Gardens, Nature & Walking

Helmingham Hall Gardens – glorious gardens surrounding an impressive Tudor moated Hall set in a 400 year old ancient deer park. The gardens are open from May each  year, and several major events are also held here, including the annual plant sales, the hugely popular Classic Car Festival and the equally well-attended Suffolk Dog Day.

Orford Ness National Nature Reserve – the largest vegetated shingle spit in Europe and an internationally important nature reserve, providing an important location for breeding and passage birds as well as for the coastal shingle flora and wildlife, including a large number of nationally rare species. Until the mid-1980s the Ness was used as a secret military test site and visitors can walk amongst some of the unusual and intriguing test sites and buildings.

RSPB Minsmere – one of the RSPB’s most famous nature reserves. It has been an RSPB reserve for over 50 years and pioneered the use of observation hides and management of wetland areas to enable visitors to see a sample of the huge range of birds that pass along the Suffolk coast.

Walkers are spoilt for choice, with the Suffolk Coastal Path stretching from north of Felixstowe, to Lowestoft while the Sandlings Walk runs between Ipswich and Southwold. Both these routes have shorter, circular walks at intervals along the way which are suitable for an afternoon’s stroll. Of course there are other, shorter walks following marked footpaths around Saxtead, Dennington, Framlingham and a Woodland Trust site between Rendham and Framlingham.

There’s also The Mere, a 33-acre lake and nature reserve, lying between Framlingham Castle and Framlingham College, with a circular footpath giving great views of the wild flowers and wildlife.