Thorpeness is a fairytale inspired holiday village that was dreamt up and created by the Ogilvie family in the early 1900’s. In the heart of the village is a Peter Pan themed boating lake, plus several places to eat and an emporium.
Suffolk is a beautiful and historic county, steeped in quintessentially English countryside, picturesque villages and sleepy coastal towns. It is only natural to want to see the whole thing but at nearly 4000km2, exploring it can be a slightly daunting prospect. If you are planning on getting around by car then thankfully there is a road that cuts through the heart of this county, passing some of its most loved landmarks and letting you drink it all in via a whole host of ancient paths, medieval churches and award winning restaurants: the A1120.
This route is often referred to as the ‘tourist trail’. It starts in historic Stowmarket, a small market town centred around the River Gipping. For a slice of Suffolk history head to the Museum of East Anglian Life, situated in the country manor of Abbots Hall. It specialises in presenting past agricultural traditions of East Anglia through a mixture of exhibits and living history demonstrations.
If you are staying in the area for the evening and fancy some entertainment then the John Peel Centre is a fantastic performing arts venue. Built to honour the late BBC presenter and music enthusiast who resided near Stowmarket, this centre puts of some world class events that really punch above the weight of this small Suffolk town: expect rock, folk, poetry and everything in between.
Continue down the A1120 and you will reach Stonham Aspal and the wonderful Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, which “operates a comprehensive facility for the care & rehabilitation of owls from the region, and the promotion of owl conservation throughout the UK and beyond”. Get up close and personal with 80 different owls (there is even the opportunity to get your photo taken holding one); a great place to spend the afternoon learning about one of Suffolk’s best loved birds. Anyone planning to spend time nearby should make a reservation at Woodfarm Barns. They offer six Suffolk barns that all sleep two and a gorgeous 500 year-old thatched Farmhouse that sleeps 7. After a long day enjoying some splendid walking with a four legged friend it is good to know that it is totally dog friendly; a great place to put up your weary feet (and paws!).
After passing further along the tourist trail through the quaint villages of Pettaugh, Earl Soham, Saxtead and Dennington you will reach Badingham. We recommend stopping here for a pint or a meal at the gorgeous White Horse. This 15th century coaching inn boasts cosy open fires, great ale selection and-home cooked food; it’s a welcome little resting point for any traveller. As you continue on through Peasenhall watch out for the peacocks that roam the village in full plume throughout the year: it is a startling and eccentrically Suffolk sight. If you still need a little pick me up then Weavers Tea Room in the centre of the village offers everything from breakfast to afternoon tea. The coffee is great, the cake is excellent and it is worth a visit just to immerse yourself in the beautiful 15th century building. The trail ends in historic Yoxford, nestled between the postcard beauty of seaside towns Southwold and Aldeburgh. Check out one of the villages many antique shops before heading on to explore the rest of Suffolk and beyond.
A great Suffolk adventure needs a great Suffolk base. Woodfarm Barns and Woodfarm Barges offer just that. This collection of beautiful barns, farmhouse and barges offer romantic breaks and the perfect place for families or friends in the farmhouse or large barge. And best of all they are totally dog friendly. You can find Woodfarm Barns just a few minutes from the A1120 tourist trail, and the barges at the end!
Britain is a land of diverse wonders and breathtaking beauty. We are lucky to have a lot packed into to our small island nation; a landscape of rolling hills, lush forests and mountain peaks sit on this little lump of land surrounded by the Atlantic ocean. The variety on offer is reason enough for so many holiday makers choose to Britain as the destination for their getaways, and whilst there are an infinite amount of attractions on offer in metropolises like London or Edinburgh it is the small town charm and rural beauty of Suffolk that means this county is one of England’s hidden gems.
RSPB Minsmere is a fabulous popular destination for twitchers and non-twitchers alike
There’s tons to see (and hear) with stunning coastal scenes accompanied by rare birds breeding and calling in on their annual migrations. There are also otters to be seen in the reedbeds if you look carefully and a plethora of wild flowers and plants
It’s a great place all year round and the visitors centre is free, with helpful staff and volunteers. They also have a great little RSPB shop and café, serving teas and light meals using locally sourced ingredients. There’s also their Discovery Centre and Wild Zone for families, and they have guided walks throughout the year
One of England’s designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
We are lucky enough to have two AONB’s in Suffolk! See our other post here on the Dedham Vale AONB
Back to the coastal one! This stretches all the way from Lowestoft down to the River Sour, meeting up with the Dedham Vale, providing us with stunning heathland, reed beds, salt-marsh and mud-flats
It’s landscape also features the estuaries of five Suffolk rivers; four of which we named Barns after here at Woodfarm; Alde, Deben, Orwell and Stour, as well as the river Blyth
We are very fortunate to have not one but two of Englands 33 AONB’s right on our doorstep
The Dedham Vale and Stour Valley sits on the Suffolk/ Essex border. The gentle River Stour (so good we named a barn after it) and its hedged water meadows, copses and riverbank willows, form a landscape, widely thought to represent the best of the farmed English countryside
Lots of rambling meadows, rolling fields and abundant open marshland, many of which are recognised the world over as ‘Constable Country’ with nearby Flatford and Dedham, arguably being the jewel in the crown of this beautiful area
The designated area goes from Manningtree, through the aforementioned, to Bures
Mickfield Meadow is a stunning flower-rich hay meadow that has never been sprayed or fertilised. As a result it contains a host of wildflowers, many of which are now scarce in Suffolk. To maintain this rich flora, the meadow is managed by a summer hay cut and then grazing the late summer growth.
The unusual mix of plants growing here adds to its botanical interest. In parts of the meadow you can see goldilocks buttercup and the low growing wood anemone – both plants more usually associated with ancient woodlands. In the wetter parts look for marshland flowers like ragged-robin, meadowsweet and the beautiful snake’s head fritillary – one of only four sites in Suffolk where it can still be found
Dogs on leads welcome
A 400-seater theatre in the heart of Ipswich, Suffolk’s county town
The New Wolsey Theatre was established in 2000, building on the foundations of the regional repertory company that had opened the theatre in the late 1970s
They have a varied programme right throughout the year from art, music of all kinds, theatre productions etc ending the year in panto. Oh yes they do!
Ok, it’s just over the border in Norfolk but only just!
Music, Dance, Comedy, Theatre, Spoken word, Cinema, Community events, Workshops, Exhibitions, Art and a museum!
The box office is located in The Old Stables beside the Corn Hall. Check out their website for full programme of events