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Mad Dogs & Englishmen – fun Woodfarm stats

Mad dogs and englishmen

Every week my long-suffering colleague Andrew and I sit and drink coffee, and crunch a whole load of data. Heck yeah, we know how to party!

Along with the rest of the Woodfarm team, we’ve built what we consider to be a pretty successful business over the last 13 years or so (writing Sept 2022). One of the ways in which we do this is to work every single week on our websites, and crunching our data.

We look at all sorts of things from the amount of ‘traffic’, where it comes from, how long people stay on which page, what responses we get to our newsletters, social media engagement etc. Actually now I say it, it really does sound dull doesn’t it? However… it’s got to be done, and it massively contributes to the success of the business. 

I heard Martin Lewis (the money saving expert) recently say that you need four things to have a successful business;

1 – You need to be talented

2 – You need to work hard

3 – You need to focus

4 – You need some luck. 

A lot of people do the first three but you do need some luck. In my opinion you MUST put yourself in front of luck by doing the other three!

Anyway, the data crunching and consistent web traffic analysis is part of working hard and focussing. So as it’s half of the things we need, we do it!

There are a few things you may find interesting dear reader;

Welcome back!
A whopping 25% of our guests are returning guests! We’ve built steadily to that over the years, but it’s possibly the one number that fills us with the most joy, because we must be doing something right hey? A quarter of all of our guests are people who have been before and loved what we do! I’ve shared this previously in our newsletters and on our Facebook page because we are just so chuffed with it. As the owner of the business, the really wonderful thing about this is the amount of these people who have become my friends.

Hot tub love
One of the biggest spikes in bookings was when we announced two new Hot Tubs, in Alde and Stour Barns. This tells us that you love our Hot Tubs! So following that, not only did we add two more with Woodfarm House and Meadow View Cottage, but every time we add them, we add even better ones! It’s all about the luxury, and whilst we did look at cheaper ones in the early days, we simply don’t do cheap, and we know you don’t either! We like luxury, and we know that’s what you want. So we give it to you.

Peaks and pricing
The interesting peaks in bookings every year come in January and May, then again at the end of the Summer. Right now (September 2022) we are seeing a huge upsurge in bookings as you’ve all had your Summer holidays and need something to look forward to. You’re booking for the Autumn, as well as 2023 breaks, which is great to see! We’ve seen this same trend every year, since we started really analysing the data in 2016, other than the obvious bonkers roller coaster during lockdowns, aka the ‘COVID years’! Even though there is a level of uncertainty at this time about the cost of living, leisure time and ‘treats’ are vital. Whilst some businesses raised their prices to cover the increase in costs, we actually lowered ours to make what we have to offer more affordable. Might seem daft but it worked! We would far rather be busy and make a little less money, than be less busy and make none. Turns out we’re not as greedy as some!

Digging deeper

Anyway, although we’ve shared some interesting data there, I did say this was just for fun, and here’s how. As we sat recently doing all the above, we dug further into our CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system and realised that there was some info that we’d never really explored before! And this is the result…

We found that we could extract the most common names of guests booking with us, most popular dog names (because we ask), and also the most popular breeds of Woodfarm Canine guests, again because we ask! 

Top 25 Booker Names

Sarah
Paul
Karen
Lisa
David
Emma
Claire
Jane
Mark
julie
Laura
Andrew
Sue
Sharon
John
Louise
Chris
Richard
Nicola
Rachel
Rebecca
James
Jo
Michelle
Kate

Top 25 Guest Dog Breeds

Labrador
Cocker Spaniel
Cockapoo
Golden Retriever
German Shepherd
Cockerpoo
Miniature schnauzer
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Springer Spaniel
Jack Russell
Border Collie
Labradoodle
Beagle
Border Terrier
Greyhound
French bulldog
Lurcher
Cocker Spaniels
Chihuahua
Cavapoo
Lhasa Apso
Pug
Labradors
Springer Spaniels
Shih Tzu

Top 25 Guest Dog Names

Buddy
Bella
Charlie
Poppy
Buster
Ruby
Barney
Dexter
Monty
Bailey
Archie
Molly
Macey
Bertie
Alfie
Teddy
Stanley
Ted
Oscar
Dylan
Seamus
Rosie
Millie
Luna
Nero

Let’s have a look at some pretty pies!

