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Our ‘Coronavirus Cleaning Regime’

The first half of 2020 has seen many changes in our lives and in our businesses; many bad, some good. One of the things that we know you are going to be interested in as a new era dawns, is our Coronavirus Cleaning Regime during our changeovers between guest departures and arrivals.

We have often written and talked about our stringent maintenance, but now more than ever, you will want to rest assured that wherever you stay, it has a very strict coronavirus cleaning regimen in place. Well, we do. I think anyone prepared to talk about it in the first place has to at least be halfway to assuring guests that they have thought it through. Take a look at the last Blog post we wrote earlier in 2020 about our standard regime HERE. As we prepare to come out of hibernation in July (I’m writing this the day that the PM has announced that we can!) I have taken delivery this week of a whole load of anti-virus products from our commercial cleaning suppliers to ensure that we have our guests and our staff protected.

Our new kids on the block: a range of ‘Virucidal products’ for our Coronavirus cleaning regime

We have always been fastidious about anti-bacterial sprays, but as we all know, that won’t beat coronavirus. It needs to be anti-virus, so that’s what we’ve bought in. I am not professing to be an expert at all, but we have the data sheets for all the new products we hold, should that be of interest to you. Please drop me an email and I’ll happily share them with you.

We are now allowed to stay away overnight again, along with pubs, restaurants and coffee shops getting the green light too, so we are all systems go once again! Whilst we are going to be extremely busy once more, I must reiterate, we are fortunate that we are surrounded by open countryside, and social distancing from others is easy at Woodfarm, whether you are at the Barns, or aboard one of our Barges.

With our very strict cleaning regime and new ‘Virucidal’ products for all of our housekeeping procedures, with surfaces sprayed down in between guests, our aim is for you to relax and have a safe break. Just to put your mind at rest further, we not only change the bedding and towels, but we also change the mattress and pillow protectors each time too. And for the time being, we have also removed all of the cushions and throws that we like to ‘accessorise’ with under normal circumstances. This is purely to minimise risks. Sorry it won’t be quite as pretty, but your safety is our primary concern.

Staycation, Stay Safely with our Coronavirus cleaning regime

We hope to be seeing you safely and sensibly soon for an amazing stay with us, and that it’ll be a welcome relief from lockdown!

Staycation, Stay Safely.

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4 reasons why Suffolk is the perfect year-round holiday location

Beach huts Suffolk

Many holiday locations have their ‘ideal season’: Some say that it wouldn’t be summer without a trip to Cornwall or the Isle of Wight, while swathes of people head to The Cotswolds for vibrant autumn walks and cosy pubs. However, Suffolk is one of those very unique places that works its magic all year round.

At Woodfarm Barns, we think ourselves very lucky to experience all four glorious seasons in Suffolk – and we are delighted to say that our guests say the same! We are busy throughout the year, which is a testament not only to how popular Suffolk is as a holiday destination, but also to our beautiful Dog-Friendly Holiday Cottages. These luxurious cottages provide a charming introduction to the county’s countryside, while our Historic Dutch Barges Onderneming and Twee Gebroeders (also dog-friendly!) offer a unique take on Suffolk coastal life.

We consider ourselves experts in our area, purely as we’ve been doing what we do well for so long, so we’ve put together a guide to Suffolk by season to help you plan your stay. Whatever time of year you choose to visit, we hope you consider staying with Woodfarm Barns and Barges!

1. Spring

Suffolk is rich in agriculture and literally comes alive in spring with hundreds of newborn animals! Easton Farm Park offers an interactive experience for families, where you can walk around the working farm and see adorable young animals, including lambs, chicks, and calfs, finding their feet. If you’re visiting the west of the county, Kentwell Hall is a unique experience not only for its live historical re-enactments, but also for its rare breeds farm where the spring lambing is a truly wonderful sight.

Come to Suffolk at the right time of year, and you’ll be able to witness forests carpeted in blue! Bluebells thrive in certain wooded areas in Suffolk, like Captain’s Wood in Woodbridge, where you can see the sight for yourself on a walk around the area’s three kilometre trail. Photographers and nature lovers alike will adore this sight, which only occurs once a year.

Southwold Pier and beach

2. Summer

Suffolk beaches are blissful in summer – and each one has its own set of unique characteristics that set it apart from the last. For example, Southwold is known for its historic pier, which stretches 623 feet from the shore. There you’ll find arcades, various eateries and the opportunity to go sea fishing.

Conversely, quieter beaches such as Covehithe will attract those looking for some real rest and relaxation. Its sandy surface is perfect for a peaceful, barefoot walk with nothing but the sound of the sea to fill your ears.

