Many people who live in our modern cities dream of escaping the rat race to one of the many wonderful Coast and Country Cottages in Suffolk.
Some people even long for the day when they can uproot altogether and relocate or retire and choose between Coast and Country Cottages.
So, whether you’re looking for a short break or a total lifestyle change you’ll find yourself thinking about Coast and Country Cottages and asking yourself which are better. After all, it’s an important decision. Here’s our light-hearted mini guide.
Here’s some of our (not very serious) thoughts on the subject.
Coast and Country Cottages, a battle royal.
– Beautiful seaside.
– Fish and Chips.
– Sea air.
– Sitting on the dock of the bay, watching the tide roll away.
– Tonnes of tourists.
– Sand everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE.
– Rising sea levels.
– Kraken attacks.
– Beautiful countryside.
– Sweet isolation.
– You can go for a walk in the countryside right out of your front door.
– Nature everywhere.
– Less Kraken attacks.
– Very few people.
– Always have to drive to get to anywhere.
– Getting snowed in.
– Very few people.
– Bear attacks.
I guess at the end of the day it’s a subjective choice. Whatever you go for, Coast and Country Cottages are a great way to go.
Or why not have both? That’s right you can finally have your cake and eat it too. Here are Woodfarm Barns our cottages are situated in the countryside with all of the advantages that offers, but at the same time are only a short drive from the stunning Suffolk coast.
So Woodfarm Barns offer an excellent option for those on the look out for Coast and Country Cottages.
Yes it’s that time of year again. This Christmas we’re All About Dogs here at Woodfarm Barns.
Right now as I type millions of people all around the world are getting ready to celebrate Christmas, and for many it’s All About Dogs.
The mid-winter festival means many different things to different people. But for most people who celebrate it, one of the key aspects is spending time with our family and loved ones. For many of us that includes our four-legged friends. Thousands of dog owners all around the UK consider their K9 companion to be a member of the family. (Many even prefer their pawed family members! But shhh, don’t tell anyone!)
For this reason we’re taking a little time this year to be All About Dogs this Christmas.
There are so many ways we can include our beloved pooches in our family Christmas.
– Cook them something special
If you’re anything like me then food is a major highlight of the holiday season for you. It can be the same for your dog.
Make them something special to eat and bring holiday cheer to their tummies.
A quick Google search (other search engines are available!) will provide you will hundreds of dog friendly recipes for the festive season. However we found some good ones on ‘I Heart Dogs’.
– Give them their own stocking
We all know our dog’s favourite treats. Why not fill a stocking with them for Christmas morning?
After all, Christmas is a time for giving and they give us so much all year round.
– Keep them with you
Simple, but it’s the most important.
Off to see the Christmas lights in town? Take your K9 friend with you. They’ll enjoy the lights too.
We’re fully booked this Christmas but our dog friendly cottages are available all year round. After all a dog is for life, not just for Christmas (sorry, couldn’t resist that corny joke, what’s wrong with me?!) and we’re All About Dogs 365 days of the year.
Whether you’re a Michelin Star chef or a kitchen novice, many people look for Self Catering holidays as a way to flex their culinary muscles and maybe even save a little money.
Some people look for Self Catering holidays as an opportunity to take the time and care over food preparation that they’re often not able to take, day to day, due to the fast paced nature of modern life.
Others love Self Catering holidays as they are a great way to save some money, compared to full board holidays, whilst not making any concessions on luxury accommodation.
We here at Woodfarm Barns strongly believe that we can offer the best in Self Catering holidays. Our charming rustic cottages all come with fully equipped kitchens for you to enjoy some quality time preparing your own food.
A holiday cottage should feel like a home from home and we have put every effort into making this a reality for our guests.
Our Gold Awards, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and thousands of glowing testimonials are all proof of that hard work.
Indeed one of the main things our guests are wowed by are our scrumptious Breakfast Baskets. These are filled with locally sourced produce including eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, bread, butter, milk, jam & marmalade, fresh fruit, cookies etc.
