Estate In Chillingham, Northumberland
A country manor house with beautiful gardens, an observatory, old church and ruined pele tower.
When you hear of the Lilburn Tower you're probably thinking of the tower that is part of Dunstanburgh Castle, but there is another place with the same name near Alnwick.
This Lilburn Tower is actually a 19th century mansion house just around the corner from Chillingham Castle, but is now privately owned. Fortunately once a year, the grounds are opened to the public, usually for charity, allowing you a wander around.
Before we take you on a tour, let's give you a bit of history on the estate.
John Clennell of the Clennell family of Clennell Hall (that's a lot of Clennells!) bought the manors of East and West Lilburn and joined them together. The western side had the ruinous remains of a 15th century manor house, unsurprisingly known as West Lilburn Tower. The ruins of this tower still stands in the grounds.
The estate was bequeathed a few times until it ended up in the hands of Henry Collingwood of Cornhill, who also had the title of the High Sheriff of Northumberland. He requested the services of the architect John Dobson (the lad who built lots of Newcastle City Centre) to design a new Elizabethan-style mansion and work started in 1829 with the house costing a grand sum of £25,000.
Although Dobson designed the house, Collingwood didn't appoint anyone for the grounds, planning and managing the gardens himself.
After the death of Henry, the house was passed down to other family members, including the nephew of Admiral Lord Collingwood with the current owner being Duncan Davidson who founded Persimmon Homes.
Enough of the history, let's show you more pictures of the grounds.
The grounds opened at 2pm, so we had spent the morning down Cateran Hole and up Ros Castle hill, so our first port of call was the snack window for scones, tea and a lime cordial.
Down the side of the house we found a lovely little pool and I was tempted with a dive bomb off the diving board.
Following the track around some bushes we came across the observatory.
Then we just followed tracks off to a wooded walk.
We then came across a quaint little bridge which was covered in lovely scented honeysuckle.
We crossed the bridge and headed down to a little pond area.
We then headed back out and through the woods back towards the house.
And we found a huge marble egg!
Then a horse!
We then spied the observatory again peeking through the trees.
Time for a sit down before we headed out in the gardens in front of the house.
If you look closely in the above photo, you can see the Hurlestone Tower at Lilburn in the distance.
Few more photos of the garden.
After our lovely wander we headed back to the car through the courtyard.
Then we spied this fella lurking in the bushes.
Within the Lilburn Tower estate are two other amazing gems which have been on our to do list for a long time. The Hurlestone Tower and the Hurl Stone.
They are both within the estate and we asked permission from the owner before we trekked across the park to them. More information on their own posts.
But in our haste to visit these, we missed finding the old church and the West Lilburn Tower. Fortunately our new Fabulous North friend Margaret Pinsent also visited on the open day and sent us over her snaps.
The open days are usually in June, so keep an eye out for the next one.
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The tower is only open to the public on their open days and there is dedicated parking within the grounds.
Contributed by Simon Hawkins
Thanks for checking out this place on the Fabulous North! I do enjoy a wander out in to the countryside trying to find hidden gems that not many people know about. You can't beat a rogue Pele tower up a remote hill or a mysterious stone circle or a stunning waterfall secluded in a forest.
The trig point sitting on top of Ros Castle (316m).
A ruined lime kiln sitting between Cateran Hole and Ros Castle in the Alnwick area.
Ros Castle is the highest of the Chillingham Hills, with a height of 315m.
The private estate of the White Ridley family where the grounds are filled with wonderful statues, follies and temples.
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