As you can see, We definitely get a lot of Paul, Sarah, Karen and Lisa bookings, but here are the Top 25 guest names;

Who let the Mad Dogs and Englishmen out?

Here are the same results for the four-legged guests;

But what about Dog breeds? Well, here’s the Top 25 of these too;

So, if you are a couple called Paul & Sarah, and you have a Labrador and a Cocker Spaniel called Buddy and Bella, you need to get booking. It’s written in the stars! Actually, we don’t discriminate in any way, so if your name is anything else at all, and your dogs are any other breeds, with any other names we welcome you aboard our Barges or Barns too! 

So what was the point of this? Nothing really, but it gave us both something to do didn’t it? And possibly made you smile. If it did that, then everyone’s a winner!

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10 of the best things to do in Suffolk this Christmas

Yes, we’re aware that the sun has only just taken his hat off and that we’re not even pulling apart the dress up draw for Halloween, but it pays to plan when it comes to celebrating in Suffolk. Indeed, with so much on offer, it’s crucial to get things into the diary when heading to our Barns and Barges for rent during November and December. To make sure that you get to soak up the festive spirit in style, we’ve rounded up a selection of 10 of the best things to do in Suffolk this Christmas.

  1. Enjoy some festive wreath making

Led by the seasoned season experts at Romeo and Succulent, the Museum of East Anglia is hosting a professional wreath making workshop on the 11th December. Providing you with everything you need to deck the halls in more than just holly, the workshop presents the opportunity to get creative with everything from pinecones to dried oranges and cinnamon sticks. We can’t think of a better way to get crafty this Christmas.

  1. Wander through an illuminated wonderland

The very picture of a winter wonderland, the grounds of this renowned sixteenth century hall are lit up for visitors to enjoy from 19th November to 19th December. Nicely complemented by mulled wine and toasted marshmallows, this remarkable destination provides you with everything you need to enjoy the best Suffolk has to offer over Christmas.

  1. Shop at the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre

As a native of the town that proudly declares itself as “a jewel in the crown of Suffolk”, it would be remiss of me to pass up the opportunity to promote the delights of the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre. Bringing together an incredible range of traders and retailers, you can expect to find everything from fantastic food to bespoke gifts. Boasting a bigger line up than ever for 2022, you can enjoy everything on offer by heading over to Bury St Edmunds on the 17th November.

  1. Spend a night at the theatre

It would be a great oversight to produce an article all about Christmas without once mentioning the panto. What must be stressed, however, is that the pantomime in Suffolk is conducted in one of only eight Grade I listed theatres in the United Kingdom. Indeed, the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds is a beautifully restored Regency Theatre that is presenting Cinderella to Christmas crowds this year – a great chance to soak up some fun and some history all at the same time.

  1. Travel back in time

Yes, you read that correctly; you can travel back in time when visiting Suffolk this Christmas. The time machine itself is found at Kentwell Hall, and the time is the Victorian era. With plenty of period costumes to be found on the Saturdays and Sundays between the 4th and 12th December, you can experience this popular Suffolk attraction in a unique garb and take advantage of the largest Victorian-style selfie booth you’re likely to find!

  1. See some seriously special Christmas lights

Whilst it’s fair to say that Christmas lights abound throughout November and December, we’re convinced that they shine a little brighter in Suffolk. Our grounds for such a claim? The fact that the formal gardens at Ickworth gardens are festooned with Christmas lights over Christmas, an arrangement that allows visitors to experience the iconic rotunda in an entirely new light, if you’ll excuse the pun.

