You Unplugged

Shortlist symbol Add to shortlist button.

Helmingham Hall Gardens near Stowmarket © ShowCapture

15 GARDENS TO VISIT THIS SUMMER in Suffolk

Wimbledon, cricket and a stroll around a country garden; summer just wouldn't be the same without them. And so we have compiled a list of 15 Suffolk gardens for you to visit in the coming months.
 
Not all of them are in the countryside - some are peaceful oases in busy towns - but all are lovingly tended and relaxing, even inspiring, to walk around. We invite you to open the garden gate and step inside...
Helmingham Hall Gardens near Stowmarket © ShowCapture
Helmingham Hall Gardens near Stowmarket © ShowCapture

1. CHRISTCHURCH PARK, IPSWICH

Christchurch Park is 70 acres of rolling lawns and woodland, with a botanical garden of beautiful trees that’s home to over 100 species of bird.
 
At the park’s centre, next to a rippling pond, is Christchurch Mansion: a museum and art gallery that holds a large collection of works by artists John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough.
 
Christchurch Park is free to enter and open all year round, so if you don’t get a chance to visit this summer, fear not: it’s just as magical on a cold, frosty day in winter.

2. HOLYWELL'S PARK, IPSWICH

Nestled near the banks of the River Orwell in Ipswich, Holywell's Park is a 28 hectare haven of greenery in the centre of Suffolk’s historic county town.
 
The park has a children's play area, designed around a galleon theme, with 20 pieces of play equipment and a sheltered picnic area. There's a beautiful Victorian conservatory, a walled garden with a maze and a visitor centre and cafe.
 
There’s even a shop selling refurbished donated bicycles!

3. RIVERSIDE HOUSE, CLARE

This private garden is set beside the River Stour in the charming village of Clare, and opens on a few select days in the summer.
 
The owners of Riverside House are bulb specialists and sell over 130 varieties of spring flower bulbs from the beginning of September to early November (the shop is open from 10am - 4.30pm). Customers wishing to buy bulbs are also welcome to wander through the garden, which is planted to look especially appealing in the autumn. Visit The Clare Bulb Company website for details.
Ickworth House The National TrustIckworth House in Horringer is surrounded by exquisite Italianate gardens

4. ICKWORTH HOUSE & GARDENS, HORRINGER

Ickworth House offers a slice of classical Italy in Suffolk: its neoclassical rotunda houses treasures collected from tours around 18th century Europe, while its Italianate gardens are the earliest in England.
 
Highlights include a magical stumpery and a seasonal meadow whose flowers change naturally depending on which month you visit. The gardens are generally open from 9am to 5pm throughout the year; entry to the parkland and garden is £6.30 (£7 gift aid) for adults and £3.15 (£3.50 gift aid) for children during the summer, and £4 (£4.50 gift aid) for adults during the winter.

5. THE PLACE FOR PLANTS, EAST BERGHOLT

Set in East Bergholt in the heart of Constable Country, The Place for Plants is a 20-acre garden and arboretum full of rambling roses, unusual flowering trees, fruit trees and wildflowers.
 
The garden is open to the public from April until late September, and entry costs £6 for adults (children, free). After a tour of this sprawling, beautiful place, you can enjoy a bite to eat in the café, and pick up some seeds and plants of your own in the well-stocked garden centre.

6. GLEMHAM HALL, LITTLE GLEMHAM

Built in circa 1560, and later given a Georgian façade, Glemham Hall is a picturesque place to spend time. As well as looking around the hall itself, you can also explore the 300 acres of parkland surrounding it, including a walled rose garden, some 600-year-old oak trees, topiary, classical urns and a sculpture garden.
 
Book a tour of Glemham Hall and its grounds for £12 per person by calling 01728 746704. 
Helmingham Hall ©Showcapture.comThe gardens at Helmingham Hall were created by award-winning garden designer Lady Xa Tollemache. Image ©Showcapture

7. HELMINGHAM HALL, HELMINGHAM

Helmingham Hall's Grade I listed gardens are a joy to visit. Designed and maintained by award-winning garden designer and owner of the hall, Lady Xa Tollemache, they include an elegant parterre overlooking the moat and hall; a knot garden; a fragrant rose garden; a walled vegetable garden; orchards; and walkways with the most gorgeous, seasonal borders.
 
Benches are dotted about the gardens, inviting the visitor to linger and soak up the peace and beauty of the place. There's a cafe and shop on site and regular events throughout the year.
 
The gardens are open from May until midSeptember on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday (and bank holidays) from 12-5pm.Entry to the gardens is £7 for adults and £3.50 for children.

8. MELFORD HALL, LONG MELFORD

Another spectacular Suffolk estate is Melford Hall (National Trust). Home to the Hyde Parker family, this historic hall was frequented by Beatrix Potter, a cousin and a regular visitor. She spent many a summer’s day wandering the grounds and dreaming up stories about the animals that lived there.
 
