Times are changing at South Elmham. Within the last few years, we have taken the bold decision to love this ancient land back to life by gently allowing it to regain its natural self as a true home for plants, trees and wildlife. The biodiversity which Wild South Elmham delivers is something we are totally passionate about, but here there is an additional significance as the landscape returns to its early original ways of the gently managed medieval deer park. 

A new era for exclusive tours at South Elmham Hall, domain & Minster

For very many years, we have enjoyed introducing visitors to the rich history of our home at South Elmham, along with the secluded ruins of the Minster in through exclusive tours during the spring and summer.

From 2024, we are delighted to share even more - an insight into the growing biodiversity here, what we have been doing to support nature on its journey, why we have been doing it and what it means to these ancient lands, to wildlife and the community going forward. 

We hope you will join us and share the ongoing excitment through our programme of tours and events. We also welcome pre-booked groups.

We are currently finalising our programme of tour dates/events for 2024.


Wild South Elmham tours, South Elham Hall & Minster tours 

We are currently finalising the programme of house tour dates for 2024. Please bookmark this page and check back soon. 

Price: From £12.00 per adult
Bookings: Call 01986 782526

Space is limited, so please call to book in advance and avoid disappointment. Please note that due to the fragile nature of the historic property, we are unable to include children. Location and directions»

These personally-led tours take in the ancient island grounds, garden, gatehouse ruin and the Hall's ground and first floor (with wallpaintings), and - if wished - are followed by a guided walk across the Wild South Elmham fields of the ancient deer park to the ruins of South Elmham Minster (about 15-20 minutes each way and stout footwear is advisable).

Group tours

“Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the tour and the long history of the Hall, estate and Minster so well researched by Mr Sanderson. The stroll through the fields to the well-hidden Minster was a lovely end to the day. “

Special house tours and Wild South Elham tours for groups can be requested directly by contacting us at South Elmham Hall. In the past, our house tours hae been particularly popular with all sorts of clubs from local history societies to Women’s Institutes. There is an option to choose to include light refreshments, lunch or afternoon tea with us in the medieval barn to make the visit even more memorable.

Booking is essential. We regret that we are unable to include children. Location and directions» 
Bookings: Call 01986 782526

EDP Norfolk Magazine's verdict 

The Norwich Bishop’s palace on the border
Feel history in the landscape – and the landowner’s true love of it - at South Elmham Hall near Harleston. Third generation Waveney Valley farmer, John Sanderson, takes a sustainable approach to working the ancient remains of an episcopal estate which dates back to the 7th century. His family home, the former medieval palace where mighty bishops held court, sits within an idyllic four acre moated site and contains early domestic wall-paintings possibly by the same medieval as examples in Norwich cathedral dated to around 1270. A walk with John across the meadows of the ancient deer park leads to the enigmatic ruins of South Elmham Minster, an 11th century chapel perhaps built to trade off the site’s earlier Saxon heritage by attracting the attention and donations of passing pilgrim travellers. 

  • In a nutshell: Moated episcopal palace site, home to an entire community in 1300-1400s. Minster ruins. Grade I listed. Original rural landscape farmed and managed sensitively for wildlife.
  • Don’t miss: Wall-paintings even in the bathroom; tea in medieval Bateman’s Barn with its anti-witchcraft ‘graffiti’; romantic gatehouse ruins on the island; wooded Minster ruins.

(Feature by Lindsay Want 2018)