  1. Make the Christmas food shop enjoyable

Despite claiming that we can help our guests to time travel, it might just be our suggestion that we can make the Christmas food shop an enjoyable experience that is the most unbelievable item to feature on this list. But bear with us, it is indeed possible. But only by visiting the Christmas Suffolk Farmers Market at Trinity Park on Saturday 10th December. With everything from artisan products to locally produced food on offer, we’re convinced there’s no better way to stock up for Christmas.

  1. Sample some beers and wines

Whilst it might not technically be billed as a Christmas event, the fact that the Bury St Edmunds Winter Beer Festival will be taking place on the 25th November means that it’s still a fantastic event to add to your festive calendar when staying at our Barns and Barges this Christmas!

  1. Catch a concert

In Suffolk, we’re pleased to be part of Rick Wakeman’s Grumpy Christmas Stocking Tour. An evening that promises to put a creative spin on a number of popular Christmas numbers, you can catch the virtuoso performing a range of hits at the Regent Theatre in Ipswich on 17th December.

  1. Get an early Christmas dinner

Thanks to a large range of cosy country pubs and restaurants, it’s possible to enjoy an incredible turkey roast dinner ahead of the big day. To find out which ones come highly recommended, we’d urge you to check out our blogs on the best places to get a roast in Suffolk.

To enjoy all of these things and more, simply take a look at all of our Barns and Barges for rent in Suffolk this Christmas.

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5 things dogs love to do on holiday

At Woodfarm Barns and Barges, we welcome dogs for a holiday, too, and they can be brought to enjoy the stunning Suffolk scenery along with you  as you spend a tranquil week enjoying the sights Suffolk has to offer. With this in mind, we have lined up the best things that dogs love to do whilst they enjoy a holiday with their human friends.

  1. Walks

Yes, this just should be patently obvious and a point that needs no further elaboration, but Suffolk has plenty of walking trails zigzagging across the picturesque countryside for you to take your four-legged friend down. Across Suffolk, there is a mixture of forest land, beaches (which we talk about further on) and plenty of rolling green fields for your dogs to stretch their legs and run about on. Even at Woodfarm Barns, we have a dedicated meadow, of two acres, ready for your dog to immerse themselves in with exercise, and where you and your dog friend can play fetch together. Of course, here you can also watch them chase unnecessary objects and sniff at just about everything they happen to pass. If you want to read more about some picturesque walks in Suffolk near our Barns and Cottages for rent in Suffolk, then read our blog here. Similarly, if you want to read about the best green spaces in Suffolk, which are perfect for dogs, read our blog here.

  1. Beaches

Suffolk’s coastline stretches for 50 miles along the North Sea coast. Luckily, in Suffolk, we have quite a few dog friendly beaches, where it is fine to take your dog to explore the sand and sea, and to watch them have a jump in the waves as they roll in (or for them to be scared of the sea and just sit in the sand with you). Visiting the beach and jumping in the sea on a hot day can be seen as one of the best ways for you to relax and to cool down yourself, and in Suffolk, you’re in luck with the beaches as your furry friends can visit some as well.  If you want to find out more about where the best dog friendly beaches are in Suffolk, read our blog here. Felixstowe (on a good run) is the closest to our Barns in terms of driving distance, at just under 40 minutes, and either side of the main beach is dog-friendly (but the main beach isn’t). For the Onderneming Barge, the closest dog friendly beach is Aldeburgh at a just over ten minute drive, and for the Twee Gebroeders Barge, the closest dog friendly beach is Felixstowe, at about a 25 minute drive. At Woodfarm Barns and Barges, we are lucky with our proximity to the Suffolk coastline – why not explore it with your dog when you stay with us?

