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Gardens to Visit in Norfolk

Published date: June 2019

Gardens to Visit in Norfolk

There are many beautiful gardens to visit across Norfolk that can offer visitors inspiration for planting and designing their own garden. Enjoy classic formal gardens such as those at Blickling Hall and Felbrigg Hall to more contemporary styles such as East Ruston Gardens and the gardens at Pensthorpe Natural Park; there is a garden for every conceivable taste and style in Norfolk.

Gardens take a lot of work, sweat and commitment, and without constant attention they can soon become unruly and overgrown.  With the weather warming up, there is no better way to enjoy the summer sunshine than by taking a wander around a stunning and lovingly cared for garden. Here is our pick of the best gardens to visit in Norfolk:

East Ruston Old Vicarage

Located 1½ miles from the North Sea, East Ruston Old Vicarage is the creation of Alan Gray and Graham Robson and is considered one of the finest privately-owned gardens in England.  These extensive gardens have many highlights, including a sunken garden, topiary, rose garden, clematis walk, wildflower meadow, water features, walled garden, Mediterranean and exotic garden. With plant sales and an excellent tearoom, many an hour can be spent here.

Please note dogs are not allowed in the gardens. For opening times, admission prices and special events, visit their website.

East Ruston Old Vicarage - East Ruston, Norwich, Norfolk, NR12 9HN

Tel: 01692 650432

The Plantation Garden

The Plantation Garden Preservation Trust (PGPT) is a registered charity and was formed in 1980 and since this date almost all the work maintaining and developing this Grade II registered site has been carried out by a group of enthusiastic volunteers.  Known locally as ‘The Secret Garden, it is actually very easy to find, with its entrance just past St. Johns Cathedral, on Earlham Road.  These beautifully restored Victorian gardens covering 3 acres are a hidden gem in the centre of Norwich and are a great place to spend an hour or two.

For admission prices, opening times and events, go to their website. No dogs are allowed, except guide dogs. 

The Plantation Garden - 4 Earlham Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 3DB

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden

This award-winning organic garden covering 130 acres is full of cultivated, wild and natural plantings and is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and gardeners. Situated between Wroxham and Acle in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, it is famous for its collection of naturalised candelabra primulas, rare plants and shrubs.  Explore nearly 4 miles of woodland pathways, enjoy stunning views over their private Broad and marvel at the array of rare plants and trees. 

Visitors to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden can book a boat trip on the broad and watch the local wildlife from a different perspective. With a lovely tearoom, gift shop and plant sales, Fairhaven has something for everyone. For events, admission prices and opening times, go to the Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden website.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden - School Road, South Walsham, Norfolk, NR13 6EA

Tel: 01603 270449

Blickling Estate Garden

Blickling Estates gardens come to life in the summer, with vibrant flowers and an array of different foliage. Visitors can wander around the spectacular flower beds and walled kitchen garden, enjoy the fine topiary, discover the two secret tunnels, or take a stroll by the lake and appreciate the stunning views. The secret garden is the perfect spot for quiet contemplation and the orangery and temple are waiting to be discovered.  Look out for lime trees and the Turkey oak and an abundance of wildlife that live within the estate.

To find out more including admission prices, opening times, special events and organised tours, visit their website.

Blickling Estate Garden - Aylsham, Norfolk, NR11 6NF

Tel: 01263 738030

Felbrigg Hall Garden

The walled garden at Felbrigg Hall is widely renowned as one of East Anglias finest and visitors can get up close to the double borders and herb beds and take in the scent of lavender, mint and sage, to name but a few.  A mix of modern surprises and traditional formality, Felbrigg Hall Garden is a delightful space to explore.

Its orangery, built by Ashe Windham in 1704 was designed to harmonise with the west wing of the house and today houses a stunning collection of camelias, some of considerable size and age. There are many unusual and exotic plants and trees, a beautiful rose garden, kitchen garden, a lake, woodland and a wide variety of wildlife to be found at Felbrigg Hall.

For further details, garden admission prices, opening times and events, go to their website.

Felbrigg Hall Garden - Felbrigg, Norwich, Norfolk, NR11 8PR

Tel: 01263 837444

Gooderstone Water Gardens

Located near Kings Lynn, Gooderstone Water Gardens are truly beautiful and the perfect place for gardening enthusiasts, photographers, nature lovers and artists.  Explore its six acres of gardens, mature trees and shrubs, a natural trout stream, colourful borders, thirteen bridges, four ponds, waterways, nature trail, kingfisher hide, tearoom and plant sales.

For opening times, admission prices and further information, visit their website.

Gooderstone Water Gardens, The Street, Gooderstone, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, PE33 9BP

Tel: 01603 712913

Pensthorpe Natural Park

Located 45 minutes from Norwich on the A1067 Fakenham to Norwich road, Pensthorpe Natural Park has four stunning gardens.  

Millennium Garden - designed by world renowned plantsman Piet Oudolf, it is considered one of the most inspirational gardens in Norfolk and offers an acre of floral pleasure and is a lush tapestry of colour and texture that attracts butterflies and insects during spring and summer.

Wildlife Habitat Garden - this is planted with species designed to entice insects and mammals into the beautiful water-focused setting and is sure to inspire visitors, with helpful hints and tips about how to construct wildlife-friendly outdoor spaces. Its a hotspot for dragonflies, bees, damselflies, garden birds, butterflies, reptiles, amphibians, bats, moths and beetles.

Wave and Wave Line Garden - designed by multiple Chelsea Gold Medallist Julie Toll, this is a serene and reflective garden that is situated beneath a canopy of native oak and birch trees. This shaded Norfolk woodland garden provides a romantic landscape, enhanced by atmospheric and locally produced sculptures.

