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.
Set in 1800 acres of parkland, highlights include rolling landscapes, a magical stumpery and a seasonal meadow whose flowers change naturally depending on which month you visit.
Stunning Ickworth Park and Gardens are a must-see
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, a topiary, classical urns and a sculpture garden.
Book a tour of Glemham Hall which includes the gardens too
THE PLACE FOR PLANTS, EAST BERGHOLT
Set in East Bergholt in the heart of Constable Country and the beautiful Stour Valley, 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 in the summer and 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.
Relax and admire the gardens at Place for Plants
CHRISTCHURCH PARK, IPSWICH
Christchurch Park in Ipswich 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.
Make a day of visiting the garden, park and town in Ipswich
HELMINGHAM HALL, HELMINGHAM
Much admired, the Grade I listed gardens at Helmingham Hall, not too far from historic Framlingham, are a joy to visit, not least because it won the garden of the year award back in 2017. 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.
Did you know Helmingham Hall Gardens are Grade 1 Listed?
MELFORD HALL, LONG MELFORD
Another spectacular Suffolk estate is Melford Hall (National Trust) in Long Melford. 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 Gardens
FULLER’S MILL GARDEN, WEST STOW
The founder and former resident Bernard Tickner of Fullers Mill Garden in West Stow, near Bury St Edmunds, spent over 50 years crafting its seven acres into a diminutive paradise of woodland, flowerbeds and hedgerows, all intersected by the babbling River Lark. Visit the ‘low garden’, ‘quandaries’, and ‘the strip’. It’s a fantastic place to see rare plants that don’t grow wild in England.
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 a feast for the eyes
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. Look out for the Celebration of Poppies in the Walled Garden. The hall and gardens are open on various days throughout the year, hosting many special events. One sight not to be missed is the ancient Yew trees with a modern hedge of ‘Pied Piper’ topiary.
Look out for the varied events taking place throughout the year at Kentwell and combine these with a visit to the gardens
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 year round great day out.
Wyken Hall Gardens are a hidden treasure in the Suffolk countryside
THE ABBEY GARDENS, BURY ST EDMUNDS
The Abbey Gardens in the heart of Bury St Edmunds is the perfect spot for enjoying peace and quiet whilst watching the world go by. The award-winning 14-acre park is on the site of a former Benedictine Abbey, the Abbey of St Edmund, once a powerhouse of medieval England. Free to wander, 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. Its eye-catching displays has earned its place as one of the region’s leading gardens to see and attracts an international audience.
The displays in Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds are a forever changing delight
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.
NOWTON PARK, NEAR BURY ST EDMUNDS
Nature lovers will find Nowton Park, near Bury St Edmunds, fascinating, not least for its vivid display of daffodils that burst into life each spring. The park consists of over 200 acres of West Suffolk countryside and encompasses a unique arboretum; home to eucalyptus from Australia, paperbark maple from China and Kentucky coffee trees from North America. The China region is authentically rich in bamboo, whilst a Native American totem pole forms part of the North American region, carved from red cedar.
A substantial play area is also sure to keep the children occupied, along with the numerous paths that are ideal for cycling. A perfectly clipped hedge maze, designed in the shape of an oak tree and consisting of 2,500 hornbeam trees and over two miles of hedging, is also bound to keep you entertained for an hour or two!
INDOOR GARDEN: URBAN JUNGLE, BUNGAY
Urban Jungle is an experience like no other! With a level of exoticism and quirky inspiration, it attracts visitors from far and wide, searching for something alternative, and simply not found in the traditional garden centre. Dominated by giant cacti, larger-than-life plants, and unusual species, Urban Jungle make their food just as fascinating as their plants. The Bohemian surroundings, which are perfect for socialising, serve up specialities made from their Edible Jungle. Lose yourself amongst the Olive trees, grasses, ferns, cacti and succulents to name just a few.