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Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal – a look behind the scenes

Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal and Matthew Abercrombie

Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal is the subject of the first in a series of ‘Spotlight Interviews’ with people running or managing businesses around Suffolk. Having spent years developing the Woodfarm brand, it has enabled me to meet some amazing people around the county, many of whom have become good friends. And here’s one of them!

Meet Matthew Abercrombie who is the Theatre Manager of the Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal. Despite appearances he’s a really nice bloke! Matthew and I met during one of his previous lives at the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket.

Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal - Matthew Abercrombie

What’s your background?  
I’ve had a shockingly varied career. Following a decidedly undistinguished school career, I ran adventure playgrounds in West London for four years, moving to Richmond Theatre in Surrey when I ran out of steam. I made resident Stage Manager, went to The Everyman in Liverpool for a while, returned to Richmond and moved from there to The Royal Albert Hall and from there to a few years with rigging companies working on pop videos, rock touring, West End theatre and corporate events. I then spent some 25 years freelancing around the events industry launching cars, buildings and the odd tunnel, doing large, corporate events and parties and managing stage and arena builds. Four years ago I landed the General Manager’s post at the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket and, this time last year, I took up the newly created role of Theatre Manager at the Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal.
There’s something askew in a career that gets me my first salaried job in 30 odd years in the year I turn 60!

What made you decide to do this? 

Completely unqualified for anything serious.

What would you say your (MAIN?) role is?

As Theatre Manager, I’m responsible for all activities Front of House. Under my wing I have an FoH & Events Manager who organises external hires, parties, weddings, the rota-ing of staff and ordering of sweets, ice-cream etc. Also reporting to me are the bar staff and all the volunteer stewards.

I am in constant communication with the National Trust, scheduling maintenance, decorating and all the activities involved in keeping a 200-year-old building in a fit condition for shows, audiences and visitors coming to take part in our regular tours.

I’m also responsible for the safety and security of both the theatre and our patrons.

Much of my time is spent liaising between FoH & the other departments, collating information and ensuring that incoming shows have the smoothest possible time with us.

Customer service is front & centre of my role. Without the support of our audiences, we simply don’t exist.

Is Suffolk a great place to work and if so, why?

It is.

The skies, the food, the people and the pace of life. Having spent a great part of my life based in London, even after some 20-odd years in Suffolk, I still relish the peace and the relative lack of hurly-burly.

I moved to Bury earlier this year and I now cycle to work and am thoroughly enjoying living in a small but vibrant town. The downside is that I live 50m from Vinyl Hunter and will, consequently, be bankrupt in the near future.

It’s great to have the broad choice of restaurants, shops and, especially, the market on my doorstep and the sea just up the road.

Landguard Point is one of my favourite haunts. A bacon & egg roll and a happy couple of hours watching the shipping come and go & container cranes dancing their industrial ballet is my, somewhat geeky, idea of winding down.

What do you think makes your business stand out from the crowd?

A unique, beautiful, Grade I listed building that is decidedly not a museum. We have the friendliest staff, an amazingly varied programme and a dedication to furthering the arts in Bury St. Edmunds and wider East Anglia.

What does the future hold for you and the business?

For me? I’m in it for the long haul. 2019 marks our 200th anniversary which is something that we intend to celebrate in style and I’m very keen to play a major role in the events surrounding the birthday.

We will continue to provide top class programming, continue to expand our education and out-reach activities and continue to put ourselves at the forefront of cultural life in Bury St. Edmunds.

Which product (SHOW/ACT?) is your personal favourite and what’s the most popular with your customers at the Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal?

I love our in-house produced shows, Northanger Abbey & Our Day Out this year and more to come next.

On the quiet, I’m a bit of a fan of the musical, so the local amateurs are favourites of mine. They always put on highly professional shows and draw really good audiences.

The audience favourite has to be pantomime. Beauty & the Beast last year played 76 performances to in excess of 23k people. Those numbers speak for themselves.

What’s been your most embarrassing or most humorous moment in the business?

You’ll have to wait for the memoirs to be published for that. Suffice to say that one of them involves a stage, a bucket of black paint, a lapse of concentration and a very dark, gloomy corner.

