Once again we woke to the sound of fog horns on the Farne Islands, but no matter!
On asked what she wanted to do on her birthday Pat answered "Alnwick Gardens!"
So thats what we did, a short trip inland and we certainly enjoyed the famous Alnwick Gardens.
As soon as we hit the A1 the fog started clearing leaving a low level of mist behind.
It was a good thing that we got there early, as with the coast being foggy, everyone else in Northumbria seemed to have the same idea!
The gardens are certainly impressive, though expensive at £2 to park and for Adults £10 entry (£6:50 for pensioners) and the prices in the cafes there were sky high, hence we didn't have lunch there!
The first thing you see when entering the gargens is the giant hillside cascade, which is a big attraction, and to the right you can go through the water sculpture areas where fountains of various kinds keep kids of all ages entertained. above them are the rose gardens and there's certainly a huge variety on show here.
Right at the top of the hill are the more formal gardens with flowers from all over europe, then it's time to walk down the side of the great cascade, and this is where they spring a surprise, for on the hour and every half hour the multitude of spouts and fountains play out one of four different routines. This involves the displacement of a huge amount of water, delighting the kids of course as much of it ends up in the crowd!
It also came as something of a surprise to the family taking pictures at the bottom!
At the bottom of the hill the Poison Gardens are controlled by tour guides who show people round and regale them with true and false tales about the many dangerous plants presented, and of course stop them from sampling any!
On the lawn in front of the visitor centre I spotted a child plating with a Radio controlled plastic Dargonfly model with flapping wings that actually flew quite well.
I was frankly amazed that after all these years an ornithopter has become practical: Astonishing!
Our final surprise was the enormous tree house, said to be one of the biggest in the world and it isn't hard to believe that could be true: there are through the treetop walks, and a great delight are two very unstable feeling suspension bridges gas buckly and sway alarmingly as you cross them!
On leaving the gardens we found Alnwick was very busy indeed (no doubt due to the fog on the coast? so we drove through to Rothbury to have our lunch in the cafe there, before we headed back to the foggy coast.
We popped into Seahouses and Trotters Bakery for a couple of Quiches and a giant Custrd Ring for tea:Pat said she had had a very nice Birthday!