In the 1750′s, wealthy Tyneside merchant John Burdon set about transforming the Hardwick Estate into his own pleasure grounds. He employed some of Europe’s finest craftsmen and designers. Their grand plan was to create a garden that, although heavily engineered, was meant to look completely natural, in the latest fashion of the time. Architect James Paine created ornamental buildings, ruins, lakes and woodland, which looked like they had always been part of the landscape. Even the serpentine was created to look like a river flowing through the park. When it was complete, it was a stunning series of vistas and scenes – a kind of northern Stourhead.

The buildings and structures in Hardwick Park were designed to be experienced from the circuit walk, set around two artificial lakes. Visitors encountered classical buildings (their styles becoming more complex and decorative as the route progressed) alternating with Gothic structures. The classical buildings were carefully finished and situated in open areas, while the Gothic structures were designed to look old or ruined, and presented in dark and gloomy surroundings.

There is a good variety of wildlife on the lakes, and a great variety of buildings and views giving clues to the former grandeur of this important garden.

Your course price includes entry to Hardwick Park. There is a great cafe. For more details and how to get there see the Hardwick Park website.

Thanks to Hardwick Park for allowing us to hold photography courses at this amazing venue.