RABY Castle, just outside Staindrop, County Durham, is the quintessential romantic English castle, set in a deer park with a moat, now dry, running round it. It also has a beautiful walled garden which, this year, is being opened for the 90th time for the National Garden Scheme charity on Saturday, July 15. The NGS is also celebrating its 90th year in 2017 and the castle gardens are one of 80 gardens which first opened to the public in 1927 and are still open today.

“We are proud to be a founding member of the NGS, it is wonderful to be able to contribute to such a remarkable charitable programme by simply opening the gardens for visitors to enjoy,” says events manager Rachel Makin.

The gently sloping, south-facing walled gardens currently extend to five acres, and were originally laid out in the 18th Century. Although they have been considerably altered since to provide more pleasure garden, many of the original features remain, including the two fine old yew hedges and ornamental pond that dominate the central garden. Other highlights include fine herbaceous and shrub borders, a conservatory, pergolas, rose gardens, informal heather and conifer gardens and soft fruit and vegetables.

Raby Castle, including its gardens and parkland, are generally open between Wednesday and Sunday each week until the end of September, also Tuesdays in July and August and bank holidays. Further information can be found at rabycastle.com.

Other North-East gardens open this month:

July 2

Hidden gardens of Croft Road: four very different gardens behind tall hedges, from the pretty cottage garden of Oxney Cottage to Nags Head Farm, which has a wonderful rill running alongside a sloping garden and a peaceful courtyard. Between Darlington and Croft, DL2 2SD.

July 8

The Fold: A half-acre garden that has been created over 20 years in an area that had been extensively mined. It stands at 700ft and has splendid views. Herbaceous borders, alpine beds, island beds, ponds and small roof garden. High Wooley, Stanley, Crook, DL15 9AP.

July 9

Peterlee Gardens Safari

The town opens eight of its prettiest gardens, together with its well-managed allotments and the colourful grounds of Shotton Hall. Buy a ticket and collect a map from Shotton Hall, Old Shotton, Peterlee, SR8 2PH.

July 16

Moorsholm Village

A range of award-winning gardens to view, including woodland gardens, cottage gardens and up to 16 allotments in a moorland setting five miles from the North Sea. Saltburn-by-the-Sea, TS12 3JF.

St Margaret’s Allotments

Five acres of 82 allotments set against the backdrop of Durham Cathedral, the site has been cultivated since the Middle Ages and was saved from development 25 years ago. Margery Lane, Durham, DH1 4QJ.

July 23

Kiplin Hall

These beautiful grounds, once in decline, are being restored to their former beauty in this lovely setting. Scorton, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 6AT.

Stanghow Gardens

Two quite different gardens at 800ft above sea level on the edge of the North York Moors. The village has won numerous RHS Gold Awards for Best Small Village. Stanghow, Lingdale, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, TS12 3JU.

Woodside House

Stunning, three-acre mature undulating garden full of interesting trees, shrubs and plants. This winner of Bishop Auckland in Bloom has much to fire the imagination. Witton Park, Bishop Auckland, Dl14 0DU.

July 30

St Cuthbert’s Hospice. Five acres of mature gardens cared for by volunteers surround the hosptice. Victorian-stye greenhouse and large vegetable, fruit and cut flower area. Park House Road, Durham, DH1 3QF.

For more details of the openings, visit ngs.org.uk