Walsham le Willows Open Gardens Weekend to take place at the end of August

Sunflowers in cottage garden - Open Gardens Day, Walsham le Willows. Photo: John Stebbing

The Walsham le Willows Open Gardens Weekend will be celebrating its 42nd year on Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday, August 25 and 26.

It claims to be one of the best, longest-running and most successful event of its kind in the East England and probably the rest of the country.

There will be 35 plus gardens and spaces this year and range from large to minuscule and a traffic island planted to celebrate the 40th year. Each one makes a unique contribution to this wonderful event.

The charge this year is £8 per person and if you can’t get around it all on the first day then you can  come back on the second day for free. 

Organisers will negotiate a lower cost for groups and children under 16 years old can come in for free.

The organisation is so well established in the Walsham year that a Charitable Trust has been created and now has the title of The Walsham Le Willows Open Gardens Trust with the charity number 147893.

The weekend relies on the hard work of lots of people and this year again there will be over 250 local people involved in some way or another; the garden owners, the people who bake, the catering teams around the village, the car parking teams and many more. 

Funds raised are for village causes and most importantly for the maintenance of the fabric of the village’s church.

So far over £300,000 (index-linked) has been raised for St Mary’s the Virgin and it remains a magnificent example of a typical 15th Century East Anglian Church and worth a visit in its own right. 

Visitors don’t only come for the gardens, however lovely. They appreciate the calm and serenity of the village and listen to music- this year from the Arcadian Recorder Consort, the Breckland Brass Band, the Gislingham Silver Band … all at the Memorial Village Hall. 

There is a Village Market in the yard of Clarkes of Walsham where people can enjoy and sample the fruit and crafts of the Suffolk countryside.

There is also an Arts Sale and Floral Art in the church with musical entertainment from Angels Delight, a harp and flute duo, together with organists playing the recently restored organ.

Refreshments will be available at the Memorial Village Hall and the Priory Room, where light snacks, lunches, teas and cakes are provided by the folk of the village. 

There is a BBQ and Pizza experience in Garden No9 together with a licensed bar and also a display of vintage and classic cars on both days.

John Stebbing, the secretary of the Open Gardens Trust and a member of the organising committee, said: “A lot of work by a lot of people has gone into making the Walsham Open Gardens event the success that it has been over the years and we thank them for all their efforts again this year.

“it’s a lovely day out and in these difficult times we don’t think you will get better value for money, especially as we have managed to keep the entrance charge to £8 a head and that gives access on both days.

“Where in East Anglia can you have two full days out for such a small amount. We hope that the sun shines and that our visitors, some who have been before and some who will be new to Walsham, will have a brilliant time in our lovely village.”

For more details visit the website www.walsham-le-willows.org/annual-events/open-gardens/

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