Hardwick Park makes for a perfect day out in Sedgefield – and it’s way better than I remember.
As I returned to work at Living North recently, my social distance blog posts took a step back. But, that hasn’t stopped me trying to catch up with my friends and my boyfriend outdoors. Now, I’m sitting with a back-log of walking posts to write.
As lockdown continues to ease, I’ve changed my Social Distancing Walks series into a Fun Days Out series, for myself (and hopefully others) to refer back to when looking for things to do outdoors in the North East.
When looking for somewhere slightly closer to my home to meet Liam, I picked Hardwick Park as I knew the grounds were open despite the hall remaining closed at the time.
As a cruel twist of fate, we decided to visit the park on the exact day Durham Council reinstated its parking charges. It was around £3 to park there all day (which was rather irritating as we were driving to meet separately during this stage of lockdown). I’d have been happier to pay if the money goes directly to the keeping of the park – but I’m not sure it does.
Like with most places I haven’t been to for years, Liam has never been. So I figured it would be a fun place to enjoy some al fresco dining… Okay fine, Liam picked up a McDonald’s on the way. We sat on the picnic benches just behind the toilets, which were thankfully open and had good social distancing measures in place.
A few of my favourite things
There was plenty to explore. Woodland trails boasted really cool sculptures. I completely forgot that they were there and I didn’t realised how big the woodland actually was until we walked right round it.
The lake is a very peaceful place to sit and there’s secluded areas with more picnic benches. Hoewever, sadly the running water doesn’t work for a game of Pooh sticks.
The tower and castle ruins around the park are great places for the perfect Instagram post. Plus, the gothic chair offered the perfect shelter from the tiniest bit of rain that hit us that day.
Finally, I’m a huge fan of the Alice in Wonderland-esque outdoor furniture scattered around the park. The Mad Hatter-style table is an amazing spot to keep your social distance.
The Two Ducks
However, my absolute favourite part of this day had to be the two ducks who we befriended. One of the them (which I assume to be the male – but I’m no duck expert) stood on one leg. I was worried he may have been hurt, but he waddled away just fine. The other (which we’ll say was female) was so friendly. She got VERY close to us, just like the bird on Seaham Coast.
But if I’m going to talk about these ducks, I have to add how lovely the swans were with their recently-born cygnets.
I’d absolutely return to this park in the summer and hopefully more events will be able to take place there soon.
Find Hardwick Park at: Sedgefield, Stockton TS21 2DN