Everything you could need to give a kickstart to one of your Self Catering holidays with us.
You’ll be able to find the rest of the food you’ll need locally once you arrive. There are shops of all verities to suit every taste and budget. All within a reasonable drive from your holiday cottage. Everything from the big supermarkets to small independent village shops.
After all, a trip to Suffolk wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of the locally produced food!
This Blog Post is all about Palfrey & Hall, now supplying Woodfarm Barns.
As part of our delicious local breakfast basket that we give our guests with every stay, we have always sought to provide the best bacon we can and now Palfrey & Hall are supplying us with their fabulous smoked back.
We continuously seek out Suffolk companies to work with, whether it be local shops, pubs, restaurants, visitor attractions etc and its satisfying to meet like-minded business-people, passionate about what they do. Palfrey & Hall are just that.
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. They provide a bespoke service to local smallholders, with cutting, curing and smoking and also produce their own range of quality meat for private and trade customers. They will also be opening a retail butchery shop in the very near future too, so a real bonus for our guests.
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 a wide range of superb quality meats from pork, chicken, lamb, beef, venison and even water buffalo and goat.
I see Palfrey & Hall produce popping up in more and more local deli’s and farm shops nowadays so the guys have really grown the business considerably since they started back in 2013.
Please visit the Palfrey & Hall website and read lots more about them.
Better still, check our availability and get yourself booked in for a relaxing Suffolk holiday cottage break, where you’ll be able to try out their wares. Give them a call and I’m sure they’ll put together any package for your stay too!
We like to think that we have some of the best Holiday Cottages in existence. However, how do we measure up to these amazing fictional homes?
We think the following five fictional homes would make a splendid Holiday Cottage.
5 – The House from Up
Ok, so flying through the sky in a house kept in the air by a gazillion balloons isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Also, it may well be the furthest thing from the relaxing holiday most of us are looking for. Some would even say it’s downright terrifying. However for many of us, a journey into the clouds would be perfect. Perhaps the best way to literally ‘get away from it all’? A Holiday Cottage air-ship.
4 – The Burrow, from Harry Potter
Our Holiday Cottages have bags of rustic charm. However, even Woodfarm House with its centuries-old exposed oak beams and its rambling 15th Century design complete with thatched roof can’t compare to The Weasley’s home in the Harry Potter stories when it comes to kookiness. It’s a home of such eccentric design that it could only be held together by magic. A weekend in one of our Holiday Cottages may well be a magical time, but we’re sorry to say that our Cottages are built using more traditional techniques.
3 – The Gingerbread House, from Hansel and Gretel by The Brothers Grimm
Best not to think too deeply about the inhabitant of the Gingerbread House in the original story when imagining it as a Holiday Cottage. It’s probably best to dream of a weekend break without the cannibalistic witch to whom the house belonged in the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like I could really relax with her around. Also, probably not one for those on diets.
But apart from those minor drawbacks, it’s a house made of gingerbread! That sounds like an excellent Holiday Cottage to me. If you forgot your key or locked yourself in then there’s a great way to get through the door, but again its back to the calories!
2 – The Pineapple, SpongeBob’s house from SpongeBob Squarepants
Perhaps one for the more calorie-conscious. Many people when they’re building Holiday Cottages don’t consider fresh fruit as a option for building materials. Personally I think that’s a shame. In my opinion 124 Conch Street would make a terrific getaway spot to forget the stresses and strains of the world. Especially if one has a taste for Krabby Patties.
And so to number one in our five fictional holiday cottages.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we bring you…..
1 – The House at Pooh Corner
My personal favourite house from fiction is The House at Pooh Corner. A shining example of everything great Holiday Cottages should be. Well catered, environmentally friendly, well furnished and full of friendly welcoming locals. Spending a weekend with Pooh and his friends sounds like heaven to me. I adore the slow pace and genuine warmth that runs through A. A. Milne’s stories. The idea of stopping in for tea with Owl, Piglet and the gang fills me with a satisfying glow.
