Blooming marvellous: Stody Lodge invites visitors on tour of normally private gardens

The vibrant colours on display at Stody Lodge Gardens. Picture: Steven Brooks

The vibrant colours on display at Stody Lodge Gardens. Picture: Steven Brooks - Credit: Steven Brooks

It is widely believed to be the largest single planting of vividly coloured azalea mollis in the country.

The Azalea Water Gardens at Stody Lodge, near Holt, boasts over 2,000 azalea mollis plants across two acres, filled with meandering waterways, gravel paths and bridges.

And the public are being invited to visit the normally private grounds every Sunday in May to help raise money for charity.

London architect Walter Sarel was commissioned to design Stody Lodge and its gardens in 1932 by the 1st Viscount Rothermere, the British newspaper proprietor and founder of the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror.

The gardens' original design have been protected as much as possible whilst developing new areas, deepening the herbaceous borders and adding interest around the lodge.

The open days begin with the popular Stody 'Kids for Kids' Family Fun Day on Sunday, May 7. Among the attractions will be The Norwich and District Kid & Goatling Show, a fun dog show, face painting, petting zoo and a dastardly treasure hunt to test the wiliest of pirates.

There will also be fun games on the lawn and delicious homemade teas by the Holt Youth Project. An exhibition of the finalists of The Stody 'Young Talent' Awards will also be on show.

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In addition, a selection of beautiful outdoor sculptures by the award-winning artist, Tom Hiscocks, will also be on show. His stunning sculptures have been exhibited in solo and shared exhibitions across the UK and Europe and his appears in private and public collections across Europe and America.

Stody Lodge Gardens is open to the public every Sunday afternoon in May, from 1pm to 5pm, and the second Bank Holiday Monday, May 29. Private groups are welcome midweek by appointment.

Entrance is priced £6 and children under 12 go free. Dogs welcome. Homemade teas will be served in aid of local charities.

Money raised will help support Tapping House, Heritage House, St Johns Ambulance, Thornage Hall, The Benjamin Foundation, North Norfolk Radio's Kids Trust, The Norfolk & Norwich Association for the Blind, The Holt Youth Project, Stody and Hunworth Village Room and St Andrew's Church, Holt.

For all opening times and visitor information, visit: http://www.stodyestate.co.uk/stody-lodge-gardens/

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