Northumberland was trying to outdo the gardens of the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth. She may very well do it someday.
There is so much to see here and this is a garden in progress… a new visitor centre is currently under construction on the grounds and should open in 2006. A cascade has been built… it undulates down a hillside with steps up either side beyond which lie paths hidden in bowers. Over the cascade is a wonderful, classical ornamental garden. It is quite large and all the exhibits are labeled… a gardener’s dream. There are large water features as well and those are the hallmarks of this whole complex.
The water features are fantastic… there are those that shoot water into the air, but many simply allow water to caress chrome sculptures. There are so many, and they are so cleverly done that you will have a difficult time selecting favorites.
While the entire gardens are a maze of paths, leading from one feature to even better features (You will need the map.), the actual bamboo maze is still too new to be difficult, but someday, getting in and out will present a challenge. The serpentine garden of winding hedges is filled with water features and there is even a poison garden.
One of the newer features of the site is the Treehouse. My wife commented that it looked like Disney World, and it really is a Disney kind of creation. It includes a bar/restaurant, a couple of suspension bridges well above the ground and a not-particularly-interesting walkway that traverses the roof. In other words, Alnwick Garden is trying to amuse everyone at every level… and they’re doing a good job of it. But no matter how fun-oriented it becomes, one will always find solace and peace in the beautiful rose garden. Good fun – good visit. To see more, go toGardens.