If you’re a festival-goer, Latitude is not one to miss. Getting bigger every year, the Henham Park-based festival has played host to some of the biggest acts in music, including Suffolk’s own Ed Sheeran, Mumford and Sons, and The Killers. Latitude is known as a family friendly festival, and there are many activities available for children, including rides and play areas, workshops, discos and performances.

Deer rut in Suffolk

3. Autumn

Witness the falling foliage across Suffolk’s forests as the county transforms into a sea of reds, oranges and yellows. There are many walking trails which provide stunning views of the countryside; however, RSPB Minsmere is ideal for its diverse collection of plants and rare wildlife. Visit in October for the red deer rut – it’s the star attraction during the autumn months!

Suffolk is a foodie county, with an excellent selection of fish, meat, cheese, confectionary, condiments and drinks produced right here on our doorstep. You’ll find that most pubs, restaurants and cafes will utilise a wide selection of quality Suffolk food, so you won’t have to look hard to find a good, locally-sourced meal.

Beach huts in snow in Suffolk

4. Winter

Just because it’s cold, doesn’t mean you have to stay inside! There is plenty to do in Suffolk in winter, especially in the run-up to Christmas when things can get really festive. Christmas fairs are aplenty here, with tourists and locals flocking to town centres to make the most of the festive season. Bury St Edmunds hosts a very popular market each year, with over 300 stalls, plus rides, workshops and fireworks. If you’re searching for unusual gifts, Woodbridge market is full to the brim with quirky creations made by local craftspeople. Foodies will adore the Christmas Fayre at Jimmy’s Farm, which offers tasty grub and food-related gifts from local producers in amongst the art, fashion, homeware and more.

However, if you’re not in the festive mood, nothing beats a trip to the pub – and Suffolk has many quality establishments. With excellent beer and cider from local breweries Adnams and Aspall, as well as all the fantastic food mentioned above, you’ll be well looked after. All you need is someone to enjoy it with – luckily, there are many dog-friendly pubs in Suffolk if you’re struggling to find a human companion!

We at Woodfarm Barns hope you have a relaxing holiday, wherever you decide to go. Hopefully our recommendations have inspired you to visit Suffolk, as there is much to see and do here, with new activities popping up all the time. 

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‘Lording it up’ in luxury in a Suffolk Farmhouse

Suffolk Farmhouse - luxury Holiday Cottage

Fancy being Lord & Lady Woodfarm when we emerge from hibernation? Just to clarify, we are equally happy to welcome Lord & Lord Woodfarm, or Lady & Lady Woodfarm.

In ‘normal times’, Woodfarm House is home for the weekend, or a midweek break, to extended families or groups of friends, but we aren’t living in normal times right now are we? It’s unlikely we will be able to welcome large groups for some time yet, so we came up with a cunning plan in the shape of a 40% Discount, as we would rather have guests enjoying Woodfarm House, than not. We would like you to experience this big holiday home, whether you are a couple, or if you’re a small family looking for a change of scenery once we can get going again. And of course, we are surrounded by country lanes and unspoilt skies.

Suffolk Farmhouse - Luxury Holiday Cottage
Fancy ‘Lording it up’ in a Suffolk Farmhouse – Luxury Holiday Cottage

Woodfarm House is our thatched, beamed, 500 year old, quirky farmhouse, that epitomises the ultimate in ‘Lording it up’ in luxury living in the Suffolk Countryside. 

Whilst these are still difficult times, we are very much on course and hopeful that we will be opening our doors again from Friday 3rd July. If we need to adjust then we will, but that’s the plan, and the Barges & Barns calendars are filling up fast.

We are offering a whopping 40% Discount in Woodfarm House for couples and small families, right up until Christmas, to bring it in line with our Barn prices. This is purely for couples, or a small family living in the same household. If you are a larger family than Mum & Dad with 2.4 kids then just call me and I’ll work something else out for you.

Fancy 'Lording it up' in a Suffolk Farmhouse - Luxury Holiday Cottage
Would you like to ‘Lord it up’ in a Suffolk Farmhouse?

No it hasn’t got a hot tub. What it has got is three big bedrooms, three bathrooms, 500 years of history, old oak beams a-plenty, and the most beautiful surroundings. I’ll even call you Lord & Lady Woodfarm if you wish!. If you’ve been cooped up for months and fancy a change, then why not take a look at the video for Woodfarm House HERE and get yourselves booked in?.

Just use the Voucher Code FAMILY40 when booking and you’ll get 40% off our normal price!

And don’t forget, there’s plenty of room for your Doggos too. We take up to three, but there’s room for one or two more in Woodfarm House. There’s a fully enclosed kitchen garden, and of course our fully enclosed two acre meadow exclusively for the use of our four-legged guests too.

