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Partner Garden
Free access for RHS members at selected times

Birkheads Lane
Near Sunniside
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE16 5EL

Follow brown tourist signs on A6076 between Sunniside & Stanley.

3 acres

07778 447920

Visit website

Opening Hours

Extended opening: 11am–3pm, Thur–Sun, until end of Sep. October only: 11am–3pm Sat and Sun.


Please see website for admission prices.

RHS members

Free access (member 1 only for joint memberships) applies Fri. Additional free access days: Thur and Fri, 7–8, 14–15, 21–22 and 28–29 Sep.


  • Assistance dogs only
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Free carer entry
  • Gift shop
  • Group rates
  • Parking
  • Plant sales
  • Refreshments
  • Toilets


  • Autumn colour
  • Colour themed borders
  • Gravel garden
  • Wildflower meadow

About the garden

Owned by
Christine & Mike Liddle

Three miles from the Angel of the North, on a south-facing slope with rural views overlooking the Beamish Valley & Durham, lies Birkheads Secret Gardens. It was created in 1980 with green principles to enjoy 'The Good Life' with young children, then plant propagating and collecting took over, a wonderful chance to make an ornamental garden. 

The house (c.1830) overlooks the Tea Garden with coffee shop. Designed and planted by the present owners, it is a peaceful, harmonious series of gardens for plants, people and wildlife with naturalistic planting throughout. Hidden paths lead into diverse gardens with successional plants for all-year-round colour; it also provides most of the propagation material for the well- stocked nursery of unusual hardy plants. 

In the Cottage Garden with wildlife pond, everything comes to life in February when the honey bees start to work on snowdrops. March starts with spring bulbs bursting into flower under the forest bathing trees that will be laden with blossom in April. Mixed borders edged with Hellebores and Cyclamen link separate gardens. In the Apple Orchard before the fruit there are daffodils en masse followed by bluebells. The Wildflower Meadow is best in April with Fritillaries, Cowslips and Camassia. Garden birds make nests and songs fill the air while lapwings, curlews and red kites watch over them.  

The Bee and Butterfly gardens have been planted for scent, pollen and nectar flowering from March to September. The Meditation Garden with Acers are busy with newts and dragonflies over the ponds there. Herbs and history are combined in the Bowes Railway Garden. Treasure Island is a fun grass garden; visitors tell us that after visiting that they're inspired! 

Please note: this garden is partially accessible.

Plants of special interest

  • Agapanthus
  • Alliums
  • Alpines
  • Asters
  • Autumn bulbs
  • Bluebells
  • Clematis
  • Cornus (for winter stems or spring bracts)
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodils
  • Ferns
  • Fruit blossom
  • Fruit bushes/trees
  • Fuchsias
  • Grasses
  • Hellebores
  • Hemerocallis
  • Herbs
  • Hostas
  • Irises
  • Laburnum
  • Lavender
  • Lilies
  • Maple
  • Orchids
  • Primulas
  • Roses
  • Shade-loving plants
  • Snowdrops
  • Spring bulbs
  • Topiary
  • Waterlilies
  • Wildflowers

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.