  1. Trying something new

Some dogs are quite reluctant to try and take on something new. However, in Suffolk, there are plenty of opportunities for your dog to try something new. For example, your dog may have never been in a swimming pool with another dog before. However, at Canine Dip and Dive in Suffolk, which we have recently written a blog on, your dog can enjoy the company of other dogs whilst jumping in and having a swim about in the pool that is there, and you can as well if you want to join your four-legged friend in the outdoor pool. As well as that, dogs are allowed on some boat journeys, such as the ones run by Jet Adventures in Lowestoft, which take you around the Lowestoft Harbour so you and your dog can enjoy the fresh sea breeze hitting you as you explore the harbour on offer. 

  1. Being outside

Suffolk is a county which has some of its amazing qualities shown through the stunning nature it has. But even in towns, and other areas, the dogs can be outside, exploring with you, whilst you are also taking an interest in where you are. Lots of National Trust sites, and English Heritage sites welcome dogs, for example, Ickworth House, Park and Gardens near Bury St Edmunds, is the perfect place for you to explore the area and walk around the gardens with your dog. As well as that, dogs love walking around with you as you adventure the towns of Suffolk, with some shops in the towns being dog friendly (but make sure you do check!). As well as that, many towns have beautiful parks dotted around, which are perfect to have a stroll with your dogs and for you and them to enjoy nature. There are so many places in Suffolk which are dog friendly, so why not explore them when you stay with us?

  1. Meeting other dogs

At Woodfarm Barns, we are dog friendly, so it won’t be a surprise if there are other dogs at the site whilst you enjoy your stay with us. And, from experience, we know that nearly all dogs love a sniff and a play together. That’s why our two acre meadow is perfect for dogs to meet each other and to have a run around and for the owners to talk about their holiday with us (in all the good ways). As well as that, when enjoying your holiday with your dog and possibly doing the above alongside your beloved four-legged friend, you will probably meet other dogs as well, which dogs love, due to them being sociable pets as well, so the dogs and owners can make new friends.

At Woodfarm Barns and Barges, we pride ourselves on being dog-friendly, so we want to make sure that your dog(s) feel welcome, as we normally accept up to three dogs in our barns and barges. We have more information on our website with places and ideas to do with your dogs on holidays, here

So, why not book a few nights away with Woodfarm Barns, to give you, and your dog(s) a well-deserved break, from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

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How to Visit the Landscapes of Constable’s and Gainsborough’s Paintings in Suffolk

It is safe to say that Suffolk is a picturesque county, offering, what feels at times, like never-ending green fields in the depths of the countryside. The place is also positively awash with beautiful landscapes that can be experienced when staying with us at Woodfarm Barns and Barges in the heart of the Suffolk countryside. And, when you have a beautiful landscape, artists may want to paint what they can see, which is exactly what John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough did.

Thomas Gainsborough was born in 1727, in Sudbury, a market town in South Suffolk. Gainsborough’s real love was to paint landscapes, which he did about 200 of, however, he did paint over 500 portraits of the English aristocracy, with portraits in 1780 for King George III and his queen, which helped to give him a little more influence. When Gainsborough started painting landscapes, they weren’t considered fashionable, but he managed to create a demand for landscape paintings with the help of the Industrial Revolution.

This has to do with the way that the Industrial Revolution hit the countryside hard in terms of population, with flocks of people from the countryside relocating to the cities where factories began popping up. Gainsborough moved to London in 1774, and over time, the landscape paintings that Gainsborough had worked on which depicted a completely different scene to the factory littered London, showing off the tranquil countryside in rich detail, became more accepted.

John Constable was born later, in 1776 in East Bergholt, located in Suffolk but on the border with Essex. He chose the profession of painting, which was frowned upon by his family, so he worked in the family business of working in a mill in Dedham Vale, and in his free time, he would paint his surroundings in the villages of Flatford, Dedham and East Bergholt – all near where he was born. Constable was aware of the work of another Suffolk landscape painter – Thomas Gainsborough – who influenced Constable’s work.

