The Banqueting House

Gibside, Newcastle upon Tyne - Sleeps 2+2

About the property

This Gothic folly sits on the edge of the National Trust’s Gibside estate. It stands in the highest part of the park in a grassy clearing, looking down on an octagonal pool with views to the Derwent Valley and beyond.

Dog Beds 1 Twin, 1 Double

  • Sleeps2 +2
  • 4 nights from from£286
  • equivalent to £17.88 per person per night

A Gothic folly

The Banqueting House is an 18th-century Gothic folly designed to be looked at and looked out from.  Walk to explore the house, gardens and stableblock of Gibside, and you can to look back with pleasure at the castellated roof line of your very own folly. The real pleasure, though, is being inside the elegant space of the main room or sitting imagining the 18th-century ladies and gentleman who were brought here on their tour of the estate. After a picnic they might refresh themselves with music, or stroll on the lawn around the building, enjoying the view of the lake and the grand panorama beyond.

Gibside

Gibside was inherited in 1722 by George Bowes, a landowner and public figure made rich by coal. After his first wife died, he made Gibside his home and set about embellishing the park. The Banqueting House seems to have been finished by 1746. It was designed by Daniel Garrett, a former assistant of Lord Burlington’s, to stand in the highest part of the park, looking out over the Derwent valley. Nearby, the Column of British Liberty rises high above the trees and a little further off lies the Gibside chapel, designed by James Paine in 1760 to hold the remains of George Bowes, ancestor of our Queen.

Floor Plan

‘We imagined we had mastered the art of seeing through the understatements in the Handbook description. Wrong again. The Banqueting House easily exceeded all expectations.’

From the logbook

Map & local info

Nestled in the forest, The Banqueting House stands in a grassy clearing looking down towards an octagonal pool and the Derwent Valley, in the highest part of Gibside park, near the Column of British Liberty and Gibside chapel.

The Banqueting House
Gibside, Newcastle upon Tyne - Sleeps 2+2
Clear directions

Places to visit nearby

Gibside

Angel of the North

Durham Cathedral and Castle

Beamish Museum

Baltic Centre of Contemporary Art

‘We imagined we had mastered the art of seeing through the understatements in the Handbook description. Wrong again. The Banqueting House easily exceeded all expectations.’

From the logbook

Your questions answered

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    By a track from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Newcastle – 10 miles
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes, two spaces about 100m from the property. There are a few steps from the parking area up to the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric night storage heaters and a stove which burns coal or logs.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Unfortunately, there is no arrangement for the purchase and delivery of logs, however details of local sources will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom which has a free standing shower.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    No steep stairs.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There are open grounds which form part of the Gibside estate. These grounds are open to the public and there are public footpaths through the estate.

    Booking and Payment

  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will advise you as to whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to carry out the changeover then we consider that it is open and available. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, which may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking.

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Is it true there are no televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there lavatory rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide lavatory rolls and a bar of soap, per basin but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.

Added to the landscape garden at Gibside

The Banqueting House is one of several buildings added between 1730-60 to the remarkable landscape garden at Gibside for its owner, George Bowes. In the course of his lifetime, besides improvements to the house itself (the home since 1540 of his mother's family, the Blakistons) and James Paine's magnificent chapel begun just before his death in 1760, Bowes built a Palladian stable block, an Orangery, a bath house (vanished), a Column of British Liberty, a Gothic tower (vanished and perhaps never built) and the Gothic Banqueting House itself.

This was built during the 1740s.  An inventory of 1746, listing the furniture of its Great Room (six Windsor chairs, one large Windsor chair with four seats, prints of Shakespeare, Milton, Swift), shows it to have been in use by then.  Its interior decoration was as elaborate as the exterior, its ceiling and walls covered with an intricate papier maché design, for which the original architect's sketch exists.  A 19th-century description records mirrors at either end of the Great Room, so that 'the company when seated appears almost endless in length.'  Here the family and their guests would come for picnic meals, perhaps laid out as a surprise feast to be discovered in the course of a long tour of the grounds.  Afterwards they might refresh themselves with music, or stroll on the lawn around the building, enjoying the view of the lake and the grand panorama beyond.

The architect for most of the buildings at Gibside was Daniel Garrett, a former assistant of Lord Burlington's who developed a thriving practice in the North, which he handed on, in about 1753, to Paine.  Garrett had a particular gift for Gothick design, a decorative style inspired by what was then taken to be the native British architecture, but which had not at that time acquired the scholarly character of the later Gothic Revival. The Banqueting House, with its bowed front and soaring pinnacles, is one of the most extraordinary, and brilliant, buildings of the style.

