There are few places in the country which can rival the quintessential countryside charm of Bury St Edmunds. It has so much to offer, you’ll probably suffer withdrawal symptoms once you return to the congested and frenetic big city life.
Aside from being one of the most historic sites in East Anglia, Abbey Gardens’ 14-acre parkland is one of the most beautiful patches of green in England. A multiple times winner of the prestigious Green Flag Award, Abbey Gardens is modelled closely after the Belgium Royal Botanical Garden, which features a lovely blend of primary and secondary forest floras. Talk a walk at the Sundial Fountain and listen to splashing waters of the Victorian drinking fountain in perfect tranquillity. Stroll over to the Appleby Rose Garden and revel in the intoxicating scent of blooming roses from the hundreds of rose bushes. Amble casually to the Pilgrim's Herb Garden and get inspired to build your very own herb garden in your backyard.
Take the Cullum Rd/A1302 and travel south for about 15 minutes to get to Nowton Park, a 200 acres arboretum landscaped in traditional Victorian style. Marvel at the majestic trees there that come from far flung places, such as the Australian eucalyptus tree and the Chinese paperbark maple. Visit the visitor centre to learn and participate among the many regular activities scheduled throughout the summer months. And bring some food – there’s a great picnic area there as well.
Although the Rotunda, the gorgeous neoclassical mansion built by the 4th Earl of Bristol in the 18th century, is the most talked about aspect of Ickworth House and Parks, spare a thought for the Italianate Garden of the 1800-acre parkland. The bluebells, daffodils and snowdrops, among dozens of wildflowers there, paints the landscape in heady colours and scents that will sooth and heal even the most tired of souls.
If you have time to spare and would like experience more of the East Anglian countryside, Thetford Forest, West Stow Anglo Saxon Centre and Country Park, and Fullers Mill Garden are equally captivating destinations in the vicinity you can visit. Remember to wear suitable clothing and drink plenty of weather – it can get pretty humid in the summer.