Corten Infinity Garden - the newest garden in the collection, it lines the walkways around the eco play area, Hootz House. Using an impressive curved piece of Corten, the garden features a banana plant and ginger plant and other stunning planting.

Pensthorpe Natural Park is also home to many species of mammals, birds and invertebrates, has bird hides, childrens indoor and outdoor play areas, excellent gift shop and café. There are daily warden talks and Pensthorpe Explorer tour, that takes visitors to more remote parts of the reserve.

For opening hours, entry costs, membership details, accessibility and other information, visit the Pensthorpe website.

Pensthorpe Natural Park, Pensthorpe, Fakenham, Norfolk, NR21 0LN

Tel: 01328 851465

Elsing Hall Gardens

Set in the romantic surroundings of Elsing Hall, a privately owned medieval moated manor house that dates from 1470, Elsing Hall Gardens are open to groups of 20 or more people by prior arrangement. Visits begin with a brief introduction about the history of the house and gardens and then visitors are free to wander around the gardens at their leisure.

For further information, admission prices and details about how to book a visit, go to their website.

Elsing Hall Gardens - Elsing, Dereham, Norfolk, NR20 3DX

Tel: 01362 637866

Raveningham Gardens

The Raveningham Estate is a traditional rural estate of some 5,500 acres, situated south of Norwich. It has been home to the Bacon family since 1735 and today its main activity is farming. Raveningham Gardens are open for both individual visits and group tours and their tearoom is open whenever the gardens are open. Explore woodland, herbaceous and mixed borders, wildflower meadows and rolling lawns. The walled Victorian kitchen garden provides shelter for fruit, vegetables and cut flowers such as sweet peas and the gardens contain many rare species of plants collected from around the world. The walled kitchen garden was brought back to full working during the last 20 years and is now producing fruit, vegetables and flowers for the house. There is a fine late 19th century Boulton and Paul range of glasshouses, stocked conservatory and melon pits, all in working order.

Visitors to Raveningham Gardens can wander around the herb garden, rose garden and the time garden, which was designed around Sir Francis Bacons essays based on the passage of Time. Their tearoom offers delicious homemade cakes and is worthy of a visit. Enjoy sculptures by Susan Bacon that are located around the garden and from January the much loved Galanthus emerge, followed by bulbs in early spring and roses and alliums throughout June. The varied and ever-changing floral seasons can be observed at Raveningham Gardens. To find out when the gardens are open, admission costs and about special events taking place, go to their website or give them a call.

Raveningham Gardens - The Estate Office, Raveningham, Norwich, Norfolk, NR14 6NS

Tel: 01508 548480

Houghton Hall Garden

Houghton Hall Garden was winner of the Christies Historic Houses Association ‘Garden of the Year Award in 2007 and this 5-acre walled garden is one of Houghton Halls most popular attractions. The present Lord Cholmondeley started creating a new area within the walls of the old kitchen garden in 1991, as a memorial to his grandmother, Lady Sybil Cholmondeley. With help from his then head gardener, Paul Underwood, and then later with the help from award winning designers Julian and Isabel Bannerman, the space was divided up into several contrasting ‘ornamental gardens. These include an Italian garden, a formal rose parterre, a stunning double-sided herbaceous border, fruit and vegetable gardens, a glasshouse, antique statues, fountains, a rustic temple and contemporary sculptures including Jeppe Heins “Waterflame”, Stephen Coxs “Flask II”, and Richard Longs “Houghton Cross”.

For further details, including garden entry costs, dates open and opening times, visit their website.

Houghton Hall Garden - Houghton Hall, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, PE31 6UE

Tel: 01485 528569

Sheringham Park

The 50 acres of wild garden at Sheringham Park houses a nationally important collection of rhododendrons as well as Scots pine and oak. With over 80 species of rhododendron and azalea often providing colour from November through to August, probably the best time to see the flowers at their peak is from mid-May into early June. There are two viewing platforms at Sheringham Park providing the ideal vantage points from which to enjoy this magnificent carpet of colour.  Seek out the different varieties of azalea and rhododendron, with their differing foliage and flowers, from whites, lemons, oranges, pinks, purples and reds, with many different shades and hues. Find varieties with small delicate flowers to plants with large and bold displays.  There are also a number of trees of particular interest such as the handkerchief, pieris and snowdrop trees. Search out the fifteen species of magnolia; easier to spot when in flower and the many camelias. Patches of bluebells, buttercups and cowslips can also be found around the estate, depending on the time of year.

There is a café and visitor centre at Sheringham Park and dogs are permitted. The park is free to National Trust members and non-members just need to pay the car parking charge. For full details, go to their website.

Sheringham Park, Upper Sheringham, Norfolk, NR26 8TL

Peter Beales

Visitors can explore the gardens at Peter Beales and view unique, historic, rare and contemporary roses growing in unison with other complementary plants. There is a wildlife area that is planted with specially chosen roses and plant species designed to create the perfect habitat to attract insects and mammals. This was created to inspire and educate visitors into the importance of wildlife and the benefits they bring to all gardens. The two-acre display gardens are free to enter all year round and from April to October they offer horticultural societies and gardening clubs and groups the chance to book one of their Rosarians to take them on a full guided tour of the gardens.

Their Annual Rose Festival is held in the rose gardens in June, just as the roses are reaching their peak. Visitors can browse the rose and plant centre, selling a wide range of roses and other plants, shrubs and herbaceous stock. There is also a lovely gift shop and restaurant.

For more information about their seasonal garden tours, teas and tours, garden and lunch tour and individual seasonal tours, fairs, cultivation courses and workshops, visit their website.

Peter Beales Roses Ltd - London Road, Attleborough, Norfolk, NR17 1AY

Tel: 01953 454707

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