The National Trust have opened their 221st garden on the 13th July 2022 after acquiring Grade I-listed Crook Hall and Gardens in Durham in March. The previous owners were forced to close due to the pandemic in July 2020, and this is the first time the site will be reopening its gates since then.

The garden will be the gateway to County Durham's green corridor which will link central Durham with the countryside on its fringes. The National Trust is intending to create twenty green corridors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by 2030 to help bring the benefits of the outdoors to more people.

Crook Hall Gardens - National Trust
Crook Hall Gardens © National Trust / Colin Davison

The gardens at Crook Hall

Crook Hall is a Medieval manor house thought to have been built around the year 1217. The grounds of the hall feature ten acres of gardens in an interlinked series, each with a differing character. These include impressive borders, a secluded walled garden, an orchard and a moat pool and maze. The gardens complement each other well, although differing in age and personality. Formal areas with topiary hedges and straight lines are bordering traditional English cottage gardens.

Crook Hall Gardens - National Trust
© National Trust / Colin Davison

The gardens are largely laid out in a 20th century manner, created after 1928 when John and Muriel Cassels moved into Crook Hall. John was the principle of Houghall Agricultural College but it was Muriel who most likely developed the garden, both to respect the earlier walled kitchen garden and to open up views to the cathedral and castle.

Crook Hall Gardens - National Trust
© National Trust / Colin Davison

The gardens are also a haven for wildlife, buzzing with bees and butterflies, ducks and moorhens on the pond and songbirds.

Crook Hall important information

Opening times: open daily from 10am-5pm until the 30th October, then winter weekends.

Location: Frankland Lane, Sidegate, Durham, DH1 5SZ

Admission: £8 for adults

Cafe: The Garden Gate Café is open 10am-5pm daily


Molly Blair
Molly Blaireditorial and digital assistant

Molly is the Gardens Illustrated's editorial and digital assistant. She has a roof garden and has her RHS level 2.