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Suffolk Gardens

Suffolk has an array of breath-taking and relaxing gardens open for visitors to admire and explore. Packed with both ever popular and rare breeds of plants, flowers and trees, Suffolk Gardens promise something for everyone. The spring and summer months are the perfect time to take a stroll through the picturesque scenery, spot wildlife and perhaps picnic on the lawn or in the rolling Suffolk countryside. Outlined below is a guide to the gardens that Suffolk has to offer – the only problem is deciding which one you want to visit first!

Otley Hall is a Grade I listed, 15th/16th century moated hall, surrounded by 10 acres of stunning gardens. The hall has long been regarded as the oldest house in Suffolk to survive largely intact. The Gardens are open to the public every Wednesday from May – September and they welcome organised groups, small parties or individuals for guided tours of both the hall and gardens throughout the year by appointment. The fully licensed garden cafe is also open serving tea, coffee, light lunches, locally made cakes and bakes and even a glass of wine! The gardens and function rooms are also available for hire. They make an ideal setting for informal club and society outings, private dinners and parties. The rooms also make for an ideal ‘get away from it all’ conference and away day facility. For dates, prices and further information see Otley Hall

Drinkstone Park B&B and Gardens is situated a short drive to the A14 and just a ten minute drive from Bury St Edmunds or Stowmarket. The three acres of beautiful tranquil gardens, which once formed part of the Drinkstone Park estate, are now open as part of the National Gardens Scheme during the summer. And there is the added bonus of being able to stay amongst the wonderful gardens by booking a room at the B&B.

Langham Hall Walled Garden offers visitors to this hidden corner of West Suffolk a fascinating step back in time to the Georgian era when this stunning three-acre garden was created.

At Ickworth House, Park & Gardens in Bury St Edmunds you will find an extraordinary oval house (pictured above) with flanking wings, begun in 1795, surrounded by the beautiful Gold and Silver Gardens, a Victorian Stumpery and the Temple Rose Garden. These gardens are designed in the Italian style and were created in the first half of the 19th century. A raised terrace walk separates the Gardens from the Park, which features 1,800 acres of wooded parkland rich in plant, animal, and bird life, so there is much to explore. There is also an adventure playground onsite, along with a woodland trim trail and family cycle route. Please click on the link above for more information.

The National Trust in Suffolk features many protected and open-to-the-public historic houses and gardens, and you are sure to find something to suit your particular interests. Please click on the display link above for more information, and also see our article A Guide to The National Trust in Suffolk.

Wyken Hall Gardens (pictured directly above and below) in Stanton surround the romantic Elizabethan manor house, and are open to visitors throughout the summer (please note, the house is not open to the public) from Sunday to Friday at 2-6pm. Here you will find a garden lover’s paradise, providing rich variety on a sympathetic scale, including herb garden, knot garden, rose garden, kitchen garden, wildflower meadows, nuttery, maze and the Millenium Giant Stride. The delightful knot garden and formal herb garden were designed by Arabella Lennox-Boyd. The rose garden features old roses and has a long pergola smothered with flowers. A border in vibrant colours runs along the outside wall of the kitchen garden, which features fruit trees and a greenhouse. A walk through ancient woodlands leads to the Wyken Vineyards. Tel: 01359 250262 or visit www.wykenvineyards.co.uk/gardens.php

Christchurch Park in Ipswich is a 70-acre area of rolling lawns, wooded areas, and delicately created arboreta featuring a stunning and varied collection of trees. Christchurch was the first public park in the town, opening in 1895, and surrounds Christchurch Mansion on the ruins of the old priory. The Mansion is now the site of an historical museum, art gallery and tea room.
Christchurch Park is home to in excess of 100 different bird varieties and many squirrels inhabit the arboreta. Facilities within the park include tennis courts, a croquet lawn, a bowling green, children’s play area, public toilets, kiosks and shelters. Christchurch Park is also the centre of many of Ipswich’s leisure and entertainment events, such as The Ipswich Carnival, The Ipswich Flower Show, The Remembrance Day Ceremony and The Ip-Art Festival. Opening is from Monday to Saturday, at 7.30am, and Sunday at 9am, until approximately 4pm during the winter and 8-9pm during the summer.