Tell us about three other businesses or organisations in Suffolk that you admire and why? (You can leave Woodfarm out!)

Woodfarm Barnges (Note from Carl; He’s the only person too lazy to say Barns & Barges!) have my continued admiration. I have known Carl for some years now and have watched the business grow. It strikes me that it’s a fine example of a Suffolk business, small-ish, grounded and super friendly with an undeniably quality ‘product’.

My three for admiration would be:

Adnams – The brand is amazing. I love the graphic design. We were an Adnams ‘house’ at the John Peel Centre and the arrangement of bottles behind the bar became something of a work of art. Why would I, a tee-totaller, want a beer branded hoody? Dunno, but I did, and I got one. Must be the brand?

The Mix – An extraordinary youth facility in Stowmarket. The dedication, care and love of their team leaves me in awe. They also have The Cabbages & Kings Café which sells the best home made cakes and pastries in the county.

Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal - Matthew hard at work

Action Medical Research – Not strictly a Suffolk organisation, but they run an annual mini-festival in Mendlesham called Gig in the Garden. It’s a fantastic fund raiser and an opportunity to see more established acts on the main stage and upcoming singers and songwriters on the acoustic stage.

This is Matthew hard at work at Gig in the Garden. I am involved in the event and I can confirm that he doesn’t do this all the time!

Thank you ever so much to Matthew for giving us an insight into his role at the Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal, as well as his past life! Please do support this amazing venue when you’re in the area and maybe ask if Matthew is around to say hi? Sometimes he can be very pleasant to chat to. Sometimes.

Do check out the Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal website here for their calendar of events.

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How about a course in Photography in Suffolk ?

Photography in Suffolk

With so much incredible architecture, as well as the most stunning natural habitat, how about combining your holiday with a course in Photography in Suffolk with our latest ‘local business partner’?

As a great activity to help you relax and unwind in the Suffolk countryside, what better way than to take a course in Photography in Suffolk whilst you’re here?

We have teamed up with Suffolk photographer Roland Blunk, who operates regular courses, predominantly around our stunning coastline, and you can tap into them for just £85.

Photography in Suffolk with Roland BlunkHis courses are designed to build beginner level photographic skills, and whilst doing so, explore and photograph the beautiful Suffolk Heritage Coast. Roland has gained creative experience as a photographer and graphic designer, by having regularly lectured at Saint Martins School of Art (London), London College of Communication and Norwich School of Art. As well as having been commissioned by the BBC, the RSC, the Design Council, the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A!

Photography in Suffolk with photographer Roland BlunkWe do try to ensure that we work with some interesting local ‘business partners’ to add value to your break with us and Roland certainly fits the bill. The great thing is, he can work with the most novice of novices, with as little equipment as a smart phone and teach them some great trade secrets and advice on composition and using light, as well as bringing out your creative side. All set in the most picturesque location our beautiful county has to offer.

Photography in Suffolk with Roland Blunk photographerRoland is very flexible and whilst he has course dates on Saturdays, if there are a few of you then it may be that you can arrange an alternative date to suit, so do get in touch with him directly to discuss and hopefully we’ll be seeing you for some photography in Suffolk some time soon.

If you’re not already booked in with us then here’s our booking calendar.

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Focus on Doodledales at Stonham Barns in Suffolk

Another new business tying in with our Dog-Friendly accommodation in Suffolk!

Doodledales logo 
at Stonham Barns in Suffolk, UK

We are always looking for new businesses that our guests can tap into in order to enhance their holiday here.

Doodledales is a family run local pet shop which focuses on natural and holistic products for dogs and cats. And best of all they are literally just around the corner from us at Stonham Barns.

They pride themselves on having tried and tested products, including high meat content dry and wet foods as well as a good range of raw food for dogs and cats. They also have a focus on good customer service, offering advice as well as spending time with dogs fitting equipment and showing owners how to use it.

Selection of dog food on display at doodledales

Jessy contacted me as she had served a number of our guests who just happened across the shop. It’s great to walk into the shop and be greeted with a smile. There is a quirky pick and mix area with jars of natural, additive-free treats which can be bought in as big or small quantities as required, great for those dogs with fussy tastes or allergic tendencies.

