Crook Hall Gardens
Building Durham County Durham

Crook Hall

Building In Durham, County Durham

Small National Trust site with medieval hall dating back to the 13th century.

Crook Hall Gardens is situated right in the heart of Durham and is a stone's throw away from the city centre. So, it's not to be confused with Crookhall village in County Durham or more confusingly with Crook Hall, which was a seminary near Lanchester. The Crook Hall seminary was replaced by Ushaw College and demolished around 1900.

Crook Hall Gardens have only recently been acquired by the National Trust in 2022, so we had not visited before the Easter weekend in 2023.

The site is made up of the medieval hall and a series of interlinking gardens which are filled with unusual plants, flowers and topiary and a living maze at the start to have a wander through.

The hall is pretty fascinating and consists of three parts: the oldest part was built by Peter del Croke in the 14th century and is still in amazing condition; in 1671 James Mickleton and his wife added a new wing to the hall and finally there is the Georgian building added by the Hopper family in 1736. In the 19th century John Fowler also used the hall as a beer bottling plant.

The gardens are really pretty and some have fab views over to Durham Cathedral. Easter weekend was pretty busy, but I would imagine it's a very peaceful place to sit and have a quiet mooch about. Staff were busy in the vegetable garden when we were there and we came across an orchard, small pond and many plants and flowers such as Magnolia and Rhododendron. It has the same feel to it as somewhere like Birkheads Secret Garden or Washington Old Hall - small but perfectly formed.

As you'd expect from a National Trust site, there are toilets, cafe and there's a second hand bookshop to look around.

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54.782517, -1.574612

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54.781924, 54.781924

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There is a dedicated car park on site.

Contributed by Sandra Clemens

I love the great outdoors and have been a National Trust & English Heritage member for years. I also love going off the beaten track and finding places like Sharp's Folly or Rothley Castle which are hidden gems in Northumberland. My favourite recent hike was climbing Red Screes in the Lake District on a whim, not fully grasping how high 776m was. It was still an achievement to conquer a Wainwright walk and I hope to do more one day.

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Sandra Clemens

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