In Bury St Edmunds, you can discover the beautiful public Abbey Gardens surrounding the ruins of the Bury St Edmunds Abbey (pictured below). Stunning summer bedding displays set the tone for the annual Bury in Bloom campaign, and the gardens include a host of ducks, a children’s play area, aviaries, tennis courts, a bowling green, a teashop and a riverside walk leading towards a local nature reserve known as No Man’s Meadows.
The park is open from 7.30am until dusk Monday to Saturday and from 9am until dusk on Sundays. To make a booking or enquiry contact the Abbey Gardens Bowls Hut 01284 757490.

Helmingham Hall Gardens in Helmingham, Stowmarket promises a day out you are not likely to forget. The Grade 1 Listed gardens, set within a 400 year-old ancient red deer park, surround the spectacular moated Tudor Hall which has been owned an occupied by the Tollemache family for the past 500 years. The rich traditional gardens are complimented by a wonderful balance of nature and the modern accents.

Visitors will be spoilt for choice when deciding on where to begin their day wandering around these peaceful gardens. You will not want to miss The Knot Garden. This is a magnificent sight, whether viewed up close or from the windows of the Hall. It features two knot patterns planted in box, with each pattern being divided into four squares. Two of the squares depict the Tollemache fret, and contain plants introduced into Britain before 1750.
The Rose Garden is of breath-taking beauty, and features many rare as well as traditional breeds of roses, such as ‘Mundi’, ‘The Fairy’, catmints and forget-me-nots. This dense planting in a restricted colour range is very effective. Crossing over the moat you will find the Wild Flower Garden and Orchard, flourishing with primroses, cowslips, and ox-eye daisies to name but a few. Here also is the tennis court, which is designed to be as unobtrusive as possible. After the formality of the previous gardens it is refreshing to find an area of natural wildness on the edge of the Tudor deer park. Please click on the link above for more information.

Somerleyton Hall in Lowestoft is an archetypal Tudor-Jacobean mansion surrounded by the picturesque and unique Somerleyton Gardens. Included is a walled garden, a pergola with some old wisteria, roses, clematis and vines, and the arboreta features rhododendrons, azaleas and a fine collection of specimen trees. Surely the highlight of any visit to Somerleyton is the Maze, designed and planted in 1846. The journey to the centre and back is nearly 800 yards – however, be warned that should you make a mistake during the twists and turns of your expedition, it could take you considerably longer!

Most areas of the Hall and gardens are wheelchair accessible, and guide dogs are welcome. There are two disabled toilets at the top of gardens and also in the Winter Garden. Somerleyton is generally open from April to end October, with the gardens being open between 10am-5pm, and the Hall from 11:30am to 3:30pm last tour). Somerletyon Hall has many designated picnic areas with parking available. For more information about visits and private tours, please call 01502 734901

Where are 25 of the best stately homes in East Anglia?

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PUBLISHED: 10:58 17 April 2017 | UPDATED: 13:27 17 April 2017

The Ickworth Estate Suffolk

(c) copyright citizenside.com

From Tudor mansions to Georgian palaces, East Anglia is blessed with some of the country’s best stately homes. Take a stroll into the past and peek into the lives of those who made their home in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex.

Layer Marney Tower is Britain’s tallest Tudor gatehouse

1. Layer Marney Tower, Colchester, Essex

Layer Marney Tower is an incomplete Tudor palace built in the early part of Henry VIII’s reign. It has the tallest gatehouse in the country and stunning views over the Blackwater estuary. It was built by Henry, 1st Lord Marney and Henry VIII’s Lord Privy Seal, who wanted a house to reflect his wealth and importance.

