Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1NQ
Telephone: 01665 511100
Review by John Lea - September 2010
Photographs by Celia Lea
These unusual Gardens more than live up to their publicity. It is without doubt one of the most fascinating Gardens in the country. For those disabled who wish to walk the ticket office is a ridiculous distance from the car park. But there are scooters available and you can send your carer to bring one back to the car and at going home time do the reverse. I was in my own wheelchair and the map I was given was completely inadequate but I discovered later that they have wheelchair maps so I presume you must ask for one.
Once inside food, toilets and gift shop are all wheelchair friendly. One can snack or dine directly opposite, and in full view of, the main fountains, food is reasonable, a really nice chicken bacon salad cost £4 90. The main fountains perform with different sequences every half hour and it is incredible how long one can dally over a cup of coffee.
The flow of water starts from the walled garden high above and although there is a route up avoiding steps it is a long climb for walkers or those in manual wheelchairs. There is much to see on the lower levels, several other modern water features are fascinating. The rose garden in particular with its mixture of climbing and standard roses is exceptional and different than I have seen elsewhere. Although by early September they are mostly over and the walled garden, kitchen garden it is not, is well past its most colourful time. The real September colour is in a long herbaceous border next to the restaurants. A conducted tour of the poison garden is also fascinating, it might give you ideas though.
I am forgetting the largest tree-house in the world and you can go through it on wheels but I don't advise wheels on the rope bridges.