Set in beautiful countryside,with the historical market town of Alnwick to its west and the rugged northumbrian coastline just two miles east, is the village of Howick where Howick Hall Gardens can be found.
Howick Hall is the ancestral seat of the Earls Grey, it's also home to the famous Earl Grey Tea!. The extensive gardens, Woodland and Waterside walks are open to the public from early February to November. BBC Gardeners World Magazine voted the gardens as one of the top five coastal gardens in the country. We visited the garden for the Snowdrop Festival.
We parked in the car park (plenty of car parking facilities including disabled car parking spaces are available)
Entrance to the gardens costs £7.70 per adult, £6.60 for over sixties . Children go free. There was one staff member serving at the Shop/ticket office and what a welcoming helpful person he was. He explained to us some local history, He provided us with a leaflet and map of the snowdrop walks, explaining the different walks to us. We definately received customer service at its best!. I was impressed to see a seperate leaflet titled "Information for people with physical disabilities. The leaflet illustrates suitable walks/pathways as well as access to the Tea House and W.C..
Before starting our walks we stopped at the famous Tea House in the East Quadrant of the Hall. Howick Hall became the home of Earl Grey Tea when Charles 2nd Earl Grey asked Chinese Mandarins to blend tea suitable for Howick waters.
We sat in the elegant Tea House,overlooking the gardens. We each enjoyed a plentiful and delicious pot of Earl Grey Tea and a bowl of Parsnip Soup with a freshly baked roll at a total cost for the two of us being just under £13.The excellent customer service we experienced when buying our garden entrance tickets was continued in the Tea House.
When we visited it was during a rapid thaw following recent heavy snow. We did not expect to see the gardens at their best but we were pleasantly suprised by the carpets of snowdrops in the gardens and woodland. Throughout the walks there are seats and resting places at regular intervals. The highlight of our day was during a woodland walk we saw 2 red squirrels, we had been told at the Ticket Office that there had been just two sightings all last year.
I would recommend Howick Hall to people of all ages and abilities. Howick Hall Gardens can be reached by turning off the A1 near Alnwick, taking the coastal road.
Nearby Howick Hall Gardens are many seaside villages worth a visit, including Craster, famous for its Craster Kippers. Northumbrian Castles such as Dunstanburgh and Bamburgh are just a few miles away.
I would love to go back to Howick Hall gadens, perhaps in the summer when I am sure they will be a blaze of colour, but maybe before then I may see the Daffodil Festival!.