Home » Events » Garden Visit | Tilbury Hall and Denston Hall, on the Suffolk/Essex borders

Garden Visit | Tilbury Hall and Denston Hall, on the Suffolk/Essex borders

Beautifully designed rural gardens in East Anglia

Today we are on the borders of rural Suffolk and Essex, either side of the River Stour, just over an hour’s train ride from London. Our day begins at Grade II* listed Denston Hall, a part Tudor, part 18th century house approached via a fine avenue of limes. This is the home of James and Selina Hopkins. Selina is garden designer Xa Tollemache’s daughter, and grew up at Helmingham Hall.

We will begin our visit with morning coffee and a welcome from Selina, before making our way across the wide lawns, past herbaceous borders to a beautiful walled garden. Originally designed by Mark Rumary, the gardens have subsequently been influenced and adjusted by Xa Tollemache. As well as a fruit, vegetable and cutting garden there are borders containing step-over apples, with the walls providing sheltered space for vines and figs. Other features in this well-tended space include shrub borders, a nut walk and a quincunx of medlar trees. A new greenhouse has been added this year within the kitchen garden and Assistant head gardener Alan will be at hand to answer any questions.

After a seasonal two-course lunch at a country pub, we will drive to the lavish gardens of medieval Tilbury Hall, which is Grade II* listed and dates back to the 14th century. The gardens have been radically redesigned by George Carter in recent years. Our hosts here are Geoffrey and Ellen Foster Taylor; Ellen and the head gardener will introduce us to the garden. The approach to the Hall has been re-routed through a new stable block, leading to a circular entrance and terraces adjoining the house, along with an oak cloister planted with hornbeam. A cascade has also been formed with a pavilion at its head, and at the far side of this is the swimming pool garden and winter garden, constructed with a copper roofed pavilion alongside an impressive glasshouse. A restored walled garden centres on an orangery/camellia house and there are elaborate raised vegetable beds with decorative woodwork embellishments, reminiscent of Villandry. Other notable features include a rustic thatched pavilion in the woods, a stumpery arch, a water garden created from existing fishponds and an avenue of horse chestnuts leading to a yew exedra. Our day will conclude with afternoon tea in the garden.

You might like to combine this trip with the visit to Holm House and Pykards Hall in Suffolk, which takes place the previous day on 7 June: Holm House and Pykards Hall

This event has been organised by the Garden Museum’s Garden Visits committee. We recommend you read our Garden Visits Attendee Charter and Refund/exchange policy before booking your place on any of our Garden Visits. All tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable.

Image: Tilbury Hall © Denny Swete; Denston Hall © Angela Potter