The Blickling Estate in Norfolk

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I am a bit behind.  We visited Blickling months ago on our Norfolk trip and I am trying to remember, beyond these few images, what it was like and what I thought.

One thing I could never forget, however, were the clipped yew hedges.  They would have to be my absolute favourite thing about the property.  And maybe the topiary.  But mostly the hedges, which look straight out of a children’s book, with gateways to unseen sections of garden.  There are some wonderful photos here of the annual trim and which show a better sense of their scale and form.

Usually my favourite thing about estate gardens is the kitchen garden.  Perhaps because we can relate to it the most, being mainly vegetable growers. The walled kitchen garden at Blickling has great potential but it wasn’t exactly aspirational, even looking a little rough round the edges when we visited.  I am not someone who looks for perfection, I find it a little boring, but there was something about it which just seemed unloved.

The house, like all National Trust properties, is very impressive and was once home to Anne Boleyn.  Apparently it is considered the most haunted house in Britain.  A truly bizarre thing to relate to when you visit on a cheerful day in late summer.

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East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norfolk

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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.

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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.

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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.

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East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens / Closes for winter on 26 October / Opening times: 2 – 5.30pm

British Workwear: Old Town Clothing

I came across Norfolk’s Old Town Clothing on pinterest: someone had pinned one of the above ‘small trades’ photographs and I was intrigued. I shouldn’t have clicked, because I then spent far too much time devouring their website and googling them. They make really attractive, nostalgic workwear clothing from British fabrics.  They say on their website:

To the casual observer Old Town might appear to be simply an exercise in nostalgia, but we hope that the discerning might notice that the garments are essentially useful items with reference points and influences from past costume. In much the same way as today’s townscape is made of elements from different periods, we attempt in a simple way, to play with the notion of Now and Then.

There is a great interview with co-founder Will Brown here and I particularly recommend viewing their lookbook, Piccadilly Pleasures. I am pretty sure I am going to have to order the Jaywick dress, pictured below.