The ornate terracotta decorations are of Italian design. In the garden there is perfume for much of the year and some beautiful and unusual trees on the lawns where visitors can picnic. Layer Marney Tower remains a family home.

Also on site: Tearoom and shop. Opening times: April to June and September, Wednesday and Sunday, 12noon–5pm. July and August, Sunday to Thursday, 12noon–5pm. Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday, 11am–5pm. Admission: £7 adults, £4.50 children, £20 family ticket.

Raynham Hall

2. Raynham Hall, East Raynham, Norfolk

Work on the double gabled H shape house began in 1618. For nearly 400 years, Raynham Hall has been the seat of the Townshend family. It features unique wall decorations painted by Wm Kent and an elegant ironwork balustrade with the original glass lanterns. Recitals are held in what used to be the great hall.

The park is largely grass and trees but two new gardens are being created: a vegetable garden and a flower garden. An ancient lime avenue leads down to the lake. The hall is reported to be haunted, providing the scene for possibly the most famous ghost photo of all time, the famous Brown Lady descending the staircase. Opening times: House and gardens are open by appointment only. Admission: £35 per head including afternoon tea and guided tour

Views around Audley End House and Gardens

3. Audley End, Saffron Walden, Essex

Audley End was one of the greatest houses of early 17th Century England – a palace in all but name. It is now one-third its original size, but is still large, and retains much of its original character. It has fine Robert Adam and Jacobean revival interiors and Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown remodelled the grounds to create one of England’s finest landscape gardens with extensive views and a serpentine lake.

The elegant garden buildings, such as the bridge over the River Cam, are the work of Robert Adam – the neoclassical designer who also designed a suite of rooms inside. Currently in the stewardship of English Heritage, it remains the family seat of the Lords Braybrooke.

Also on site: Café, play area and shop. Opening times: April to September. House: Monday to Sunday, 12noon–5pm. Stables, Service Wing and Gardens: Monday to Sunday, 10am–6pm. Admission: £17.50 adults, £10.50 children, £45.50 family ticket. Concessions available.

Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich. Picture: DAVE KINDRED

4. Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich, Suffolk

A beautiful Tudor house, the grounds originally belonged to the Priory of the Holy Trinity, but after the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, the land was bought by Sir Edmund Withipoll, who built the mansion in 1548-50 – the ground floor remains largely as he left it.

The mansion houses a collection of pottery and glass, a contemporary art gallery and paintings by artists including John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough. There are rooms preserved as past inhabitants would have known them, including a Tudor kitchen, a sumptuous Georgian saloon and a collection of Victorian toys and games. The house sits in a public park with beautiful trees, lawns and ponds. Also on site: Tearoom and shop. Opening times: March to October, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am–5pm, Sunday, 11am–5pm, Mondays closed. Admission: Free.

Mannington Hall garden. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

5. Mannington Hall and Gardens, Norwich, Norfolk

Built in the 15th Century, the hall was bought by Horatio Walpole in 18th Century – it is still the Walpole family home today.

Many of the window mullions and revels are carved from the local carrstone found in the north west of Norfolk. The roof is covered with Norfolk pantiles and has various chimneys which were added in the mid 19th Century. Gardens surround the moated manor and roses are prominent, especially in the walled Heritage Rose Garden. The grounds also feature a lake, shrubs, trees, follies, a scented garden, wildflowers and extensive walks. Opening times: The marked walks are open every day from 9am–dusk. Dogs on leads permitted. Gardens: May 28 to September 3, Sundays, noon-5pm, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays, 11am-5pm. Admission: £6 adults, £5 concessions. Under 16s free. Car park £2. Hall open by appointment only.

Otley Hall

6. Otley Hall, Otley, Suffolk

This stunning Grade I-listed, 16th Century moated hall has been voted one of the top 20 historic houses in the UK and is regarded as the oldest house in Suffolk to survive largely intact. It was built around 1401 by the Gosnold family who lived there for over 250 years. Bartholomew Gosnold travelled to the New World in 1602 and named Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod before establishing a settlement at Jamestown, the first English speaking settlement in the U.S.

