Otley Hall is a Tudor-built moated Manor House, and family home, set in 10 acres of beautiful gardens in peaceful Suffolk countryside 8 miles north of Ipswich. Although the house is open at certain times to the public, it was the gardens that Capel Ladies came to visit in mid-May. Otley’s gardener Simon took us on a tour of the extensive gardens pointing out features and telling anecdotes about their origins and history.
The gardens include a large area of water which was once part of the moat, looking very tranquil with yellow flag iris, cow parsley and ox-eye daisies along the banks, and plenty of shade-giving trees. There was a grass labyrinth, a herbarium and a knot-garden, all of historical significance but each added comparatively recently by Tudor garden design experts. Also a long, green, arbour-like tunnel covered in honeysuckle and climbing roses amongst other greenery. The only sounds were birdsong and the occasional screech of peacocks (both white and blue) which live in the gardens. After our pleasant walk around we visited the tea room for cake and refreshments. What a nice way to spend a May afternoon!