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As the days get lighter and warmer I’m getting really excited about the arrival of summer.  And what nicer way is there to spend a day than visiting one of Norfolk’s many lovely gardens?

Over the past few weeks I’ve had a great response on Instagram and Twitter when I’ve asked for recommendations for the prettiest family-friendly gardens within easy reach of Norwich.  I promised to write them up in a quick blog post so here goes:

Plantation Garden (4 Earlham Road, NR2 3DB)  is a Grade II English Heritage registered garden, covering nearly three acres near to the Roman Catholic Cathedral on Earlham Road. Features include a Gothic fountain, flower beds, lawns, an Italianate terrace, woodland walkways and a rustic bridge.  It is open everyday from 9am-6pm.  Admission is £2 (free for members and accompanied children under 16).  Toilet facilities are only available on Sundays during the summer teas season.  No car park.

Blickling (Blickling, Aylsham, NR11 6NF) is a National Trust property with a beautiful formal garden.  The paths are buggy friendly and you can combine with a visit to the house, a walk round the lake, or a drink in the cafe.  There’s a car park about 400m away from the house and good toilet facilities on site.  Entry is £8.10 for adults and £4.50 for children (gardens only) but it’s free to National Trust members.


Felbrigg (Felbrigg, Norfolk, NR11 8PR) is another gorgeous National Trust property with a beautiful walled garden, which provides flowers for the hall and fruit and vegetables for the community.  There are also 520 acres of woods and waymarked trails with buggy friendly paths on all the main visitor routes.  There’s a big car park on site (£2 for non-National Trust members), a tea room, gift shop and toilets (including baby changing).  Entry to the garden only is £6.25 for adults and £3.15 for children (free to National Trust members).

Old Vicarage at East Ruston (East Ruston, Norfolk, NR12 9HN) has a range of stunning gardens including a Rose Garden, Exotic Garden, Mediterranean Garden and Winter Garden.  It’s open from March to October on Wednesdays through to Sundays (plus Bank Holidays) from 1pm to 5:30pm.  The Tea Room opens at 1pm.  Admission is £8.50 for adults and £1 for children (3-14 years)

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden (School Road, South Walsham, Norfolk, NR13 6DZ) is a beautiful 130 acre woodland and wildlife garden, set within the Norfolk Broads.  It’s open all year round except Christmas Day, 10am-5pm (March to September) and 10am-4pm (October to February). There’s a tea room and gift shop on site.  Admission is £6.75 for adults and £3.85 for children (including Gift Aid). Children under 5 are free.



Norfolk Lavender (Caley Mill, Lynn Road, Heacham, PE31 7JE) is a world-famous lavender garden and distillery.  There are landscaped meadow gardens, an animal garden with a petting barn and a play park, including a zip wire, swings, slide, sandpit and picnic area.  There’s a car park, tea room, restaurant and gift shop on site, as well as good toilet facilities.  Entry to the main site is free but you have to pay extra for the animal gardens and play area (£4.50 for adults, £3.50 for children and concessions).  It’s open seven days a week, 10am-5pm.

Pensthorpe (Fakenham Road, Fakenham, Norfolk, NR21 0LN) has four spectacular gardens, including a Wildlife Habitat Garden and Wildflower Meadow.  There’s also a bug walk for children, an outdoor adventure play area and indoor play (with timed play sessions). Car parking, a courtyard cafe and shop are all on site.  Pensthorpe is open daily from 10am and admission is £10.75 for adults and £9.85 for children, under 3s go free.

How Hill (Ludham, Great Yarmouth, NR29 5PG) is the environmental study centre for the Norfolk Broads.  It has ‘secret’ woodland gardens, including a woodland walk, and formal house gardens.  The latter are only open to the public when the house is not in use.  There is a car park, toilets and tea room on site.  How Hill is open 10am-5pm daily until late October and admission is free, although donations are welcomed.



Hoverton Hall (Hoverton, Norwich, NR12 8RJ) has a range of lovely gardens including an old kitchen garden, magnolia garden and lake, clematis walk and arboretum.  It’s open April-September, every day from 10:30am-5:00pm except Saturdays.  There is a restaurant on site called the Garden Kitchen Cafe, which is open 10am-4pm every day except Saturdays.  Admission is £7.50 for adults and £4 for children (children under 4 go free).

Holkham Hall (Wells-Next-The-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1AB) is a beautiful historic house set within a 25,000 acre estate.  There are six acres of walled gardens and a woodland play area for children.  There’s a courtyard cafe and car parking on site although a charge of £3 per car applies.  The gardens and play area are open daily 10am-5pm until 31st October.  Entry to the gardens and play area only is £2.50 for adults and £1 for children (extra charges apply for visits to the house.



Walsingham Abbey (Walsingham, Norfolk, NR22 6BP) is a ruined priory surrounded by wildflower meadows and 18 acres of woodland.  It is famed for its spectacular display of snowdrops in January and February.  Parking is 2 minutes walk away and is pay and display (70 pence per hour).  There are no food and drink or toilet facilities on site so you will need to go into Walsingham for these.  Entry times and admission prices vary by time of year so go to:

Raveningham Gardens (Raveningham, Norwich, NR14 6NS) has lovely walled gardens, glasshouses, a rose garden, herb garden and more.  Sculptures by Susan Bacon are placed around the gardens.  The gardens are open Monday-Friday, 11am-4pm until the end of August.  There is a tea room on site.  Admission is £5 for adults and free for children under 16.