The 160 acres of Hedingham Castle’s grounds provide some wonderful spaces for the perfect family day out in Essex. Classic landscaped beauty side by side with wild and rugged woodland make for wonderful walks with plenty of room for private picnics among the rhododendrons or in the shade of the trees by the lake. There’s a Café with great coffee and cakes and locally sourced light snacks.
Over the Tudor bridge, the Castle’s keep towers over the inner Bailey, its massive, 110 feet high walls a testament to Norman power in a conquered country. There’s a lot to see here, from the Tapestry Room on the ground floor, which was completely transformed in 2016 and now provides a unique space for banquets and events, to the splendour of the Banqueting Floor where Henry VIII and Elizabeth I once dined under an arch the like of which cannot be found outside a cathedral anywhere in Northern Europe. Explore the Minstrels’ Gallery where it’s still possible to run your fingers over the original decorative wall carvings, still the epitome of style, grace and great wealth. Four fascinating floors linked by a spiral staircase take you back in time to another age.
From the classic grandeur of the Georgian Mansion House overlooking the landscaped beauty of the formal gardens and eighteenth-century dovecote, to the wild areas of woodland and the staggering earthworks of the original defences, the gardens of Hedingham Castle are a feast for the senses and the imagination alike. In February swathes of snowdrops blanket the moat, and in May bluebells and rhododendrons provide spectacular contrasts of colour and shape. There’s a bog garden, mature trees and lawns running down to the lake; no matter what the time of year, there’s always something wonderful to see.