I discovered this hidden gem near Wylam in Northumberland when I was on maternity leave in 2015 and spent many afternoons there with a good friend and our babies drinking coffee and eating delicious cake.
Drive along a country lane past a pond filled with ducks and swans and turn into a car park which was empty when we arrived at 9.30am on a weekday. You will see a little pagoda which you walk through and head through the door with gorgeous wreath on it. You’ll never believe the secret garden that awaits you on the other side…
Bradley Gardens were created in 1795 as a kitchen garden for nearby Bradley Hall and have been beautifully and lovingly looked after and restored over the years. It’s now a cafe and boutique shops selling a range of very lovely things.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I love period dramas like Downton Abbey and this place lends itself very well to imagining you’re one of the Crawleys taking tea at the Glasshouse.
We were seated by the window along from the cosy log burner which was roaring away on this winter’s day. We didn’t have a reservation but I think if you’re coming for lunch it’s a good idea to book ahead. As the morning went on it got busier, filling up with the tweed and barbour clad ladies who brunch crowd. We were child-free today but have taken the kids here many times – they love running round the gardens and there’s a kids menu offering things like beans on toast for little ones to munch on.
We browsed the menu and quickly settled on a Full English (£10.75) and Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon (£9). Staff were friendly and happy to swap the sourdough that comes with the fry up for gluten free toast. We also asked to replace the mushrooms with baked beans which we were told would we’d have to be charged extra for before she changed her mind and said it would be fine.
After a short wait we were brought our coffees, a perfectly made flat white and Americano.
The views out the window of the gardens are so calming and the perfect backdrop. I can’t wait to see the flowers come out in the spring and summer here, it’s the perfect place to sit outside and enjoy a leisurely lunch or afternoon tea (here is a review we did years ago of lunch on the terrace). I’m happy to report that things have improved significantly since our last review in terms of both food and service.
These were some of the best Eggs Royale I’ve ever had. The perfect combination of great quality and cooked to perfection (as you can see the bun was ever so slightly burnt on top but this didn’t bother me). I hate it when the smoked salmon is straight-out-the-fridge cold and the warm Benedict sauce clashes with it, but this was the perfect temperature. The poached eggs had perfectly runny yolks too, it was absolutely delicious.
The full English is made up of 2 sausages, 2 bacon, one egg, tomato, beans (swapped for mushrooms), black pudding and toast. The quality of the ingredients was really good, however upon cutting into one of the sausages it was evident that it wasn’t cooked properly as the middle was still pink.
We told our waitress who was very apologetic and took it back to the kitchen where they cooked up a couple of new sausages and kept the rest of the plate warm. These things happen and it is absolutely about the way you deal with it and the staff were quick to rectify the situation. Once it returned it was quickly devoured and the herb and leek-filled sausages were very flavoursome.
After a saunter through the gardens stopping to admire the ivy ‘Heart of Bradley’ we headed home, skipping the very tempting shops today. If you’ve never been before I would heartily recommend a visit to this special place just 20 mins drive from Newcastle. I’m already planning my next visit to see the spring blooms followed by afternoon tea and a cocktail or two.
Bradley Gardens is open Tuesday-Sunday 9am – 4.30pm.