Constable rejected the option of continuing the family business, and he decided to pursue his passion in painting, but he was very reluctant in painting house and portrait commissions, because he had a greater passion – landscapes. Constable wasn’t self-sufficient with his painting at the start, but he was able to focus on his art passion after his father died and a private income was left to Constable. Constable went on to paint 116 paintings (which we know of) in his lifetime, with his most notable being landscape paintings.

Both also have links to the Royal Academy of Arts, with Gainsborough being one of the founding members in 1768, and Constable being elected in 1829, which was seen as unusual for a landscape painter. Both of their works were sought after and they both made a huge influence in landscape painting.

So, where are the paintings now in Suffolk?

Christchurch Mansion, located in the centre of Ipswich, is a 500 year old Tudor mansion, with period rooms from the Tudor period onwards to the Victorian. Christchurch Mansion is perfect if you want to become one with the Suffolk landscape, by gazing into the landscapes that Constable and Gainsborough painted in the 18th and 19th centuries, as Christchurch Mansion boasts the largest collection of the paintings outside of London. With Ipswich being a 25 minute drive (on a good run) from Woodfarm Barns, about 20 minutes from Woodbridge, and about 35 minutes from Snape Maltings, why not take a trip to Christchurch Mansion in the heart of Ipswich, to admire the picture-perfect paintings that have come from the Suffolk landscape?

Gainsborough House in Sudbury, the birthplace of Gainsborough, also has some of his paintings on show. So, why not walk the footsteps that Gainsborough would have walked through the streets of Sudbury and enter Gainsborough House to admire the incredible artwork produced by Gainsborough during his lifetime?

The Painter’s Trail:

Want to see the areas of Suffolk (and a little bit of Essex) in Constable County (yes – this part of the country is known as Constable county due to the paintings that Constable produced of this area, which incorporates a large area of South Suffolk/North Essex around Flatford Mill), in the Dedham Vale Area of Natural Beauty (AONB)? This is accomplished with ease when staying with us at Woodfarm Barns and Barges, simply take a ride, or walk down the Painter’s Trail, to enjoy and take in the breath-taking beauty that the Suffolk countryside has to offer.

To get planning now, be sure to take a look at all of our Barns and Barges for rent in Suffolk.

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Top 3 best Comedy Clubs in Suffolk

It’s all fun and games at the following comedy clubs in Suffolk, where you can take a visit to and sit and enjoy a laugh along with the amazing acts that take to the stage.

  1. A+E Comedy – Ipswich

Enjoy a Friday night, the last one of every month, at Ipswich Sports Club, taking in over two hours of non-stop comedic acts. A+E comedy does boast a brilliant line-up where you are bound to have a good time and be left in stitches, with headliners often having a history of being on different radio and TV shows. For Friday 27th January 2023, the current headliner, Lindsey Santoro, was the finalist for English Comedian of the Year and Funny Award, and for Friday 25th November 2022, the headliner, Suzy Bennett, was the Funny Women Award Winner. With some great headliners for the shows, and the next one being Friday 30th September, and having Cary Marx as a headliner, you might as well get your tickets, for only £10, to guarantee a night full of giggles.

  1. Glass Eye Comedy – Ipswich

Glass Eye Comedy in Ipswich presents to you, Grassroots Comedy Club and The Monday Club, as well as other events. Grassroots Comedy Club hosts an unforgettable night of comedy  on the first Thursday of every month, with a different line up each time, where you can experience the best in comedy from rising stars to experienced comedians. All you have to do is reserve your seat for the first Thursday of the month, for free. The Monday Club also offers top notch comedy, and features a secret TV comedian headliner, as well as other supporting comedic acts. The Monday Club rewards loyal audience members who support Grassroots Comedy Clubs, so if you attend the New Act/New Material Night (which is through Grassroots Comedy), you will be given the opportunity to purchase priority tickets to see the acts on offer at the Monday Club. More information can be found on their Facebook page here, for links to bookings, the prices of the tickets for The Monday Club and to read more about the comedy clubs, and shows they have on offer. So, why not reserve your seats today for the next comedy show, at The Dove Street Inn, so you can enjoy a night howling in laughter.

