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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Walker

Dreamy walks at Mannington Hall

Beautiful walks in Norfolk are one of my absolute favourite ways to spend my time. When we first moved here, one of the first things we bought was an OS map for our local area, and it's framed on the wall in our hallway. Whenever we look at planning a walk, the first thing we do is consult that map (and then google great stop off points for food and drink along the way). We've lived in our current house since June last year and we're still finding new, incredible walks to do every single day.

Sometimes though, it's really nice to not have to do the planning. I absolutely love my job, and planning Norfolk adventures that I can find, write about and share is a big part of it. So on a weekend, sometimes I don't want to have to plan. I want to just get in the car and go somewhere amazing where you're guaranteed a beautiful walk that's already curated for you and has literally everything you need for a gorgeous day out in nature, all in one place. That's why we love exploring all the beautiful country estates in Norfolk; they're a not having to plan dream!

So last week when Mannington Hall got in touch to invite us to explore their walks and gardens in advance of opening to the public for the season today, I literally did a little happy dance.

I'll be honest, Mannington Hall hadn't been on our radar before, despite being less than 30 minutes from our house. Now we've been though, I have a sneaky suspicion it might become our go to! Just outside of Aldborough, 40 minutes from Central Norwich by car and only 20 minutes from the North Norfolk Coast, Mannington Hall is perfectly located for an amazing day trip in the Norfolk Countryside. And once you're there, there is just so so much to explore.

Mannington Hall itself is spectacular. When I walked out of the ticket office and round the corner to the beginning of the gardens, the view of the house literally took my breath away. Built in the 15th century, the wisteria covered moated hall is one of the most beautiful estate houses I've seen. As you walk over to the wooden drawbridge that takes you across the moat to the hall's gardens, the beauty doesn't just continue, but it increases. Honestly, it's spectacular. Swans float along the water of the moat amongst lily pads, as the beautifully manicured gardens fill your senses with colour and the smell of all the incredible flora.

The Hall's gardens aren't the only walk you can do though. There's a huge network of footpaths and trails you can take around the estate. Think ancient woodland, wildflower meadows, an arboretum, and a boardwalk which gives access to a 4.3 hectare meadow which is full to the brim with wildlife. There's even wheelchair friendly route which gives access to look across the incredible expanse of water where kingfishers, frogs and otters play carefree.

And the best news (for us anyway)'s all dog friendly! They just ask that dogs are kept on leads. Which makes complete sense given the amount of habitats that are there and need conserving.

Onsite there's also a lovely tearoom that stocks loads of local produce (they've even got the very popular and much talked about in the press, Crumpetorium Crumpets, on the menu), as well as other local treats and some very tasty cakes!

There's also a beautiful wooden children's play park and loads of different events running throughout the year.

It's an incredible day trip. We spent a couple of hours there but we most definitely could've spent most of a day there. What would be even better though (and I'm tempted myself even though it's so close to our house) is staying at 'Wing Cottage' in grounds which has views over the moat and lake and means that you'd get the Hall's gardens all to yourself before and after the public leave. For anyone wanting to be more immersed in the beautiful nature there, there's also six bell tents which are located right by the wildness water meadow that the boardwalk takes you out to.

Whether you chose to go for the day, or overnight, Mannington Hall is honestly so worth a visit. It's now open for the season on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays 11am-5pm until September. Keep your eyes peeled for our dog Luna as we might even see you there!


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