To take advantage of this Exclusive Offer, simply click on any of the pics to go to our Prices & Dates tab, where you can check availability, or call me and I’ll be happy to help. To clarify, this applies to couples and small families as stated, in Woodfarm House only, not any of the Barns, as they are already going to be very busy with couples.

Thanks for reading. Take care, and stay safe.

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WIN STUFF in our “Goatee or not Goatee?” Competition!

Win in our COVID Captivity Cuppa Countdown Competition!

Yes, there really was a poll to decide whether or not my new Goatee should stay or go, so we turned it into a competition!

I wasn’t sure about it, so we ran a poll and then turned that into a competition!

“Goatee or not Goatee?”. That was indeed the question this week as I sprouted hair on my chin just to pass the time during lockdown. It turned out to be mostly grey though! Anyway, we ran a silly online poll and lots of you voted! The end result was 46.1% in favour of it staying, and 53.9% in favour of it going, so it went! But just how many people voted is the burning question? And the correct answer to that question will WIN somebody a lovely prize!

We all know the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” right? Well, we ran our COVID Cuppa Countdown Competition a couple of weeks ago and as we had well over a thousand entries, we figured you loved the look of the prize. So we are offering the same fab prize again!

One of you will WIN all this lot to make the most of your lockdown beverage experience!

We’re giving away some posh tea & coffee delights from Earsham Street Deli, along with the finest drinkware known to man(or woman)kind. You’ll win ‘Ace Tea’ Lemon Stem Ginger Biscuits, ‘Butterworths’ Suffolk Gold Blend Tea, and their Espresso Latino Coffee, ‘Harris & James’ Pecan and Raisin Chocolate (Also proudly from Suffolk), and then a pair of china Woodfarm Mugs to drink it all from, and your very own Woodfarm ‘Keepcups’ if you’re on the run, I mean on the go! We are even chucking in some Woodfarm Trolley Coins and Fridge Magnets too.

So, we know the goatee bit the dust, but our brain-teasing question is… “How many people voted in our “Goatee or not Goatee?” poll? That’s it! All you need to do is guess correctly and you will WIN all that cool stuff. If nobody guesses correctly we will simply pick the person nearest to the correct answer when we do our Pub Quiz this coming Wednesday, 17th June 2020. In the event that more than one of you guesses correctly (or joint-nearest), we will simply put the correct (or closest) answers in a hat and draw one. Either way, we’ll announce our winner then, so you’d better tune in to Facebook Live at 6.30pm on Wednesday. If you are reading this in the future, then simply use a time machine and go back.

Just to make it really clear and be boring, we have to notify the winner by email first (Facebook rules), so we will email that person live on the air on Wednesday and then immediately tell you all who it was! We did it before and it worked.

Here’s the form to enter. Once you press submit, it will record your entry. You just need to scroll back up to the post if you want to afterwards;

Terms & Conditions;

The prize for this Competition is a bunch of posh Tea, Coffee and Biscuits from Earsham Street Deli in Bungay, and some Woodfarm vessels with which to enjoy it all.

Please note that we cannot technically announce the winner first on Social Media, it has to be by email. If we do not hear back from you within 48 hours of notifying you that you have won, we will pick another correct entrant and so on until someone responds. By entering you do consent to us announcing your name on Social Media though. We won’t divulge any personal info of course. 

We’d obviously really appreciate it if you could then shout it from the rooftops!

There is no cash alternative.

Victor Meldrew clause; If all that doesn’t suit you or you are of the opinion that “no-one ever wins these” then feel free to not enter, but gaze at your navel instead. We have given away so many things over the years, including free holidays, to some very happy people, but you’ll never be one of them if you bumble through life with Meldrew shaped chips on your shoulders.

GDPR gubbins;

We absolutely never share your info and we retain it purely and simply so we can keep you informed. Informed of our regular Competitions (like this one), Exclusive VIP Offers, Cancellations, Events, Places of Interest to you, and News from around the beautiful County of Suffolk. It is called Marketing. We keep you informed of the good stuff so that you may consider us when making your holiday and short break decisions.

If you do not wish to hear about the things I mentioned you can opt out at any time simply by unsubscribing. Or, and I’m going out on a limb here, don’t enter and we won’t have your details to pore over in our evil lair in the first place.

We do not bombard you. This is just a small, independent business, working hard to promote escapes from the norm in Suffolk; that’s all. We are not out to get you, some things are just nice.

We would love to stay in touch with you but it is your choice. We have built our database in a very professional and responsible way and continually give you the opportunity to not hear from us again. If you choose to ‘leave’ us then I wish you all the best for the future and hope you have enjoyed reading what we have had to say in the past. Miss you already x.

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WIN with our COVID Captivity Cuppa Countdown Competition

Win in our COVID Captivity Cuppa Countdown Competition!

