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Suffolk Tours - Gardens & Gallopers

From carousels to castles, steam railways, WWII heritage sites and windmills, from vineyards to glorious gardens, this is a tour which really has something for everyone and is sure to set you in a spin. Pedal up through timeless Suffolk villages to the Norfolk border and Bressingham’s world-renowned gardens, steam museum and ‘Dad’s Army’ collection. Take in wartime airfields full of heroic tales, and colleges, ‘crinkle-crankle’ and curtain walls, brimming with right royal stories. Perhaps even celebrate your discoveries with a glass of ‘Frampagne’ at vineyards near Framlingham Castle, before enjoying more majestic borderlands – colourful cottage gardens and Helmingham Hall’s huge herbaceous flowerbeds .

Tour details

Tour Name
Gardens & Gallopers
Tour Reference
4C
Tour Duration
4 days and 3 nights
Start Day
Any Day
Tour Grade
2-3
Board Basis
Bed & Breakfast
Price
From £325 to £341 per person
Accommodation

is located near Needham Market, in Rickinghall near Diss and in Framlingham. Selected properties include either a 4 or 5 star guest house, a country inn and an old coaching inn which is now a 2 star hotel. We are pleased to discuss details on request.

Tour at a Glance

A super Suffolk tour with lots of variety that’s sure to give you a real taste to return. From Needham Market’s River Gipping, pedal up to the Waveney Valley where there are steam trains to ride on around Bressingham’s famous gardens, then check out historic airfield sites, plus colleges and castles at Wingfield and Framlingham. Enjoy cottage gardens, fine flint churches and moated Tudor mansions like Helmingham Hall, as you cycle quiet lanes through Suffolk’s gentle countryside.        

Availability
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Itinerary

Day One - Arrive & explore
Arrive at Needham Market, explore the area and spend your first night in or near this small market town. Optional circular cycle routes are available on this day, if you'd like to get straight in the saddle and enjoy the ride.  

Day Two – Great village greens & glorious gardens
Cycle along pretty Suffolk lanes through charming rural villages to Thornham Magna, once home to Tudor ‘Major House’, later to become Regency ‘Thornham Hall’. Parts of the estate still remain, with walks through the arboretum and nuttery  to the original walled garden.

Nearby Thornham Parva has an awesome thatched pre-Conquest church with rare early wallpaintings and a magnificent altar piece. On across England's largest village green (stretching 2 miles) at Mellis, and over the Norfolk border to Bressingham, famous for its landscaped gardens and superb display of herbaceous plants and heathers. Stroll through the gardens or see them from the narrow gauge steam railways, part of the fascinating steam museum which also boasts vintage vehicles and popular sets from  the TV series Dad’s Army.

Your overnight is in a comfortable historic inn at Rickinghall near Diss, a village split in two (Rickinghall Superior / Inferior – meaning upper and lower!) and joined at the hip with the ancient trading town of Botesdale.
Mileage: Rec 34 Min 20 Max 35

Day Three – Flying through history from control towers to castles
Nip into Norfolk for a short while today to spot a museum housed in the former control tower of a WWII American airbase. Across the River Waveney, country lanes lead even further back in time at Wingfield, home to a former chantry college and church with magnificent Plantagenet tombs.

Beyond the vast village common you can just see the crenulations of its castle, but a few miles down the road past Saxtead Green’s restored post mill, there’s a huge 12th century curtain-wall castle and earthworks to explore with magnificent views across a mere to Victorian gothic Framlingham College – a school that looks just a bit like Hogwarts!

Your hotel – an historic coaching inn, now a hotel – is by the market square and is sure to serve up lots of local produce, although you might prefer to sit and sip a glass of ‘Frampagne’ at nearby Shawsgate Vineyard, just a short bike ride away.

For those looking for a longer ride and a deeper delve into history, there is scope to pedal further towards Woodbridge by the River Deben and visit the ancient ship burial mound country of Sutton Hoo.
Mileage: Rec 31 Min 25 Max 42

Day Four – A colourful route homeward
Today you'll travel through Easton, home of what was, at one time, the longest 'crinkle-crankle' wall in the world. Built around the estate of the Hamilton family – one of whom claimed to be the legitimate King of Scotland – the Queen Anne hall is sadly no more, but you can visit Easton Farm Park - a model farm with a unique Victorian dairy.

Across the gently rolling countryside there’s a fine Elizabethan moated hall to spot across the deer park at Helmingham, but its gardens steal the show.   Stop perhaps for a cream tea? Finally on your way back to Needham Market and the River Gipping, pedal through the unassuming historic village of Coddenham, once a fine medieval manor and home to one of East Anglia’s most significant Roman settlements.
Mileage: Rec 22 Min 22 Max 32

Please note that some attractions / places described on our recommended routings may be seasonal, or only open on certain days of the week. To avoid disappointment, please always check with us to ensure that they are open on the day of your planned visit.  

  

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