Highlights include the Great Hall and Linenfold Parlour, both of which look out onto the Rose Garden. Otley Hall has 10 acres of award winning gardens. Still a private home, it is owned by Ian and Catherine Beaumont. Also on site: Café. Opening times: May to September, Gardens and café, every Wednesday, 11am-5pm. Admission: £3 (£5 for annual pass). Tours of Otley Hall available by appointment only.

Daffodils in the sunshine, outside Sandringham House. Picture: Ian Burt

7. Sandringham House, Sandringham, Norfolk

The much-loved country retreat of Her Majesty The Queen, Sandringham House has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862.

Set in 59 acres of stunning gardens, it was built in 1870 by the Prince and Princess of Wales, later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. The main ground floor rooms, regularly used by the Royal Family, are open to the public and the decor and contents remain much as they were in Edwardian times. The walls are hung with family portraits and the house has an important collection of Oriental arms and armour. Also on site: Restaurant, gift shop, play area and plant centre. Opening times: Sandringham House, Gardens and Museum, and Sandringham Church, will open daily from April 15 to July 21, and then again from July 29 to October 29. House: 11am–5pm. Gardens: 10.30am–6pm. Admission: £15.50 adults, £7 children, £38 family.

Gainsborough’s House and garden

8. Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, Suffolk

Gainsborough’s House is the birthplace of the painter Thomas Gainsborough. It dates back to around 1520 and four distinct periods can be seen in its architecture. Gainsborough’s parents, John and Mary, probably moved to the house in 1722 and the artist was born five years later – the youngest of nine children. The house remained as a private residence until 1920, after which time it had various functions including a guest house and antique shop.

In 1958, Gainsborough’s House Society was formed to buy the house and establish it as a museum and monument to Thomas Gainsborough – it opened to the public in 1961. The rooms explore his achievements and his time in Suffolk, and portraits of the Gainsborough family and works by Gainsborough Dupont, the artist’s nephew, are on display. The garden is larger than a first glimpse suggests and boasts a huge mulberry tree, dating to the early 1600s. James I had encouraged the planting of mulberry trees with the idea of establishing a silk producing industry. Also on site: Shop. Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am-5pm, Sunday, 11am-5pm. Admission: £7 adults, £2 children, £16 family ticket, under 5s free.

Glemham Hall. Picture: PICASA

9. Glemham Hall, Little Glemham, Suffolk

Built circa 1560 by the de Glemham Family, Glemham Hall is now owned by Major Philip Hope-Cobbold who was born at the house and inherited it from his uncle in 1994. The 3,000 acre estate hosts a working farm, as well as country fairs, open air theatre and art classes.

Tours of the house and gardens can be booked in advance – visitors will see most of the Hall, from the cellars up to the old servants’ quarters in the attics, whilst learning about its history and stunning architecture. The gardens feature an avenue of Irish Yew, a Rose Garden, herbaceous borders and a Summerhouse. Tour prices: from £12 per person.

Felbrigg Hall

10. Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk

Felbrigg Hall is a 17th Century country house noted for its Jacobean architecture and fine Georgian interior. It was home to the Felbrigg family, before being sold to the Wyndham family. Thomas Wyndham was a councillor to King Henry VIII. Later residents included John Wyndham (1558–1645), probably the builder of Felbrigg Hall. The last owner before it passed into National Trust ownership was Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer. The original heir, Robert’s brother Richard, was killed in action in the Second World War.

The house contains its original 18th Century furniture, one of the largest collections of Grand Tour paintings by a single artist and an outstanding library. Some of the stained glass windows date from the 15th Century. Outside, there is a walled garden, orchards and an orangery. The rolling park, with a lake and 520 acres of woods, is a great place to explore. Also on site: Tearoom, gift shop and plant centre. Opening times: Open daily, 11am-5pm. Admission: £10.40 adults, £5 children, £25.80 family.