Some of the brands they stock include food from Eden, Simpsons, Barking Heads, Vince the Vet, Nutriment and Benyfit Natural, as well as accessories from Dog Games (including the highly recommended Perfect Fit harness)  Ruffwear, Hurtta and Chuckit. 

Range of dog friendly products at Doodledales

They also produce their own range of fleece doggy pyjamas and fleece toys so it’s well worth popping in during your next Woodfarm stay. 

Jessy is also going to be trialling some of the pick and mix treats with our four-legged guests too, so if that goes down well, they’ll be a regular treat at our dog-friendly accommodation in Suffolk.

Why not check out and ‘Like’ their Facebook Page? Then you’ll know what they’re up to when you come and visit them.

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The very best of Suffolk Food and Drink

Eateries in Suffolk

We are so fortunate to have a veritable smorgasbord of Suffolk Food and Drink producers and suppliers right on our doorstep and we’ve pulled many of them all together on a handy map for you, alongside other useful businesses for our guests.

There is so much to cover when it comes to great Suffolk Food and Drink that we can only scratch the surface here. We have written extensively about some of these guys, as well as many more so please explore our Blog Posts but always feel free to pick up the phone. I don’t bite!

When it comes to the frequently asked questions from our guests, they are usually about where the best places are around us for Suffolk Food and Drink. People are so keen to explore true tastes of our county and we are blessed with so many fabulous pubs and restaurants serving local goodies and cooking with local produce, as well as a good number of fabulous wares, produced right here in Suffolk.

We’ve covered many of our favourite pubs, restaurants, coffee shops, delis and food producers so please have a good look around the map and you’ll get a feel for roughly where they all are in relation to Woodfarm Barns.

Where to find great Suffolk food and drink

So a guide to our little map, which does include general places to go and some other general ‘business partners’, but they all have easy access to great Suffolk Food and Drink, which is after all what this Blog Post is all about;

1 Wyken Hall; Vineyard, restaurant and great gift shop

2 The Stowupland Crown; Fabulous dog-friendly pub near Woodfarm Barns

3 – The Highwayman; Friendly, welcoming pub near us, serving proper, home-cooked Suffolk Food and Drink

4 The Four Horseshoes; See description for No.3!

5 Thornham Walks; a well maintained forest walk, with a tea shop at one end and a restaurant at the other!

6 Thornham Coach House; The restaurant I mentioned in No.5. Great, home cooked food

7 Deli at the Chill Farm; Great deli, coffee shop and cafe, supplying many of our Hampers

8 Mill Green Farm; Supplier of our amazing free-range eggs for your breakfast basket

9 Palfrey & Hall; The guys who supply the wonderful bacon for your breakfast basket

10 Lucy Jane Flowers; Our friendly florist. But she does also make fab coffee!

11 Fruits of Suffolk; the lovely ladies who make the jam and marmalade for your breakfast basket

12 The Beauty Barn; no food or drink but Debbie and her team make you look and feel great!

13 The Earsham Street Deli; award-winning deli, serving the very best Suffolk Food and drink

14 All Manor of Events; our friendly local wedding venue

15 Suffolk Food Hall; THE place to buy all your Suffolk Food and Drink. They have tons of it!

16 Jimmy’s Farm; as seen on TV. Great place for eating and drinking, as well as taking home

17 The Walnut Tree;Amazing Vegetarian Pub Restaurant. Opened in 2017 by the previous owners of the renowned Veggie Red Lion

18 The Bildeston Crown; fine dining Suffolk style. Superb food. Pricey but worth it

19 Baylham rare Breeds; not for eating, just looking at and feeding!

20 Needham Lake; picturesque lake four miles from Woodfarm. There is an ice cream van so kinda foodie?

21 The Kings Head; excellent dog-friendly pub with an old tap room full of local brews!

22 The Dennington Queen; another great Suffolk pub, serving great Suffolk food and drink

23 Alder Carr Farm; local farm shop, crammed with Suffolk produce, with the added bonus of the Barn Cafe, serving homemade cakes

24 Mr Allards; another excellent farm shop nearby, again with lots of awesome Suffolk treats!

If that has got your taste buds going then have a look at our calendar and see when you can get yourselves here for a treat……

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FREE Suffolk Afternoon Tea on us!

