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Gardens & Grounds
Complete your visit with some time outdoors; relax in over 150 acres of historic parkland and see where some of your lunch ingredients started out life, in the 17th-century Walled Garden.
The Walled Garden
See the redevelopment of the stunning Walled Garden, which was originally built in the 17th century. The veg patches are yielding harvests headed straight to your plate, in one of cafes and restaurants.
The Deer Park
The Prince Bishops created the Deer Park over 800 years ago as their own private hunting ground. It was one of the reasons why the Bishops of Durham chose to live at Auckland Castle, rather than in Durham City.
The 150-acre parkland is free to visit at any time of the year, and retains many of the medieval elements, including fish ponds and woodland paths. Please take care when exploring the Deer Park by walking on the designated paths and keeping dogs on leads.
Things to see and do
- Take a stroll through the impressive Walled Garden, which is undergoing a comprehensive regeneration project. The lower Walled Garden is now complete, yielding a bountiful supply of fresh produce, from soft fruits to root vegetables. These home grown ingredients are incorporated into the seasonal menus available across our cafés and restaurants for you to enjoy.
- Download our Walk in the Park map and lace up your walking boots. There are three suggested walks through the Deer Park and points of interest to look out for along the way. Canine friends are welcome too.
Walled Garden: Bishop Cosin created the original Walled Garden in the 17th century, the first of its kind in the North East. Pioneering techniques were used such as heated walls and glass hothouses to grow vegetables, flowers, fruit and even pineapples for the bishop’s guests.
The Lower Walled Garden is now ready to welcome visitors, accessible via the original 18th-century stairs used by the bishops and their guests, while work on the Upper Walled Garden continues.
We're working with a team of landscape designers, gardeners and architects to make sure the top section of the Walled Garden complements the other spaces around the Castle.
Deer Park: Over the centuries many Prince Bishops changed the aspect of the park, but Richard Trevor, Bishop of Durham from 1752 to 1771, had the greatest impact. He built the Clock Tower and Gatehouse and remodelled the park as a landscape setting to the palace. He also built the Georgian Gothic Deer House as a place to shelter and feed the deer, and created a first-floor dining room from which guests could view the palace and surrounding countryside while enjoying the bishop’s hospitality. The Deer House cost £379 to build, a huge amount at the time.
The 18th-century bishops added other features in the park: beyond one of the stunning bridges which span the River Gaunless you can find the ice house and a stone pyramid that caps an early water supply for the Castle.
We have a team of four dedicated Horticulture Apprentices. As well as planting flowers and reinstating hedges, they are growing vegetables for the Catering Team to use when preparing their delicious dishes.
Every visit to the Walled Garden or another one of our seven attractions, shops or cafes, helps us to ensure that the town's future is as magnificent and vibrant as its past.
Funding for additional training for our Horticultural Apprentices kindly provided by the Finnis Scott Foundation.