Hindringham Hall. Picture: IAN BURT

11. Hindringham Hall, Norfolk

This Grade 2* moated house has a story dating from 1100AD, with its occupants’ lives reflecting both the religious and economic issues of the last 900 years.

There are many fine architectural features including finials, stepped gables and internally the original medieval buttery walls. The moat dates from the 12th Century and has been designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The grounds feature a walled vegetable and fruit garden, the Daffodil Area and water gardens. Also on site: Café and plants for sale. Opening times: House: open for fixed tour dates only, £20 per person. Gardens: Open April to September, Sundays, 2pm-5pm, Wednesdays, 10am-1pm. Admission: £7.50, under 16s free.

The Grade I Elizabethan longhouse, Kirstead Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

12. Kirstead Hall, Norfolk

A Grade 1 listed Elizabethan manor house Circa 1570 with stepped Flemish gable ends.

The house has blue diaper decoration and a pin tiled roof and stands in four acres. The gardens are partly walled and feature a Grade 2* octagonal dovecote. The dairy wing is used by the owners as an antique restoration business and tours include a visit to see work in progress. Opening hours: Kirstead Hall is not open to the public – pre-booked tours only.

Hoveton Hall, the new home for the Tour De Broads. Pic: Archant.

13. Hoveton Hall, Norfolk

Set in the Norfolk Broads, Hoveton Hall Estate covers 620 acres of parkland, gardens, woodland, arable and grazing land.

The fine Regency hall was built between 1809-1812 and the design is attributed to Humphry Repton and his son John Adey Repton. It bears similarities to Sheringham Hall, Repton’s last commission. The estate has been owned by the Buxton family since 1946 and was passed to Harry and Rachel Buxton in 2013. Also on site: Café. Opening times: Gardens: April 14 to September 29, Sunday to Friday, 10.30am–5pm. Hoveton Hall is not open to the public. Admission: £7.50 adults, £4 children, £20 family. Under 4s free. Concessions also available.

Kentwell Hall at Long Melford, Suffolk. Picture: Denise Bradley

14. Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, Suffolk

Kentwell has been a lived-in family home for over 500 years. The Clopton family came to the Manor of Kentwell Hall in 1385 when William Clopton married the Kentwell heiress. Here the family remained for some 300 years. Successive members built the present hall between about 1500 and 1550. The last Clopton descendant died at Kentwell in 1661.

The present owner, Patrick Phillips, bought the house in 1969 and for 35 years there has been a non-stop effort to save the hall, re-create its gardens and form a traditional farm. Events include Tudor re-creations and the popular Halloween attraction, Scaresville. The public can see rooms used by the family, landscaped and walled gardens, moats, ponds, a maze and ancient trees. Farm animals include sheep, Suffolk Punches, goats and donkeys. Also on site: Tearoom. Opening times: Gardens: 11am-5pm. House: 12noon-4pm. Admission: £12.50 adults, £9.50 children, £41 family. Under 5s free. Concessions also available.

Euston Hall, nr Thetford. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

15. Euston Hall, Suffolk

This stately home has many treasures, including a splendid art collection largely collected by the Earl of Arlington who built Euston Hall between 1670 and 1676. Home to the Dukes of Grafton for over 350 years, it was originally H – shaped and modelled on a characteristic Suffolk Tudor House. The 2nd Duke remodelled it in 1750, using designs by Matthew Brettingham (who went on to design Holkham Hall in Norfolk.)

The picturesque courtyard, now the main entrance, contains Lord Arlington’s stable block and a service wing. The Park was designed by the noted landscaper and polymath William Kent in the mid 18th Century and is one of only seven surviving Kentian landscapes in Britain; it features an eye-catching octagonal folly and the Church of St Genevieve. Opening times: Visitors can walk in the long yew tree avenues and visit the newly restored Hall on select dates in 2017 when it will be open from 10am-1pm. There will be a tea room for light refreshments on the Open Days. Admission: £12 adults, £5 children (Hall tour and gardens).

