Lackford Lakes is a wildlife oasis with a landscape of lakes, reeds, meadow and woodland. There is wildlife in close-up all year round with iridescent kingfisher, dazzling dragonflies and colourful ducks.
Lackford Lakes’ visitor centre and café offers views across the nature reserve and is open 7 days a week.
Our apologies, the centre will be closed today (Monday 25 October). The reserve remains open but there is no access to the toilets or refreshments. We hope to be back up and running tomorrow.
Plan your visit
The nature reserve is open from 8am-5pm seven days a week.
Car park & Visitor Centre
The car park and trails are open daily from 8am until 5pm.
Café open daily 10am until 4pm every day, toilets and shop open till 5pm.
Four hides are open with a maximum stay of 1 hour. Limits to number of visitors also apply.
Where to find us?
Bury St Edmunds
OS Map Reference:
How to find us
Ten minutes from Bury St Edmunds on the A1101, Bury to Mildenhall road between the villages of Flempton and Lackford Lakes.
By car & bicycle:
From Bury St Edmunds follow the A1101 north and west (Bury to Mildenhall road) through the villages of Fornham All Saints, Hengrave and Flempton. The reserve entrance will be on your right just after the golf course.
From the five ways roundabout on the A11 at Mildenhall follow the A1101 east and south through the villages of Icklingham and Lackford. The reserve entrance will be on your left just after Lackford village.
Bicycle racks are located near the visitor centre.
The nearest station is Bury St Edmunds (6 miles from the reserve).
Two bus services operate a service to Lackford village, number 16 and number 355. Both services can be picked up from the bus station (stand 3) or railway station at Bury St Edmunds. Note that there is no bus service on Sundays or bank holidays. The reserve is a short walk from Lackford village. From the bus stop follow Holden Road eastwards to the church. The reserve entrance will be on your left.
Car parking and entry
We do not charge for entry or for car parking, but in order to keep us running, we suggest a donation of £3 per person.
Joining the Trust as a member is by far the best way to support local wildlife here at Lackford Lakes and across the county. You can join Suffolk Wildlife Trust here or when you visit us at Lackford Lakes.
Organised group visits - please contact us on 01284 728706 in advance to check availability.
Guided walks are available when booked in advance.
For a unique wildlife watching experience please see our bookable viewpoint, Bernard’s hide, below.
Facilities and access
Trails and wildlife viewpoints
Three trails and eight wildlife viewpoints to explore. All trails start at the visitor centre.
- The blue trail is a short circular trail (1 mile) that takes in four wildlife viewpoints overlooking a couple of our lakes.( 2 currently open)
- The green trail (up to 2 miles), takes you through a small woodland and gives views of four more lakes. There are four further wildlife viewpoints along this trail. ( 2 currently open)
- The red trail (up to 2 miles) takes you away from our lakes and around an area that we are restoring back to local Breckland habitat. Dogs on leads are allowed on this trail.
Visitor centre with shop and café
The visitor centre is the ideal start point for a visit to the reserve. Our friendly team are available to help you get the most from your visit. The centre offers views over one of our smaller lakes and many of our smaller birds visit our bird feeders here.
There is a shop selling wildlife gifts, books, cards, nest boxes, etc with advice on binoculars and bird feeding tips available. You can hire binoculars from the visitor centre for £3.
The café sells hot and cold drinks, pre-packed sandwiches, hot and cold savouries, locally made ice cream and lollies and a variety of cakes and snacks, some of which are gluten free.
Short Stay viewpoint (Bernard’s hide)
This is one of our best viewpoints on the blue trail. To help ensure all visitors feel welcome and have the chance to visit this hide, we ask that visitors spend a maximum of 1 hour here between the hours of 9:30am and 4:30pm.
To accommodate the needs of visitors who wish to visit Bernard’s hide for longer periods of time and want to guarantee a dedicated space in the hide outside normal opening hours we have introduced an online booking system. This allows visitors to book on a morning session (any time between 5am and 9am) or an evening session (any time between 5pm and 9pm). There are five spaces available for each session. Spaces cost £10 per session. Booking of Bernard's hide is available from 1st March to 30th September.
Picnic areas and benches
Picnic areas can be found around the centre. Dogs owners are welcome to use benches at the start of the red trail. A further picnic area can be found by the raised pond on the blue trail.
Benches are located at regular intervals around the blue circular trail.
Outdoor play area
There is an outdoor play area by the visitor centre.
Toilets are available in the visitor centre. There is a fully accessible toilet with baby changing facilities in the main entrance porch.
The ground floor of the visitor centre including café, shop, viewpoints and toilets is fully accessible.
The blue trail is our most accessible trail with a good compacted surface. Four of our wildlife viewing hides can be accessed from this trail, all with ramped access. The nearest viewing area is 150m from the car park. There are standard design benches located at regular intervals along this trail.
The level of accessibility is variable on other paths depending on individual circumstances and weather conditions. Please speak with one of our team to prior to your visit.
We are currently working to improve access to two further wildlife viewpoints along the green trail.
Information about dogs.
Dogs on leads are welcome on our red route that starts at the visitor centre. A bin is available for dog waste within 50 metres of the start of this trail.
Only assistance dogs can access the centre and the other trails.
Dog owners are welcome to use the benches at the start of the red trail. A water bowl is available.
What to see
Lackford through the seasons
Listen to the sound of singing birds in spring with the arrival of nightingales and warblers from Africa. The first bees and butterflies start to make appearances on bright spring days.
In summer, the reserve is alive with damselflies and dragonflies. Swallows and martins sweep over the water’s surface feeding on small flies. The lakesides are busy with nesting great-crested grebe, kingfisher, tufted duck and water rail. Bright plant stems of purple-loosestrife, common fleabane and gipsywort create colour at the water’s edge.
Gold and red colours mark the coming of autumn with the arrival of a wide range of wildfowl. Birds including shoveler, lapwing, bittern and goldeneye depend on the lakes during the winter months.
Visit our blog for recent wildlife sightings on the reserve:
Daily activities and events
There is always something going on at Lackford Lakes, we have a range of activities for you to get involved with on your visit.
To help you get more from your visit we currently provide the following activities with the suggested donations:
. Discover the world of swifts by following our family trail around the blue route as part of our 60th birthday celebrations
. Borrow a pair of binoculars to spot all our creatures hiding out there £3
. Children can pick up our seasonal spotter sheet £2
. Head out on a minibeast adventure by borrowing a bug hunting kit £3
We also have plenty of events to book on including wild tots, babies and family events!
Please search our what’s on pages for more information:
More about Lackford Lakes
Our volunteers enable us to do so much more for wildlife at Lackford Lakes and beyond.
We are looking for volunteers to help us develop Lackford Lakes into one of the best nature reserves in Suffolk. There are a variety of roles and times where support is needed and, should this be of interest, we will aim to match up your skills and situation to fit in with our friendly team.
For more information see our volunteering opportunities: