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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

Fri–Sun, 11am–3pm, 1 Apr–30 Sep. Please see for events and additional open days and Oct-Mar openings.


Please see website for admission prices.

RHS members

Free access (Member 1 only) - applies Fri.


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


  • Arboretum
  • Autumn colour
  • Bog garden
  • Colour themed borders
  • Cottage planting
  • Gravel garden
  • Herbaceous border
  • Japanese garden
  • Pond or lake
  • Rock garden
  • Sculpture
  • Wildflower meadow
  • Wildlife planting and features
  • Winter garden
  • Woodland

About the garden

Owned by
Christine Liddle

Birkheads Secret Gardens are a garden visitor's dream. Developed by the present owners since 1978, it enjoys expansive rural views across the valley to a neighbouring visitor attraction, Beamish Open Air Museum.

Diversely themed gardens are connected by mixed borders of hardy shrubs and perennials created with colour schemes to run through the seasons, an inspiration to new and experienced gardeners alike. Formal topiary in the House Garden contrasts with the relaxed planting of wildflower meadows by leading visitors along meandering paths through a Woodland Garden with unusual trees and bulbs, past newt and frog ponds with dragonflies.

In the Cottage Garden, an apple orchard was planted in 2018 surrounded by the existing collection of snowdrops and daffodils. Nearby is the Bee and Butterfly Garden, spectacular from June until late summer when flowers give way to autumn foliage and fruits. Visitors love the serenity of the Meditation Garden and various seats to quietly watch the many different bird species living in and around the gardens. The Wishing Tree, Fairy Glade and Treasure Island are quirky gardens with 'treasure' donated by regular visitors; remember to bring a key to make a wish! The original house (1830) garden is now a topiary garden with tea terraces.

The cafe serves excellent coffee with hot and cold light meals, snacks, cakes and tempting desserts. For plant hunters, the adjoining nursery is a must, where keen or new gardeners can purchase a wide range of hardy and unusual home-grown plants. Advice is available on how and where to grow them by the owner Christine Liddle, an enthusiastic horticulturalist, nurserywoman and professional garden designer. It’s well worth a visit at any time because visitors always find something of interest.

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.