Oxburgh Hall at Oxborough. Picture: Ian Burt

16. Oxburgh Hall, Kings’ Lynn, Norfolk

Despite being built during the Wars of the Roses, Oxburgh Hall was never intended to be a castle but a family home. Completed in 1482 for Sir Edmund Bedingfeld, it has housed the family for 500 often tumultuous years. It survived a dreadful fire during the Civil War, periods of near dereliction and a threat of demolition.

Oxburgh stands within a square moat about 75 metres on each side. The entrance, reached by a three-arched bridge, is dramatised by a grand fortified gatehouse. The hall is well known for its priest hole and wall hangings. The 70 acre estate, now part of the National Trust, has a number of woodland walks, including a ‘Woodland Explorer’ trail, along with landscaped and walled gardens.Also on site: Tearoom and shop. Opening times: House: Open daily, 11am–5pm. Gardens, Tearoom and Shop: Open daily, 10.30am–5pm. Admission: £10.40 adults, £5.20 children, £26 family.

Helmingham Hall

17. Helmingham Hall, Suffolk

This moated manor house was built by John Tollemache in 1480 and has been owned by the Tollemache family ever since.

The house is built around a courtyard in typical Tudor style and is set in a beautiful park with 900-year-old oak trees and red deer. The exceptional gardens feature a 19th century box parterre, edged with a spring border, an Elizabethan kitchen garden and double cruciform herbaceous border, all surrounded by a Saxon moat. Also on site: Coach House Tea Room and The Stable Shop. Opening times: Gardens: May 1 to September 17, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday (and Bank Holidays), 12pm-5pm. Admission: £7 adults, £3.50 children. The house is not open to the public.

Anmer Hall on the Queen’s Sandringham estate. Picture: CHRIS RADBURN/PA Wire

18. Anmer Hall, Norfolk

This Georgian country house has formed part of the Sandringham estate since 1898 and was a wedding gift to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge from the Queen.

To accommodate the Duke and Duchess using the house whilst William worked as a pilot for East Anglian Air Ambulance, a £1.5 million refurbishment was carried out. Paid for from Royal family funds, this included a new roof, kitchen, a conservatory designed by architect Charles Morris and an extensive tree-planting programme to afford the Duke and Duchess greater privacy. The house and grounds are not open to the public.

Somerleyton Hall and gardens in North Suffolk. Picture: JAMES BASS

19. Somerleyton Hall, Somerleyton, Nr Lowestoft, Suffolk

Set in a 5,000 acre estate, Somerleyton is a beautifully preserved Tudor mansion. Victorian entrepreneur Sir Samuel Morton Peto bought the house in 1843 and created today’s Anglo-Italian masterpiece.

The formal gardens feature a yew hedge maze, created by William Andrews Nesfield in 1846, and a ridge and furrow greenhouse designed by Joseph Paxton, the architect of The Crystal Palace. There is also a walled garden, aviary, a loggia and a 90 metre pergola covered with roses and wisteria. The house is now held by Hugh Crossley, 4th Baron Somerleyton and the family live there.Opening times: The hall and gardens will be open from April 13 to September 28, 10am to 5pm, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. Entrance is by tour only and Wednesday is garden only. Admission: £11.45 adults, £6.50 children, £30 family.

Melford Hall

20. Melford Hall, Long Melford, Suffolk

Melford Hall is a beautiful Elizabethan house set in 120 acres of parkland and lakes. It played host to Queen Elizabeth I in 1578. The abbots of Bury St Edmunds used a medieval building on the site which was incorporated into the Elizabethan structure. It has survived looting in the English Civil War and a disastrous fire during World War Two.

Sir Harry Parker bought the house in 1786, and it remains home today to the Hyde Parkers, one of Britain’s most distinguished naval families. They still farm its 3,500-acre estate though the hall is now part of the National Trust. Beatrix Potter visited her cousin at Melford Hall many times and visitors can see the room she used and the gifts she left behind. Also on site: Tearoom and gift shop. Opening times: Wednesday to Sunday (and Bank Holidays), 12noon–5pm. Admission: £7.80 adults, £3.90 children, £19.50 family.

