Blickling Estate is a National Trust property about 20 minutes’ drive from Norwich. At Easter it ran a treasure hunt event which allowed people to visit the gardens for £6, rather than the usual £9.
We opted not to visit the stately home itself on this occasion, but I would be interested in doing so in future, and also visiting the RAF Oulton museum (and maybe the Buckinghamshire Arms pub!)
The estate was apparently first occupied by the then soon to be King Harold II of England, then passed through the hands of John Fastolfe (partial inspiration for Falstaff in Shakespeare’s Henry plays), the Boleyn family, the Hobart family, and finally the Kerrs, Marquesses of Lothian, before being bequeathed to the National Trust in 1940.
This means the gardens have been added to over the years in the Jacobean, Georgian, Victorian and modern eras.
I was particularly keen on the orangery, built in 1780, as I want to grow citrus and other fruit trees in future.
Inside here there are dozens of varieties of citrus trees, some of them even with budding fruit in April.
The temple is a grade II listed building situated at the extreme edge of the garden. It’s not very temple-like…
…but it is approached by the temple walk, which shows off its simple design well.
Close to this is the Dell, which in spring was full of bluebells, the antecedents of which were planted in the 1930s.
There is also a dome of trees near an area known as the secret garden, which was especially pleasing to me, as it was adorned with several stained glass panels. Even on a somewhat gloomy day, these were very attractive.
Nearer to the house itself is the Parterre, a sunken garden surrounded by terraces of flower beds.
These raised beds surround a fairly unimpressive fountain.
The flowers themselves are more interesting and attractive in my opinion.
Also more attractive is the walled garden on the other side of the property, which looks set for expansion.
It is here where a number of food plants are grown to supply the on-site cafe…
…though they are also experimenting with ornamentals too.
Finally, the lake is well worth a look too. I caught a shot of some of its inhabitants!
If you are nearby and have transport, I think Blickling Estate is a worthwhile visit. However it’s a bit tricky to get to, and unless you are a member of the National Trust or are visiting on an event day it is normally quite expensive – even the car park is a fiver!
Address: Blickling Estate, Aylsham, Norfolk NR116NF