East Ruston Old Vicarage is a must visit for visitors to Norfolk. However please don’t do what we did and arrive before opening time (a leisurely 2pm) in desperate need of tea / coffee / any old caffienne, having been victim of a powercut at our rented cottage. Sad, desperate times they were.
We detoured to the beach for a few hours before returning and I am pleased to report that they serve tea and we cleaned them out of savoury bakes. I was also very happy to meet their gang of lhasa apsos who were hanging about the cafe area, presumably trying to nick cake crumbs.
The gardens are lovely. You must pick up the booklet while there as the illustrated map of the grounds is a nice keepsake and extremely helpful in guiding you around.
The garden is made up of many ‘rooms’, some of which have been positioned to ‘borrow’ a view from a distant landmark. One of the most stunning has to be the framed view of the Happisburgh Lighthouse from the Winter Garden. So difficult to photograph and one that really must be seen in person (an image can be seen here). My other favourite thing about this garden was the glasshouses. Er, again no pictures. Clearly we were too busy enjoying these lovely things! One housed a beautiful climbing rose and the scent was just incredible as you walked inside.
They also have a nicely stocked nursery area where you can purchase plants. Must be a lovely place for locals to come and stock up.East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens / Closes for winter on 26 October / Opening times: 2 – 5.30pm