Its landscaped gardens are a perfect place to play a spot of croquet and watch some summer theatre; explore the wildlife-friendly woodland or take a walk in the surrounding countryside.  Melford Hall is open every day except for Mondays and Tuesday until the end of October.
 
Exploring the garden costs £3.80 for adults (£4.30 with Gift Aid) and £1.90 for children (£2.15 with Gift Aid). If you include the house in your visit the cost is £7.80 for adults (£8.70 with Gift Aid) and £3.90 for children (£4.35 with Gift Aid).
Somerleyton Hall and Gardens (c) Visit EnglandSomerleyton Hall boasts acres of lavishly manicured gardens. Photo (c) Visit England

9. KENTWELL HALL, LONG MELFORD

At first glance, you might expect the gardens of this mansion to be as traditional as its Tudor façade. However, among the gardens of Kentwell Hall in the village of Long Melford, you’re likely to find anything from quirky sculptures to a model galleon. And if you happen to visit during one of their famous medieval recreation days, you will travel back in time and meet people going about their business, cooking, gardening and gossiping, Tudor-style.
 
There are seasonal walks in the spring when the woodlands on the Kentwell estate look particularly vibrant with bluebells and snowdrops. The hall and gardens are open on various days throughout the year, with many special events to attend. On ordinary open days, entry to the house, garden and farm costs from £10.35 for adults and from £8.55 for children.
Kentwell Hall in Long Melford, Suffolk © ShowCapture
Kentwell Hall in Long Melford, Suffolk © ShowCapture

10. FULLER'S MILL GARDEN, WEST STOW

The founder of Fullers Mill Garden in West Stow, near Bury St Edmunds, has spent over 50 years crafting its seven acres into a diminutive paradise of woodland, flowerbeds and hedgerows, all intersected by the babbling River Lark.
 
It’s a fantastic place to see rare plants that don’t grow wild in England. The garden is open Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from April to late September, and entry costs £4.50.

11. SOMERLEYTON HALL & GARDENS, SOMERLEYTON

Set in the picture-perfect village of Somerleyton, north of Lowestoft, this elegant Victorian hall is surrounded by exquisite gardens. You can lose yourself in the yew maze, reportedly one of the finest in Britain, relax in the walled garden, walk through the 90 metre blossom pergola, or admire the ornate greenhouses, built by the architect of Crystal Palace.
 
Somerleyton Hall & Gardens are open several days a week from mid April to late September, and entry is from £10.50 for adults and £6.50 for children.
(c) Somerleyton Hall, Suffolk
Somerleyton Hall and Gardens in Suffolk

12. WYKEN HALL GARDENS, BURY ST EDMUNDS

The intricate, old-style gardens at Wyken Hall reflect the Elizabethan nature of the house itself. Take a wander through the grounds and you’ll find a knot garden, herb garden, nuttery, wildflower meadow, traditional kitchen garden and much more, all bursting with the colours of an English summer.

You’ll also find a critically acclaimed restaurant, vineyard and country market, making a visit to Wyken Hall an all-round great day out.

The gardens are open every day except Saturdays from April to late September, and entry costs £4 per adult (children, free).

13. The Abbey Gardens, BURY ST EDMUNDS

The Abbey Gardens in the heart of the floral town of Bury St Edmunds are maintained as public gardens, free for all to wander through them. There is much to explore here; abbey ruins, sculptures, hidden garden 'rooms' and many quiet nooks and shady corners to picnic, read a book or sit in contemplation. The Abbey Gardens at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk ©ShowCapture
The Abbey Gardens at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk ©ShowCapture

14. RSPB Wildlife Garden, Flatford

Nestled in the very heart of Constable Country in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the RSPB Wildlife Garden is a buzzing haven for wildlife. It's designed to show how we can all grow gardens that will appeal to bees, birds and other wildlife and look beautiful at the same time.

The garden is free to enter and RSPB volunteers are on hand to answer questions about the different shrubs and flowers (and bee houses!). Leave enough time to walk up the lane to see Willy Lott's House and Flatford Mill, where artist John Constable painted one of his most famous pieces, The Hay Wain (1821). Follow that will a walk through the surrounding countryside, so beloved by Constable.

15. Brandon Country Park

You can easily spend a whole day at the 30 acre Brandon Country Park in Thetford Forest. Visit the pretty walled garden with its stunning Himalayan Birch trees, unusual Davidia involucrata (aka handkerchief tree, dove tree or ghost tree) and fragrant bay tree.

There's also a large pond, an arboretum with trees from around the world, and miles of nature trails. Finish your visit with afternoon tea in the Copper Beech Tearoom.

CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF THE GREAT OUTDOORS?

If you love being outside, why not plan an outdoor adventure in Suffolk or visit one of Suffolk's many natures reserves, and tell us all about your adventures via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?