What does that even mean you might ask? Well it’s happening during this captivity madness, it involves you WINNING some posh tea & coffee, and some things to drink it out of. And the countdown bit? I’ve counted the screws I kicked over at the start of lockdown! Possibly the most tenuous competition in the world, but you can still WIN a nice PRIZE!

Yummy Suffolk Tea & Coffee, plus Biscuits & Chocolate to be WON in our COVID Captivity Cuppa Countdown Competition!

WIN all these ‘Lockdown Lovelies’ to make your ‘COVID time’ Cuppa experience a thing of beauty. You can even invite friends round to share with you in your garden now. Nah, yer right, just hog it all yerself!

We’re giving away some posh tea & coffee delights from Earsham Street Deli, along with the finest drinkware known to man(or woman)kind. You’ll win ‘Ace Tea’ Lemon Stem Ginger Biscuits, ‘Butterworths’ Suffolk Gold Blend Tea, and their Espresso Latino Coffee, ‘Harris & James’ Pecan and Raisin Chocolate (Also proudly from Suffolk), and then a pair of china Woodfarm Mugs to drink it all from, and your very own Woodfarm ‘Keepcups’ if you’re on the run, I mean on the go! We are even chucking in some Woodfarm Trolley Coins and Fridge Magnets too.

If you follow us regularly you will remember at the start of lockdown I knocked over a box of screws and decided to leave them on my garage floor for  a rainy day? Well folks, that day arrived this week and I picked them up. All you have to do to WIN this lot is guess correctly how many screws there were in the box!

How many screws in our COVID Captivity Cuppa Countdown Competition?

Let it not be said that I’m not a man of the people. Yes, that’s right, I picked them up myself. Normally I would expect my Butler or Footman to perform this kind of task, but no! On this occasion I decided to prove to you all that I am still in touch with my roots, and I got down and picked each and every one of those screws up. Not only did I carry out this arduous assignment personally, without the aid of a stunt crew, but I also counted them!

You’ve got to be in it to Woodfarm Win it as our (dodgy) new slogan this week goes!

So, how many screws were there altogether? Just pop your answer in the box and it COULD BE YOU!

We will announce the WINNER on Sunday 7th June 2020 at our Happy Hour Hangout at the Virtual Pub ‘Woodfarm Arms’ on Facebook Live! In the event that more than one of you guesses correctly, we will simply put all the correct answers in a hat and draw one. Either way, we’ll announce our winner then anyway so you’d better tune in to Facebook Live at 6.30pm.

Just to make it really clear and be boring, we have to notify the winner by email first (Facebook rules), so we will email that person live on the air on Sunday and then immediately tell you all who it was!

Terms & Conditions;

The prize for this Competition is a bunch of posh Tea, Coffee and Biscuits from Earsham Street Deli in Bungay, and some Woodfarm vessels with which to enjoy it all.

Please note that we cannot technically announce the winner first on Social Media, it has to be by email. If we do not hear back from you within 48 hours of notifying you that you have won, we will pick another correct entrant and so on until someone responds. By entering you do consent to us announcing your name on Social Media though. We won’t divulge any personal info of course. 

We’d obviously really appreciate it if you could then shout it from the rooftops!

There is no cash alternative.

Victor Meldrew clause; If all that doesn’t suit you or you are of the opinion that “no-one ever wins these” then feel free to not enter and gaze at your navel instead. We have given away so many things over the years, including free holidays, to some very happy people, but you’ll never be one of them if you bumble through life with Meldrew shaped chips on your shoulders.

GDPR gubbins;

We absolutely never share your info and we retain it purely and simply so we can keep you informed. Informed of our regular Competitions like this one, Exclusive VIP Offers, Cancellations, Events, Places of Interest to you, and News from around the beautiful County of Suffolk. It is called Marketing. We keep you informed of the good stuff so that you may consider us when making your holiday and short break decisions.

If you do not wish to hear about the things I mentioned you can opt out at any time simply by unsubscribing. Or, and I’m going out on a limb here, don’t enter and we won’t have your details to pore over in our evil lair in the first place.

We do not bombard you. This is just a small, independent business, working hard to promote escapes from the norm in Suffolk; that’s all. We are not out to get you!

We would love to stay in touch with you but it is your choice. We have built our database in a very professional and responsible way and continually given you the opportunity to not hear from us again. If you choose to ‘leave’ us then I wish you all the best for the future and hope you have enjoyed reading what we have had to say in the past. Miss you already.

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6 romantic restaurants in Suffolk

If you’re looking for a romantic evening in Suffolk, we’re not short of suggestions for our favourite intimate eateries – but here are six that will definitely up the romance factor for your night out!