  1. Fat Cat Comedy Club – Bury St Edmunds

Sit back and relax, as the Fat Cat Comedy Club presents three, or occasionally four, comedians, who are anywhere from debuting comedians to more familiar faces, for a night certain to be filled with  laughter. Take a trip to Bury St Edmunds’ Apex Theatre on the second Sunday of the month to be guaranteed your place, where you can experience the amazing talent of comedy on offer, at a price of £13.50 (including booking fee). Visit their website here to secure your tickets to go and have an unforgettable night interacting with the comedy that the Fat Cat Comedy Club presents.

Comedy clubs are no doubt the best way to experience comedic entertainment, to see rising stars and familiar faces, and they are a great way to spend the evening. So, when staying with us at our Barns and Barges for rent in Suffolk, why not pop to one of the comedy clubs above, on days when there is a show, to have an unforgettable night, seeing extraordinary comedic acts, and come back to your barn, exhausted from non-stop laughter.

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4 of the best wine bars in Suffolk

It’s no secret that we enjoy a little tipple every now and then at Woodfarm Barns and Barges. We’re also partial to a nice evening out. With both these things considered, we thought we’d round up our selection of favourite wine bars in Suffolk.

  1. Number 10 Wine Bar & Kitchen

Based in the heart of the picturesque village of Lavenham in a magnificent 15th century house is where you’ll find this beautifully decorated wine bar. On offer are a range of different wines, so there is bound to be something for everyone to enjoy, by the glass or by the bottle.  On top of all of that they have a vast range of food choices for you to enjoy while you embark on a wine tasting adventure. So, why not explore what Lavenham has to offer, and take a trip to Number 10 Wine Bar & Kitchen to experience the beautiful tasting wines and food?

  1. Bin93.uk 

In Ipswich you can find this lovely wine bar that will certainly fulfil any and all of your wine needs. This also includes having home deliveries and being able to drink in the bar or take out and enjoy in the comfort of your own Barn or Barge for rent. Additionally, they have an amazing selection of events for you to book and go down and have fun tasting different types of beverages, such as port and wine. There’s also regular pizza nights here, too…

  1. The wine cellar BSE
     

In Bury st Edmunds you will find this delightful little wine bar with a variety of wines to sample and cocktails to try out. In short, it is so much more than your average wine bar. What takes this wine cellar above and beyond is that they also offer 0% alcohol beverages for those who enjoy the taste of wine but may not want to indulge in alcohol. And for those who like to add more flavour, they offer some delicious food to go down with the amazing number of drinks they serve up. So why not dive into their selection of wine and enjoy their food while you are at it?

  1. The little wine bar

In the quaint seaside town of Felixstowe you will find this intimate wine bar. What adds to their greatness is their eco-friendly approach that means there is no plastic in their wine bar, instead using tins and glass to make it a truly guilt-free experience. What’s so special about this tiny little space in the amazing sights of Felixstowe is that its atmosphere is unmatchable, as well as their vast wine selection. So, why not enjoy a day out drinking wine and being near the coast?

To discover all of these wine bars and so much more, be sure to take a look at all of our Barns and Barges for rent in Suffolk.

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How RAF Bawdsey put Suffolk on the radar

Top notch quality pun title from Woodfarm Barns. Read on so you can make sense of it yourself.

The big RAF bases in Suffolk are undoubtedly Lakenheath and Mildenhall, but once upon a time, there was RAF Bawdsey on the east coast of Suffolk, facing out towards the North Sea. So, how did RAF Bawdsey place Suffolk on the radar?

The year is 1936, and some scientists have made the move to Bawdsey Manor (which still stands today, at the site of a residential site), upping sticks from Orford Ness located just a little further up the Suffolk coastline. After one of the physicists, Robert Watson-Watt, who was supervisor of the national radio research laboratory, was asked about his views on the use of radio waves to detect or destroy enemy aircraft, by Winston Churchill, who was hoping to use them as a weapon. The correct calculations were done by Watson-Watt’s advisor, Arnold Wilkins, in February 1935 and these calculations were done to show the feasibility of radar detection. Not long after, radar was born at Bawdsey, in 1937. 

