Why I Love Suffolk: Kate Elliott

Kate Elliott, head gardener at Columbine Hall

Kate Elliott, head gardener at Columbine Hall - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Memory

My fondest memory is going to Christchurch Park in Ipswich with my grandparents when I was a child. I have loved gardening from an early age so I really enjoyed exploring the picturesque grounds with the sweeping lawns, wooded areas, arboretum and ponds. And visiting Christchurch Mansion - the great Tudor house steeped in history with their fabulous art collection.

Beach

Walberswick has such a lovely unspoilt sand and shingle beach and takes you right past Walberswick nature reserve which has a range of habitats including reed beds and hay meadows.

Day Out/Attraction

I love visiting other gardens to get inspiration and we're so lucky to have such wonderful gardens to visit here in Suffolk. Helmingham Hall, Wyken Vineyards, Fullers Mill and Henstead Exotic Garden are my favourites. I always come back full of new ideas.

Places To Eat

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The Great Barn restaurant at Retreat East in Hemingstone is a fabulous place to eat and offers a real foodie experience with wonderful seasonal food. They do breakfast, lunch or dinner and have an organic kitchen garden with a wild flower meadow to enjoy whilst you are eating your meal.

Pub

The Four Horseshoes at Thornham Magna is a charming 12th century thatched pub with delicious home cooked food using local produce. It has the wonderful feature of a wishing well inside the pub and they also have a few antiques and paintings for sale. It has such a warm atmosphere and the staff are so welcoming and friendly.

Shop

The Country Store at Wyken Vineyards is one of my most favourite shops in Suffolk. It is full of beautiful things and has the most fabulous book room - I could spend hours in there. They also sell their own award-winning delicious wines. I visit it often.

Town/Village

Without Stowupland, I wouldn't have found or be doing my dream job of head gardener at Columbine Hall - a truly special place that I utterly adore.

Landmark

Saxstead Green Post Mill is a corn mill whose whole body revolves round on its base. Years ago, my grandfather made a wooden, working model of the mill which he gave to the owners as a gift. It sat in the grounds of Saxstead Mill for many years for visitors to enjoy.