Just outside of Bury St Edmunds you can find the ancient estate of Wyken, boasting all that is wonderful about Suffolk; country lanes, hedgerows, patchwork fields and woodlands.
Wyken is a 1200-acre farm which includes a 7-acre vineyard producing award-winning wines, a restaurant and cafe, shop, gardens and a weekly farmers market. The vineyards were first planted in 1988 on a south facing slope. Vineyards are not typical to Suffolk, but thrive on the sandy loam over chalk. On average some 12,000 bottles a year are produced and are sold through the restaurant and shop. You are able to walk to the vineyards through the meadows and woodlands that dominate this area.
The gardens are a real wow factor at Wyken, and wrap around the striking red Elizabethan manor house. The gardens consist of formal gardens crammed with topiary, herbs, roses, box, fruit trees, and you’re likely to spot meandering peacocks, guinea fowl and chickens.
High summer brings the garden to its best, where the the old-fashioned Rose Garden is full of blossom and glorious scent. Bountiful rose bushes are nestled amongst delphiniums and a wide range of perennials.
The bees were certainly kept busy.
As the wild flower meadows reach their peak, the white water lilies appear on the pond.
The perfect reading spot:
The gorgeous blue paint features in many places around the house and gardens, such as on these fantastic rocking chairs.
The formal gardens lead onto the kitchen garden, where some of the vegetables and herbs are grown for the restaurant. It is beautifully laid out, and an inspiration for any aspiring vegetable grower!
It’s here where you’ll find many of Wyken’s feathery friends.
After an enjoyable stroll around the gardens, we sat down to have lunch in the cafe. I have heard great things about the highly regarded Leaping Hare restaurant, but we decided to go for the lighter option of the cafe and sit outside. The restaurant and cafe aims to source all of their ingredients as locally as possible. The majority come from within a five mile radius: lamb and beef from neighbouring farms; venison, pheasant, partridge and other game from the estate. The Leaping Hare boasts a five star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
The food was beautifully presented, tasty and fresh. I think this lady was hoping for some leftovers – unfortunately for her there was none!
Neighbouring the Leaping Hare is the Country Store stocks carefully curated homewares, gifts and clothes, and a lovely book selection with comfy armchairs that beckon you to curl up with a book for the afternoon. Every saturday there is a farmers market on site supporting local farmers, producers, bakers and makers.
The attention to detail at Wyken is exceptional, and everything here is done in beautiful taste; it is a place to come to be inspired.
For opening hours and more details – http://www.wykenvineyards.co.uk