But why was this necessary?

Rumours began circulating in January 1935 about the Germans developing a ‘death ray’ and Churchill knew about how his adversaries were creating a huge air force, so they saw it as necessary to try and find a way that could remove aircrafts out of the skies. Now the problem, as Watson-Watt saw it, was that a ‘death ray’ wouldn’t work because the transmitter needed would have to be the size of a house. However, by 1937, at Bawdsey Manor, the team did put radio waves to other good uses, which was to track the movement of planes in the skies.

In April 1937, two towers were erected at Bawdsey, which were receiver towers that each possessed an aerial – one for finding the direction and the other for finding the height. This was after the success of the experiment that was undertaken at Daventry, on the 26th February 1935, where two receiving antennas were located near the BBC’s broadcast stations at Daventry, where the station was used as a transmitter, and a clear signal came back from the Handley Page Heyford bomber that was flying around the site.

RAF Bawdsey had the first operational RAF radar station in 1937 and went on to become a model for other radar stations.

In August 1937, the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) were at RAF Bawdsey, and a “filter room” was set up to cross plot information from two other stations to help map fighter aircraft and this was shortly followed by the first test flight of the radar system at Bawdsey, from RAF Martlesham (another former RAF base in Suffolk). Soon, more stations began popping up across the country, which were now called “Chain Home” stations, and there was a great emphasis on placing the radar stations across the south and east coasts of England. 

So, it is at this point where you might understand the pun in the title – RAF Bawdsey put Suffolk on the radar because of the radar work that was undertaken at Bawdsey Manor before WW2.

1 September 1939 – Nazi Germany invades Poland sparking World War 2. For the safety of the team, they are moved from Bawdsey Manor to Dundee. 

During the war, radar proved invaluable, and was used during major air battles. For example, the Battle of Britain, which saw Britain having to defend against the German Air Force, which was four times the size of the British Air Force, has radar credited for the win that Britain achieved because of the technology that Britain had with radar. Furthermore, many credit radar, and other British technology, for helping the allies win the war, as radar extended to trying to pick up E-boats.

Radar helped Britain win the war, and Bawdsey was put on the radar in Suffolk for his efforts with trying to track the planes and boats of the German army. Today, RAF Bawdsey is no longer there, after the RAF left in March 1991.

There are many war stories of the development of technology to help protect Britain from the Axis Powers, more famously Alan Turing and the codebreakers at Bletchley Park. However, Suffolk does have its own equivalent, which is lesser known, but was still vital in winning the war.

Today, you can arrange a tour of Bawdsey Manor, which runs between May and October. For more information, head over to their website here: http://www.bawdseymanor.co.uk/index.htm

With Bawdsey Manor being not too far of a drive away from our Barns for rent, and an even shorter drive from our Barges for rent, why not take a trip over there to get a glimpse of the history behind how radar helped Britain win the war.

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Interest Free instalment plan for your Woodfarm break

Photo by Josh Appel

If you’re watching the pennies and you would like to book a Woodfarm Barn or Barge break and pay in instalments, then here’s how you can spread the cost and make life easier.

This is a simple guide to spreading the cost of a well earned break. If we haven’t explained it very well, then please just pick up the phone and let us do the leg-work for you. Our number is 01449 710032. As we always say, this is a small, independent business, doing everything we can to ensure that you have a great stay with us.

When you make your Woodfarm booking, a deposit of £100 is payable to secure the booking. You can book online, or again, call us and we’ll do it for you.

The balance is then payable one month before you arrive and we will drop you a line unless you have elected to pay by Opayo Secure repeat payment at that time, in which case we will do it automatically for you. If you book within a month of arrival, then it is payable in full (two months for festive breaks).