Houghton Hall. Photo: Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2017

21. Houghton Hall, Norfolk

Built in the 1720s for Great Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, Houghton Hall is one of England’s finest Palladian houses. The State Rooms were sumptuously decorated by William Kent. They were used for entertaining on a grand scale and were the backdrop for some of Walpole’s most valuable paintings. Walpole spared no expense although he only visited Norfolk twice a year.

The hall is surrounded by 1,000 acres of parkland and the landscaped grounds are home to the five-acre walled garden – one of Houghton’s most popular attractions. Also on site: Cafes, play area and pop up shop. Opening times: April 30 to October 26, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays. House: 12noon-3.30pm (last admission). Gardens: 11am–4pm (last admission). Admission: £18 adults, under 16s free.

Holkham Hall. Picture: HOLKHAM HALL

22. Holkham Hall, north Norfolk

On the north Norfolk coast, Holkham Hall is the seat of the Earls of Leicester. This elegant 18th Century Palladian-style mansion is very much a home which the family take pride in sharing with visitors.

The Marble Hall is spectacular, with its 50ft pressed plaster dome ceiling and walls of English alabaster (not marble as its name implies). Stairs lead to magnificent state rooms displaying superb collections of ancient statuary, original furniture, tapestries and paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Claude, Gaspar Poussin and Gainsborough. Work on the park commenced in 1729 – following designs by William Kent. The grounds are home to a large herd of Fallow Deer and a small herd of Red Deer. A project is underway to restore the six acres of walled garden originally laid by Samuel Wyatt in the late 1700s. Also on site: Play area, café, cycle hire and shops. Opening times: House: Open from April 1 to October 31, 12noon-4pm on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. Park: Open from April 1 to October 31, 9am–5pm, daily. Walled Garden, Children’s Woodland Adventure Play Area, Courtyard Café and Gift Shop, 10am-5pm, daily. Admission: £15 adults, £7.50 children, £41 family. Parking £3 per day.

Blickling Hall

23. Blickling Hall, Norfolk

Built on the foundations of the Tudor manor house, supposed to be the birthplace of Anne Boleyn, the imposing Jacobean Blickling Hall was built by Sir Henry Hobart after a lucrative career as a London lawyer. It is constructed of red brick with a gabled façade and elegant corner turrets. Later alterations were carried out in the 1760s and 1770s, resulting in a marriage of Jacobean and Georgian styles. It was passed down through the Hobart and Kerr families over four centuries and contains many family portraits including works by Gainsborough and Reynolds.

The hall, now part of the National Trust, is also richly furnished with a fine collection of tapestries and boasts the trust’s largest and most magnificent library – the core of which was assembled by Sir Richard Ellys, a cousin of the Hobarts, and contains examples of early Continental printing, magnificent illustrated volumes and many books with superb bindings. Outside, features include an orangery and walled garden, topiary, secret garden and two tunnels perfect for hide and seek. Also on site: Shop, cafes and plant centre. Opening times: Open daily. House: 12noon–5pm: Gardens, 10am–5.30pm. Admission: £13.55 adults, £6.75 children, £33.95 family.

Haughley Park

24. Haughley Park, Suffolk

A privately owned Grade I-listed Jacobean manor house in the heart of Suffolk. Built by Sir John Sulyard in 1620, for almost two centuries the house was the centre of a 2,500 acre agricultural estate, mostly tenanted.

It was reduced to around 700 acres in the 19th century and the estate was sold to William Crawford a successful lawyer. A fire gutted the north end of the house in 1820 and it was rebuilt in the Georgian style. In the 20th century, Alfred Williams MBE bought the property and started a long restoration before another fire gutted more than half the house. Restoration started again and Haughley Park, still owned by the Williams family, is now used for events and weddings. Opening hours: The house is not open to the public.