Of course, if you’re looking for a romantic getaway in Suffolk, there’s no better place to stay than Woodfarm Barns. With our luxurious two-person Cottages, complete with comfortable double beds, log burning fireplaces and – to top it all off – large hot tubs to enjoy under the night sky, Woodfarm is a haven for couples who want some alone-time in the tranquility of the countryside.

Woodfarm Barns has been booked many times for couples’ first breaks together, as well as for honeymoons, anniversaries, and even proposals. We’re no strangers to romance here! But we’ll let you in on a secret – our pair of Holiday Barges are just as romantic! Like our Barns, they’re cosy hideaways with all the comforts you might need for your romantic break. The only difference is that they’re on the water, so you can enjoy the tranquil surroundings of Suffolk’s waterways during your stay.

Both our Luxury Holiday Cottages and Barges are within walking or driving distance of some very romantic restaurants in Suffolk. Here are the Woodfarm team’s tried-and-tested top five favourites…

Maison Bleue

1. Maison Bleue

If you’re looking for attentive service, attention to detail and elegant decor – and, of course, five star seafood – then Maison Bleue in Bury St Edmunds is the place to be. Its excellent reputation as one of Suffolk’s finest restaurants has been established by chef and owner Pascal Canevet, who creates artistic dishes that complement a truly romantic evening.

Visit Maison Bleue’s website here.

The Galley, Woodbridge

2. The Galley

For a more relaxed experience, Woodbridge’s The Galley is an intimate restaurant with a menu that was made for food lovers. If you want your romantic break to include a flavour explosion, this vibrant dining experience is sure to tick that box. Owner Ugur Vata utilises his Turkish background and family experiences to create dishes that are nothing short of incredible – just try to tear your concentration away from your plate once in a while, so that your other half doesn’t feel left out!

Visit The Galley’s website here.

The Mariners

3. The Mariners

Step aboard this converted Belgian gun boat for a relaxed, intimate dinner among the twinkling lights of Ipswich Marina. The classic interior and mood lighting sets the scene for a delectable French seafood menu accompanied by an excellent wine list – dominated by, of course, French wines. No need to bring your deck shoes; this stylish (and static) restaurant calls for equally stylish attire.

Visit The Mariners’ website here.

The Unruly Pig

4. The Unruly Pig

Bromeswell’s treat for the tastebuds, The Unruly Pig, features an award-winning menu of seasonal British food with an Italian twist. Enjoy your delectable courses over stimulating conversation in the warm and inviting atmosphere of this 16th century Suffolk inn, with the attentive service of the restaurant’s stellar waiting staff.

Visit The Unruly Pig’s website here.

The Walnut Tree, Thwaite

5. The Walnut Tree

Just down the road from our Barns in Stonham Aspal is the inviting Walnut Tree pub in the charming village of Thwaite. Serving a menu of vegetarian and vegan food, this restaurant is an excellent choice if you or your partner have allergies or special dietary requirements – or just fancy some delicious meat-free dining! The Walnut Tree’s atmosphere is casual and inviting and serves excellent food without pretense.

Visit The Walnut Tree’s website here.

The Riverside, Woodbridge

6. The Riverside

Dinner and a film? There’s no better place than The Riverside in Woodbridge. Cosy up with your significant other to watch a brand new blockbuster or a vintage classic, and follow up with a discussion about your viewing over dinner! The Riverside is situated right by Woodbridge Quay on the River Deben (a stone’s throw from our Twee Gebroeder’s Barge) so expect mouthwatering fish dishes and other local ingredients!

Visit The Riverside’s website here.

Complete your romantic break

One of these restaurants is bound to take your fancy – so all you need to do now is book your stay with us! Visit our Cottages page here, or go to our Woodfarm Barges site to book one of our beautiful Barges. We look forward to welcoming you for your romantic break.

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Happy Lockdown Birthday Woodfarm! 11th Birthday Competition

Lockdown Birthday

The Woodfarm brand is 11 years, and to celebrate, even though we are in Lockdown right now, we are going to do what we like to do and give away a FREE BREAK in one of our Barns, to one Lucky Winner, for when it’s all over!

As I write this on the 9th May 2020, my business is officially 11 old years today. Ironic that whilst it was a rip-roaring success for almost 11 years, growing year on year, on year, the last 47 days have been the worst in Woodfarm history. On account of we are shut! But we won’t let an irksome global pandemic get us down. Nah, we’re stronger than that!

Yep, Day 47 of the coronavirus lockdown in the UK, so I’m having a birthday in solitary confinement. If you are reading this on ‘Dave’ in the future, it was the time when we couldn’t have any guests, and the world was struggling to say the least. And whilst we weren’t open for business, we found ourselves far better off than a lot people.

Anyhoo, I’m determined that when we come out of this, we will come back stronger than ever, like a weak thing getting strong. If only there was a phrase for this about mythical Greek birds and embers.

So what does the Number 11 mean? It could be Legs 11 if you’re a Bingo fan, or Oceans 11 if you’re a Brad Clooney fan. Maybe even just ’11’ if you’re a fan of ‘Stranger things’, like me. Or it could just mean your corner shop, currently selling pints of milk for £400 if you have a 7-11 near you (are they still going?)

Lockdown Birthday for Woodfarm - pic by Kentaro Toma
Lockdown Birthday for Woodfarm – pic by Kentaro Toma

I took to Google in order too see if there was any more significant meaning to the Number 11 and this was the top of my search results;

“Number 11 consists of number 1 that appears twice and it is known that this number is a symbol of new beginnings and opportunities that are going to appear in front of you. This number is considered to be a symbol of high energy, intuition, enthusiasm and creative energy”

Ok, I think that’s a load of old Mumbo Jumbo, but I’ll take the bit about “new beginnings and opportunities”, coupled with “high energy, intuition, enthusiasm and creative energy”.

WIN a FREE BREAK - Lockdown 11th Birthday for Woodfarm
WIN a FREE BREAK in The Granary Barn with our Lockdown 11th Birthday

What’s that I hear you say? Oh yeah, you’re only here for the FREE BREAK, I keep forgetting. But in order for you to WIN that, you had to read through all my tripe above. Here’s how you WIN a FREE BREAK in The Granary Barn;

  1. You enter your name and email address below (see boring GDPR guff below below)
  2. You correctly answer our incredibly tricky question
  3. You share our Competition Post that brung you here, with all your mates
  4. You hit the ‘Like’ Button for Woodfarm Barns & Woodfarm Barges

Then you focus your mind on us picking your name out of our virtual when we draw a WINNER on the 1st July 2020. Why that date? Cos it gives plenty of time for everyone to enter and share it, and it’s my Daughter’s Birthday. 

Good luck!

Simples!

Terms & Conditions;

The prize for this Holiday Competition is for a FOUR NIGHT MIDWEEK BREAK in The Granary Barn in Stonham Aspal. You’ll be able to take it, subject to global pandemics and availability, between 1st October 2020 and the 28th February 2021, excluding Christmas, New Year, Valentines, Easter, School and Bank Holidays etc, so you have a full five months to take your FREE BREAK!

It’ll be for two adults and up to three dogs.

Please note that we cannot announce the winner first on Social Media, it has to be by email. If we do not hear back from you within 48 hours of notifying you that you have won, we will pick another correct entrant and so on until someone responds. By entering you do consent to us announcing your name on Social Media once you have accepted your prize. We won’t divulge any personal info of course. We’d obviously really appreciate it if you could then shout it from the rooftops!

There is no cash alternative.

Victor Meldrew clause; If all that doesn’t suit you or you are of the opinion that “no-one ever wins these” then feel free to not enter and gaze at your navel instead. We have given away so many breaks over the years to some very happy people, but you’ll never be one of them if you bumble through life with Meldrew shaped chips on your shoulders.

GDPR gubbins;

We absolutely never share your info and we retain it purely and simply so we can keep you informed. Informed of our regular Free Break Competitions like this one, Exclusive VIP Offers, Cancellations, Events, Places of Interest to you, and News from around the beautiful County of Suffolk. It is called Marketing. We keep you informed of the good stuff so that you may consider us when making your holiday and short break decisions.

If you do not wish to hear about the things I mentioned you can opt out now or at any time simply by unsubscribing. 

We do not bombard you. This is just a small, independent business, working hard to promote escapes from the norm in Suffolk; that’s all. We are not out to get you!

We would love to stay in touch with you but it is your choice. We have built our database in a very professional and responsible way and continually given you the opportunity to not hear from us again. If you choose to ‘leave’ us then I wish you all the best for the future and hope you have enjoyed reading what we have had to say in the past.

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How to recreate our breakfast basket with Suffolk produce

If you’ve stayed at Woodfarm Barns or Barges, you’ll have been treated to one of our delicious breakfast hampers, packed with everything you need for a hearty Suffolk breakfast!

But how do you recreate one of these at home? Well, whether you want to give one to a friend to share a touch of the ‘Woodfarm lifestyle’, create a fresh one for your other half for breakfast in bed, or you just want a fancy breakfast for yourself, read on to find out how to make your own Woodfarm hamper!

Ingredients for your hamper

We’ve designed our hampers to reflect the traditional English breakfast style, so we include eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, and bread and butter for the savoury part of the hamper. We don’t include black pudding, as although many people enjoy eating it, there are also many that don’t – it’s like the Marmite of the meat counter – and we wouldn’t want it going to waste.

Eggs

Whether you like them fried, scrambled or poached, there’s nothing more delicious than free range, high welfare eggs from the heart of Suffolk. An excellent local supplier is Mill Green Farm, whose eggs are laid and packaged onsite and sold at the farm shop, the Hog & Hen.

Bacon

Local craft butchers Palfrey & Hall offer complete traceability on their meat. Their Sufolk black bacon is cured using Sir Roger Porter’s ale from the renowned local brewery at Earl Soham, which they mix with molasses and black treacle. You can find their bacon and more at their shop in Debenham.

Mushrooms and tomatoes

These breakfast veggies are pretty self-explanatory, but if you really want to purchase local mushrooms and tomatoes, you can find them at many farm shops throughout the county. Or you could go one step further and grow them yourself!

Bread

What is a Suffolk breakfast without a delicious, freshly baked loaf of bread? There are dozens of high quality bakeries in Suffolk, including the 150-year-old Palmer’s Bakery; The Cake Shop Bakery in Woodbridge, where our Twee Gebroeders barge is moored; and the Suffolk Food Hall in Ipswich. Many farm shops and delis in Suffolk stock bread from local bakeries, so it’s worth checking these out too (we have a list of some of our favourites here!).

Sweet things

Sometimes you just crave a bit of sweetness after your savoury meal. Don’t worry, we’ve got that covered. In our breakfast hamper, we include delectable cookies, fresh fruit, and jam and marmalade from fantastic local supplier Betty & Miller who produce the well known brand Fruits of Suffolk. You can find these excellent jams and marmalades at retailers throughout the county (here’s a list of stockists).

Vegan breakfast hamper by Woodfarm Barns

Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options

Whenever a guest comes to stay at our Luxury, Dog-Friendly Holiday Cottages and Barges, we offer the option for a vegan, vegetarian or gluten free breakfast instead of our omnivore-centric hamper. 

In these cases, we swap out unsuitable items for replacements:

  • A soya or nut milk instead of cow’s milk
  • A butter substitute such as coconut oil or a Vegan spread
  • A ‘meat alternative’ such as Vegan sausages, or tofu
  • Gluten free bread
  • Vegan cookies

In the wonderful 21st century world that we live in, many local retailers stock vegan and gluten free items. 

How to present your breakfast hamper

If you’re gifting your breakfast hamper to a friend or family member, then you might take inspiration from our wicker hampers, which give a bit of a rustic feel to the breakfast experience. 

We try to arrange our hampers in a way that looks ‘pretty’, but most importantly so that nothing is crushed (make sure more delicate items such as eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms aren’t placed underneath heavier items). 

Show us your hamper!

If you try your hand at recreating our breakfast hamper, make sure to tag us on Facebook or Instagram so that we can like your photo! We’d also love it if you could experience the ‘real’ breakfast hamper at one of our Luxury, Dog-Friendly Holiday Cottages or Barges in beautiful Suffolk, so don’t hesitate to stop by our websites when you’re thinking about your next holiday!

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Thank you NHS Heroes

There will never be enough words, or the right words, to convey how we are all indebted to, and in awe of, the utter bravery we have seen from our NHS personnel since the Coronavirus struck us. This is just one way a small Holiday Cottage business in Suffolk is trying to say “Thank you”.

Hi. My name is Carl. On the morning of March 23rd 2020 I closed the doors on my Holiday Cottage and Holiday Barge business for the foreseeable future. I contacted all iminent arrivals to cancel their breaks. I felt I had no choice. Later that evening the PM announced we were going into ‘Lockdown’.

It absolutely crushed me to have to do that to my business that I have worked on for 11 years.

As I had no holiday guests, I extended an offer to the emergency services, and since then we have been accommodating some incredible people from the NHS. We have had Ambulance drivers, Paramedics and a Radiographer, all self-isolating away from vulnerable, or potentially vulnerable family members.

As I write this, we are three weeks into the UK ‘Lockdown’ and what I want to do now is to offer an actual proper holiday to an NHS front line Hero or Heroine, for when this is all over. Completely free.

We don’t yet know when that can be, but once we can move freely again, I want to give away a free break to an NHS front liner and his or her partner. And their Doggos if they have any.

If you are reading this and you do not work for the NHS, can I please ask you send a link to this page to anyone and everyone you know within the NHS, so we can reach as many of these superstars as possible for the chance to take this.

If you work for the NHS on the front line, first of all thank you. Those two inadequate words are all I can say to you right now, but please, if you would like a well-earned break after all this, just let me have your name, number and email address so I can put you in my virtual hat. Once we all start to rebuild our lives I will pick one of you out at random and give you a free break.

Hopefully then I will be rebuilding my business. If you haven’t heard of us before, that’s fine. We were doing very well, with hundreds of Five Star reviews, Gold Awards and all that. That will be important to us again one day, but for now all that matters is getting through this, and supporting you. Just have a look around the websites for our Barges & Barns when you have some down time, as there’s plenty to see.

(GDPR stuff: I will not share your information with anyone, ever. I don’t do that. That is naughty. I will write to you all once we have picked one of you, and if you never want to hear from me again, that’s cool. You’re still amazing!)

This is not a competition. You don’t have to do anything. I just want to offer someone on the front line within the NHS a free break to say thank you.

The ‘offer’ is for a four night midweek break either in The Granary Barn in Stonham Aspal, or aboard our romantic Barge Twee Gebroeders, in Woodbridge. It is for NHS front line staff only and proof will be required. I really hope that nobody outside the NHS tries it on, and please don’t have a pop at me if you think I should extend this to X, Y, or Z professions too. There are so many amazing people, doing so many amazing front-line jobs, but I want to thank the NHS specifically with this, and that is up to me, it’s my business.

As a small business owner I can only afford to give one break away but it’s the least I can do to say thank you. Again, I’m really sorry I can’t extend it to all those considered ‘front-line’. I just own a small business, and am trying to do my little bit to say thank you to our amazing NHS staff. If you want to give something to another group of people, feel free. This is just what I’m doing.

The boring bit;

This offer is for a four night midweek break, either in The Granary Barn in Stonham Aspal, aboard Twee Gebroeders in Woodbridge. You’ll be able to take it, subject to availability, freedom of movement and our business being open again. All being well I am hoping to be able to offer this to you between 1st October 2020 and the 31st March 2021, excluding Christmas, New Year, Valentines, School and Bank Holidays etc. Sorry, but I am also going to have to do my best to try and rebuild my business again too, so have to put some restrictions in place. In the event of us still being locked down, or you simply not having free time because you guys are still flat out, we will shift things to ensure you get this break, I promise.

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Lambing weekends at Kentwell Hall

Spring is on the way! That means warmer weather (hopefully!), yummy seasonal food in the local pubs and restaurants and a sudden abundance of daffodils. For us, in the heart of the Suffolk countryside, it also means that we’ll see a big rise in wildlife, and our once lonely winter fields will be teeming with farmyard animals.

March and April are the ideal months for spotting young and newborn lambs, in particular. However, if you don’t want to go on a wild sheep chase in the countryside, then a trip to Kentwell Hall will almost guarantee you a sight of these woolly creatures taking their first steps. 

Where and what is Kentwell Hall?

Kentwell Hall is a Tudor mansion near Sudbury in west Suffolk, just over a 45-minute drive from our Luxury Dog-Friendly Holiday Cottages in Stonham Aspal. It’s a great day out at any time of year for all the family (especially when they’re holding a Tudor recreation event), but it’s particularly magical in the spring when the Hall’s flock of sheep suddenly start multiplying! 

Kentwell Hall
Kentwell Hall is a 500 year old private residence that’s full of history!

Head on over to the Hall to see newborn and young lambs at the lambing yard in the Tudor Stables, as well as older lambs out in the paddocks. You might even see a lamb being born! 

These adorable animals are right at home against the backdrop of snowdrops, aconites, primroses and violets, as well as the swathes of daffodils on the front lawns and the moat banks. It’s ‘spring’ here in every sense of the word! 

Once you’ve had a good gander at the lambs, it’s highly recommended that you have a look around the house. This 500 year old private residence opens up to the public on special event days, allowing us all to take in the secrets of its long history. Originally built by wealthy local wool merchants (Suffolk was a prominent wool county!), the house retains marks from the many families who have owned it, including decorative embellishments, paintings and furniture from various periods of time.

Where to find wildlife elsewhere in Suffolk

Suffolk is a wildlife haven! Not only do we have two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Suffolk Coast and Heaths, and Dedham Vale) which are full of untouched flora and fauna, but we also have several nature reserves and countless sanctuaries where you can view animals in rehabilitation and help raise funds for conservation. We’ve actually written a blog post about the best places to see wildlife in Suffolk, which you can read here.

Where to stay if you’re visiting Kentwell Hall

As we mentioned earlier, Kentwell Hall is just over 45 minutes from our Luxury Dog-Friendly Holiday Cottages. Our comfortable, self-contained cottages each sleep two people plus up to three dogs, and five of the cottages also feature luxurious hot tubs. We also have a stunning Thatched Farmhouse which sleeps up to seven guests and three dogs very comfortably. Alternatively, we also have two Historic Dutch Barges – one moored at Snape Maltings, and the other at Tidemill in Woodbridge. If you would like to find out more about these, visit woodfarmbarges.com.