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We depart by private executive coach from our designated pick up points. We firstly visit Wyken Hall Gardens and Vineyard near Bury St Edmunds, with a picturesque array of topiary, herbs, roses, and fruit trees. We then visit the National Trust’s Ickworth House, located in 70 acres of stunning gardens and 1,800 acres of idyllic ‘Capability’ Brown parkland. Dominated by its huge central Rotunda dating from 1795, Ickworth is home to a fine collection of Old Master paintings, silver and Regency furniture. We continue to the 4* Stoke by Nayland Hotel for a four night stay on a half board basis.
Our Blue Badge guide meets us at our hotel this morning and accompanies us throughout the day. We spend the morning at leisure in Southwold, a charming seaside town on the Suffolk Heritage Coast. Whilst in Southwold, you may choose to join our optional Adnams Brewery Tour, exploring over 650 years of brewing history, before entering one of the most modern breweries in the world. Lasting 90 minutes, visitors are invited to taste the beers at the end of their tour. Our guided tour of Ipswich this afternoon takes in sights such as the Town Hall and the Ancient House. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure in Ipswich.
With our Blue Badge guide this morning we visit Layer Marney Tower, a statement house of grand design set in beautiful gardens. The tallest Tudor gatehouse in the country, Layer Marney Tower was built in the 1520's by Lord Marney, friend to both Henry VII and Henry VIII. Decorated with ornate terracotta, Layer Marney has been a family home for over 500 years. During our guided tour we enjoy included tea and traybake. We spend some time at leisure for lunch in Colchester, before our afternoon guided tour at Green Island Gardens. Professionally designed by its owner Fiona Edmond, the land is laid out as a series of structured gardens displaying a huge range of unusual trees, shrubs, perennials, and bulbs.
We visit Gainsborough’s House and Garden at Sudbury, where we enjoy an introductory talk on arrival. The house dates back to the 16th century and was the birthplace of the famous painter, Thomas Gainsborough. The outstanding art collection is shown together with 18th century furniture and displays more of Gainsborough’s work than any other gallery. We then spend some time at leisure for lunch in Lavenham. We continue with our Blue Badge guide to Helmingham Hall Gardens. The Tollemache family enjoy sharing their passion for the beautiful gardens, opening them to visitors throughout the summer. Helmingham Hall boasts a relaxed atmosphere for visitors to enjoy the serenity and tranquillity of the gardens as you lose yourself in the plethora of colour, scents and history on offer.
After checking out of our hotel and en route home we visit Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum for a guided tour. The Marks Hall collection is planted on a geographical theme with plants from the temperate regions of the world grouped together. There are areas representing Europe, Asia, North America and the Southern Hemisphere, set in more than 200 acres of historic landscape providing interest and enjoyment throughout the year. This afternoon we visit the Gibberd Gardens for a guided tour. Created by Sir Frederick Gibberd and planned as a series of enticing spaces, every turn reveals a new vista or work of art.
NB Please note we reserve the right to alter the above itinerary if required for operational reasons - final itinerary and travel documentation will be sent approximately 10 days prior to departure. Given the historic nature of the places visited, a certain degree of walking will be involved, and this holiday may not be suitable for those with mobility problems. Price based on twin share. Minimum numbers required. Normal booking conditions apply.
Half board accommodation
A full programme of included excursions & guided tours
Entrance fees to non-National Trust properties included
Blue Badge guide on Days 2, 3 & 4
Executive coach throughout
Wyken Hall Gardens & Vineyard
Ipswich – guided tour
Layer Marney Tower – guided tour with included tea & traybake
Green Island Gardens – guided tour
Gainsborough’s House – introductory talk
Helmingham Hall Gardens
Marks Hall Gardens & Arboretum – guided tour
Gibberd Gardens – guided tour
We stay four nights on half board basis at the 4* Stoke by Nayland Hotel (www.stokebynayland.com) on the outskirts of Leavenheath. Located in a countryside setting and 10 miles from the centre of Colchester, facilities at the hotel include a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, gymnasium, sauna, steam room and a Jacuzzi. All rooms are en suite and feature television, telephone, hairdryer.
Single room supplement £99
Entrance fees to Ickworth House (free to National Trust members)
Optional tour & tasting at Adnams Brewery on Day 3
Optional tour & tasting at Adnams Brewery on Day 3