Skip to content

Discover the garden at Oxburgh Estate

Exterior view of the Hall through the park at Oxburgh Estate Norfolk
Parterre at Oxburgh Estate in the autumn sun | © David Kirkham

The original garden at Oxburgh, created by the 6th Baronet during the Victorian period, has long since disappeared, however what you see today mirrors it. Wander along the colourful herbaceous border, discover what’s in season in the kitchen garden, and explore the less formal areas, including the Wilderness and My Lady’s Wood.

Kitchen Garden

This kitchen garden would have originally supplied the family. Today you'll find a wide array of heritage vegetables and fruit, and salad crops grown for you to enjoy and take home. Many of the fruit and vegetables are grown from seed and are heritage varieties, including skirret, a forgotten Tudor root vegetable that was often added to salads like spring onions. There is also a cut flower garden filled with Dahlias and Alstroemeria.

In a corner of the garden, you’ll find the glasshouse where some of our plant collection are grown and hosts our beautiful semi-tropical display. Re-built in 2010 by a group of volunteers to reflect an earlier Victorian glasshouse, rainwater from the roof now provides water for the beds and an energy saving air source heat pump heats the building.

The kitchen garden also has a potting shed which now hosts our second-hand bookshop.

Look out for the bell in the tower, but be warned as the old poem next to it reads, ‘if you ring this bell, the gardeners will come; should you ring in jest, then we hope you can run.’

Orchard

Within the orchard you’ll find fruit trees from around East Anglia, including heritage varieties from Norfolk. With the exception of a couple of older medlar and quince trees, the apple and pear trees are a recent addition, as work takes place to re-establish the orchard that once grew here.

The grass here is managed as a wildflower meadow and cut using the traditional method of scything – it’s at its best in June and July.

The Parterre

The Parterre, known by the family as the French Garden, was created for the 6th Baronet in 1848 following a trip to France. Traces of coal and cement suggest it was originally coloured with minerals as well as flowers, before being planted with potatoes during the Second World War to help with the war effort.

The Parterre Restoration

Every thirty or forty years, the Parterre needs a major refresh and replanting to keep it looking good. The Parterre was last completely refurbished in 1972, with smaller refreshes occurring since then. With the effects of climate change and the damaging effects of disease on the Parterre’s hedging, the time has come to carry out another major restoration of this wonderful garden feature.

An archaeological dig took place in April 2023 and in the summer a topographical survey will be carried out to help us accurately recreate the 19th century French design and correct levels within the Parterre and in the surrounding lawns.

Discovered items include pottery sherds which date back 200 years prior to when Oxburgh Hall was built, civil war pistol shot balls and the sill plate of an original house on the estate.

Once we know what the findings of the archaeology are, we will carry out works to restructure and resurface the pathways in the Parterre to reduce weed germination and protect the infrastructure of the 19th century French design.

Staff and volunteers will be excavating paths and relaying them with a new substrate and surface through autumn and winter 2023/4.

We expect the whole project to be completed by Spring 2026.

The Herbaceous Border

This long bed is planted in repeating patterns. A high hedge originally ran alongside the grass path and there were doors at either end. If the family story is true, it was used as a secret garden by Lady Augusta Bedingfeld, who could enjoy the colourful border unseen, while she was pregnant (which happened 11 times).

This border is currently seeing restoration works which includes a new archway in the hedge, creating a window with a view across the Parterre to the hall.

A woman with long black hair is tending to some plants in a walled garden on a sunny day. She is wearing a raincoat and has a smile on her face.
Farida Shirley, a volunteer at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk | © Farida Shirley/Oxburgh Hall

Wilderness

The Wilderness was created in deliberate contrast to the more formal gardens that immediately surrounded country houses. Just like other areas of the garden, this was also the vision of the 6th Baronet.

Here he used scented shrubs, evergreen planting and mature lime trees to help create a romantic illusion of an untamed landscape. Purposely designed not to be overlooked from the house, instead managed views create natural windows out across the parkland.

My Lady’s Wood

Similar to the Wilderness in its design, the 6th Baronet diverted part of the River Gadder through this area of woodland, which he named after his wife, Margaret.

The Victorians enjoyed hearing the sound of flowing water and so he built a summerhouse next to a flowing cascade, as a place to pause and listen. From here you can enjoy great views back towards the hall.

Silent Space

Silent Space is a not-for-profit initiative that creates opportunities for silent reflection in numerous green spaces in the UK.

They provide a reserved area for people to switch off from technology and to enjoy a moment of silence in the company of nature.

You can find Oxburgh’s Silent Space tucked away at the far end of the inviting Wilderness lime walk. A welcoming space for visitors to settle on a bench and tune into the birdsong, or just take a moment to relax, switch off and be present.

For more information, visit the Silent Space website.

Family having a picnic in the garden at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

Discover more at Oxburgh Estate

Find out when Oxburgh is open, how to get here, things to see and do and more.

You might also be interested in

Family playing in oak leaves in the park at Rufford Old Hall Lancashire
Article
Article

Family-friendly things to do at Oxburgh Estate 

Whether you're building a den, becoming a nature explorer or searching for secret doorways, Oxburgh has plenty to keep the whole family entertained.

A dog enjoying a winter walk in the grounds at Trelissick, Cornwall
Article
Article

Visiting Oxburgh Estate with your dog 

Oxburgh Estate is a two pawprint rated place. To help everyone have a fantastic time when you visit with your dog, we ask that you follow this guidance.

An image of the Drawing Room at Oxburgh Estate in Norfolk. Featuring furniture from the period, historic wallpaper and decoration
Article
Article

Visit the hall at Oxburgh 

Oxburgh has been home to the Bedingfelds for more than 500 years, and they still live within private apartments at Oxburgh today. Discover what you might see on your visit.

The Wilderness in autumn at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
Article
Article

Explore the estate at Oxburgh 

Oxburgh Estate is nestled on the edge of the Norfolk Brecks, where the land meets the wide-open Fenlands. Discover the wider parkland, and the wildlife that makes their home here.

Children enjoying hot drinks outside at Attingham Park, Shropshire.
Article
Article

Eating and shopping at Oxburgh Estate 

Enjoy something to eat and drink in the newly refurbished Servants' Hall tea-room or the Pantry café during your visit. You'll also find a shop and the Potting Shed second-hand bookshop.

Sunrise over Croome, Worcestershire

Gardens and parks 

From 18th-century water gardens and Arts and Crafts landscapes to intimate woodland gardens, there are so many places to discover.

A gardener tending to the borders at Kingston Lacy, Dorset

Gardening tips 

Discover our gardeners’ top tips so you can make the most of your garden, plot or window box.

Blickling Hall and Parterre garden autumn, Blickling Estate, Norfolk

Gardens in Norfolk 

In Norfolk, there are gardens showcasing the best of this season's plants and blooms. From kitchen gardens to glasshouses and parterres, find some inspiration for your own green space.