The Alnwick Garden

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The Alnwick Garden
The Cascade - - 32427.jpg
The cascade fountain
The Alnwick Garden is located in Northumberland
The Alnwick Garden
The Alnwick Garden
Red pog.svg The Alnwick Garden shown within Northumberland
OS grid NU190133
Coordinates 55°24′50″N 1°42′00″W / 55.414°N 1.7°W / 55.414; -1.7Coordinates: 55°24′50″N 1°42′00″W / 55.414°N 1.7°W / 55.414; -1.7
Created 1750
Designer Capability Brown

The Alnwick Garden is a complex of formal gardens adjacent to Alnwick Castle in the town of Alnwick, Northumberland, England. The gardens have a long history under the Dukes of Northumberland, but fell into disrepair; they have only been revived over the past ten years, and now feature many different themes and influences, built around a central water cascade. The revival of the gardens led to several public disputes between the Duchess of Northumberland and various garden experts, concerning preservation and the use of public funds. [1]


The first garden was laid down in 1750 by the 1st Duke of Northumberland, who employed Capability Brown, the celebrated gardener, to landscape the parkland adjoining Alnwick Castle.

The 3rd Duke was a plant collector, and led a century of development at Alnwick - he brought seeds from over the world, and pineapples were raised in hothouses. In the middle of the 19th century, the 4th Duke created an Italianate garden featuring a large conservatory, and at the end of the century, the gardens were at their grandest, with yew topiary, avenues of limes and acres of flowers.

During World War II’s Dig For Victory campaign, the garden was turned over and provided food, and soon afterwards the austerity of the 20th century saw the garden fall into disrepair. It was closed as a working garden in 1950.


The treehouse at The Alnwick Garden.

Redevelopment of the garden was instigated by Jane Percy, Duchess of Northumberland, in 1997, and is being created by Belgian landscape designers Jacques and Peter Wirtz. It is the most ambitious new garden created in the United Kingdom since the Second World War, with a reported total development cost of £42 million.[citation needed]

The first phase of development, opened in October 2001, involved the creation of the cascade and initial planting of the gardens. In 2004 a large 6,000 sq ft (560 m2) 'tree house' complex, including a cafe, was opened. It is one of the largest treehouses in the world.[citation needed] In May 2006, a pavilion and visitor centre designed by Sir Michael Hopkins and Buro Happold opened. It has capacity for 1,000 people.[2] The pavilion and visitor centre feature a barrel-vaulted gridshell roof.

Fountain, one of several water features in the gardens
Entrance gate to the "poison garden"
Water feature

The garden now belongs to a charitable trust, which is separate from Northumberland Estates, although the Duke of Northumberland donated the 42-acre (17 ha) site and contributed £9 million towards the development costs.

The gardens include several water features as well as architectural landscaping, topiary and decorative gates.

Winter vista at Alnwick Gardens
Lawn of Blue - - 154300.jpg

Poison garden[edit]

In February 2005, a poison garden with plants such as cannabis and opium poppy was added. Plantings include Nux vomica (the source of strychnine), hemlock, Ricinus communis (the source of harmless castor oil but with seeds that are deadly), foxglove, belladonna, and laburnam. [3]


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