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.
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 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.