Open Gardens

Open Gardens

Virtual Open Gardens 2020 | Video & Gallery | Parking and Facilities | Entrance Charge | Usual Programme & Attractions | Sponsors | History of Event | Contacts

28th & 29th August 2022
40th Anniversary Celebration

Find out how you can help


For the last 40 years, on the Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday of August the Suffolk village of Walsham le Willows opens its garden gates to the public as part of the quintessential English summer event, an Open Gardens Weekend.

The weekend is not just about the 30 or so gardens (40 in this anniverssary year) but also live music, art exhibitions, a farmers market, craft stalls and plant stalls and of course, delicious refreshments in two venues, the Memorial Hall and the Priory Room where wonderful light snacks, lunches, teas and cakes, including the famous meringues, are provided by people from the village.

Visitors come not only for the gardens but also the appreciation of the calm and serenity that is created by the event over the two days.


It was with great regret that, owing to the Covid-19 lockdown, the Gardens Weekend Committee had to cancel both the 2020 and 2021 Walsham Gardens Weekends one of which was to have been the 40th. The event has been cancelled only once before the 2020/2021 cancellations, again due to circumstances beyond the control of the committee.

But a ‘virtual’ substitute was created to keep you going until 2022 when the committee and the village will welcome visitors again to enjoy the atmosphere of the real event.

“…we had heard about Walsham but never been.  We will be back next year…”

Walsham-le-Willows open-gardens. Visitors enjoying one of the gardens.
visitors to willow cottage garden

Virtual Open Gardens 2020

Click on any title to visit one of the 16 open gardens

“…we go to a lot of open gardens events and this is the best…”

Parking and Facilities

Car parking for the event is well signed and is immediately opposite the church.  The main car park often fills up in which case you will be directed to a neighbouring field. Both car parks are well signed and attended. There is also ample parking for coaches on hard standing, although if you are planning a coach party we would welcome call in advance so that we can make suitable arrangements.  There is no separate charge for car parking, the only charge being the entry ticket.

Parking for disabled people is available and clearly marked in the car park of the Village Memorial Hall.

Refreshments and toilets are available on arrival at the Priory Room, opposite the Main Car park and the Village Memorial Hall, next to the Bowling Green and in garden 5.  There is also a separate toilet outside the Primary School.

The Gardens MiniBus Service travels around the village on both days.  The service will run from 10:45 until 18:00 for those who would like a bit of help getting around all the gardens.   The bus makes regular circuits of the village. It’s free and available to anyone – just wave it down and get on and then be dropped off at the next garden.

Native British Orchid
Cirsium vulgare Trevor’s Blue Wonder

Entrance Charge

The entrance charge for the weekend is £8 per person with children under 16 free of charge and this will enable you to come on both days if you wish to do so.

The entrance fee includes copy of our detailed programme of events during the two days and:
• Entrance to all gardens
• Entrance to all other events
• Free parking and free travel on the village bus.

gift aid it logo

*To enable GIFT AID to be claimed the entrace charge includes a voluntary contribution of 10%. Please make sure you sign a GIFT AID form on arrival.

Alternatively, visitors can elect to pay the standard entrance fee £7.25.

Aquilegia Sweet Rainbow
Image of old fashioned pink rose against glossy green foliage
Rosa ‘Albertine’
Penstemon ‘Sour Grapes’

Usual Programme of Events & Attractions

11 am to 6pm both days unless otherwise indicated
Flower festival arrangement for Walsham-le-Willows Open Gardens Weekend

Floral Displays on a theme, Bell Ringing Demonstrations, Art Exhibition and Sale

At St Mary’s Church

Music in the Church
12.30pm – 4.30pm – Various Guest Organists
6.30pm – 7.30pm – Songs of Praise
11.30am – 4.30pm – Various Guest Organists

Music in the Village – Memorial Hall Car Park

Sunday 2.00pm – 4.00pm – Breckland Brass Band
Monday 2.00pm – 4.00pm – The Gislingham Silver Band

Walsham Open Gardens Weekend, Church Barn Indoor Market Stall

Village Market

Both days in Church Barn opposite the church in The Causeway.