Of course you could probably re-create the experience of a weekend with Pooh in one of our Holiday Barns or Cottages. Simply stock up on honey and then have a loveable but slightly slow relative eat it all before you get a chance.
We’re all looking for the ultimate in relaxation when we go away for a break and our cottages with Hot Tubs can provide exactly that.
Our Hot tub collection has grown organically over the last couple of years and we now have 8 cottages with Hot Tubs!
We put one into Deben Barn in 2015 to see if it would be a popular move and in 2016 decided to add them to Gipping and Orwell Barns, with a covered ‘Garden Room’ in each. 2017 saw two more, into Alde and Stour Barns and we haven’t looked back! You need to book well ahead to get one, particularly at the weekends!
If you choose to book into one of our Holiday Cottages with Hot Tubs then you’ll soon feel your muscles loosen and relax as all the cares and worries of the world melt away when you take your first dip. The gentle massaging jets also increase blood flow in those lucky enough to experience them. This brings much needed nutrients to your muscles refreshing and repairing them after the stresses and strains of modern life.
Floating in your Hot Tub you’ll soon start to feel like you’re floating away from the cares and worries of the world. If you suffer from joint pain or conditions such as arthritis then this buoyancy can also provide relief from those symptoms and can sometimes even deliver an increased ability to preform daily tasks with more ease.
The relaxation offered by Hot Tubs doesn’t end when you get out either. Many people find that a bit of time in a Hot Tub before bed can bring on a deeper and more restful sleep. Just what you’ll need whether you’re planning a relaxing escape with as little activity as possible or if you’re spending your days exploring all that Suffolk has to offer, ether way better sleep can help you do just that.
Now, we’re not for one moment suggesting that Hot Tubs are a miracle cure for all that ails you, but as anyone who’s tried one can tell you, they can come pretty close!
If you’re interested in booking a break with that little bit of extra luxury relaxation then check out our cottage videos page and watch Alde, Deben, Gipping, Orwell and Stour Barns, which are our Cottages with Hot Tubs, and choose your favourite!
A little blog post bringing you the Sail Loft Southwold – one of the great places to eat and drink in this beautiful resort near our Suffolk holiday cottages.
The current owners took over the premises in 2014 and re-branded it The Sail Loft Southwold. It’s literally right across the road from the dunes to the south of the town. They describe the venue as “the culmination of experiences, resources and knowledge of five individuals. An eclectic collection of ideas, principles and diversity has delivered a unique venue to Southwold”.
I went for lunch with a friend of mine on the hottest September day for 100 years! The staff were all friendly, welcoming and really helpful. There is a great menu, including lots of seafood as the restaurant is on Ferry Road, so just a hop, skip and a jump to the fishing boats coming in to Southwold Harbour. They have access to the freshest fish around! So, while in Rome as they say, we both went for the seared tuna steak with Asian slaw and sweet potato fries, which were amazing!
We adjourned to the garden to have a drink in the sun and it was lovely. It literally overlooks the dunes, which lead down to the sea. Take a little stroll down to the harbour to walk off your lunch and watch the fishermen in action. You can also pick up some more fresh fish to bring back to your cottage with you.
They sell Adnams, which is pretty much the law in Southwold! They also have a wide range of wines and other beers, as well as soft drinks of course. They serve your table water in old gin and vodka bottles, which is a quirky little touch.
The Sail Loft Southwold is very dog-friendly and they even have treats on the bar.
Check out their website for lots more information and check our availability page if you fancy booking yourself in and heading over there for a bite to eat during your stay.
We are so lucky to be near to to Suffolk Coastal. We have some amazing Dog-friendly Suffolk beaches; some remote, some on the edge of towns. A mix of sand and shingle, all with fabulous views. Some have no restrictions and some do. Much of this information comes from The Beach Guide here
Dog-friendly Suffolk Coastal with no restrictions (that we are aware of!)
