Otley Hall is a stunningly beautiful 16th century moated Hall. Still a family home, it is set in 10 acres of magnificent gardens in the tranquil Suffolk countryside, only 8 miles north of Ipswich.
A Grade 1 listed building, the house is a perfect example of unspoiled late medieval architecture. Particularly impressive are the Great Hall and Linenfold Parlour, both of which look out onto the Rose Garden. According to Farrer (Old Suffolk Houses, Vol. 6), these two rooms are unequalled in Suffolk.
A wealth of notable features includes a cross or screens passage, richly carved beams, superb Linenfold panelling, and 16th-century wall paintings celebrating the marriage in 1559 of Robert Gosnold III and Ursula Naunton. Outside, the lofty chimneys, herringbone brickwork and vine leaf pargetting, magnificent today, give a tantalising glimpse of an even more glorious past.
The Gosnolds lived here for over 230 years from 1440 first as tenants, then as owners. Bartholomew Gosnold (1571-1607) voyaged to the New World, where in 1602 he discovered Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, which he named after his infant daughter. In 1607, 13 years before the Mayflower landed, he was the prime mover in the Virginia Company expedition that founded the Jamestown colony. This was the first permanent English-speaking settlement in America. It has been said that the two voyages were planned at the hearthside of Otley Hall.
With their exquisite blend of wild and cultivated terrain, the 10 acres of gardens at Otley Hall provide a feast for the senses. They include parts of an important design by Francis Inigo Thomas (1866-1950), featuring an H-canal, nutteries, croquet lawn, rose garden and moat walk. In addition, there are historically accurate recreations designed by Sylvia Landsberg, author of The Medieval Garden. These include an orchard, a herber, and a knot garden.
The Gardens host an abundance of wildlife. The majestic peacocks and graceful swan are always on hand to enchant visitors. But sit quietly on one of the many benches and you will see some of the 75 species of bird noted in the grounds by Percy Thrower. If you are very fortunate, you may just spot a kingfisher, water vole or perhaps even an otter – all have been seen in the grounds by the owners!
Conservation and nature play important roles at Otley. Particular care has been taken to encourage the growth of wild flowers and hedges, as well as preserve the habitats of native wildlife. Otley Hall's gardens were placed 6th in a poll undertaken by The Independent in the "Top 50 Best British Gardens to Visit" and came second in the 'gardens with significant architecture' category.
OTHER THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Otley Hall welcomes private groups by appointment all year round for guided tours of the House and Gardens. Still a family home, we offer a warm welcome and a chance to discover a unique house in a relaxed and informal atmosphere - look out for the socks on the Aga and the cats sleeping on the beds!
A tour guide will accompany you on a fascinating journey through history as you explore the ancestral home of the Gosnold family. House tours last around an hour and a quarter; please see the price tariff for further details.
Small groups and individuals are also very welcome to tour Otley Hall. You can either book directly with us or you may wish to join one of our tours organised through the Invitation to View Scheme (ITV). Please note that different charges apply on the ITV scheme; please see their website for further details.
Why not combine your visit with a lunch or afternoon tea? We offer a range of homemade refreshments and are licensed to serve wines and beers. Further details on our website.
Please note that as we are a family home, we do not offer house or garden tours on Sundays.
HOW TO FIND US
We are approx. 8 miles from Ipswich and Woodbridge, off the B1079 in the village of Otley. Once in the village there are brown historic house signs to the Hall. Turn right into Chapel Road at the Post Office/Village Stores. Follow Chapel Road for about 500 metres before turning left into Hall Lane. Otley Hall is 500 metres further on the left.
Gardens are open every Wednesday between the beginning of May to the end of September, 11am-5pm.
Garden Café is also open during these times and serves light lunches and afternoon tea. All of our food is homemade on the premises and specials will reflect what is in season.
Entrance to the gardens is £3 per person per visit or £5 for an annual pass allowing you access to the gardens throughout that season on a Wednesday (Terms and conditions apply)
Under 16’s go free
Entrance to the Hall is by appointment only and prices start from £8.50
We do not allow food or drink to be brought into the Hall or the gardens from outside.
Well behaved dogs welcome on a short lead.
Further information can be found at:
Otley Hall - Suffolk