Somerleyton Gardens Photo Courtesy of Pete Marr
Somerleyton is one of the most northerly Villages in Suffolk and is a place not to be missed. Situated alongside the River Waveney there are Free moorings while you explore the Village house and grounds. The village is named after a peace-loving Viking, Sumarlithi, who arrived in the 10th century.
The grounds of Somerleyton Hall ( there is an entrance fee) have been home to fine buildings since the Norman era. In 1240 the existing manorial Hall was rebuilt by Sir Peter Fitzosbert as a magnificent country house on the site of the original medieval Hall. Four centuries later the house was further enlarged and restyled by John Wentworth and transformed into a Tudor-Jacobean mansion. Extensive rebuilding took place in 1843 by John Thomas, Prince Albert's favourite architect. The hall is now owned by the Crossley family
There are plenty of activities in and around the Estate and Fritton Lake. For adults there are picnic areas, croquet, football, rounders, nine-hole golf course, fishing, horse-riding, rowing, swimming and guided boat trips on the lake. For children there is no shortage of things to explore including an adventure playground, a maze and gardens, a Viking fort, children's farmyard, pony treks, cycle trail and nature walks.
Apart from the building of the Hall and the arrival of the Crossley family, another brush with history came at Somerleyton Marina, where Christopher Cockerell experimented with his prototype hovercraft. It was also at Somerleyton that bricks were made for London's Liverpool Street railway station.
As well as the Hall and the Hall's clock tower, which was built for the Houses of Parliament but eventually rejected, there is the church of St Mary's. The church is well worth a visit to view the superb decorative gilt work. Round towers are rare in Britain except in Suffolk and Norfolk where over 200 examples can be found.
There is a Post Office and General Stores in the village and some of the most attractive and unusual cottages in the country can be seen there.. The Duke's Head pub in Slug's Lane overlooks the river Waveney and is a quaint old pub serving good food and beer.
Somerleyton was once the hunting area of a giant, who is said to briefly appear on the evening of 17 July. The giant once stumbled across a plot to murder him, so struck first and killed the would-be assassin. The assassin's blood is said to rain down from the sky on 19 November.