FREE Afternoon Tea with Scones

It may be the ‘calm before the storm’ if you have grandchildren, or you may simply have some time off before the Summer to avoid crazy season, but whichever it is we’ve decided to treat you to Afternoon Tea if you book a midweek break during April, May and June

The calm before the storm with FREE Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea is a great British tradition and its as alive and kicking in sunny Suffolk as its ever been!

So if your Summer consists of looking after your grandchildren; being dragged to the playground, covered in face paint and sweet wrappers in your car then we may have the antidote to help you relax before those duties begin! Of course you love it and its great fun, but don’t you just wish that there was a way to steady your nerves before it begins?

For some, it may simply be the last chance to venture our before hordes of small people are tearing about everywhere, so how about treating yourself to a Spring Break before the mayhem arrives?

Fear not people, there is an answer!

FREE Afternoon Tea with our luxury holiday cottages

Seven Luxury Holiday Cottages to choose from, with your dogs if you have them, bask in peace and quiet and just relax. You’re not going to be woken up by anything other than yourself, possibly the dawn chorus, but certainly not by having play-dough shoved up your nose. Unless you like that then we can come round and do that for you for nothing!

Our midweek breaks give you more nights for your money and now we are offering you a FREE Afternoon Tea on top! 

Handmade sandwiches with your Afternoon tea

We’ve worked with Kate at the Deli at The Chilli Farm for years now and as it’s just around the corner you can head over there any afternoon you like during your midweek break and have a delicious Suffolk Afternoon Tea without getting your money out!

We’ll treat you to handmade sandwiches from the menu, made with locally baked bread, local meats, salmon, cheeses etc, scones made right there at the Deli, with cream and jam, as well as lovely cup of tea or coffee, again made right here in Suffolk! 

All you need to do to get your FREE Afternoon Tea is book a four night midweek break during April, May or June and use the Voucher Code ‘TEA’. We’ll then give you a voucher to present at the Deli and you can tuck in to your Afternoon Tea whenever you like, there’s no need to book!

FREE Afternoon Tea with your dogs

Dogs are welcome at the Deli too so it’s all looking good! This offer ends at the start of July so get your diaries out and check availability and prices below!

Please note that we cannot offer this in conjunction with the £25 voucher we offer first time guests. One or the other, you choose.

Please note, this is an offer for four night midweek breaks booked during April, May and June 2017 for that period and cannot be applied retrospectively and the Voucher Code must be on the booking form. There is no cash alternative. This is about enjoying yourself 🙂

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Handmade Chocolate @ Woodfarm Barns

Handmade Chocolate from The Chocolate Studio

We’ve teamed up with another amazing local business for you and this is one everyone will love; Handmade Chocolate made just around the corner from us in the heart of the Suffolk countryside!

I’d spotted Sarah Gilliver’s handmade chocolate in two of our other local ‘business partners’; The Deli @ the Chilli Farm and Lucy Jane Flowers so I got in touch as I’d been looking at a way of treating our guests to even more delicious Suffolk goodies in their welcome basket when they come to stay.

Handmade Chocolate Truffles

Sarah came to see me to talk about her amazing proper cottage industry The Chocolate Studio and very kindly brought along some samples. I don’t usually eat dairy myself but I did have to try (for research purposes) her Champagne Truffles and Wow! Just Wow! They are incredible! I wasn’t sure at first so I had another one and I was right!

We’ve been asking our guests about their thoughts on the provenance and importance of sampling local goodies when going away and as we thought, this is a key factor with most of our guests. Sampling good quality local produce is considered part of the holiday. Most of us eat run of the mill things at home but when we treat ourselves to a break we love to treat ourselves and take the time to savour the very best from the local area. We have some great partnerships now, all of whom we’ve written about in our Blog Posts and Sarah’s Handmade Chocolate from The Chocolate Studio is up there with the best of them.

Handmade Chocolate berry and nut bars

As with all of our local suppliers, Sarah is extremely passionate about what she does, which kinda goes hand in hand with my approach to Woodfarm and how we work to ensure our guests are happy. And finding gems like Sarah is all part of that process.

She told me about how she loves spending hours in the kitchen and how her handmade chocolate business started by making something for a friend and then getting feedback that she should do this for a living. So she did! She is self-taught and her enthusiasm for making her handmade chocolate really comes across

The Handmade Chocolate Lady Sarah Gilliver

Using the finest Belgian chocolate, Sarah works with high quality, local where possible ingredients, and only using either organic or sustainable produce, paying a fair price to growers and producers and ensuring quality over quantity.

The other thing that struck me about Sarah was that whilst her handmade chocolate definitely fits into the naughty treat category, she focusses on making her products as healthy as possible and doesn’t add sugar in most of her products and only uses unrefined sugar in her Florentines and Real Ale Truffles. She adds fruit to many of the products such as Inca and Mulberries, Goji Berries, Cranberries and Blueberries, which are all full of antioxidants and vitamins.

She uses lots of nuts too, which is great!

All of her products as made in small batches by hand and packaged beautifully.

Handmade Chocolate Florentines

So after much excitement, I decided that we would try the Florentines as a little extra treat for our guests to entice them to buy some of The Chocolate Studio’s fabulous chocolate bars. We now hold a small stock here for guests to buy at the same price as they can pick them up in one of the local stockists, with a larger range available at those places.

Please have a look at all of Sarah’s Handmade Chocolate products to whet your appetite on her website here and if you fancy trying these amazing Florentines with a nice cuppa when you arrive in your Suffolk Holiday Cottage then have a look at our availability here and get yourself to Handmade Chocolate Heaven!

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Suffolk Pubs near Woodfarm Barns

There are lots of Suffolk Pubs and one of the most commonly asked questions we get is, “What pubs would you recommend near Woodfarm Barns?”

Whether you fancy nipping in for a quick pint, a dog-friendly place to eat, or you’re looking for a romantic meal, there are some great Suffolk pubs. We have written extensively about loads of them all over the county so check our other blog posts and our own Tourist Guide website Where Do We? for places to eat & drink. But here are our favourites near here in no particular order:

The Crowfield RoseJust round the corner from Woodfarm barns / Dog-Friendly / IP6 9TE / 1.5 mile walk from Woodfarm Barns
Refurbished inside and out in 2019, The Rose is Glen and his wife Caroline’s first foray into the world of being publicans, though Caroline’s background is in catering locally. The Crowfield Rose is a nice pub nearby, with a good range of food and drink, so well worth a stroll or a short drive whilst you’re with us. 01473 892594

The Crown, Stowupland – Ten minutes from Woodfarm / Dog-friendly / IP14 4BQ

Refurbed very nicely in 2015, the Crown is a very dog-friendly pub restaurant, with not one but several extensive menus! The new owners describe it as a traditional Suffolk pub with a twist. Complete with a new thatched roof and wonderful slate floors, it’s now a great Suffolk country pub with freshly prepared food and they’ve also incorporated the spectacle of a stonebake pizza oven, where you can watch your dinner cooking.

Open all day, seven days a week, food is served lunchtimes and evenings from Tuesday to Saturday, as well as Sunday lunchtimes. No food on Mondays (it’s a Suffolk thing).

The Four Horseshoes, Thornham – 15 minutes from Woodfarm / Dog-friendly / IP23 8HD

An example of great proper old Suffolk Pubs/Restaurants, serving freshly cooked food and a great selection of beers and wines.

The Four Horseshoes is a beautiful 12th Century pub, set in the pretty Suffolk village of Thornham Magna, with lots of original features and a roaring log fire. 

Open every day, with food served every lunchtime and evening. There’s an awesome carvery on a Sunday lunchtime, and there is a great forest walk nearby called Thornham Walks so you can burn the calories off!

