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Durham City – Ushaw Historic House, Chapel & Garden Visit



More than 200 years ago, Ushaw was born in secret, as a religious community for training priests. Ushaw‘s forefathers built an historic house, chapels and gardens and created a new Catholic seminary (school for priests). The first stone was laid in 1804. By 1808, St Cuthbert’s College was open to serve the Northern Diocese. Over the next two centuries, Ushaw expanded into a fully self-sustaining community of around 500 acres with a working farm, infirmary, museum, library, formal gardens, lake, golf course, tennis courts, sports grounds and a post and telegram office. Much of the design, architecture and craftsmanship on show at Ushaw is the work of Augustus Pugin, his sons and grandsons. Pugin was the grand designer of his time and architect to the great and good of Victorian England. His works include the clock face of Big Ben and interiors in Westminster’s Houses of Parliament.

On arrival, members will be met by Head Gardener, Ady Davis, who will give a guided walking tour of the formal gardens and wider grounds. Ushaw’s gardens comprise thirty acres of beautiful park, gardens and woodland. A particular highlight on the tour will be the national collection of Physocarpus, biodiversity developments, abandoned walled garden and the architectural heritage of some of the outdoor spaces. The wider estate is 540 acres in total and the tour will touch on how Ushaw is beginning to link the estate with the gardens to create a more expansive visitor experience. The tour will last from 10am until 11.30am, and members are then free to explore the rest of the grounds, hall and chapels.

When Ushaw’s school for priests closed, its gardens fell wild and overgrown. After lying abandoned and unloved, volunteer gardeners and friends of Ushaw set about saving them. The gardens are still on their journey of restoration; there are beautiful borders and vivid, vibrant rhododendrons which sparkle in early Summer. Ushaw has been nominated for Historic Houses Garden of the Year this year in recognition of the journey that the garden is taking.

The Ushaw Cafe will be open at the end of the tour and refreshments including tea/coffee, cakes and lunch will be available to buy.

The cost of this visit is £15 for members and £18 non-members.



Event Details

Date: July 22, 2024

Start time: 10:00

End time: 11:30

Venue: Ushaw House & Gardens