George Bowes was an extremely talented man who, besides being a successful landowner and coal-owner, a keen sportsman and a Whig MP, almost certainly planned the alterations to the landscape at Gibside himself.  He was one of those, like John Aislabie at Studley Royal in Yorkshire, who under the influence of designers such as Stephen Switzer, broke away from the intricate formal designs of parks and gardens popular in the 17th century, to favour a more natural scheme, in which the whole estate, with its abundant woods and hills, fast flowing river and rich pattern of cultivated fields, was brought into relationship with the old house at its centre, to create an ideal world in miniature. There is still a formal framework of avenues and vistas, and a geometrically shaped lake, but between there are irregular woodland plantations, encircling rides and walks that follow a meandering course, with frequent surprise views of the countryside and, of course, of the carefully sited buildings which play so important a part within it.

George Bowes' daughter married the Earl of Strathmore, whose family name then became Bowes-Lyon, and whose descendants still own most of Gibside. The house fell empty before 1900, however, and was dismantled in 1920.  Later, the park was leased to the Forestry Commission.  The Banqueting House began to disappear beneath the undergrowth, and its roof fell in.  Fortunately several people took photographs of it before this happened.

New hope arose for Gibside as a whole when in 1965 the chapel and the avenue were given by the 16th Earl to the National Trust, which has therefore been able to reinstate two of the most important elements in the gardens.  Then, in 1977, the Landmark Trust, a charity which specialises in the rescue and reinvigoration of buildings at risk, offered to take on The Banqueting House, to restore it and pay for its future upkeep by letting it for holidays.  The Forestry Commission generously gave up their lease of the building, so that in 1981 the Strathmore estate was able to sell Landmark the freehold.

Roofless and without windows

When the Landmark Trust first saw The Banqueting House in 1977 it was almost entirely roofless and without windows.  The central section of the entrance front had collapsed, due to vandalism and neglect; the building was little more than a shell.  Four years later, in 1981, the building had been fully repaired and restored, and was let to its first visitors.  For nearly twenty-five years it has been, briefly, home to a constant succession of people, all of whom have learned for themselves the wonders of Gibside.

Work began as soon as possible.  The condition of the building was too precarious to wait for legal negotiations to be concluded.  The architect appointed for the restoration was lan Curry, of the Newcastle firm of Charlewood Curry.  The builders were the local firm, Brown Construction of Rowlands Gill, with Bill Salter of the Decorative Plaster Company of Wideopen brought in to do the plasterwork.

First task that had to be faced was the recording of everything in its ruinous state, in order to build up a complete picture of the building before it became derelict.  The position of every piece of plasterwork and joinery was carefully noted, the undergrowth was cleared and the piles of leaf-mould sifted for fragments of stone, fortunately revealing almost all that had fallen. At the same time, local archives were searched for old photographs and drawings, also with fortunate results.

Archives and archaeology combined to best effect in the reconstruction of the entrance front. A number of curiously shaped stones had been found, but it could not be guessed exactly how they should be fitted together.  It was proposed instead simply to continue the crenellated parapet all the way along.  Then Margaret Hudson (now Mrs Wills), librarian at the Newcastle School of Architecture and an authority on the history of Gibside, sent us a photograph of a sketch she had found in the Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle.  This dated from 1828, the work of a cousin of the Bowes family, and showed clearly the curious decorative gables which rose above the arches of the portico.  The stones made sense and the building could be restored correctly.  Very little new stone was needed, but where it was, the nearest match to the original Streatlam stone was found at the Dunhouse Quarry near Bishop Auckland.

The Banqueting House consisted of just three rooms, the Great Room itself, measuring 32 feet across, which would be used for sitting and eating, and would also contain two sofa beds, and two smaller rooms, one of which would provide space for a double bedroom and the other a kitchen. Two tiny rooms off these, which may have contained stairs up to the roof, provided space for a shower room and a lavatory.

We were able to save the quite substantial areas of plaster decoration that remained on the walls of the bedroom, and missing areas were made up faithfully by Bill Salter.  One shutter survived intact, and fragments from six others were pieced together to make one complete pair, now in the bedroom.  Fragments of the carved dado rail in the bedroom were copied to make a new rail for the Great Room. The windows were too rotten to save, as was the bedroom door, but enough survived for complete copies to be made.

Although we had Daniel Garrett's sketch for the decoration of the Great Room, and a very clear photograph of it taken in about 1900, it was decided only to reinstate the main elements of the design, and not attempt a reconstruction of the complex detail, of which not a trace remained.  The chimney piece was discovered buried outside the building, with only minor elements missing. The new floor is of pine, as was the old.

The Landmark Trust took on The Banqueting House both because of its own importance as a work of architecture, and also because of its place in this most famous, if sadly decayed, landscape garden.  Since work on the building itself was completed, we have, therefore, concentrated on its setting.  The Forestry Commission have kindly allowed the vista to the lake to be cleared and in 1990, the Landmark Trust and the National Trust together acquired the shooting rights for Gibside, allowing new footpaths and access to be opened up.

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

QuestionWhat's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.