THE National Trust has announced the much-anticipated reopening date of Crook Hall Gardens in Durham.

The conservation charity took on the site at the end of March and will open the gardens and medieval hall daily from Wednesday, July 13 until October 30.

The site, a popular venue for weddings and tourists until it shut in the summer of 2020, holds a medieval manor house which is one of the oldest inhabited houses in the city.

The Northern Echo: Crook Hall Gardens secret garden National Trust Picture: Colin DavisonCrook Hall Gardens secret garden National Trust Picture: Colin Davison

Read more: National Trust plans to reopen Durham's Crook Hall

Maggie and Keith Bell, who lived and worked there from 1995, announced in June 2020 the business was going into liquidation and the venue was closing because of the “insurmountable challenge” posed by the economic effects of the Covid-19 lockdown.

It was widely welcomed, when The National Trust announced in March it was taking over ownership of the site. 

The National Trust already looks after several places in the North East, including Gibside, Washington Old Hall, Souter Lighthouse and The Leas, Seaton Delaval Hall, Wallington and Cragside, Ormesby Hall in Teesside, as well as approximately six miles of the Durham Coast.

The Northern Echo: Crook Hall Gardens maze and cafeCrook Hall Gardens maze and cafe

Mike Innerdale, regional director for the National Trust in the North, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors - old and new - back to Crook Hall Gardens very soon.

"It’s a historically important and locally cherished place, which the National Trust is delighted to have taken into our care on behalf of the nation.

Read more: National Trust in talks about buying Crook Hall in Durham

"The hall, cafe and beautiful gardens have been closed to the public for nearly two years and we’ve had a busy few months getting ready to open the site once again.”

The Northern Echo:

Crook Hall Gardens, which includes a series of gardens, pond and maze, will initially open from 1pm on Wednesday 13 July, and then open daily, 10am – 4pm until 30 October.

The site will also be open during the winter, with opening times set to be confirmed later in the year.

Speaking more about future plans for the site, Mr Innerdale said: “Crook Hall Gardens brings a wonderful opportunity for the National Trust here in Durham.

The Northern Echo: Crook Hall Gardens secret garden path and gate Crook Hall Gardens secret garden path and gate

"So close to the city centre, we look forward to playing our part in bringing visitors to this globally renowned city and the surrounding area.

"In the last few months since taking ownership, we’ve also begun developing a longer-term project that will help to improve access to this green space stretching from Crook Hall, creating a nature-rich green corridor into the countryside.”

To date 11 new jobs have been created so far at the site, with many seasonal opportunities available. Volunteer recruitment is also under way to support the reopening.

The Northern Echo: Crook Hall Gardens statue Crook Hall Gardens statue

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