Type of beach; Shingle
Nearest town; Southwold
Postcode; IP17 3DE
OS grid ref; TM 4794 7055
Type of beach; Sand & shingle
Southwold is one of the Suffolk coastal best known resorts and has a long tradition as such. Perhaps the most obvious link to the seaside town’s seaside credentials is the 800 foot (250m) long pier. Along with a sprinkling of shingle, beach groynes and colourful beach huts there is no mistaking you are at the Great British seaside!
Opened in 1900 the pier has taken a few beatings from the sea over the years, in particular 1934 when the pier head was destroyed by a storm. Further storms damaged the pier up to the point that in 1998 the pier had to be closed for safety reasons.
But there is more to Southwold beach than a pier. The quality of the beach has been recognised over the years by regular Blue Flag awards which demonstrate that the beach is not only clean but provides an excellent array of amenities.
The beach at Southwold is backed by a promenade which runs along the front of the town. It is only a quick walk to the town centre and a short promenade to the harbour area. This is one of my favourite dog-friendly Suffolk beaches.
The beach is cleaned regularly and dogs are banned from certain areas of the beach during the summer season.
First aid point
Lost child centre
Town centre nearby
Beach hut hire
Type of beach; Sand & shingle Postcode; IP18 6UA
Nearest town; Southwold
OS grid ref; TM 5025 7471
Without showing favouritism, this is my favourite slice of dog-friendly Suffolk coastal! Its a lovely little sand dune backed beach is just across the River Blythe from Southwold, which is within easy walking distance.
A walk in the other direction will take you past the Walberswick Nature Reserve with its mix of marsh and heathland.
The beach at Walberswick is just a short walk from the village which means all amenities are close at hand. Even if you don’t need anything it is worth the stroll up to have a look around this pretty little village.
Walberswick is however best known as the home of “The British Open Crabbing Championship”. This takes place in the waterways behind the beach and the person catching the largest crab within 90 minutes is the winner!
Dog-friendly Suffolk Coastal with restrictions
Type of beach; Shingle
Dog ban from 1st May through the 30th September
Thorpeness is a quirky little village just north of Aldeburgh. It is everything an English seaside village should be; there is a golf course, a large boating lake (the Meare) and more mock Tudor buildings than you can shake a stick at! Many of these buildings line the beach front intermingling with equally quirky modern homes.
The beach itself is an expanse of steeply shelving shingle leading down to some sand at low tide. To the south it stretches all the way to Aldeburgh and to the north Dunwich.
Town centre nearby
Nearest town; Aldeburgh
OS grid ref; TM 4734 5954
Type of beach; Sand & shingle
Dog ban from 1st May through the 30th September on the main town beach
This sand and shingle beach is probably the best known of all Suffolk’s beaches. Backing on to the pretty seaside town of Aldeburgh there are no shortage of facilities either.
Aldeburgh has plenty to explore on and around the beach. Along the beach front are any number of quirky historic buildings. These include the 400 year old Moot Hall, a Martello tower, a converted windmill and a Norman church.
There is cultural heritage here too; composer Benjamin Britten is strongly linked with the town and there is a monument to him on the beach – the Scallop. The art scene remains vibrant in Aldeburgh with a number of galleries, most notably Caroline Wiseman’s housed in the South Lookout right on the beach.
However, the best cultural experience to be had in the town are fish and chips which have been rated as the best on the East coast!
Town centre nearby
Nearest town; Aldeburgh
Postcode; IP15 5BD
OS grid ref; TM 4660 5679
Type of beach; Sand & shingle
This is the more remote side and offers some great scenery in ‘Old Felixstowe’, where the River Deben enters the sea after its long journey from Debenham, very close to Woodfarm.
