7 stunning gardens you have to visit this summer
- Credit: Richard Brunton
Norfolk is blessed with a multitude of stunning gardens for the public to visit.
Here are a selection of the best as we head into the summer months.
Houghton's five-acre Walled Garden is perhaps the jewel in its crown.
The old kitchen garden was commissioned by Lord Cholmondeley to be redesigned in 1991 as a memorial to his grandmother, Lady Sybil Cholmondeley.
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It is now divided into several contrasting ‘ornamental gardens', and features a spectacular double-sided herbaceous border, a rustic temple, fountains, and a formal rose parterre.
Houghton Hall is located almost 10 miles west of Fakenham.
- Adult tickets for the Walled Garden and stables are priced at £10. They must be booked online.
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Gooderstone Water Gardens
This unique attraction, near Swaffham, consists of six acres with a natural trout stream, four ponds and a host of colourful borders.
The site was originally a damp meadow but, in 1970, retired farmer Billy Knights began drawing up plans for its transformation.
Machines were soon digging out the ponds and waterways, and the gardens have now been open for several decades with a restoration in between.
The 13 bridges are numbered to help you find you way round, while a cuppa can be enjoyed at the tearoom in the south-east corner.
- Adult tickets are priced at £7
Pensthorpe Natural Park
Norfolk favourite Pensthorpe boasts four main gardens, each with something different to offer.
The colourful Millennium Garden is a stunning cascade of mixed perennials and grasses created by world-famous Dutch designer, Piet Oudolf.
Meanwhile, the Wildlife Habitat Garden is planted with species to entice insects and mammals.
The newest garden in the collection is the Corten Infinity Garden, while the serene Wave Garden has achieved international recognition at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show.
- Tickets for both members and non-members should be booked online
Bressingham Steam and Gardens
Adjoining the much-loved steam museum, Bressingham's gardens are split into six distinct sections.
Perhaps the best known is Adrian Bloom’s Foggy Bottom Garden, named after the man who joined the family business in 1962 and was keen to create his own space.
Mr Bloom's first plantings came in 1966 on the site of an empty meadow and, over time, it has become a wealth of mature conifers, trees and shrubs from all over the world.
it continues to develop and change, meaning there is always something new for visitors to see.
- Tickets must be pre-booked online for a specific time slot
Raveningham Gardens is protected by belts of woodland, creating a kinder environment for the herbaceous and mixed borders, wildflower meadows and rolling lawns.
The walled Victorian kitchen garden was brought back to full working order over the last two decades, producing fruit, vegetables flowers for the house.
Priscilla, Lady Bacon - the current estate owner's mother - was an energetic plantswoman who collected rare species from around the world, transforming the garden over 50 years.
Visitors can also enjoy the Herb Garden, Rose Garden and Time Garden.
- Adult tickets are priced at £5 per person
The Bishop of Norwich's historic private garden is full of delights, including bee hives, herbaceous borders and a short woodland walk.
It only opens to the public on select days throughout the year, raising funds for a different charity on each occasion.
There is a kitchen garden, bamboo walk and a popular plant sales area, and the garden continues to evolve with new plants and features introduced year by year.
Among the many rare and unusual plants is a Hebe planted from a sprig taken from Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet in 1840.
- Visit the Diocese of Norwich website to view opening dates and ticket prices
Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate
Billed by the National Trust as a "hidden gem", Felbrigg features a majestic walled garden where you can breathe in the scent of lavender, sage and mint.
Many modern surprises can be found within the traditional space, including one of the few octagonal working dovecotes in the country - dating back to the early 1750s.
Old figs against the south-facing wall of the herb border are the only original remaining plants from the garden of the mid-18th century.
Lesser known is the West Garden, which surrounds the house and offers an opportunity to wander round the gravel paths amongst the trees and shrubs.
- Booking in advance is "advisable". Visit the National Trust site to view availability.