Gibside, only 3 miles from Gateshead's
MetroCentre, offers the visitor forests and parkland with over 15 miles of
woodland and walks alongside the River Derwent with views of dramatically staged
A fortune built on coal enabled George
Bowes to create this great 'forest garden' over 200 years ago. It is now being
restored by the
National Trust. You can explore this Eighteenth Century landscape and enjoy
the beautiful settings of the Jacobean Hall, the Column of Liberty and the
Banqueting House (a Landmark Trust property).
At the same time experience the
tranquillity of the Octagonal Pond, the Lily Pond and the Great Avenue of Turkey
Oaks. Or you can view the Orangery, learn the story of Mary Eleanor Bowes, the
'Unhappy Countess' and pause for reflection within the peace of the Palladian
One of the country's greatest 18th
century landscapes, the Gibside estate was created by the industrialist George
coal baron and land owner who was a member of the queen mother's family, the
Bowes-Lyon) from 1730. Now in the hands of the national trust and currently in
the midst of an extensive renovation programme, which will eventually see the
impressive Orangery, built by the countess of Strathmore between 1772 and 1774,
restored to its former glory. The Orangery was
a production centre for flowers and exotic fruits.
In addition there is also
refurbishment of the stables and the construction of accommodation for school
Gibside is situated a mere
6km south west of Gateshead and possesses some of the finest views of the
incredibly scenic Derwent Valley area.
See more pictures Here
addition to the numerous fine walks around the estate grounds, Gibside is
perhaps most notable for the Palladian chapel, which features an ornate portico
and parapet. George Bowes had a Crypt built within and thereby rests his
soul. If you are fortunate you may visit on one of the rare openings of the
crypt, where you will notice a sudden drop in temperature and the sickly sweet
smell of death. The chapel used to be notorious locally
for the satanic rituals which took place there.
See the statue to British liberty (which
is higher than nelson's column) by walking the half mile or so through
the wonderful avenue of Turkey Oaks. There are several routes to and from the
column, some much longer walks than others, but all have something of wonder and
beauty to admire.
The best time to visit Gibside is probably late-spring or summer when the
rhododendrons are in full bloom. However, the grounds are open all year round,
and with the Bowes railway, Beamish museum and the City of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
all a short drive away there are plenty other of attractions in the vicinity.
Admission costs a more than reasonable
three pounds for adults with family tickets (two adults plus four children)
available for a bargain eight pounds. From the end of March until the end of
October the grounds are open from 10am until 6pm (last admission ninety minutes
before closing time) daily except Mondays (Bank Holidays excepted). From
November until the 30th of March the closing time moves forward to 4pm. The
Chapel is open from 11am until 4.30pm from the last day of March until the last
day of October (visits by appointment only in the Winter).
To get to Gibside by car follow the A694 to Rowlands Gill then take the B6314.
Alternatively, from the A1, take the exit north of the Metro Centre and follow
the brown signs. Public transport links are not exactly great, but you can catch
the Go-Northern bus number 745 from Newcastle city centre. If you get lost, you
can contact Gibside Visitor Services on 01207 542255 for more information.
At the North end of the walk stands the
Column of British Liberty. Begun in 1750 it was completed in 1759 by James
Paine, who took over from Daniel Garrett in 1753. The statue, 12ft high and
originally gilt, was carved by Christopher Richardson in situ 1756-7, the figure
holds the staff of maintenance and cap of liberty.
The column is Roman Doric and is so tall
that it might well stand in the most ambitious of London squares. In fact its
140ft makes it a little taller than Nelson's Column which stands in London's