First aid point
Nearest town; Felixstowe
Postcode; IP11 2AQ
OS grid ref; TM 3071 3447
Type of beach; Sand & shingle
First aid point
Nearest town; Felixstowe
Postcode; IP11 2DF
OS grid ref; TM 2957 3340
Complete ban on dogs
Type of beach; Shingle
Orford Ness is a nature reserve with fragile habitats so dogs are not allowed (assistance dogs are welcome)
The reason I am including it in this guide though is that Orford is beautiful and you are allowed to visit the harbour with your dogs.
The technical description of Orford Ness as a cuspate foreland shingle spit doesn’t really do much to explain the uniqueness of this atmospheric spot on the Suffolk coast.
Another iconic feature of Orford Ness is the abandoned lighthouse which is sadly set to be swallowed up by the sea in the not too distant future.
The beach, and nature reserve onto which it backs, are now owned by the National Trust. There aren’t much in the way of facilities here but the village of Orford is only around a mile away.
A popular destination with our guests is the River Deben at Woodbridge, just 25 minutes from Woodfarm. We’ve covered lots of things to do along the Deben, but this Blog Post is all about my up close encounters with the seals and samphire picking here.
The River Deben is my favourite spot for getting away and relaxing. Running my Suffolk holiday cottage business means I don’t really get to go on holiday like normal people but I am fortunate enough to be able to get away to my boat for at least 24 hours every week to recharge my batteries!
This week I managed to get away for a few days and the great thing about it is that I can still work, answer online enquiries and the phone, and come up with ideas for these Blog Posts to keep you informed about things going on in Suffolk. I have been known to take enquiry calls whilst kayaking!
One of my favourite spots along the River Deben is an area called ‘The Rocks’, where we drop anchor and unwind with only the sea birds for company. Usually! We are often very lucky to also see seals along the River Deben!
We anchored up this week and then headed off in the ‘tender’ (little dinghy to get ashore) to go down a narrow creek between Waldringfield and Hemley, to pick samphire as it grows in abundance here. I never buy it in the shops as it’s expensive and I know where there is more growing than one could ever eat for free! We usually cook the sapphire within hours of picking it and it is so salty! We do wash the salt water off first!
There are often one or two seals about, although they never come too close. It’s always very exciting to see them in such proximity in their natural habitat. But this week was a real treat as for the first time we saw mother sunbathing, whom we often see, and then one by one we saw three pups too!
Then later we saw them altogether on land, along with dad! Such an awesome experience to see a family of five wild seals right in the middle of Suffolk! And to top it allow saw another lone seal just around the headland too! He/ she may have been part of the family too of course.
Mum was the first to be spotted and she was very nonchalant, just chilling on Summer’s day, and actually rolled over as we approached. We cut the engine when we saw here as they don’t like the noise, and then just rowed past her, round the creek.
This is where we find lots of samphire and as you can see, it’s a muddy process to get it! The mud is very warm and soft so I think I have very pampered feet after this. Free beauty treatment as well as free samphire!
It grows along the edges of the water and at high tide is completely submerged so it’s clearly a very hardy plant!
As we came back past Mama Seal, we then spotted, one by one, her pups; three in all! They’d obviously been out playing when we came by the first time. We just drifted around and they were very playful and inquisitive. They kept bobbing up and down looking at us, then would disappear under the water and come up the other side of the boat. It was so nice just drifting and letting them do this.
We then headed off down the opposite side of the creek just to see where it goes and when we came back the pups were all on the land with mum. And dad! What an amazing sight to see a family of five seals, totally in the own habitat just yards away from the river where so many boats pass every day. Then on our way back down the creek to join the River Deben we saw the lone seal I mentioned too! Six is definitely our record in one day!
Then back on board to wash and prep the samphire.
As I say, we often spot the seals on the river itself but they do tend to maintain their distance. We’ve been very lucky on a few occasions to have them come into the yacht harbour and swim about near the boat.
After our seal-spitting adventure we enjoyed a nice prawn and samphire salad for lunch.
Woodbridge is such a great spot just 25 minutes from Woodfarm and I do feel very fortunate to be able to come and enjoy the very best of nature on my days off. You can check more details about the area in a couple of my others Blog Posts HERE and HERE
As the 2016 Rio Olympic Games is launched, it’s time to let you know about the credible alternative. I am delighted to announce that Woodfarm Barns is hosting the 2016 Stonham Aspal Olympic Games!
