Last month Matt and I had a trip up to Northumberland – an area we never tire of visiting.
We wanted somewhere to stop and spend an hour or two on the drive back. We have often seen the signs to the National Trust property Gibside on the A1 near Gateshead, and thought we would check it out.
So glad we did! It was a cold but glorious autumn day, and the trees were stunning with their multi-coloured foliage against the blue sky.
Gibside is a grand woodland estate with a beautiful Palladian chapel in the grounds. Stables and courtyards have been converted into shops, displays and tea rooms, and there are play areas for families.
We just wanted a refreshing walk, and there are numerous marked trails to follow, from a gentle stroll down The Avenue, to longer hikes by the River Derwent and up through woodland to hills with far-reaching views.
We bought some excellent sandwiches at the cafe near the entrance, and set off on a trail which took us by the river, before climbing up to the impressive Column of Liberty.
We saw lots of woodland birds and squirrels on the way, and spotted a red kite flying overhead.
Beyond the Column of Liberty we followed a path through woodland with views to distant hills. The trees up here were particularly splendid in their autumn colours.
We intended to do a full circuit of the grounds, but the estate is actually much larger than we expected. We had to cut our walk short to continue our journey home.
All the more reason to visit again another day. Although the autumn colours made the woods particularly stunning, it is obvious that Gibside will be beautiful in any season.
If you live anywhere near Gibside, or like us want to break up a journey on the A1, you will surely enjoy spending a few hours here.
Gibside is one of the many fantastic properties owned by the National Trust. If you like to visit NT properties regularly, membership makes a lot of sense.
As a member you get free access to over 500 National Trust properties (including National Trust for Scotland), and free parking in many NT carparks. Just a few visits will recover the membership fee and you will then be saving money. You can visit as often as you like, and you will be contributing towards the care and maintenance of these very special places.
To reach Gibside from the A1, leave at the junction with the A694 near Gateshead following the clear signs.
From Newcastle or Gateshead you can catch the No. 47 bus to Rowlands Gill – see timetable.
For more information about the history of Gibside and facilities at the site see here.
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