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Somerleyton Hall

Lowestoft Suffolk NR32 5QQ

The Somerleyton estate straddles the border between Norfolk and Suffolk, and at its heart lies Somerleyton Hall, a grand mock-Jacobean mansion rebuilt in the 1840s for the railway entrepreneur Morton Peto, and since 1862 the home of the Crossley family. It's actually a glorious fake, but both inside and out is a magnificent building, and it's worth timing your visit to coincide with its limited opening times to see the those parts of the interior that are open to the public, including the ballroom, the parlour with its oak carvings by Grinling Gibbons, the library and the family’s collections of paintings and sculpture. Be sure to take in the gardens too, at their best in summer when the herbaceous borders and roses are in flower, but with lots more besides – walled gardens, glasshouses designed by Crystal Palace architect, Joseph Paxton, a super-long pergola and a fantastic maze – all throwbacks to the estate’s great Victorian heyday. Really though the best thing you can do is wander the estate, taking in paths that lead down to the river to see the restored Herringfleet Windmill and maybe enjoying lunch and a pint at the estate’s very own pub, the Duke’s Head.

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