Wyken Hall

239 Reviews

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Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2018

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A few years ago the gardens at Wyken Hall looked tired.A change of staff and they are now well worth visiting, despite all the problems of a hot, dry summer.

Of course everything else is in favour. The site has been in use for 6000 years, and bears evidence of Roman farming – including perhaps vines. The current Wyken vineyard has been awarded ‘English Wine of the Year’ for its Bacchus white. Produce of the four acre gardens and vineyard is available in the medieval thatched barn, Leaping Hare restaurant and cafe.

The gardens open at 2 pm Sunday to Friday so what better preparation than a meal, or just a tea or coffee? There are four hours of opening, long enough to wander everywhere, pass time with the pedigree hens, guinea fowl and peacocks, or view the sheep – real and sculptured.

Carla and Kenneth Carlisle, the owners, have combined American (her) and English styles of gardening with craft work of high quality enhanced by its setting. At the front of the house is a choice of ‘ersatz southern veranda’, with five Mississippi rocking chairs, and a Quincunx from a Gertrude Jekyll herb garden design that surrounds a ceramic fountain.The background is copper red limewash on the house walls, the Elizabethan Suffolk pink far removed from the present-day suburban shade.

A clockwise rotation leads through the ‘Red Hot Border’ to a variety of garden rooms determined by the shape of the house, with its seventeenth century wings completing a late Elizabethan hall. Each has its delights and of course matures at a different time to its neighbours according to the seasons.

The gardens are not all formal. There are opportunities to wander through a birch grove or sit beside a pond. Ancient woodland invites the adventurous and a maze attracts the curious. Returning one’s eye is caught by an obvious feature of the 1920 makeover, a ‘topless’ angel flying across the wall.

Generous credit is given to all who helped design or decorate the gardens, and to save too much disappointment for Saturday visitors there is an award-winning farmers’ market. Most areas are easily accessible and wheelchair-friendly. If the former estate office with its cottage garden is perhaps the most difficult to enter in a wheelchair it is easily seen through its two gateways or over the low hedge.

Admission to the gardens is a very reasonable #4 concessionary price, which perhaps leaves some funds for the extremely tempting but bank-breaking stock in the shop.


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