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16 Stunning Open Gardens in Norfolk

We absolutely love the National Garden Scheme which gives visitors unique access to over 3,600 exceptional private gardens in England and Wales whilst raising impressive amounts of money for charity.

The funds come through admissions (children are usually free), teas and cake. Thanks to the garden owners, volunteers and visitors over £60 million has been donated to nursing and health charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and The Queen’s Nursing Institute. Just amazing! And there’s no lovelier way of wandering through to September.

Here’s our pick of Norfolk’s secret gardens. Do check for any changes to dates and times before you set off.

Dale Farm – Dereham, Sunday 25 July 11am – 5pm

This 2-acre plant lovers’ garden with a large spring-fed pond has over 1000 plant varieties in exuberantly planted borders dotted by sculptures. There are gravel, vegetable, nature and waterside gardens and 130 hydrangeas. Crikey! There’ll be music in the afternoon and the kids will love to muck around with remote-controlled model boats on pond. Lots of plants for sale too. And home-made teas. Yummo!

Pre-booking not essential for this one.
Adult: £5.00, Child: Free

Minns Farm Barns – Castle Acre, King’s Lynn, Sat 31 July 11am-5pm and Sun 1 August 11am-5pm

It’s taken 16 years to develop this garden from its old life as a cattle yard and paddock (fertile soil!). Just over an acre surrounds a stone and flint barn with wisteria and roses running riot over the walls. An informal courtyard lets plants seed and tumble, there’s box hedging (love that scent!) and joyously colourful planting in the old paddock. Dogs welcome!

Minns Farm is open with Tudor Lodgings. One admission price (£8) for both.

Tudor Lodgings – King’s Lynn, Sat 31 July 11am-5pm and Sun 1 August 11am-5pm

In front of a 15th Century house (not open) is a 2 acre garden incorporating Norman earthworks. We love the sound of the 18th Century dovecote, abstract topiary and ‘Mondrian’ knot garden, fruit cages and a cutting garden. Expect ornamental grasses, a hot border – I confess, aside from somewhere Mr Trump was building walls, I have no idea what this is. There’s also a natural wild area with a shepherd’s hut (jealous!) and pond. Bantams and ducks roaming about so guessing this means no dogs.

Adults: £8.00, Child: Free

33 Waldemar Avenue – Norwich, Sunday 1 August 10am – 5pm

This big suburban garden is full of surprises with a fab mix of exotic and tropical plants combined with unusual perennials. The only thing missing is me, drinking a Mai Tai in the quirky palm-thatched Tiki hut. There’s a pond wild with life, rare plants and a large collection of succulents plus plants to buy.

No booking needed. You can just turn up on the day.

Adult: £4.00, Child: Free

61 Trafford Way- Norwich, Sunday 1 August 10am – 5pm

Small garden showing what can be achieved with great planting and pleached hornbeam trees. Huh? Pleached means trees grown with straight stems and branches formally trained onto a flat bamboo framework, to create an elevated, leafy screen. Great for providing privacy in contemporary urban gardens. See? I’m basically Monty Don.

Light refreshments available too. Nice one.

Adult: £4.00, Child: Free

The Long Barn – Newton Flotman, Norwich, Sunday 1 August 11am – 4:30pm

Beautiful informal garden with new haha creating infinity views across ancient parkland. Who doesn’t love a good haha? Lovely Mediterranean influence with courtyard seating under pollarded Plane trees. Ooh – you could be in a Provençal hill village. Gnarly old olive trees, figs and vines give way to herbaceous borders and tiered lawns merging into a woodland garden. Walks through Parkland to the teeny River Tas sound serene. Wheelchair drop offs can be made at the front of the house but the loo requires steps. Home-made teas too. Always a winner.
Adult: £5.00, Child: Free

Swafield Hall – Swafield, North Walsham, Saturday 7 August 10am – 5pm

The 16th Century Manor House (not open) sits in 4 acres of gardens with a parterre and ‘rooms’, which are always intriguing. There’s a summer garden, orchard, cutting garden, pear tunnel, secret oriental garden (nine flower beds based on a Persian carpet), the ‘Apollo Promenade of theatrical serpentine hedging’ (yeah, we all have one of those), a duck pond and woodland walk. The whole garden is good for wheelchairs too.

Home-made teas too – hallelujah!

Adult: £5.00, Child: Free

Brick Kiln House – Shotesham, Norwich, Sunday 8 August 10am – 4pm

A 2 acre country garden with lots of cool stuff like sculptures, a large terrace, lush lawns, zingy herbaceous boarders and a stream running through a planted wood. Sounds rather magical doesn’t it?

And, oh joy! Home-made teas. Bring on the cucumber sarnies.