Ickworth House

25. Ickworth House, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Built between 1795 and 1829, this Georgian Italianate palace, in idyllic countryside just outside Bury St Edmunds, it is known for its impressive Rotunda – commmissioned by the 4th Earl of Bristol to house his priceless treasures and art.

The eccentric, and sometimes infamous, Hervey family created the earliest Italianate garden in England. As the glory days of the country house came to an end in the post-war period, so did the Hervey’s tenure at Ickworth. In 1956, the 4th Marquess presented the house and estate to the Treasury in lieu of death duties and it was then passed to the National Trust. Visitors can follow the family’s history through outstanding portraits by Gainsborough, Hogarth and Reynolds. Also on site: Café, plant centre and shop. Opening times:

Open daily. House: 11am–5pm. Gardens: 9am–5.30pm. Admission: £12.60 adults, £6.35 children, £31.55 family.

Where is your favourite stately home in East Anglia? Let us know in the comments.

Bressingham Steam & Gardens

Bressingham is open (with Narrow Gauge Train rides) every day from the end of March until the 28th October 2018.

Mondays and Tuesdays (outside the school and public holidays) are Gardeners Days (Non Steam Days)
Service level – One diesel hauled train and the Gallopers.

Wednesdays to Sundays are always Steam Days.
Service level – At least two trains and the Gallopers will be running. Sundays and BHM’s we aim to operate three trains and the Gallopers.

The Museum and Gardens open daily at 10:30am rides commence at 11:00am, the site closes at 5:00pm (5:30pm June to August). Last rides will normally be at 4:30pm daily, but may be later on special event days. Last admission is one hour before the site closes.

(October – closing times and last ride times may vary depending on the time of dusk – check before travelling)

Dogs

Only registered guide and assistance dogs are allowed on site.

Fairground

The old fashioned fairground is privately owned and rides are not included in the Bressingham Ride ticket.

At weekends the Fairground is normally open 11.30 – 4.30.

Please call us for furtther information before making a specific journey to visit the fairground. 01379 686900

The Dodgems are no longer operational at Bressingham for the 2018 season.

JB Fairground information

Childrens Toy Set
Built in 1972 this ride is suitable for younger children, where they have the choice of cars, animals, boats and bikes to sit on.

Old Time Penny Arcade
A collection of slot machines dating from the 1920s to the 1970s, this is how your Grandparents spent a penny! The arcade is for amusement only, no cash can be won.

Chair O Planes – 1935
Built by Halsted, take to the sky with this vintage ride.

Ski Jump – 1989
Built by Metal Craft, spin round then over the bump on this fast rare ride.

Crazy Golf
The 9 hole Crazy Golf is built in the 1960s style and is fun for all the family.

Old Time Side Stalls
Some of the best classics from the Fair – Ball in the Bucket*, Hook-a-Duck*, Test your Strength Striker*, Coconut Shy. Come and have a go on these old time games.
*Prize every time

Rocker Toys
A collection of Rocker Toys for our younger visitors in all shapes and sizes from the 1960s to the 1980s. One will have been outside the supermarket of your youth!

Steam

What better way to explore the beautiful gardens, woodlands and countryside of Bressingham than by climbing aboard a magnificent steam engine! With over four miles of narrow-gauge steam lines and four journeys to choose from, it’s the perfect way to relax and enjoy the scenery!

Gallopers

The three-abreast Gallopers are Bressingham’s centre piece. It is one of the finest to be seen anywhere. Built by Savages of Kings Lynn in 1897 and owned and operated by the Thurston family of Norfolk until 1934, the Gallopers later operated at Whitley Bay and ended up in Scotland before finding a home at Bressingham. The engine was originally built by Tidmans of Norwich but has been completely rebuilt at Bressingham. The organ – a Bruder-built, 48 keyless Chiappa – accompanies the Gallopers as they reach up to six revolutions per minute and swing out some 15 degrees.

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