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Spring ideas from the National Trust

PUBLISHED: 11:27 04 March 2014 | UPDATED: 11:27 04 March 2014

Tour guide comparing Constable's paintings to the scene at Flatford, Suffolk.

Tour guide comparing Constable's paintings to the scene at Flatford, Suffolk.

©National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

There’s something about the arrival of spring that makes us want to get back outdoors, take a deep breath of fresh air and march off somewhere special.

Children in the garden looking from the steps at Ickworth, Suffolk.Children in the garden looking from the steps at Ickworth, Suffolk.

The world is waking up after the long winter and it really does feel like a fresh start.

It’s no different at the National Trust, with the houses reopening, the gardens bursting into colour and the parks full of returning wildlife.

If you’re looking for a splash of spring colour to brighten up your day then take a trip to Ickworth House.

Ickworth is just beautiful in spring and each day the estate changes as spring takes hold. The aconites and snowdrops will be looking lovely along Lady Geraldine’s, Erskine and Albana Walks, and there will be a beautiful show of heritage daffodils in front of the house, usually flowering towards the end of March. Magnolias will be flowering in the Italianate Gardens and the spring garden will be full of bluebells, primroses and other spring flowers.

Distant view of the Rotunda seen across the park with sheep from the south at Ickworth, Suffolk.Distant view of the Rotunda seen across the park with sheep from the south at Ickworth, Suffolk.

March is also the month when lambing begins, surely one of the best (and bounciest) signs that spring is here. There are over 2,000 lambs waiting to be born.

Wildlife is also starting to show and down on the coast at Dunwich Heath the warblers will be warbling and the bees waking up.

While over at Flatford, one of the National Trust’s experienced guides will be leading a three hour, four-mile-long ramble, following in the footsteps of artist John Constable, visiting the views that inspired some of his most famous works, such as the Hay Wain (March 22).

Back indoors and there’s plenty going on. If you’ve never experienced the delights of a Living History day at a National Trust property then Ickworth House and Sutton Hoo are the destinations to head to.

Ickworth’s award-winning servant’s basement, which sits below the magnificent rotunda, will be brought to life by actors who ghost through the corridors and rooms, working away like spirits from the past (March 16). Watching and listening as the servants live out life in the 1930s is like staring across time into the past, when the house was still used by the wealthy Hervey family.

If you catch the bug, you can return later in the month and meet the living history cooks. This time they’ll be back in the 21st century and happy to share the secrets of 1930s baking and cooking (March 30).

And don’t forget the 95 Rifles military re-enactment group is returning soon (April 12-13), this year with cavalry as well as artillery helping to bring the atmosphere of the Napoleonic Wars to Suffolk. It should be quite a sight as they take over the grounds with authentic training and grand battles. Lots of fun for all the family, including children’s drill workshops and living history demonstrations of camp surgery.

You can also see some of Ickworth’s Hidden Treasures this month (March 24 – 30). For a full week the Trust will be showing off some of the normally hidden items from Ickworth’s collection. Many of these objects haven’t been out of store before, so it’s a rare treat.

So, what are you waiting for… put that spring in your step and get visiting!

n For more information on any of the events listed above, please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk and search for events near you. Some require advance booking.

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