Explore these beautiful gardens opening their gates to visitors

Wenhaston Grange is one of the many properties opening its gardens this summer via the National Garden Scheme

Wenhaston Grange is one of the many properties opening its gardens this summer via the National Garden Scheme - Credit: National Garden Scheme

Are you looking for gorgeous gardens to visit this summer? Many are opening their gates, all in a good cause.

National Garden Scheme

Under the NGS, lovely individual gardens open up to visitors in aid of nursing and health charities such as the Queen’s Nursing Institute, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and Parkinson’s UK.

Many garden owners are choosing to open again this year, with refreshments often being available, after almost total closure last year.

Somerleyton Hall will open its gardens via the National Garden Scheme

Somerleyton Hall will open its gardens via the National Garden Scheme - Credit: Archant

Among gardens in Suffolk opening this summer are the 12-acre Somerleyton Hall gardens, Wenhaston Grange, The Old Rectory in Nacton, Hillside in Semer, Field Cottage in Felixstowe, The Priory in Woodbridge, and many more.


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There are also a number of gardens opening in Essex, including gardens in the Colchester area such as Feeringbury Manor in Feering, a 10-acre garden with two ponds as well as sculptures and paintings, which is opening on a large number of dates, Oak Farm in Wakes Colne, Heath House in Layer Breton and Spring Cottage in Elmstead Market.

Feeringbury Manor near Colchester is opening its gates on a large number of dates over the summer 

Feeringbury Manor near Colchester is opening its gates on a large number of dates over the summer - Credit: National Garden Scheme

And on Sunday, July 18, three interesting gardens are opening in Brightlingsea under the scheme.

Admission to NGS gardens is usually around £5 per adult and free for accompanied children, though this depends on the garden's size. It is advisable to book your chosen garden in advance, and you can find full details of the gardens available, with times and dates, by visiting the NGS website.

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As well as the NGS openings, many villages and towns are planning their own garden events, for causes ranging from churches to playgrounds.  

East Bergholt Open Gardens - Sunday, June 6, 11am to 5pm

Gardens in the heart of Constable Country are opening in aid of St Mary's Church East Bergholt Preservation Society.

You can enjoy afternoon tea overlooking the Dedham Vale and visit the historic medieval bellcage next to the historic church. Plant sales and refreshments will be available throughout the day. 

There is a charge of £8 in advance or £10 on the day. Event passports can be booked online or bought from the Co-op in advance, or on the day from the village Co-op, The Lambe School, or at the event car park. 

Old Newton Open Gardens - Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13, 11am to 5pm

The village near Stowmarket is holding its biennial event in aid of St Mary's Church.

About 13 gardens will open, ranging from wildlife-friendly cottage gardens to more formal,  each identified by a sunflower sticker, and most are suitable for disabled visitors . The village allotments will also be on show.

Refreshments will be available at the church, and there will be plant stalls, live music and classic cars. There will also be a display of scarecrows, and the event will finish with an outdoor Songs of Praise at 6pm.

A ticket and programme will cost £5 from St Mary’s, with accompanied children getting in free. Parking is available at St Mary’s Church, the village school and the village hall.

For further information contact Libby Brooks on 07969182079, or email familybrooks@btinternet.com

The Hidden Gardens of Bury St Edmunds event is taking place in July this year

The Hidden Gardens of Bury St Edmunds event is taking place in July this year - Credit: St Nicholas Hospice Care

Grundisburgh, Burgh and Culpho Hidden Gardens, Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13, 2-6pm

Around 20 gardens in these three villages are set to open in aid of local organisations. There will be a mix of gardens, ranging from cottage and formal designs to sculpture gardens and woodland.

A number of the gardens have water features such as ponds and fountains, as well as the waterway that runs through parts of Grundisburgh Village.

Lunches will be available in the Grundisburgh Dog and teas will be served on The Green.

Tickets cost £4.50 in advance, from June 7 onwards, from Williams' Stores, Grundisburgh, or £5 on the day from the village green. For more details, visit the event website.

A previous Hidden Gardens of Bury St Edmunds event

A previous Hidden Gardens of Bury St Edmunds event - Credit: Andy Abbott/Archant

Dallinghoo Open Gardens, Sunday, June 13, 1.30-5.30pm

Gardens in the village are opening for the first time this year, in aid of the church repair appeal.

The gardens will include a large and beautiful 'beekeepers' garden, a farmhouse garden originating from Tudor times, a large garden created more recently from farmland and several impressive cottage gardens. 

The event will be based at the Jubilee Hall, where tea and cakes will be served. There will also be activities for children.

There will be plants for sale in several gardens, all grown by villagers.

Event passports will cost £5 for adults, with under-16s getting in free, and will be available on the day from the Jubilee Hall. For more details, call 07922 652992 or email Dallinghoo.appeal@gmail.com

Drinkstone Open Gardens - Saturday, June 19, 12-5pm

Gardens in the village near Bury St Edmunds will be opening for the fifth time, in aid of All Saints Church.

They include thatched cottage gardens, landscaped parkland, modern gardens, wildlife gardens, bijou gardens and a triumph of a brand new garden built from scratch.

There will be refreshments and plant sales at the village hall. Tickets will be available on the day from the village hall, at £5 per adult, free for accompanied children under 16.

For more details, visit the event's website. 

A previous Hidden Gardens of Bury St Edmunds event

A previous Hidden Gardens of Bury St Edmunds event - Credit: Archant

Bury St Edmunds Hidden Gardens, Sunday, July 11, 11am-5pm

This very popular gardens event is normally held in June, but its date has moved this year because of previous lockdown restrictions.

About 30 gardens in the town centre will be welcoming visitors, which will all be on a map in the event's programme.

All money raised will go to St Nicholas Hospice Care, and, in the run-up to the hidden gardens event, the hospice is also running a number of virtual "Celebrate Our Gardens" events from June 20 to July 11. 

Tickets cost £7 in advance (free for accompanied under-16s) from the event's website, which also has details of parking and toilets. Tickets will also be available on the day from a marquee on Angel Hill, from 10.30am onwards.

Coney Weston Open Gardens, July 17, 11am-5pm

Around 20 gardens in this small village near Bury St Edmunds will be opening in aid of the village playground fund. 

There will be home-made refreshments and craft stalls in the village hall, as well as a raffle and plant stalls run by local nurseries.

The Swan pub will be holding a barbecue and the thatched medieval village church will also be open.

Tickets cost £5 for adults, free for accompanied under-16s, and will be available on the day from the car parks at the village hall and pub.


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