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Home > Events > Wonderful Suffolk country gardens

Wonderful Suffolk country gardens

Tilbury Hall and Pykards Hall

Today we will meet at Whittlesford Parkway – only an hour and a quarter by train from London’s Liverpool Street – to visit two marvellous Suffolk gardens. Our day begins with a visit 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 and after morning coffee Ellen and head gardener Mark Brown 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 new 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.

After lunch at Tilbury Hall, we will take a short drive to Grade II listed Pykards Hall, where our hosts Clive and Louise Drayton will greet us. The gardens surrounding this historic, timber-framed house have been redesigned over the past six years by landscape architect John DeJardin, with some exciting flourishes. As well as moving some trees and planting more he has created a spiral mound and an amphitheatre. There is a glasshouse overlooking a raised vegetable parterre, whilst a loggia looks over the west-side pond, part of a medieval moat and now a series of large ponds. Clive and Louise’s company Italian Terrace, which designs and makes beautiful Italian terracotta pots, is run from here and there are many examples around the garden. Louise will kindly run through a pot planting demonstration for us before afternoon tea.

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.

Image: Tilbury Hall © Denny Swete; Pykards Hall © Derek St Romaine