History of "The People's Park"

Saltwell Park originated from Saltwell Cottage Estate, owned by William Wailes, a leading stained glass manufacturer. William Wailes had Saltwell Towers built as his family home.

He sold it to Gateshead Corporation to use as a public park. At that time many local people lived in cramped, dirty conditions with no sanitation. Diseases such as cholera and diphtheria were rife. The Park provided a "green lung" to local folk to improve their health. It opened to the public in 1876 as "The People's Park" and was an immediate success.

Our Park Today

Saltwell Park is one of the best and most appreciated parks in the country. It is one of Britain's finest examples of a Victorian Park and is Grade II listed. It is also registered as a Garden of Specific Historic Interest by Historic England (formerly English Heritage). It covers 55 acres and holds 12 Grade II listed structures, including Saltwell Towers, It has play areas for both younger and older children. There is a lake and also sport / recreation areas and signed walk routes. There is also a Japanese Garden and a Swedish "Buzzing Garden" which was added in 2019. The Park is free and available to us all.

The Park provides valuable habitat for wildlife. Bats, foxes, damselfly and over 100 species of birds have been recorded, including kingfisher and redwing. Plants in the park include wood garlic, wood avens and a significant variety of tree species.


  • Report dog-fouling, littering, graffiti, motorbikes etc in the Park - Phone: 0191 4775000 (24 hr number)

  • Report low level criminal offences...broken glass, vandalism (anything not happening right now) - Phone: 101

  • If you feel threatened or harassed or see a fire or an incident - Phone: 999

Getting to the Park

Saltwell Park, East Park Road, Gateshead NE9 5AX

  • The Park can be accessed by pedestrians from East Park Road, West Park Road, Saltwell Road South, Saltwell View and Joicey Road.
  • The car and coach park is accessed from Durham Road (A167) via Joicey Road.
  • Go NorthEast: Angel 21. Saltwell Park 53 / 54. Waggonway 28A or 29. Please see their website for timetables GoNorthEast - Saltwell Park or call 0191 420 5050 for bus times and fare information.

Facilities and Attractions

12 Grade 2 Listed structures

Saltwell Towers (Cafe, Visitor Centre

& Gardens)

Boating Lake

Pets Corner

Children's Playground

Rose Garden

Bowling Green

(with seating and pavilion)

Tennis and Basketball Courts

Band Stand

55 Acres of Open Space

Dog Execise Area

Wildlife Population including owls, bats, swans, ducks and squirrels

Flower Displays

Regular Events