Take a look inside some of Suffolk's most stunning private gardens

Bridge House which is part of Chelsworth Open Gardens

Bridge House which is part of Chelsworth Open Gardens - Credit: Danielle Booden

Temperatures hit record highs last weekend, with scores of people taking to the great outdoors to enjoy some of the wonderful sights of Suffolk.

With sunny climes due again this weekend, why not take the chance to visit one of the oldest charity open garden events in the country?

Chelsworth Open Gardens has been running for over 50 years.

Hope Cottage 

Hope Cottage - Credit: Danielle Booden

Hope Cottage which is part of Chelsworth Open Gardens

Hope Cottage which is part of Chelsworth Open Gardens - Credit: Danielle Booden

Considered by many to be one of the most picturesque places in Suffolk due its old, timbered houses, the village's gardens have been revered by visitors from far and wide since the event began five decades ago. 

“The event was started in 1967 by the late Richard Britten who came to live in the village in the mid-1960s, and we were the first village in the country to have multiple gardens open on the same day,” explains Chelsworth resident and event organiser Sir Gerald Howarth.  

“It’s since become quite the event in the local calendar. And this year, we have 25 gardens opening out of about 70 – so more than a third.” 

Chelsworth – which has a population of around 120 people – is expecting around 1,500 visitors to flock to the open gardens.

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All of the gardens, which are within a short stroll of one another, are in full bloom, featuring a variety of plants, shrubs, flowers, and greenery that showcase the best of English horticulture.  

Church View which is part of Chelsworth Open Gardens this year

Church View which is part of Chelsworth Open Gardens this year - Credit: Danielle Booden

Bridge House

Bridge House - Credit: Danielle Booden

Gardens vary, and include both huge and formal rolling green spaces, as well as tiny cottage plots. Many boast features such as water gardens, walled gardens, butterfly meadows, and vegetable plots. Visitors can also cast their eyes on flowers as such tall stately delphiniums, hollyhocks, which are currently looking their best.

The event costs £7 per person, and funds raised from the day will go towards the upkeep of Chelsworth’s All Saints church which dates back to the medieval period.  

Princhetts which is part of Chelsworth Open Gardens

Princhetts which is part of Chelsworth Open Gardens - Credit: Danielle Booden

“I think the most we’ve raised is £15,000, which was when we last held the event in 2019,” adds Gerald.  

As well as perusing the gardens, visitors to Chelsworth can picnic by the River Brett or in the community woodland. Refreshments will be served in some of the gardens, and a number of stalls will be on the village green. There will also be flowers and music in the church.  

Chelsworth resident Alison Russell from Tudor Cottage. She will be taking part in Chelsworth Open Gardens this weekend

Chelsworth resident Alison Russell from Tudor Cottage. She will be taking part in Chelsworth Open Gardens this weekend - Credit: Danielle Booden

“Last year, we thought about running it but the village decided we couldn’t take the risk. So we’re incredibly excited to be back this year. It involves a huge amount of effort not only from the individual gardens but also organising car parking, refreshments, liaising with the authorities and so on. It’s an immense amount of work for 120 villagers but everybody really loves it,” adds Gerald.  

Leonora Gardner from Hope Cottage

Leonora Gardner from Hope Cottage - Credit: Danielle Booden

Chelsworth Open Gardens will take place on Sunday, June 26, between 11am and 5pm. Free parking is available throughout the village. Entry is £7 per adult, and children go for free.  

To find out more, visit chelsworth.org.uk