Gibside is an 18th century landscaped garden and estate located near Rowlands Gill, Gateshead.
It is a good place to bring the family and dogs to enjoy some fresh air and views within 243 hectares of gardens, woodlands and Derwent Valley countryside.
The estate was commissioned by George Bowes who made his fortune from coal. Gibside Chapel, built in neo-classical style, forms the centrepiece of the landscape design. It was designed as a mausoleum, presumably for George Bowes himself who died a few months after construction began in 1760. It is still in use as a church.
The orangery also dates from the 18th century. The sandstone walls give it a pleasing appearance even in its semi-ruined state.
This ruin was once a grand residence called Gibside Hall, built for William and Jane Blakiston from 1603-1620. It came into possession of the Bowes family through marriage. Originally a three-storey house, it was reduced to two in the early 1800s by John Bowes, the 10th Earl of Strathmore. He was the last of his family to live there and it fell into decline from 1860 onwards. The roof was removed in the 1950’s. Work is ongoing to make the surviving shell safe for visitors to enter.
The Bowes family was so rich that even their horses lived in a palace. Behind this grand facade is the stable block and cobbled courtyard.
You wouldn’t expect to see a massage parlour in such a place but in a tiny bothy near the stables you can enjoy relaxing holistic therapies amid woodland surroundings.
This is the Octagon Pond Banqueting House, which, during the time of George Bowes, was an elegant tea-house overlooking an attractive water feature and fountain. The building has been restored but the pond will be left in its neglected state since it has now become home to a population of great crested newts, a protected species.
This 150 feet tall column is topped with a 14 feet high bronze female figure of Liberty.
Other attractions here include an adventure playground, a bird hide and an observation hive. There is also a café.
Gibside is managed by the National Trust. You can find details of prices and opening hours on their website.
How to Get to Gibside
You can find the location on this map: