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Happy Dogs hang out at Woodfarm

Happy Dogs hang out at Woodfarm

Happy dogs is what we like. That’s why we try to ensure they have the best holidays, as well as the humans they drag along with them.

We’re not rocket scientists; we just know that if we have happy dogs, we have happy owners. And as they (you) are the ones who pay to stay, then we have a win/ win!

So how do we ensure we have lots of happy dogs? Well;

Happy Dogs safe in our fully enclosed gardens

Fully-enclosed gardens

All of our Barns and the Woodfarm House have their own fully-enclosed, secure gardens. You can rest assured that your pooches are safe and can nip out for a wee. They can enjoy our own little slice of the Suffolk countryside whilst you put your feet up and chill out.

Dog Treats

The first thing we do is leave doggy treats in all the barns and barges. We have a great selection box from Bob & Lush that we leave for our canine guests. We are also fortunate to have Doodledales just around the corner from Woodfarm Barns so we usually have some of their mixed ‘pick n mix’ treats too!

Happy Dogs love our secure meadowGuaranteed Happy Dogs in Woof-farm Meadow

We have a fully secure, 2 acre doggy fun meadow across the lane from our Barns. It’s just for your dogs to run around, smell all the amazing smells of rabbits, pheasants & muntjacks. There’s a couple of places for you to sit and let them run wild with other four-legged friends that they meet.

Our meadow really is the the place that Woodfarm Dogs go to socialise

Dog Walks on your doorstep (and gangplank)

Whether you’re in a Barn or a Barge, you have fabulous dog walks right from your front door, ensuring happy dogs every day!

If you’re at Woodfarm Barns, then you step out onto our lane and turn right down to the stunning Crowfield Church.

Happy Dogs on the River AldeIf you’re aboard one of our Dutch Barges, you have fabulous river walks directly from the gangplank. Twee Gebroeders in Woodbridge offers walks in either direction along the River Deben, with some amazing sights and wildlife. At Onderneming at Snape Maltings you have the most stunning and tranquil walk, all the way to Aldeburgh if you wish.

If you walk from Snape you’ll come across this view at Iken, taken by our photographer friend Gill Moon


Dog-Friendly Pubs 

Ok, let’s be honest here, this is more for you lot than the dogs but it’s another win/ win. Dog-friendly pubs in Suffolk usually means that dogs are spoilt. When dogs are spoilt, dogs are happy. When dogs are happy, humans are happy. It’s quite simple really.

Here’s a Blog Post I did yonks ago featuring a bunch of Dog-friendly pubs across Suffolk.

Happy Dogs love our log firesRoaring log fires and Underfloor heating

All the Barns have underfloor heating and very cosy woodburning stoves. Woodfarm House has a fabulous open fire that the dogs love. And our cavernous Dutch Barge Onderneming has a woodburning stove too!

There’s no log fire aboard Twee Gebroeders but there is an amazing double range cooker that hounds love snuggling up in front of. Does make cooking difficult though!

Happy Dogs aboard our bargesDog Life Jackets aboard the Barges

For those who are worried that their dog may decide to pop over the side for a swim when you are up on deck, then we have doggy life jackets in all sizes.

You can relax knowing they’ll be safe.

Once inside, there’s no way the dogs can get out so you can breathe easily!

Dogs in the woods

We are blessed to have so many forests and woods all around us, whether you’re Barning or Barging. From From the Barges you have Tunstall and Rendlesham Forests between Snape and Woodbridge, which are both wonderful and your dogs will have a wail of a time! 

From the Barns, we have Thornham Walks and Hoppit Wood just ten minutes away, again giving you space for the dogs to stretch their legs and enjoy themselves.

Happy Dogs on the beach at SouthwoldDog-Friendly Beaches

From Walberswick to Southwold Denes, from Thorpeness to Dunwich.

We are so lucky to have a choice of incredible beaches along the picturesque Heritage Coast of Suffolk.

There are many that you and your dogs can access all year round and there are some with seasonal restrictions.

Here’s a list for you

Dogs at our TWO (!) Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Yes we are greedy. We weren’t content with one Designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we had to have two within easy reach of our Barns & Barges. And both feature some fabulous dog walks.

Suffolk Coast & Heaths & Dedham Vale are truly beautiful. Both barges are within the former and Dedham is well worth a visit. The walk from Dedham to Flatford is a real favourite of mine, as well as being one of my fave kayaking spots.

Dogs Welcome Award from Visit England

Ok, your dogs may not be too excited about this but this award does give you the comfort that we meet the exacting standards set out by Visit England. 

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Dog Friendly Magazine and Woodfarm

Dog Friendly Magazine and Woodfarm

Dog Friendly Magazine is arguably one of the industry leaders, and a respected journal amongst dog lovers. So we were delighted to have such an amazing 6 page feature in June 2018!

Dog Friendly Magazine and WoodfarmWe met one of the writers for Dog Friendly Magazine in February 2018, Emma Bearman, and her partner James, along with well known Instagram dog Alfie Bear and his little African Pygmy Hedgehog ‘Snuffles the explorer’.

They came to stay in one of our Barns at Woodfarm Central and then aboard our huge Dutch Barge ‘Onderneming’. And they loved them both!

Alfie Bear has a huge following on Instagram and his little prickly mate is building quite an audience too. So it was great that they both came to stay.

As you can see, they sampled (well Emma and James sampled) our breakfast basket, as well as enjoying the surroundings, not only of the Barn, but Alfie got to run around in our 2 acre fully enclosed meadow across the lane.

They managed to get time to relax in their own private hot tub. Again, that was Emma and James, not the dog and the hog!

Dog Friendly Magazine and Woodfarm BargesAfter a couple of days enjoying the Barns, we took them down to our enormous Dutch Barge ‘Onderneming’ to sample life aboard a 100 year old converted cargo vessel. Onderneming featured in The Times list of 50 “Best Unusual Holiday Houses in the UK” in the same month that they came to stay!

It’s such an accolade for us to feature in Dog Friendly Magazine. It’s all very well us saying how great we are but we could be making it all up! The fact that we have hundreds of Five Star reviews on Tripadvisor, Facebook and Google, as well as Quality in Tourism Gold Awards for each cottage and Barge, kind of backs up what we are about. But beyond that, it’s great feature in places such as the Times and a prestigious publication like Dog Friendly Magazine. We were overjoyed that our other Barge ‘Twee Gebroeders’ also featured in The Times in 2018 too, in their article on “Love Nests: Great places for two”

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Add a Dog Photography package to your Suffolk break

Dog Photography for Woodfarm by Gill Moon

We’re all about trying to think of new ways to make your Woodfarm Barns or Barges break extra special and for the many dog lovers who stay with us, we’ve got an absolute cracker for you with an exclusive Dog Photography package!

Gill Moon Dog PhotographyIn a strange twist of fate, the previous owner of our beautiful Dutch Barge Twee Gebroeders, in Woodbridge, just happens to be an amazing professional photographer and just happens to be very good at Dog Photography!

I’ve always thought that many of our dog owner guests would love a really high quality reminder of their stay with their furry friends and having met Gill Moon last year when I bought ‘TG’, the idea has gradually come together. I’ve seen a lot of Gill’s work and have her photos of dogs are particularly striking.

So let’s tell you more about Gill and how you can take advantage of her fabulous, exclusive Dog Photography offer for Woodfarm guests;

Gill Moon Photography

Gill Moon Dog Photography for Woodfarm guestsGill is a professional freelance photographer specialising in Suffolk scenes. Her landscape images cover much of the Suffolk Coast and have been published widely online and in many local and national magazines. We also have an amazing framed print of one of her River Deben scenes on the wall of ‘TG’.

Her love of the outdoors and the natural world also extends to animals and pets in particular which has lead Gill to set up a dog photography arm to her business.

Gill says “I love animals and have always had pets. There is nothing more rewarding than the connection you get when interacting with an animal and it is this that I try to capture in my images. 

Dog Photography by Gill Moon

I began by photographing my own dog, a rescue saluki cross called Spud, who is a real character but a complete softy. As luck would have it Spud was a natural in front of the camera and has been a willing model for my photography for several years (spurred on by a continuous supply of dog treats!)”

Photographing pets has developed over the years and now provides a natural extension to Gill’s landscape work.

Gill offers outdoor dog photography sessions in the Suffolk countryside or indoor sessions for all pets in her studio in Hollesley.


Dog Photography for Woodfarm guests by Gill MoonFor Woodfarm guests Gill is offering a 45 minute session at any of our barns or barges at a special Woodfarm rate of just £45!

During the session she will shoot a variety of natural looking images of your dog or dogs (She’s happy to photograph more than one dog per session), some posed and some playful. All these images will be available to view the day after the session via an online private gallery. From this collection you can choose 4 high resolution digital files, which can be downloaded and used however you wish for print or digital display.

In addition to your digital files she will offer other ways to display your images including framed prints, canvas prints, metal prints, collages and albums. All guests will be offered a 10% discount on any of these products.

Please click on any of the images to see Gill’s website and her astonishing work! There’s a tab on there for her pet photography work too.

Please contact Gill directly to arrange your shoot as we do not take a commission. We are just happy to recommend Gill and put you in touch for that something special to make your break even better.

Call her on 01394 410347 or 07920162319


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Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses ‘Milking’ Technology

Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses producing amazing milk

Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses are based just around the corner from Woodfarm Central and our guests  have been enjoying their wares since we opened. But now it’s even more exciting!

Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses gangJason and Katharine Salisbury are based at Whitegate Farm, Creeting St Mary, IP6 8PG. There is a white gate at the entrance and not only that, Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses also do exactly what they say on the tin! They have a herd of over 50 cows helping them produce the renowned Suffolk Gold & Suffolk Blue, made using traditional methods by Katharine. Jason just talks to the cows all day long and plays with his amazing robotic milking system 🙂

You can buy the products directly from Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses and you’ll also see them in a number of local Delis (Earsham Street Deli and The Deli at the Chilli Farm both stock it) as well as farmer’s markets, farm shops and restaurants.

Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses Suffolk GoldSuffolk Gold is a creamy semi-hard farmhouse cheese, with a rich golden colour. Perfect with oatcakes or an apple (I concur)

Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses Suffolk BlueSuffolk Blue is a creamy lightly blue-veined cheese. Whilst the appearance of the blue veining changes with the seasons, the depth of flavour stays the same

We used Suffolk Gold for the years that we held our Pop-Up Restaurant in Woodfarm House and it went down a storm with our diners enjoying the cheese course supplied by Earsham Street Deli.

One of the girls at Suffolk Farmhouse CheesesThe really exciting thing now though is that they have the most amazing robotic milking system, which enhances the welfare of the cows and makes life easier for a farmer! I was invited down to take a look and was genuinely wowed by the whole process. And the great thing is that they have a viewing bay for customers to simply walk in and see the milking in action during the day. It’s fascinating for kids of all ages (this kid was 53 at the time of viewing!)

Hopefully my little videos (below) will give you an insight into the process but do go down and see for yourself and pick up some milk and cheese whilst you are there.

The cows, (having initially been trained where to get food from) simply come in whenever they like as they get fed throughout the process. Each cow has been set up on the system so the ‘robot’ knows where their udders and teats are! A camera then locates the teats and washes them, before applying the milking device. Their yield is recorded electronically for each teat and it even shows you the expected yield beforehand! It then stops when they have given the milk they are going to give, the feeder stops giving them food and out they go, making way for the next cow. It really is fascinating to watch so please do pay them a visit whilst you are with us. It’s a bit further from the Barges but well worth it!

You can then buy seriously fresh milk from their amazing vending machine, and the taste is incredible! The shelf-life of the milk is one week from purchase. They are currently producing around a staggering 700 litres per day but most of this is used for cheesemaking. Only a small proportion is sold via the milk vending machine.

We are very grateful that Jason and Katharine have agreed for Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses to be one of our Preffered Partners too. See that blog for more info on all of the wonderful local businesses, including the two Delis mentioned, giving extra love to Woodfarm Guests.


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The at Friday Street

The at Friday Street at Friday Street is an amazing barn full of unique furniture, gifts and art, along the Suffolk Coast. And you can grab a 10% Discount as a Woodfarm Guest too!

Ironwork Pig at the in Friday Street

Friday Street farm shop is well a visit if you are heading along the coast from our Barns or Barges, which is how I came across The

There are so many shops that sell ‘upcycled’ goods as we all know but this is a really unique one with a fabulous range of the above, as well as lots of hand-crafted gifts, soft-furnishings and art. I absolutely loved this pig and wanted it for the Barns but I couldn’t justify buying it to myself as there are more guitars I need first but it is so striking!

Garden ornaments from The Friday Street

They are based in Friday Street near Aldeburgh on the Friday Street Farm and are just tucked around the back. I discovered them whilst at the farm shop and noticed them as they had some amazing iron sculptures of animals outside.

Venturing inside was so exciting as they sell so many unique pieces, as opposed to the run of the mill items that one sees in so many shops nowadays.

I picked some sweet little garden ornaments for the grounds at Woodfarm Barns but they have all sorts of things for home, garden and the office.

Interiors at The Friday StreetThey have some great lines of bespoke furniture, and will work to your specifications. I met Tony there who is responsible for some fabulous pieces

So do make a point of visiting Friday Street Farm Shop when you’re having a day out and call in at and as one of our ‘Preferred Partners’ you can get a 10% Discount just for being a Woodfarm Barns or Barges Guest! See our page all about this here 

They are big on Instagram so do follow them here

Do have a look at their website (They are in the process of having a new one made) or call them on 01728 652159 or email

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Spotlight on The Fire Station Woodbridge

The Firestation Woodbridge are a fabulous Suffolk business, roasting coffee and providing visitors with a great coffee shop in which to try their wares. In our latest ‘interview’, General Manager Jacqui Grimsey gives us an insight into the wonderful world of coffee. Suffolk style.

Fire Station Woodbridge doing what they do bestWe asked Jacqui a whole bunch of questions about what she does and why she does it, as well as what she loves about doing her thing in Suffolk at the Fire Station Woodbridge.

What’s your background?

I have always had a varied working life, ever since I was younger, but I have always been based in retail and customer facing. As I got older, I realised I had a real love for food and drink, and so ended up leaning towards roles in restaurants, delicatessens, even a local brewery and now a coffee roasters and cafe.

What made you decide to do this? 

I fell in love with the Fire Station Woodbridge through living here, and then when a good friend started working here, it became a regular haunt as it just has a completely different vibe to the rest of Woodbridge. It’s always been the slightly lefty, quirky place, that was accepting of everyone and had the added bonus of roasting their own coffee. I got to know the staff well and through one of those lovely life moments, I was invited to manage the place. I felt very humbled to be asked to run my favourite coffee house, as my dream was to always run my own food business. 

What would you say your role is?

The Fire Station Woodbridge Roastery and Cafe

My role at the Fire Station Woodbridge is technically General Manager and a large part of my role is looking after the wholesale side of the Roastery, but I am a complete martyr and I love to get stuck in and get my hands dirty. I get such a kick out of interacting with my staff and customers, and making sure everyone is having a good time. So when you pop in, you’ll probably see me making coffee, whizzing around, or sitting in the cafe answering emails and chatting to the locals. 

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

You know, if you had asked me this pre-University, I would have given you a proper teenage grumble and told you I hate Suffolk and it’s all rubbish. I now think the complete opposite. University and a year travelling really opened my eyes to how beautiful Suffolk is. I feel very privileged to have grown up here, and to work in Woodbridge is very special. I think Suffolk, and especially Woodbridge, has a great community spirit and a big food and drink culture, and it’s very easy to meet like-minded people to share your passions. And if you need a break, the scenery is perfect to get lost in for a couple of hours. 

What do you think makes The Fire Station Woodbridge out from the crowd?
Fire Station Woodbridge Coffee Roasters

Well, we certainly don’t like convention at the Fire Station Woodbridge. We are very proud of being very inclusive of all ages, genders, races and backgrounds – I like to see the cafe as a big front room where we welcome our customers like old friends. I want everyone to feel like they can come in, relax and put their feet up, whilst enjoying really fresh coffee roasted just behind the cafe. We also like to be a bit different in the music we play, the art we display and the bar events we offer. Previously we have had themed vinyl nights, board game nights, themed quizzes and pop-up restaurants, and 2018’s calendar is gearing up to be even bigger and better! watch this space…

What does the future hold for you and the business?
We’re always looking ahead here at the Fire Station Woodbridge as we always have so many exciting things we want to do! But the short term sees the addition of a monthly quiz hosted by Desmond Sparkles (he may be familiar to some…), as well as (I’m VERY excited about this one) our new Monthly Sunday Boast slot. This is on the 1st Sunday of every month, and we will be hosting a Roast Dinner club! Big plates of wholesome food, beer and wine to boot, so come fill your boots. The future future holds an exciting new venture collaborating with the Artstation in Saxmundham, so keep an eye on our social media for more information…

Which products or service are your personal favourite and what are the most popular with your customers?

I guess it might be obvious, but just our love of coffee. Coffee is our most popular seller in our cafe, both hot offerings and beans. We are always happy to chat to customers a the Fire Station Woodbridge about what we’re roasting and using for espresso, and how they can tailor our coffee to their needs. I’m very adamant that pretentiousness and snobbery – which can often be associated with the speciality coffee world – is not welcome here and I encourage my staff and customers to share their experience and feel comfortable to ask questions, no matter how silly they might think they are. Trust me – no question is silly, we all have to learn somehow!

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

Blimey, I mean I’m fantastic at always being an embarrassment. Luckily I can’t think of anything too major, but I’m very good at forgetting how small our cafe is and that everyone can see me, so I am always singing or doing some stupid dance in the kitchen and then realising that I am fully on show. I do worry that my singing is going to put customers off…

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

Fire Station Woodbridge Coffee Roasters in SuffolkOoo that’s a good question… It might be cheating, but I really admire the Wright Family and everything they have done with the Cake Shop Bakery. They are the hardest working, most driven and determined people I have ever met, and I am proud to now be working with them. 

I would also say I really admire Applaud Coffee in Ipswich. I’ve known Hannah and Beth for some years since working at the Suffolk Food Hall together, and those 2 women have worked their socks off to make a success of their coffee shop. Their coffee is always spot on, and I love their cakes. They are always so smiley and happy when I go in too, and I wish them all the best with their new projects. 

And lastly, I would have to say Old Jet Arts Centre at Bentwaters Park. What Jesse has done with the buildings up their is hugely inspiring, and I always have huge admiration for anyone trying to boost locals artists and creatives in the area. The monthly film Club there is brilliant – where else can you see great independent films whilst eating a Twix on a chaise-lounge? If you don’t know about Old Jet, go and look now – their events calendar is really exciting.

Thank you so much to Jacqui for this insight and for the fab coffee on my recent visit! To find out more about what they’re all about, check out their website and do go in when you’re in Woodbridge, you won’t be disappointed.

I’m also delighted to say that as of 2018 The Fire Station will be supplying the coffee in all our cottages and barges so you’ll be able to try their amazing produce whilst you’re here!

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Bury St Edmunds Christmas Market

The Bury St Edmunds Christmas Market

Bury St Edmunds Christmas Market is just around the corner, literally. Both in miles and also in time as I write!

Bury St Edmunds Christmas MarketThe Bury St Edmunds Christmas Market is a real barometer for me to tell me that Christmas is near. Once the adverts start appearing locally for it, I can almost smell the chestnuts roasting! There’s always a stall there that does amazing toasted almonds too!

The town has a great mix of old and new nowadays, with the Market based in the old part, just a stones throw from the new shops.

With the Abbey as a backdrop, the market takes on a great feel and is so popular with our Holiday Cottage guests. It’s only a 25 minute drive away and has an array of amazing stalls to get you into the festive mood.

With 300-plus stalls, the Market is a traditional street market, adding to Bury’s quaint cafés, traditional tearooms, cosy pubs and award winning restaurants. Oh, and shops galore! Check out the full programme of events on their website

Bury St Edmunds Christmas Market in SuffolkIt runs from the 23rd to the 26th November 2017 with a firework display on the opening night and loads of free entertainment throughout. Theres a Christmas Magic show Abbey Gardens, Face Painting and Circus skills workshops. Santa’s Elves will be there, as well Reindeer in the Abbey Gardens from 12 noon on Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday.  There are Ice Cookery Theatre demonstrations in the Cathedral and a Provisions Market, as well as Carols Services. There is so much to do at the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Market for kids of all ages.

The Angel Hill area of Bury St Edmunds, with its recently crowned cathedral, medieval Abbey Gate and links with Charles Dickens is the ideal setting for this traditional Christmas Fayre. The town’s cosmopolitan shopping centre with its great mix of famous name stores and independent shops plus cafés and restaurants galore. We have some festive availability at the time of writing so check out our calendar below. 




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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 AbercrombieWhat’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 & corporate events. I then spent some 25 years freelancing around the events industry launching cars, buildings and the odd tunnel, doing large, corporate events & 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 ofTheatre 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?

Outside the Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal


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 tea-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 & love of their team leaves me in awe. They also have The Cabbages & Kings Café which sells the best home made cakes & pastries in the county.

Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal - Matthew hard at workAction 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 & 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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Woof-Farm Meadow in Dog Friendly Suffolk

Happy Dogs love our secure meadow

We’ve worked for many years to make Woodfarm the very best of Dog Friendly Suffolk and now the 2 acre wild meadow opposite Woodfarm is a secure place for your dogs to run wild and get to know other four-legged guests!

Dog friendly Suffolk with Woof-Farm MeadowYou are really going to have to use your imagination until we have it all up and running properly but it is now useable at least!

We now have a fully secure two acre wild meadow for our guest dogs to run around in, play and meet each other. Within the meadow is a further secure section for nervous or older dogs so they can also run around, without the fear of being bounced on by an exuberant puppy!

There will be a seating area for the humans to sit and chat, which will be covered in case of rain but of course it never rains because this is dog friendly Suffolk and it never rains here. Ok, maybe sometimes!

FB2Having spent years making Woodfarm a part of dog friendly Suffolk, we are constantly told by our guests (the two legged ones) that we’ve got it right and the feedback this idea has received on social media so far has been staggering.

Here’s Obi trying it out. He loved it, as did his ‘sister’ Leia who is the happy girl in the main pic above. The force is strong with them in our meadow!

Once it’s all up and running we will have our official photographers over to do their thing but for now as we say, you’ll have to use some imagination.

Dog friendly Suffolk with Cookie and JessThe gates officially opened on Friday 12th May 2017 and Cookie and Jess, in this photo on the left, were the first guests to try it out. They’d only just arrived but were soon running around and I couldn’t actually photograph them!

So with fully enclosed private gardens, a beautiful church walk straight from your door, and some fabulous dog friendly Suffolk beaches, it’s the perfect place to bring your dogs.

We will update this page as the meadow develops but if you’d like to get yourself and your K9s booked in for a true slice of dog friendly Suffolk then have a look at our availability here