The Black Horse, Thorndon – 15 minutes from Woodfarm / Dog-friendly / IP23 7JR

Another traditional country pub with a beer garden overlooking their own allotment! Great pub food and local beers. The Chef/owner has a love of Asian food inspired by his travelling days but they still feature classic British pub dishes including his fab Local Steak & Adnams Ale Pie.

Sunday Carvery featuring three joints of local meat and all the trimmings and they even offer a takeaway service for many of their dishes too!

A very beamy old building with bags of character.

The Kings Head, Laxfield – 30 minutes from Woodfarm / Dog-friendly / IP13 8DW

A fabulous old pub without a bar! Yes, you heard me, no bar. This is one of the last pubs left with the original ‘Tap room’, pulling pints directly from the barrels. Lots of little snugs, this is such a cosy place, with old quarry tiled and wooden floors. Very dog-friendly and they do fabulous food.

This is a great place to work into your schedule when you’re heading off to the Heritage Coast; a great day out!

Open and serving food seven days a week.

The Highwayman, Coddenham Green – 10 minutes from Woodfarm / IP6 8PD / 4.5 mile walk from Woodfarm Barns

Suffolk Pubs near Woodfarm Barns - The Highwayman

A great pub near Woodfarm Barns but not dog-friendly inside. Dogs are welcome in the garden though.

One of the closest pubs to us, you’ll get a very warm welcome from owner David who, along with his wife Olga handling all things kitchen, has been feeding Woodfarm guests since we started. Superb home-cooked food using as many local ingredients as possible, often with a Ukranian twist from Olga’s homeland.

Closed on Mondays but open every other day. Sundays are lunchtime only. Food served every lunchtime and evening other than the Monday and Sunday thing.

 The Victoria, Earl Soham – 10 minutes from Woodfarm / Dog-friendly / IP13 7RL

Suffolk Pubs near Woodfarm barns - The Victoria Earl SohamThis is a great old pub on the A1120. Old wooden floors and mish-mash of antique furniture, with a roaring fire going if it’s a bit chilly outside. It’s only a little place but they have their own micro-brewery, brewing Victoria and – yes you’ve guessed it – Albert ales.

They do simple home-cooked food, with meat coming from the butchers just around the corner, as well as a selection of veggies too, and it has a very friendly ‘little local’ atmosphere.

Open every day and serving food every lunchtime and evening. Very dog-friendly. Ideal for a hearty lunch on your way to the coast.


The Walnut Tree, Thwaite – 10 minutes from Woodfarm / Veggie Pub! / IP23 7ED

Very excited by this one. The owners built a fabulous reputation with the first Veggie Pub in the area, The Red Lion in Great Bricett. This was 25 minutes away and well worth the short drive, but now they’ve moved to bigger, better premises just 10 minutes away! We have had several staff meals at the Red Lion and my carnivorous colleagues were sceptical. Until they ate the food! I’ve dined here with guests too.

They have an amazing menu, with incredible flavours. And no meat! The added bonus is that they make a wonderful range of frozen redi-meals for about £4 a pop! They’re all vegan and gluten free and if you have a day out in Norwich they can also be purchased at their sister restaurant, River Green in Trowse, Norwich and at The Little Shop of Vegans, in Magdalen Street, Norwich.

We also have some great Suffolk pubs and restaurants near our Barges in Snape and Woodbridge too.

Read about the Suffolk pubs near our barges.

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Fire Station Coffee Roasters, Woodbridge

Woodbridge's Fire Station Coffee Roasters

The Fire Station Coffee Roasters in Woodbridge is one of my favourite places to relax and unwind in Suffolk.

I may be slightly biased as Woodbridge is my second home but the Fire Station Coffee Roasters is a real bonus to this beautiful riverside town.

The Fire Station in Woodbridge does superb coffee! Well you would expect that, they roast the stuff themselves! They also have an amazing range of fab home made cakes, pastries and lunches etc.

I can’t resist their muesli slice, which is like a flapjack but sooo much more! The other thing is that I am a weirdo who doesn’t drink caffeine or dairy and they do a superb Soya Decaf Latte! I know, I’m odd but get over it!

