Walk amid an enchanting garden, admire Grecian architecture, gaze over Northumberland’s green countryside from a defensive tower and dine in a Victorian tearoom.
Spend a day enjoying the natural and architectural wonders of Belsay Hall and Gardens. This regal estate dates back to the 13th century and was the home of the noble Middleton family for almost 700 years. Today Belsay Hall and Gardens is a tourist attraction managed by the English Heritage, which is a charity responsible for the protection and maintenance of over 400 historic sites in England.
Start your visit at Belsay Hall mansion, a Greek-Revival residence designed by Sir Charles Mock in the 1800s and inspired by his honeymoon in Athens. In its center is a beautiful hall surrounded by Ionic pillars. Original fireplaces and floral pattern wallpaper decorate the otherwise unfurnished living quarters and bedrooms. Snack on pastries, sandwiches and soups at the Victorian tearoom, housed in the mansion’s kitchen.
Around 30 acres (12 hectares) of scenic gardens spread out from the mansion. Spot exotic trees, formal terraces and seasonal flowers, such as rhododendrons and snowdrops, while wandering along trails. The Quarry Garden is a romantic area of ravines and pinnacles draped in ferns. Rock cut from the quarry was used to construct the hall.
Follow the trail through the garden to the estate’s medieval castle and Jacobean house, where the Middleton family originally lived. Fragments of medieval paintings are visible on the walls of the castle chambers. The defensive pele tower dates back to the 14th century and served to protect the estate during unrest between England and Scotland. Climb to the top of the tower for 360-degree views of the lush Northumberland countryside.
The attraction is located 14 miles (22.5 kilometers) from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Catch a bus to the village of Belsay and then walk for 20 minutes. Free parking is available for visitors.
Belsay Hall and Gardens is open daily from mid-February until November and on weekends during the remainder of the year. There’s an admission fee, with discounts for children, students and retirees. Open-air theater performances and a knight’s battle reenactment are among fun summer events.