Gibside is a National Trust Site just outside of Newcastle and Gateshead. Gibside estate is full of incredible local history, beautiful scenery, fresh outdoors and much more. It is a great place for a day out and just a stone’s throw away from Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham.
In this guide, I have condensed down all the key information you need to know, the bits you must see, and how to get the most out of your dar out at Gibside!
Prices at Gibside
Children (ages 5-17): £6
Under 5s: free
Free for National Trust Members
Tickets no longer need to be pre-booked at Gibside so you can just turn up and pay at the door.
Postcode: NE16 6BG
Facilities at Gibside
The cafe at Gibside is open for takeaway. As outdoor seating is allowed from today, I am not 100% sure they have this in place yet as they didn’t on Friday when we visited. However, there were a few benches through the walled garden and in the surrounding popular parts of the estate if not.
The coffee they were serving was really good! They also had a pretty decent selection of cold sandwiches as well as a hot pulled pork bap which Shaun got.
The toilets were also open at the entrance. however, the one at the stable appeared to be closed when we visited.
Remember it is still recommended to wear a mask inside some public spaces so make sure to take one with you!
History of Gibside (in a nutshell)
There is a great deal of history at the site which I simply couldn’t do justice if I tried to unpack it all here. So instead here are the main parts you should know before you visit.
The estate was obtained by the Blakiston family headed by Sir William Blakiston in around 1540. Over the next 80 years, the house that stood there was replaced by Gibside Hall which still has the Blakiston family crest above the door. The estate was passed down to the great-granddaughter of Sir William, Elizabeth who married Sir William Bowes. Thus, the estate became owned by the Bowes family in 1639.
The family continued to make its fortune thanks to the estate being upon coal-rich lands that they were able to mine and sell down south. The estate stayed as the Bowes family home until 1882 when the family moved onto their other properties.
The Bowes family sold it in the 1920s to pay off some debts they had acquired including many of the furnishings. The house fell into a state of disrepair over the next few decades until it was acquired by National Trust in 1965.
What is left of the Gibside Hall is nothing more than the outer walls of the former family home. There are works going on to try and make it safe for visitors again.
Things to do at Gibside
There are 4 clearly signposted walking trails you could follow which all vary in ease and ability.
The blue and yellow trails are the shortest at just under 2.5 miles each and will take roughly an hour according to the signage. The blue trail tales you around the main areas of the estate and if this is the main thing you want to see then this one is perfect. The yellow however ties in many of the main elements with a walk up the hill into the woodland area. So if you’re after some nature this one will be great.
The pink and green routes are the longest two. The pink is 4.4 miles and the green is 5.5 miles both taking around 2 hours to do. The top left side of this map offers spectacular views over the valley with the Colum to Liberty standing out so I highly recommend walking up that way! We did a combination of the two because we wanted to visit all of the main parts as well as get away from people on the trails.
I have also poped the image of the map as a downloadable version. Just in case you are planning on going and don’t want to waste a paper map!
Key spots to visit at Gibside
There are a few key parts of the estate not to miss upon your visit! I have already mentioned in the history section of this post about the ruins of Gibside Hall. This is a must-see! and you should definitely try and view it from both sides if you can.
The Colum to Liberty is another spot you have got to visit. It is really quite incredible to look at because of how much it dominates the skyline. The idea of the column was to impress visitors with how grand the estate was. At the top is a statue representing liberty. She was once gold in colour, but over the two centuries, since she was completed, she has faded in colour.
The Walled Garden has undergone quite a transformation in recent years. Back when the estate was in decline, the walled garden was an overgrown mess. The space was then used as a car park when the national trust took it over. However as the popularity of the site grew, the need for more parking space grew just as much. So they moved the cars to the new car park and the walled garden started to earn that name. They started the plant flowers in the garden and it began to bloom once more.
The Orangery ruins was once the home to many citrus plants cared for by Mary Elenor Bowes between 1772-74. She was a very intelligent and successful botanist at the time.
This old orangery would have been heated to keep the plants warm in winter and is now an incredibly beautiful place to take in the view over the valley.
The Avenue leading to the Chapel is an incredible space. There are benches that run along both sides which make it a perfect place to take in the space. The avenue itself is half a mile long. The chapel at the end was built between 1760-69 by the Bowes family.
It is still used (in non-covid times) as a chapel to this day with a service being held every Sunday.
Play areas at Gibside
Gibside has 3 areas for kids to play. There is the main play area at Strawberry Castle. Then they also have the low ropes course and the nature playscapes. All three of them were open when we visited which makes Gibside perfect if you have small people!
Key things to remember before you visit Gibside
- Remember your mask for entering any indoor public spaces.
- Keep your dogs on leads and clean up after them.
- Put any ribbish in the bins or take it home with you.
Thank you for reading this post, and I hope you now have all the information you need to visit! If you enjoyed this post and want to see more of my content, drop your email address in the box below and you’ll get early access to all my new posts!
Stay Safe, Happy Adventuring!
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