Plan your visit
Garden and outdoor welcome point opening times
- Spring/summer: open daily, 1 April-31 October, 10.30am-4.30pm.
- Autumn/winter: closed, 1 November-31 March, except for the below event dates.
Winter event opening times
- Green Christmas Weekends with Robin Robin: 27 and 28 November and 4 and 5 December, 10.30am-3.30pm.
- Big Garden Birdwatch: 29 and 30 January, 10.30am-3.30pm.
- Snowdrop Weekends: 19, 20, 26 and 27 February, 10.30am-3.30pm.
- February Half-term: 12-27 February, 10.30am-3.30pm.
- Free entrance to RSPB members
- Car park cost
The car parks available for the wildlife garden are not operated by the RSPB.
If you are parking at Flatford, parking charges can be found on the National Trust website, or if you are parking at Dedham and walking to the garden parking charges can be found on the Colchester borough council website.
How to get here
From Manningtree station, if driving or cycling, take the A137 north until the village of Brantham, then turn left at the roundabout onto the B1070 and from there follow signs for Flatford, which is about 2 miles away.
You can use the number 93 bus, Ipswich-Colchester (passing Ipswich and close to Colchester Town), which runs from Monday - Saturday. Get off at the East Bergholt stop, 0.75 mile away from the reserve.
Flatford is off the A12 between Ipswich and Colchester. Turn off the A12 on the B1070 into East Bergholt. There are brown tourist signs to Flatford on the main roads through East Bergholt. Or from the A137, turn onto the B1070 at Cattawade.
Sat nav POI file: If you have a satellite navigation system that can accept POI files, please see our POI page for a download link and instructions.
If you're on foot, Flatford is accessible from Manningtree station via the public footpath leading from the lower station car park - follow signs to Flatford, which is 1.75 miles away. It's also accessible via public footpath from Dedham - follow signs from the bridge over the River Stour, 100m from the free car park.
Information for dog owners
Please keep your dog on a lead and under close, effective control at all times, due to the planting and sensitive wildlife here.
Disturbing wildlife does more than simply causing it to move away; it uses up their energy, decreasing their chance of survival regardless of season. Thank you for protecting the special wildlife here by keeping your dog on a lead.
Group booking information
Groups are usually welcome to visit the garden during normal opening hours. However, changes to laws in England and Scotland mean that the maximum group size able to visit our reserves together is currently 6, unless you are from the same household or bubble.
Schools booking information
Small school groups are welcome to visit the garden during normal opening hours. However, due to the limited size of the garden, we would ask that large groups be split up and visits be staggered. Advance notice of visits via email to firstname.lastname@example.org would be appreciated.
Unfortunately we are not able to accommodate long visits or arrange specific activities, but are always happy to talk to children about the garden and the display items in the barn.