Alnwick Castle and Gardens (and The Treehouse Restaurant)

Opening times are seasonal, see website. Disclaimer: we went in winter and I barely took any photos of the gardens, so these are pics from the lovely world wide web.

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Two of the titular subjects of this post can be thoroughly recommended, but unfortunately the third was a disappointment. Alnwick Castle and Gardens are very much worth a visit, yet The Treehouse restaurant, whose intriguing aesthetic is the main appeal, sadly doesn’t deliver with its food.

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Dating from 1096, Alnwick Castle is the Gothic-style seat of the Duke of Northumberland and is the second largest inhabited castle in England, after Windsor Castle. The attached gardens are sprawling and perfectly curated to make a visit worthwhile in any season. The attractions include a wild duck pond, a poison garden, the serpent garden of water features, a bamboo labyrinth, the formal rose garden with a fairy tale attic, and the grand cascade of waterfalls topped with an ornamental garden and encircled by the extensive cherry orchard. It’s a burst of colour and beauty, and staff organise silly trails and activities around the place for those unsatisfied with just wandering along the beautiful paths.

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After wandering around for an hour or so, we went to the Treehouse restaurant which is at the end of the woodland walk. The Treehouse had been somewhere I had long wanted to visit – two stories of restaurant are built into the wide branches of the lime trees it sits in. These branches curl throughout the restaurant, which serves local seasonal produce in a cosy interior with chunky wood tables and open log fires. It’s built from Canadian cedar, Scandi redwood, and English and Scots pine. A collection of lime trees hold up the restaurant, with walkways and rope bridges and walkways in the surrounding canopies.

 

Yet unfortunately, although magical to look at and definitely a unique venue, the food didn’t live up to the setting. It was very average, and pretty expensive for what it was. It’s a sight to see, and the gardens and castle are wonderful, so visit both and end up with a drink, rather than a meal, at the Treehouse.

 

 

 

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