Yes, we are in direct competition with the Rio Olympics and I’m sure we’ll give em a run for their money!
The Olympic Games comes around every four years and as we were still building barns four years ago we couldn’t compete but now that we have been up and running for a few years now we can focus on the Stonham Aspal Olympic Games.Let’s address the controversial topic first and get it out of the way. I can confirm that following a meeting of SOC, the Stonham Olympic Committee, ALL of the Rabbits have been banned from appearing, following the exposure of their doping process.
Lawyers for the Rabbits, Watership & Downs, have stated categorically that their eyes and ears are supposed to look like that but the SOC have put their paw down and said no!
Ok, that’s out of the way, let’s look at the disciplines on offer at the Stonham Olympics. Clearly we have a lower budget than the Rio games but we have nonetheless cleared quite a sizeable budget for the inaugural Woodfarm Olympic Games;
We have two wheel and four wheel events. as you can see, the four wheeler is in British racing Green, whilst the two-wheeler is in a more sporty orange. The race will consist of laps of Woodfarm
A strong event this, featuring ride-on and walk-behind events. All in British Racing Green, the lawnmower events will take place in the various gardens of our holiday cottages for the walk-behind and the main landscaped gardens for the ride-on events.
Although this years haul of new ducklings have flown the nest, we have written to them asking them to come back for the Stonham Olympics. If they do reply then the racing will take place on the main pond. As you can see they were taking the pre-games diet regime seriously!
A crowd favourite this one. Featuring rugs of different sizes and patterns, we have antique rug-beaters for the Woodfarm clean team to pit their wits against each other.
Here’s a great pic of one of the Woodfarm clean team ladies in action. I am so in trouble for that one if any of them read this!
An obvious one as we have a bike shed full of almost Olympic standard bikes, not to mention our three-seater Daisy, although there is only one of her!
Here’s some recent guests trying Daisy out. They didn’t get far as she’s pretty difficult to ride. Best we leave it to the professionals!
The cycling velodrome is a rural version and looks a bit like the lane past Woodfarm, down to Crowfield Church, along to Coddenham and then back round via Pettaugh.
The fish are in good shape and poised for their events. I can confirm that the diving will not be taking place in the Hot Tubs. The Swimming will consist of lengths of the pond, which may get confusing as it is round! The larger Koi will have a handicap as they are 20 times the size of the tiddlers.
The diving event has been cancelled due to an unfortunate incident involving a frog falling off the decking into the pond disturbing the fish!
Another real crowd pleaser this one as the Suffolk snails literally go head to head of speeds up to 3 miles per month!
This image shows the two favourites; on the left is Brian from Stowupland and on the right we have Clive from Stonham Parva. It’s set to be be real clash of the titans as they set off during the opening ceremony and are expected to hit the finishing line at the other end of Woodfarm just around the time of the closing ceremony
Egg & Spoon race
An event shrouded in controversy as it has been alleged that some of the spoons used may have been on performance-enhancing steroids but we cannot confirm or deny this.
As you can see from this image, they are pretty much the same so we have an even playing field.
The opening ceremony will take place on Friday 5th August 2016 and is set to be a real spectacular as we have a pack of sparklers and some toffee apples!
Feel free to come and watch the games as it won’t be on television due to a dispute over Rio or something. We will post a full schedule of events in the village newsletter being circulated in the next month or so.
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Short and Long Break options…..
We offer 2 or 3 night weekends from Fridays, 4 night midweek breaks from Mondays, and 5 night midweek breaks from Sundays. We also do full weeks and longer, from any of those days. Contact us if you would like anything different
We welcome up to 3 dogs and charge £15 each per stay
We make this small charge to cover our strict maintenance and cleaning regime and keep the barns spotless! This will be added during the booking process.
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