Fire Station Coffee Roasters, Woodbridge, Suffolk
There’s a great write up in The Woodbridge Magazine too. They major in veggie and vegan (me again) produce but have widened their wares to appeal to all.

The staff are always friendly and there is such a nice atmosphere in there that one simply does not get in the major chains.

It’s only a little place and it does get very busy. Well worth a visit when you’re in Woodbridge! Check out the Fire Station Coffee Roasters website.

The smell of freshly roasted coffee is one of the most ‘Hygge’ aromas on the planet (see my separate Blog Post) and as they roast it here, its a real treat for your nostrils. Yes I know I said I don’t drink caffeine but it doesn’t stop me craving it. My daughter is a major coffee connoisseur and when I bought her a bag of their coffee at Christmas, she was in heaven, putting it up there amongst the best she’s had!

Fire Station Coffee Roasters
Cafe, Bar & Roastery
21a Thoroughfare
IP12 1AA

All Enquiries
01394 389 674

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Sampling great Suffolk Produce

Suffolk Produce

If you enjoy sampling local food and drink on your holiday then check out some of the great Suffolk Produce that we source for you at our holiday cottages.

Breakfast Basket with Suffolk ProduceEver since the inception of Woodfarm Barns in 2009, I’ve been searching out the best Suffolk Produce to offer to our guests.

We provide a tasty breakfast basket with each break and have some really tasty local goodies in there to set you up on your first morning here in our lovely county.

Our local breakfast basket suppliers include:

Fruits of Suffolk

Suffolk Produce from Fruits of SuffolkThe little jars of Jam & Marmalade are made in the village by Fruits of Suffolk to give you a little taster of their wares.

All of their products are made from as much locally grown fruit as possible, in the traditional way, stirred by hand in small batches, bringing out the flavour of the fruit. I know this as I’ve been in there to see it happening. The smell is amazing!

Some fruits are not native to Suffolk, such as the oranges for the marmalade but pretty much all of their ingredients are local. And the best bit is, there are no artificial preservatives or colourings. We keep a small supply of their jars and gift sets here for guests to buy (at cost) but you can find them in loads of local delis and shops.

Check out their website for their full range.

Palfrey & Hall

Suffolk Produce from Palfrey & HallOur bacon is provided by Shaun Palfrey and Deaglan Hall; local artisan butchers, whose products are widely available in local independent outlets, all from locally reared stock.

I first met Deaglan Hall when he came to one of our Pop Up Restaurant events and along with his business partner Sean Palfrey, they have an artisan butchery business based about 5 miles away from Woodfarm, on the Kenton Hall estate.

Provenance is extremely important to the guys and as local craft butchers they pride themselves in knowing the provenance of all of their meat and may even be able to pinpoint the field it was raised in!

They have their unit on the estate just outside Debenham, just four miles away, and are opening a shop in Debenham during 2017.

Mill Green Farm

Suffolk Produce from Mill Green FarmOur eggs come from Free-Range hens, roaming just two miles away at Mill Green Farm in Stonham Aspal.

You can find them on the Debenham road and they always have these fabulous eggs available to purchase. You can say thanks to the hens too! They are planning the opening of their farm shop as I write this.

They don’t have a website at the time of writing this but click on the link above to check out our Blog Post about them and see some pics of their happy hens roaming free.

Aside from our breakfast basket we spend time finding the very best Suffolk Produce for you to pick up and treat yourselves whilst you are staying here. Our other produce comes from a variety of sources locally and we encourage you to try out the superb range of local farm shops and delis to get some real tastes of Suffolk Produce. These ones are all within ten mins of Woodfarm Barns:

Alder Carr Farm, Creeting St Mary

Swiss Farm, Henley

Mr Allards, Stowupland

Coddenham Food Store

You’ll find so much amazing food in these places, as well as the wonderful range of Suffolk drinks available from Adnams, Aspalls, Greene King, Calvors, James White and Shawsgate to name but a few. This is another Blog entirely!

