It is amazing to think it was little more than meadow when Valerie and John Alston first bought the land. More than 40 years on, it is transformed – although that doesn’t feel like a big enough word to describe what has taken place at Alby Gardens.
The four acres are filled with trees and colourful, unusual shrubs and flowers, there are lawns, four ponds, a willow walk, sculptures to admire and best of all, if you happen to be five, fairies.
On a warm summer’s day with dragonflies and bees, butterflies and birds all around, I had no problem believing it was magical.
What is it?
Alby Crafts and Gardens is a popular place to visit between Alysham and Cromer on the A140.
Former farm buildings were converted to create a complex housing a tea room and various shops, studios and workshops with artists on site.
It was our second visit. The first time it was pouring with rain so we had a quick look around the shops, had some delicious cake and went home. This time the sun was blazing.
You mentioned gardens?
If ever proof were needed that Mark is a lovely husband, I can use Sunday as an example.
Despite having terrible hay fever, he was the one who suggested we take a walk through the gardens, which are next to the crafts complex and main house (does it make me an awful wife that I said yes?).
Freya was less keen to leave the small play area, until we saw the sign that said ‘Fairies’ and suddenly she was off.
Lots of adorable fairy doors are dotted about the grounds, which we loved searching for.
Even more of interest to Freya was the ‘Fairy Museum’ in the summer house. It was simple yet glorious and her imagination caught and fired as we explored.
We crossed a bridge and suddenly there was a fairy castle, just the right size for her.
Every tree was a potential home, every flower a fairy hiding place.
And did I mention there are peacocks? Admittedly, I found them more fascinating than she did but we could just imagine the fairies riding around on their backs at night.
How much does it cost?
It’s free to visit the complex but entry to the garden is £2.50 per adult (children are free). There’s an honesty box as you go in. Dogs are allowed, if they are kept on the lead. To find out opening times, please visit the website.
Yet another lovely place to visit. I bet it’s magical whatever the season too. Have you ever been? What did you think?