Adult: £5.00. Child: Free

Severals Grange – Wood Norton, Sunday 8 August 1pm – 5pm

One for foliage lovers, here creating colour, shape and form with varieties from large shrubs to small alpines. Airy movement comes from breezy ornamental grasses at their best in late summer. It’s a 15 minute drive to the understated Georgian market town of Reepham with a scattering of indie shops and funky Muddy Awards finalist hotel The Dial House.

Pre-booking essential for this garden.

Adult: £5.00, Child: Free

Holme Hale Hall – Swaffham, Thetford, Sunday 5 September 12pm – 4pm

Often featured in local and national press including Country Life, this is really lovely – but aren’t they all?! Everyone who likes to cook dreams of a walled kitchen garden. This one was designed by Arne Maynard and replanted in 2016/17. Be inspired by soft colours palettes, topiary, vegetables, trained fruits and roses. And a stunning 130 year old wisteria. There’s a wildflower meadow and historic buildings too.

Light refreshments in aid of charity.

Adult: £6.00, Child: Free

Raveningham Hall – Norwich, Thursday 9 September 2pm – 4pm

Raveningham Hall is open during the summer. On 9 September, join owner and former President of the Royal Horticultural Society, Sir Nicholas Bacon, for a guided walk around his gardens. Get the inside info on a traditional country house garden in glorious parkland setting with its restored Victorian conservatory, walled kitchen garden, herbaceous borders, arboretum, Millennium lake, sculpture by Susan Bacon and (my favourite) newly planted stumpery. The tour’s at 2pm for 40 people at £25 pp to include tea.

Admission for the guided tour £25.00 (Adults only).

Chapel Cottage – Rougham, King’s Lynn, Sunday 12 September 10:30am – 4:30pm

This naturalistic cottage garden was created by an owner passionate about relationship of wildlife to plants, as well as gardens for wellbeing. Divided into charming peaceful areas, there’s a pond, kitchen garden, herb area and beehives with plenty of seating and…you guessed it…home-made teas! Plus the gorgeous Congham Hall Hotel is close by with its fabulous herb garden spa – sounds like a whole weekend’s in order.

Adult: £4.00, Child: Free

High House Gardens – Shipdham, Thetford, Sunday 12 September 2pm – 5:30pm

Tended by the current owners for 40 years, this 3 acre plantsman’s garden has colour themed herbaceous borders, box edged rose and shrub borders, a woodland garden, pond and bog area, orchard and small arboretum. Plus a large vegetable garden, always a thing of joy.

Adult: £5.00, Child: Free

Manor Farm – Coston, Barnham Broom, Sunday 19 September 11am – 5pm

Wonderful 3 acre country garden set in larger estate. There are lots of small garden rooms planted in different styles with climbing roses, a walled kitchen garden, white, grass and late summer themes, classic herbaceous and shrub borders, box parterres and large swathes of wildflowers. There are sculptures to spot too and a 1m field walk. Dogs and picnics are most welcome. How lovely! And home-made teas, natch.

And if you fancy something stronger, Muddy Norfolk favourite The Honingham Buck is nearby. As is the fab Barnham Broom spa hotel. Could make quite a trip of this one!

Adult: £5.00, Child: Free

Silverstone Farm – Dereham, Sunday 19 September 2pm – 5pm

The Sunday Times described owner George Carter as ‘one of the 10 best garden designers in Britain’. And he’s celebrated in House and Garden and World of Interiors magazines, among many others. There’s an 1830s farmyard and formal gardens over 2 acres. Inspired by 17th Century formal gardens, the garden is arranged in a series of interconnecting rooms with framed views and vistas and a simple palette of evergreens, deciduous trees and shrubs particular to the period.

Books by the owner are available for sale. As is tea. Most civilised.

Adult: £5.00, Child: Free

East Ruston Old Vicarage – Norwich, Saturday 16 October 12pm – 5pm

A 2019 Regional Finalist in The English Garden’s The Nation’s Favourite Gardens, this fabulous garden (32 acres!) has traditional borders and modern landscapes. There’s loads to see including walled gardens, a rose garden, exotic garden, topiary and box parterres, water features, Mediterranean garden, a monumental fruit cage and gorgeous containers in spring and summer. There are enchanting cornfield and meadow gardens, vegetable and cutting gardens, parkland and heritage orchard, in all 32 acres. Rare and unusual plants abound.

Graham Robeson and Alan Gray (seriously natty dressers) own this huge treat of a garden. Alan’s a presenter of The Garden Party with Anna Perrott on BBC Radio Norfolk. Essential listening with a cup of tea on Saturday mornings.

Light refreshments available.

Adult: £11.00, Child: £3.00

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