The Alnwick Garden: Celebrating Its 15th Year

Published: Tuesday 4th Oct 2016

Written by: The Grace Darling Holidays Team

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The popular attraction, known for its unconventional garden designs including growing cannabis in a high-security Poison Garden and the Treehouse Restaurant, has attracted millions of visitors since it first opened in 2001.

The Alnwick Garden is founded by the Duchess of Northumberland, Jane Percy, and is now preparing to celebrate 15 years since it opened its doors to the public. The milestone anniversary will be celebrated on October 13th 2016.

The Duchess has been working on the Alnwick Garden redevelopment for two decades as the restoration began 5 years before the attraction opened to the public. In 1997, the Duchess pledged to redevelop the site after it had fallen into disrepair and became very overgrown. The project started as a vision to build a garden for the community and with the community at heart. Together with Belgian landscape designers Jacques and Peter Wirtz, the Duchess set about to create one of the most innovative attractions in Europe, visited by people from all over the world and not just the local community. The Duchess was very successful in bringing her vision to reality.

Today, the garden boasts the Grand Cascade – a water feature that sees a number of fountains creating a spectacular sculptured wave, filling the length of the cascade.

There is also the Poison Garden which contains toxic plants such as belladonna, monkshood and laburnum as well as narcotics like coca and cannabis. The Poison Garden is highly-secured and is patrolled constantly.

The Alnwick Garden is also famous for the Treehouse Restaurant, which is built around 16 mature lime trees. The Treehouse Restaurant provides a magical dining experience with wobbly rope bridges, wooden walkways, twinkling lights and a roaring fire.

The Duchess thought the garden would have been finished within 5 years, but 15 years later and it still isn’t complete. The Duchess claims the project has been a labour of love from the beginning and she won’t stop until the project is complete.

The Duchess and the Project Director, Mark Brassell, are both excited The Alnwick garden is celebrating its 15thAnniversary. The future is full of plans to continue building on the success of the garden and to keep offering a fresh and entertaining experience for the visitors and continue to see the garden enriching people’s lives.

A visit to The Alnwick Garden is a great day out for all the family and definitely worth a visit when you are visiting Northumberland. Grace Darling Holidays have a number of new holiday cottages available for booking in Alnwick, allowing easy access to The Alnwick Garden and the rest of the magnificent Alnwick countryside. The historic market town of Alnwick is a wonderful area for walking, wildlife spotting, fishing and cycling. No matter what age you are, there is plenty to see and do in Alnwick.

What’s On at The Alnwick Garden during October?

  • Daily

Garden of Fairy Tales

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a beautiful garden was born. As it grew, it was so lovely that people called it a Fairy Tale Garden. But they never guessed that it really was. The never knew its secret.

  • Saturday 8th October, 11am – 3pm

Character Appearances – Meet Scooby-Doo

Scooby-Doo has taken a break from solving mysteries to visit The Alnwick Garden. Come and see him at intervals throughout the day, near the Poison Garden.

  • Every Saturday – 8th, 15th, 22nd and 25th October

Flaming Monkey Tree Climbing at The Alnwick Garden

Scale the trees of the woodland walk in a climbing adventure. Suitable for all ages and abilities.

  • Tuesday 25th – Monday 31st October

Halloween Experience – The Dark Garden

A dramatic new Northumberland Halloween experience waits. Are you bold enough to venture out into the mysterious Dark Garden and discover its night time secrets?

  • Wednesday 26th – Sunday 30th October

Pumpkin Carving

With the help of the resident witches, scoop and carve aa Halloween pumpkin friend to guide and protect you on this All Hallows’ Eve.

The Grace Darling Holidays Team
The Grace Darling Holidays Team


Your team of holiday experts in Northumberland.


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