A two day trip to the Cambridgeshire/Suffolk borders resulted in a visit to the delightful Chippenham Park, near Ely, Cambridgshire. This privately owned property is open on selected days throughout the year and offers spectacular grounds with beautiful walkways through woodland and formal gardens. Dotted around the grounds are a great many sculptures and there are surprises at every turn. Our February visit was to view the great drifts of snowdrops and aconites and we were not disappointed.
SWEEPING LAWNS AND A CARPET OF COLOUR
Sweeping lawns were literally carpeted with white and yellow with further blankets of snowdrops in the wooded areas. Chippenham Park features several canals and lakes reflecting the beauty of the trees planted nearby. The formal gardens with clipped hedges looked fabulous in the frosty morning, and the former kitchen garden has a quiet beauty of it’s own in the winter light. The park is open on selected days throughout the year, and The Potting Shed cafe and tearoom within the grounds is a perfect place to recharge your batteries. Chippenham Park also has a wedding licence, enabling couples to tie the knot in style, before celebrating in the marquee beside the lake.
The well known National Trust property, Anglesey Abbey, also in Cambridgeshire, is nearby and it’s popularity means it is certainly on the map for a great many garden visitors. The large carpark was packed and there were visitors everywhere enjoying the winter sunshine and the specially planted Winter Garden, designed to give colour and contrast during winter months gives a spectacular display of grasses and tactile bark amid the bright stems of Cornus Alba, or dogwood. The tea rooms at Anglesey Abbey are so popular they have added a marquee to accommodate the great many customers they receive on a daily basis!
THE PACKHORSE INN- A BIT OF A TREAT
An overnight stay just over the border at Moulton, Suffolk completed our visit at the recommended Packhorse Inn. This stylish Suffolk inn defies pigeon-holing into the classification of pub, hotel or restaurant and is a great place to unwind and enjoy really excellent food by chef Chris Lee with good front of house service from his wife Hayley and her team. The rooms are superbly comfortable and beautifully decorated, as is the downstairs pub and restaurant.
This part of England is so marvellously unspoiled with a great many gardens and beautiful villages to explore, we hope to return to write about other lesser known gardens later in the year.