Open gardens events across Norfolk this summer will boost charity

The Bishop's Garden in Norwich, which opens this year to support a number of charities including St John Ambulance

The Bishop's Garden in Norwich, which opens this year to support a number of charities including St John Ambulance - Credit: Diocese of Norwich

A charity which has been key in helping the fight against coronavirus is hoping to raise funds through an open gardens event this spring and summer.

Since January, volunteers from St John Ambulance have been helping to deliver vaccines and assistance at Castle Quarter vaccination centre in Norwich.

Georgina Holloway, St John Ambulance county president said: "St John Ambulance have led the way with volunteering at the Castle Quarter vaccination centre - we have a pool of 201 trained vaccinators, 43 care volunteers and 23 patient advocates, who have been in position since January.

"We badly need your support in 2021 so please help us raise money by visiting some of these lovely gardens in Norfolk.

"Raising £100 could give a new volunteer first aid skills to support their community, £300 could help equip an ambulance with essential kit and £500 would support the future of the charity beyond the current crisis.

"Last year we were badly hit by the weather and by lockdown restrictions and only managed to get two of the eight planned events on, a snowdrop walk in spring and an event in September at which everyone was so understanding with marshals at pinch points helping everyone stick to the routes.

"Most of the money we raise will stay in Norfolk and help people in Norfolk. Some of the money will also go to our continuing support of the Eye Hospital in Jerusalem."

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Open garden dates for 2021 are:

The gardens at Sheringham Hall

The gardens at Sheringham Hall - Credit: Submitted

Saturday, April 17,12pm-5pm
Sheringham Hall, Upper Sheringham, NR26 8TB

The house was designed by Humphry Repton and was one of his favourites but the walled garden had become derelict by the end of the 20th century.

Restoration began in 2003 and has been developed enormously by the present owners.

The glass houses and cold frames have been rebuilt, the orchards replanted, enclosed spaces made by planting hedges and new herbaceous borders added to the designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd’s original plans. 

Adults £6; Children free. No Dogs.

Photos: Chestnut Farm and Raveningham Hall. NGS open gardens scheme. Pictures: NGS

Chestnut Farm - Credit: Archant

Sunday, May 16,11am-5pm
Chestnut Farm, West Beckham, Holt, NR25 6NX

A three acre garden with plants gathered together during the past 50 years and more being added annually with many rare and unusual species.

The formal Fountain garden is informally planted with cottage garden plants  and purple alliums with bulbs, whilst a stroll through the old paddock will show off the collection of shrubs and trees forming a small arboretum, many of which will be in blossom and giving a wonderful scent. 

Adults £6; Children free, dogs on leads welcome

Cavick House

Cavick House - Credit: Submitted

Sunday, May 23,12pm-5pm
Cavick House, Cavick Road, Wymondham, NR18 9PJ

A walled garden of about 1.5 acres encloses a 17th century parterre and 18th century pleasure garden although very little of the original planting remains.

In 1999 following five years of neglect, the garden was restored with hard and soft planting and the rebuilding of a 60 yard wide haha.

There is plenty of yew and box hedging, a lime walk, an orchard, shrub and flower beds, the whole surrounded by walls using recycled flint from the ruins of part of nearby Wymondham Abbey. This is a beautiful and peaceful garden which is a joy to visit in late spring.

Adults £5; Children free. No Dogs.

Litcham Hall gardens

Litcham Hall gardens - Credit: Submitted

Sunday May 30, 12pm-5pm
Litcham Hall, Litcham, PE32 2QQ

The hall, built in 1781, was bought by the present owners’ family in 1967 with dry and wet rot and death watch beetle well established and it took a year to make it habitable. In 1850 two wings were removed but were partially replaced in 2004. 

The house is surrounded by lawns and yew hedges and there is a small fountain with a half roundel of yew.

Beyond is the wild garden with mown paths through shrubs and mature trees with bulbs in the spring. There are two walled gardens, one now mainly fruit and vegetables and a small rose garden, the other is in two halves – a swimming pool in one and the Italian garden, so called because of the five fine Italian urns, in the other.

Adults £5; Children free. Dogs on leads welcome.

Thorpland Hall gardens

Thorpland Hall gardens - Credit: Submitted

Sunday, June 6, 12pm-5pm
Thorpland Hall, Fakenham, NR21 0HD

This beautiful and mature quintessential English garden is in a superb setting surrounding a fine Tudor house (not open) with the ruins of an old chapel in the grounds which amount to about six  acres.

There has been some recent replanting and the garden includes peony beds, herbaceous borders, lawns, a rose garden and a walled kitchen garden in full working order kept to a very high standard.

Walk to the small lake and nearby restored shepherd’s hut to appreciate the many interesting trees and shrubs. Thorpland is at its most glorious in June.
Adults £6; Children free. Guide Dogs only.

Sunday, July 4, 10.30am-4pm
The Bishop's Garden, Bishopgate, Norwich NR3 1SB

An ancient walled garden as old as the cathedral itself, parts of which still follow the original layout with the lawn revealing the shapes of Norman buildings during dry weather.

The general form was laid down about 300 years ago and has many hidden delights for visitors including large traditional herbaceous borders, a small woodland walk, boxed herb beds and a long shady border with hostas, mecanopsis, tree ferns and a boarded jungle walk.

There are extensive shrubberies with many rare and unusual plants including a Hebe planted from a sprig taken from Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet and a 400 year old pear tree. 

Please bring a picnic if you would like to.
Adults £5; Children free.

Bishop's Garden
Every year the Bishop of Norwich and his wife open their garden for local charities to use. It is an opportunity for local charities to raise money and for the public to visit this peaceful oasis in the middle of our fine city.

The first opening date is Sunday, April 18 and will raise money for the Diocese of Norwich’ Lent Appeal. The Lent Appeal this year is part of the Archbishop of Canterbury's 'Together in Unity' appeal to support churches and communities around the world during the pandemic. The initiative works to provide income support, facilities for basic hygiene, equipment to slow the spread of the virus and food security

Speaking about the appeal Bishop Graham said:   “I have been so inspired by the response of churches and individuals in our diocese during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Now I’m asking us all to turn our thoughts to our sisters and brothers in some of the poorest communities around the world by supporting this year’s Lent Appeal. The pandemic has put a great strain on those who are already vulnerable, and as usual, it is they who suffer most. I invite you to be Jesus’ hands and feet in offering assistance through the Archbishop’s Together in Unity Appeal.”

Admission to the garden for this event will be free, though donations for the appeal would be greatly appreciated. There will also be the opportunity to purchase plants and honey using a contactless card, or ‘cash in bucket’, system.

Social distancing, a one-way system and hand sanitising will all be observed on the day and numbers will be strictly limited. There will be gaps for the Bishop’s House team to clean chairs and handrails.

Unfortunately, no catering will be provided but visitors are welcome to bring your own picnic. Based on the current government plans for that period picnics must be limited to six people or two households.

To book your tickets please visit:

The garden will also be open over 10 weekends later in the summer to support local charities; find more information at

These plans are subject to change depending on coronavirus restrictions at the time.

Dates and times the Bishop's Garden is open during 2021.

25 April – Norwich Samaritans

9 May – St Martin’s Housing Trust

16 May – The Matthew Project

23 May – It’s on the Ball

6 June – Home-Start Norfolk

13 June – Headway

4 July – St John Ambulance

11 July – National Garden Scheme

18 July – East Anglian Air Ambulance

1 August – TimeNorfolk

8 August – Norwich Puppet Theatre

19 September – Norfolk Wildlife Trust Bioblitz Day