Thursday, 2 April 2009

Skywatch Friday - 3 April 2009

Crook Hall Gardens
This is a lovely peaceful place to visit right in the heart of Durham City. Hard to believe it's just a few minutes walk from the Market Place. I worked in Durham for years and didn't know it existed. If you like English country gardens this is just up your street!

Crook Hall is a Grade 1 listed Medieval Manor House. It has a 13th Century banqueting hall, and a 17th Century Jacobean room. Not large but very charming. It is supposedly haunted by the ghost of the White Lady. You are advised to avoid the Jacobean Room if you are sensitive to ghosts. I mustn't be as I didn't sense anything. It was rather cold in there on one of the hottest days of the year, but old stone buildings were designed to be cool in summer and warm in winter.
13th Century Banqueting Room

Children can leave messages for the White Lady and there were lots there! When we visited there were lots of pieces of art there, stained glass balloons and kites, butterflies in a net, ceramics and a strange metal object like a bottle in the centre of the maze!
There were lots of things for children to look for such as gnomes and bear heads and a maze to get lost in. Not for too long though as it is quite low.
Alan Titchmarsh described it as "A tapestry of colourful blooms" and it certainly is. You can wander through different gardens such as the Secret Walled Garden, the Shakespeare Garden, the Cathedral Garden and the Silver and White Garden.

Cathedral Garden

The Moat Pool is very tranquil, hard to drag yourself away from it. There are lots of little tables and chairs around the various gardens if you just fancy relaxing, taking in the wonderful scents and the peace of the place.
Moat Pool

If the weather is fine you can enjoy a cream tea out in the gardens and if it's not, just go into the Georgian Dining Room.
The "delightful views of Durham Cathedral" from the gardens were unfortunately spoilt by a huge crane, but luckily just a temporary thing! It's an absolute gem of a place if you like gardens and it's as the leaflet describes, "an oasis of peace in the heart of Durham City".

There are various events going on throughout the season and although it's open mainly from late May to early September there are other activities going on at Bank Holiday times, Halloween and Christmas. For more detailed information about the gardens, opening times, directions, parking, prices and special events
check out the website

Crook Hall Gardens
Frankland Lane
0191 384 8028

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