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10 Places to Explore at a Distance

There are plenty of places to enjoy the great outdoors here in Bury St Edmunds

National Trust Ickworth House, Park & Gardens

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Set among 1,800 acres of majestic Suffolk parkland, National Trust Ickworth House, Park & Gardens is part of an estate dating back to 1702.

The huge site allows for families to move around together, making the most of the varied walks and keeping a safe distance from others, all whilst enjoying the wildlife and hidden twists and turns of this grand estate.

Ickworth is a marvelous place for a dog walk and a picnic. You can also choose from a range of drinks, sandwiches, freshly baked cakes and ice creams available on site.

Nowton Park

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Picturesque Nowton Park is a fantastic place to wander through 200 acres of landscaped Suffolk Countryside. You can explore the arboretum, which is home to many species of trees from around the world and can get lost in the mysterious maze.

Twitchers will enjoy looking for feathered friends in the bird feeding area, which is frequented by woodland birds such as the blue, great and long tailed tit, nuthatch and great spotted woodpecker.

There are many strange curiosities in the park, such as the 10.8m high totem pole and a dragon carved from a Cedar tree that was struck by lightening.

There's a play area and café, for takeaways.

West Stow Country Park

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West Stow Country Park features 125 acres of wood and heathlands, a river and lake and is the location of one of Britain’s greatest archaeological sites. Step back in time to see how our ancestors lived, in a fascinating recreation of an Anglo Saxon Village.

Head to the country park to explore the children’s adventure playground and take a stroll around the picturesque grounds, keeping an eye out for wildlife in the hides.

Abbey Gardens

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The peaceful Abbey Gardens are a tranquil setting for quiet contemplation, as well as offering a delightful stroll through the formal gardens and herb garden, along the River Lark and past the 11th century Benedictine monastery. There is also an aviary and children’s play area.

Take advantage of two new hard tennis courts available to hire for £5 per hour, if booked ahead of time; the perfect excuse to get up and active outdoors.

Hardwick Heath

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Expansive Hardwick Heath offers 55 acres of wide-open parkland and is perfect for a long dog walk as canine companions are allowed off the lead to run free through the grass. Children can run around too, and burn off all that built up energy, whilst enjoying the fresh air and wooded areas.

There is a convenient car park, which is charged per hour, and eagle eyed folk might spot some rare flora and fauna including Aconites and Snowdrops, during their walk. Take a flask and get up early to enjoy a stunning pink and blue sunrise at the park.

Fullers Mill Garden

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The enchanting Fullers Mill Garden are a real treat for the senses, with seven acres of dappled woodland, unusual shrubs, perennials, lilies and marginal plants to peruse.

There is something to see all year round but the gardens are particularly captivating during the summer season, when everything is in bloom. There are so many little nooks and crannies to explore, with ponds and streams, wooded areas, walls, walkways and bridges.

Open 1 April to 31 October on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Clare Castle Country Park

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A short journey outside of Bury St Edmunds takes you to the town of Clare where visitors can make the most of a refreshing day out at Clare Castle Country Park which, as well as being a beautiful place for walks by the river Stour, is home to the remains of a 13th century flint castle set upon a 60 foot motte overlooking the town.

There are six circular walks to choose from, all starting from the park and taking you through glorious Suffolk countryside, past beautiful listed buildings. The walks range in distance from 2- 7 miles so there’s something for all levels of stamina.

You can get takeaway treats such as quiche, sandwiches, tea and cake Platform One Tearoom. Find a shady spot and enjoy your refreshments out in the open air.

Kentwell Hall Gardens

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Magnificent Kentwell Hall is a jewel in the crown of England’s Tudor houses and although at this time the house itself is not open, the gardens, which are a destination all of their own, are welcoming visitors on selected dates.

Take in the majestic parklands, idyllic moat- soon to be draped in roses, and topiary gardens. Look out for the Sculpted Tree, based on the tower of Babel, which is the UK’s single biggest wood carving.

The gardens are colourful and fresh, providing a spot of tranquility in an otherwise hectic world. Birdsong can be heard everywhere and the sweet smell of wildflowers rise up from the sunken garden to meet your nose.

There are refreshments available for visitors to take away, including sandwiches, sausage rolls and scotch eggs, as well as tea, coffee and cakes.

Long Melford Country Park

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There are some excellent walks that can be taken around Long Melford Country Park, with an abundance of wildlife on show and views of the Suffolk countryside for miles around. Families of swans reside in the waterways and well-behaved dogs can be brought here for a substantial walk.

There are picnic tables for use and public toilets.

Brandon Country Park

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The stunning Brandon Country Park on the Suffolk/Norfolk border is ripe for exploration and comprises open heathland, green forests and over 30 acres of parkland.

There’s so much to see and do in this wild landscape, perfect for rambling or cycling. Look out for the lawns, arboretum, ‘haunted’ mausoleum and historic walled garden.

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