Always a variety of stalls and exhibitors, including plant stalls, gift stalls, craft stalls.

Vintage Market – Garden no.3

High quality Vintage clothes, linen, and china as well as a small display of vintage/classic vehicles. Some of the proceeds of sales will be donated to The British Heart Foundation and The Suffolk Accident Rescue Service.

plate of dood from walsham open gardens weekend

Lunches, Teas and Refreshments

Memorial Hall and Priory Room from 10.30 am

“…the best meringues in Suffolk…
“…we had a lovely lunch in the village hall and it’s such good value…”

BBQ Walsham-le-Willows Open Gardens

Barbecue and Pizzas

in Garden No.6.

Available on both days along with homemade Fresh Pizza from a wood fired clay Pizza Oven.

Traditional meats from our very own village butcher, Rolfe’s of Walsham.

Come and enjoy the banter of our chefs and bar stewards.

“much credit must go to your entertaining staff. I haven’t enjoyed my lunch so much in years ! It’s lovely to see traditional values with a real ambience of a traditional summer fare!”

walsham le willows history group logo

Walsham History Group

Info & Publications

Walsham le Willows Memorial Hall

Visit the Memorial Hall Garden and Morahill Nursery

The nursery will be selling herbaceous plants on the hall green.

The Suffolk Wildlife Trust and the Stowmarket Beekeepers Association

Selling honey, beeswax furniture polish and cream. They will also have a demonstration beehive to view and beekeeping equipment for you to handle at stalls outside the Memorial Hall.

Allotments Association Pimms and Produce Tent

Garden 19 – Both days between 12:00 and 16:00 Freshly grown produce whilst supplies last.

Vintage 1933 Rolls Royce

Vintage Rolls Royce Tour

2017 brought the opportunity to tour the village in style.  Trips around the village in a vintage 1933 Rolls Royce 20/25 with Park Ward coachwork.

Tours start and finish in garden No. 6 | £5 per tour for a maximum of four people. All the proceeds will go to the Gardens Weekend.

Open Gardens Sponsors

Ashwell ConstructionBedfords Estate AgentsClarkes of Walsham
CoolTechCriterion IcesEquus Environmental
Equus Environmental Microcide Ltd Lovell
Miles Drainage Pollard and Co. Premier Printers Ltd
Robins Row Rolfes of Walsham The Six Bells
Walsham Community Council Wyken Vineyards
Dahlia ‘Trebbiano’
paeony bowl of beauty
Paeony Bowl of Beauty
Buddleia ‘Buzz’ with feeding Red Admiral

History of Event


The Walsham-le-Willows Open Gardens Weekend can certainly claim to be one of the best, longest running and most successful Open Gardens events in East Anglia and probably the country.

aquilegia sp

The idea for the Open Gardens in Walsham was first suggested by the then vicar of St Mary’s Church, the Rev. John Rutherford but credit for the ongoing developments of the Open Gardens event must be given to the late Hilary Russell, a plantswoman whose extraordinary energy and leadership is looked upon as being the reason why so many visitors now come to Walsham le Willows on the Sunday and Monday of the August Bank Holiday.

photograph of white flower head, flushed pink, of Hydrangea paniculata 'vanille fraise'

Over the years many people have dedicated a lot of time to oragnising the event but former chairman Robin Newell deserves a special mention for his untiring efforts and organisational ability. He has now handed the mantle to Collen Baker who has served on the committee for many years. The late Dr Alec Russell gave so much help to his wife and who was the original Chairman of the organising committee, also deserves a mention. But the weekend relies on the hard work of many people and every year there are over 200 are involved in one way or another to pull everything together.

close up photograph of viola flower

Funds raised at the Open Gardens are for village causes and most importantly the maintenance of the fabric of St. Mary’s Church, a magnificent example of a typical 15th Century East Anglian Church and worth a visit in its own right. So far over £120,000 has been raised by Open Gardens for the church.


email John Stebbing (Secretary)
2 Vine Cottages
The Street
Walsham le Willows
Suffolk  IP31 3AZ
01359 259 061 / 07831 325 610

Sempervivum sp
Sempervivum sp
Sempervivum sp [? tectorum]

Visit some other open gardens events, find more at

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