Welcome to Old Durham Gardens

Established more than 350 years ago, Old Durham Gardens provide a charming public space for everybody to enjoy. The gardens lie less than a mile from Durham city centre, and can be reached through a number of pleasant woodland or riverside walks.

The gardens are owned by Durham County Council and have since 2010 been jointly managed with the Friends of Old Durham Gardens. The rejuvenation of these historic gardens is an ongoing project, with which you are welcome to help.


Visiting the Gardens

Opening Times

The Lower Gardens and orchards are open to the public at all times.

In 2018, the walled Upper Garden is open on Sundays and Thursdays 2-4pm until Sunday 28th October. We expect to open again in 2019 from Thursday 4th April, but please check back as this is open to change depending on weather.

Entry is free at all times, although as a voluntary group, donations are always welcome.


The gardens can be reached by footpath along the River Wear, or through the University Sports Fields.

Access by car is restricted, as is parking at Old Durham. Bent House Lane is a single track, no-through-road with passing places, and can be entered only from the A181 Sherburn Road.

Our postcode is DH1 2RY.



Click on the map to expand.

Coming Events

Talk – The Amiable Mr Spence

A talk / presentation by Martin Roberts

Wednesday 29th August 6.30pm – 7.30pm, County Hall in the Council Chamber

Joseph Spence (1699 – 1768) was Professor of Poetry and, later, of Modern History at Oxford University. He is most well known for his records of his long friendship with a number of influential eighteenth-century writers and poets, notably Alexander Pope. Spence shared Pope’s passion for landscape garden design and he was, in his own right, an able and innovative garden designer. These skills were brought to the North East of England, and County Durham specifically, in 1754 when Spence was installed as a Canon of Durham Cathedral. His largest commissions in the county were the advice he gave in the great landscaped parks of Auckland and Raby Castles, but he also designed a number of smaller gardens and landscapes, including those on his own church estates. This talk will explore those County Durham landscapes Spence is known to have designed, and those he may have designed or influenced.

Booking required. For more details see the event poster.



1 month ago

Old Durham Gardens

What a sunny day we had at Old Durham Gardens on Sunday! Thank you to all the new and returning volunteers for coming out to help plant trees 🌳🍃 ... See MoreSee Less

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