Suffolk Produce from the Earsham Street DeliOne of the most popular purchases by our guests is Suffolk Cheese and we thoroughly recommend a trip to Bungay for some sightseeing, as well as an excuse to pop in to the Earsham Street Deli, who’ve been supplying the fabulous cheese courses for our Pop Up Restaurant Events.

If you have a minute, we’d appreciate your thoughts on the provenance and importance to you of sampling local goodies when you go away so please feel free to drop me a line to let me know how important is it to you to find local produce.

Do you search for great local produce when you’re away? What sort of things do you look for? Are you happy to pay more for these treats when you’re on holiday? Any other thoughts?

If this has whetted your appetite then why not head to our Availability Page and get your diary out?

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Holiday and a Hit Single anyone?

A hit single anyone?

This may sound a little odd but have you ever dreamed of having a hit single?

If you’re anything like me you hear some of the songs in the charts that sound so simple, and think “if only I could have one hit single in my lifetime”. Well now here’s your chance to combine recording your own creation with a nice little break in Suffolk!

OK, let’s start with some management of expectations I think! You’re probably unlikely to have a hit single but now you can at least know what it feels like to go through the very enjoyable recording process and have a relaxing break in Suffolk into the bargain, particularly if you’ve never done it before!

Let me explain…

When I’m not tearing around running my holiday cottage business my favourite hobby is writing, playing, singing and recording music. I have a humble trio called Elephant in the Room, with two friends, Fern Teather and Sam Thurlow, and between us we’ve released one EP, one album and as I write this early in 2017, we are well on the way to finishing our second album. We have not had a hit single! However, we have loads of fun and played loads of great gigs and we continue to do so.

A hit single may await youA very good friend of ours is a chap called David Booth, who happens to own a lovely recording studio in nearby Debenham, called The Recording Booth (See what he did there?). David and I were talking recently about the lucky few who have had a hit single, recorded in a luxurious, residential studio, with swimming pools and all the trimmings. We hit upon the idea of a slightly more, er, modest version of this, which is where you come in…

Maybe you are an accomplished musician, singer, songwriter? Or maybe you play a bit of guitar and have written the odd song here and there over the years for a loved one. Or maybe you’ve tried doing it and can’t play a single note? But I would imagine you’ve wondered what it’d be like to have a single on iTunes?

A hit single on your Woodfarm barns holiday?So, on the assumption that you don’t have a multi-million pound recording contract, how about having a go at it by combining a four night midweek stay at Woodfarm Barns, bringing your other half so you score lots of brownie points and choosing one of David’s recording packages at the same time, which won’t take up all of your holiday?

David is a very talented multi-instrumentalist so it really doesn’t matter if you can’t play a single note, because he knows all of them! He can do all the guitars, drums, etc. too if you can’t. Having worked for a number of years with him, I know that he can put anyone at ease and make them feel comfortable. His studio is adjacent to his home and has a very relaxing feeling about it too. But his knowledge, experience, and approach produce astounding results. If he can make me sound half decent, he has to be good!

A hit single on your Woodfarm barns break?Essentially, you can go in with a minimum of some lyrics and come out with an actual CD of it all recorded and he’ll even put it on iTunes. This is the bit where we don’t guarantee a hit single. But you never know! The idea is to go in for a few hours a day on some of the days that you are here and work with David on your song, or songs. And whilst you are in the studio, your other half can be relaxing in the hot tub as we do have some cottages with them. It’s not quite the flash swimming pool but then you don’t have that recording contract do you!

He has a number of package options starting from just £170 so have a look at David’s blog or give him a buzz directly on 07803 031240 for a friendly, informal chat. He is a nice chap!

We have four night midweek breaks from around £400 so you have a combined package starting under £600. You’ll pay us separately for our bits as we aren’t charging anything to bring these two services together; we just love music and want to see our customers enjoy themselves.

Simply pick your package with David, dates and cottage this end and contact either of us to see if there’s combined availability. We’re both very approachable and we talk to each other too, so between us we’ll make it all happen for you!

If you’d like to hear the sort of thing I’ve done at David’s studio, then have a little listen to this track. It also features David on mandolin and backing vocals (told you he was a talented multi-instrumentalist!).