I've utilised my National Trust membership on many occasions to visit Gibside as it offers a taste of the country only a stone's throw from the hustle and bustle of the city. There is absolutely loads to see including the aforementioned chapel which is a focal point of the grounds. Standing at the head of a tree lined avenue you can't help but be in awe of such a beautiful building.
There are literally miles of walks that are suited to different ages and abilities. Some of the longer routes feature quite steep slopes but there are plenty of gentle walks for the less able bodied (or lazy, which I am...!) There are even a few woods in which to wander and on my last visit this weekend gone I spotted a group of Scouts learning survival skills in the West Wood!
Elsewhere in the grounds there is an orangery, old stables (now a tea room serving delicious cakes and sandwiches), a couple of ponds and lots and lots for children to see and do. Despite not having any children I can really appreciate the effort that has gone into providing activities for kids (and big kids!) to do - the Strawberry Castle adventure play area being a highlight. There's a nature playscape think logs, lots of logs) and a low ropes challenge which was far too strenuous for me but had there not been people around to laugh at me I probably would have attempted!
One of my favourite things about Gibside is that it has a lot of 'extra' activities. Last weekend there was a brass band playing in front of the chapel and families were sitting enjoying the sun, eating picnics and making the most of the warm weather. There is also a farmers' market at Gibside on the first and third Saturday of every month as well as special performances of Shakespeare, running groups, guided tours and parent and toddler rambles; there really is something for everyone!
Every Friday Gibside opens their beer garden until late and in the past they've held buskers' nights but I'm unsure if they still do this as there doesn't seem to be a mention of it on their website. Either way, the atmosphere is so relaxed and it's worth the short drive in order to appreciate a nice tipple of your choice in beautiful surroundings.
If you are looking for somewhere to take the children or just to spend an adult only afternoon then I can't recommend Gibside enough and if you coincide your visit with a special event then it's worth every penny. You can find entrance prices here. Oh, and it's dog friendly too!
Have you ever been to Gibside? Are you a fan of the National Trust? Leave me a comment and let me know!