10 Incredibly Beautiful Gardens in Suffolk That You'll Really Love
Suffolk gardens are some of the best in the country, and as the spring weather finally starts to shine, now’s the time to start enjoying the outdoors and all the fabulous flowers, herbs, trees, and shrubs the local area has to offer.
The county is packed with incredible gardens that are an absolute joy to walk around and relax in, whether you’re looking for an oasis among a bustling city or a day out in the countryside, there is definitely a park on this list that you will love.
Here’s our pick of the top 10 gardens in Suffolk for you to visit and enjoy…
1. Ickworth House Park and Gardens, Horringer
Designed for privacy, space and freedom, Ickworth Park features a maze of pathways which, as you walk, allow you to catch hidden glimpses of some amazing views. Reminiscent of the parks of classical Italy, the grounds are enhanced by encircling plantations which were named after the family members or estate staff that planted them.
As you wander through the rolling landscape and surrounding woodland, you’ll catch glimpses of the beautiful Rotunda, which is the perfect place to head for a family picnic. Sheep also graze on the land, and if you decide to visit during early spring you’ll be treated to the site of new born lambs frolicking on the grass!
2. Christchurch Park, Ipswich
As the first public park in Ipswich, Christchurch Park is well-loved in the local community. Set over 33 hectares of picturesque ground, the park has a lot going on! There’s a children’s play area, tennis courts, a table tennis green, and bowling greens. It is also a designated Country Wildlife Site, with habitats such as grassland, ponds, native and non-native plants, and veteran trees like oaks and sweet chestnuts which are believed to be up to 300 – 400 years old.
Inside the park is Christchurch Mansion, which is a Grade I listed building, plus there are a number of memorials to walk around. If you’re headed to Ipswich and fancy a bit of a break in the sunshine, this is the place!
3. The Place for Plants
A unique plant centre and garden, The Place for Plants is based in East Bergholt in the beautiful Stour Valley on the Suffolk/Essex border. A tranquil place to visit, the garden and arboretum are particularly beautiful in spring when snowdrops, rhododendrons, camellias, and magnolias come out to say hello.
Unusual flowering trees and shrubs such as Stewartia, Davidia, and Cornus can be seen amongst the woodland bulbs and perennial, and as summer rolls round roses and hydrangeas come out into the mix. Owner Robert Eley offers guided garden tours to interested parties, so individuals can learn about the history of the garden (as well as the blooms on display) while delighting in the peaceful atmosphere.
4. Helmingham Hall, Helmingham Estate
If you’re looking for a day of beauty and tranquillity there is nowhere more perfect to visit than Helmingham Hall, a park where the red deer roam free and unique wildlife is abundant. Your journey into nature begins at the amazing moated manor house, which was started in 1480 by John Tollemache and has been owned by the family ever since.
Stroll towards the Parterre and Hybrid Musk Garden on the west side of the house, then follow the herbaceous borders and find yourself surrounded by a melange of bridges, tunnels, and seats. From May to June the Spring Border blooms with groups of tulips and different species of iris and paeony. Roses will also come out to play along with honeysuckles, Ceanothus and myrtle.
5. Wyken Hall Gardens, Wyken
Set in a beautiful Suffolk vineyard, Wyken Hall Gardens is a truly lovely place to visit. The formal gardens are packed full of beautiful topiary, roses, herbs, and fruit trees, and peacocks roam around against the backdrop of the Elizabethan manor house.
There’s a restaurant on site, as well as a country store, and of course, the vineyard, so you can sit back and taste the wine of the country in gorgeous surroundings.
6. Melford Hall, Melford
Owned by the Hyde Parker family, the historic Melford Hall is most well-known for being frequented by Beatrix Potter who, according to the stories, spent the warmer months amongst the gardens spotting wildlife and coming up with stories.
During the spring, the Melford Hall gardens are a lovely place to relax with lots of seated areas where you can watch the world go by. The landscape areas are perfect for a spot of croquet or just to admire the budding flowers. For those who want to venture a bit further afield, the Park Walk is a mile long stroll out to the wildlife full woodland where you can get some lovely views back towards the estate.
7. Glemham Hall, Little Glemham
Dating back to 1560, the gardens of Glemham Hall are as old as the hall itself. As the building was changed and updated over the centuries so the garden moved with it, and these days the land is full of life. There’s much to explore, from the stunning walled rose garden, the lily pond, the summer house, and the classical urns which sit alongside the classic British symmetry. The herbaceous garden is one of the areas best, with wild flowers and herbs wildly growing amongst the sculptures.
The Hall is well worth a visit too, with its incredible history and interesting features, you can book a guided tour to truly get a well-rounded view of this property and the accompanying park.
8. Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds
An award-winning park, Abbey Gardens is built on a former Benedictine Abbey. Renowned for its colour and display, visitors come from all over the world to walk around its 14 acres. Created by Nathaniel Hodson in 1831, Abbey Gardens was originally based on the concentric circle design of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Brussels. In 1936 these were replaced by 64 island beds lighted by illuminations in the evening. Today around 20,000 plants are bedded out in spring for the summer season.
Some of the key garden highlights include the Appleby Rose Garden, Pilgrim Herb Garden, The Aviary with its impressive variety of birds, a Victorian drinking fountain with a sundial, the sensory garden, and the water garden, a peaceful spot to relax and enjoy the sun on spring days.
9. Riverside House Garden, Clare
If you are an avid gardener who wants to not only enjoy roaming around a stretch of beautifully laid out land but also buy some bulbs for your own, this is the place to go!
Located in a small town of Clare, the Riverside House Garden holds the prize of the best garden in Suffolk in the one-acre category, and also featured in the Sky TV series, Come into my Garden. Owners Jane and Andy Bone have been selling bulbs for over 44 years and specialise in supplying spring bulbs to gardeners who want the very best quality.
10. RSPB Wildlife Gardens, Flatford
For the wildlife enthusiasts among us, you can’t get a much better place to explore than the RSPB Wildlife Gardens in Flatford. The family-friendly garden was designed with the idea that visitors can take a look and incorporate some of the features into their own gardens at home to make them fun wildlife sanctuaries.
The garden celebrates the day-to-day joys that a wildlife garden can bring, from spotting a vole tucking into a fallen apple to seeing damselflies skim across the water of the pond. A much-admired spectacle is when the mayflies hatch over the nearby river and provide an incredible aerial dance across the mini-meadow every year. It’s also a great place for avid bird watchers to spot species such as the goldfinch, the great spotted woodpecker, the long-tailed tit, and the spotted flycatcher.