We are delighted that we can also offer you the opportunity to pay in interest free instalments instead, so that you can spread the cost of your Woodfarm break when it is planned in advance.

Here’s how you do it…

Simply make your booking and you’ll find a question asking whether or not you would like to spread the cost of your break. If you say “yes”, we will set that up for you. There’s no need to tell us how often you would like to pay, or how much. We will just send you a link that will allow you to choose when and what to pay!

When we send you the link it will show the amount due like this;

booking example

Right at the bottom you’ll see a link that says ‘Pay using Card’. The word Card is underlined and in Blue. It does show the full balance but click on this and it will take you to a page that looks like this;

booking example

As you can see, you can tick to pay the full balance, or to pay any amount you wish in the second tick box.

You then just fill in your details as normal and pay the amount you’ve chosen.

Any future payments can also be made using the same link we sent you, and you will note that the balance automatically updates for you in brackets. We can resend you the link if you lose it.

Please note in the following image you can also tick down the bottom when making a payment for us to ‘Please automatically process future payments using this card’. 

terms example

This will enable us to take the balance when it is due, or for you to simply drop us and email at any time and we can take any payment you wish without you having to do anything else at all!

If all else fails then simply call me directly on 01449 710032 and I can do any amount at any point for you, as long as I am in front of my computer!

We just want to do what we can to make life easier for you, and to make it easier to plan your Woodfarm break.

If you’d like to check prices and availability, then click on either of these buttons to go straight to the relevant page…

Hope we see you soon

Carl Scott

Owner and founder of Woodfarm Barns & Barges

(Header photo by Josh Appel)

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We asked you about your Holiday habits…

We asked thousands of people on our database about their Holiday habits right now, to get a feel for where people’s heads were at regarding holidays and short breaks at the moment.

This is a report on the findings of some questions we posed to our database in July 2022 (for future readers)

Fortunately, as I write this in July 2022 we’re still extremely busy, but we know things are a bit strange out there. We wrote to say that we were scratching our heads a little to see what people were thinking.

We are always looking to stay ahead of the curve, so I wanted to ask how people feel about taking a holiday right now. Are they looking to go abroad again? Is the chaos with the airline industry and the airports putting people off? Are they looking to holiday here in the UK for the foreseeable future, that kind of thing?

Overall the responses boiled down to two things affecting your holidaying decisions, whether UK or further afield;

The chaos at airports and the cost of living situation.

 Right now these are clearly the two factors influencing people’s holiday decisions.

Airport chaos

Unless you live abroad, which very few of our guests do, you don’t need to get on a plane to take a holiday or short break at Woodfarm, and that’s great. I’ve seen some of our competitors focus on the chaos at airports to ram home the advantages of a UK holiday, or Staycation. That’s not what we do though. I just don’t think that reminding people of the misery they have endured, or are about to endure, is a nice thing to do. I’m going to cover it here purely because it was the biggest factor in the responses we had to our request for information.

Here’s some of the comments we had back;

  • Chaos & queues at airports are off-putting plus not sure we’ve seen the last of covid.
  • Still very unsure about airports and going abroad mainly because of the possible delays 
  • Chaos at airports and ports means we have given up on foreign travel for this year
  • Yes, I am put off by the hassle of traveling overseas at the moment. We have the ongoing problem with airports and now the chaos at the ferry terminals – exactly who thought the French were going to make things easy after Brexit?
  • Why have the hassle of airport chaos when we have such fantastic places to visit in the uk?
  • We are not looking to go abroad at this time. Who wants to get caught up in airport and airline chaos.
  • The thought of going through a crowded airport with the additional potential problems of flight cancellations etc., isn’t something I would contemplate
  • Thanks for email, we don’t go abroad anymore, we don’t like the hassle and to be honest England is so beautiful.
  • We cannot tolerate the kerfuffle at airports and all the hassle involved, so we will staycation in UK which is beautiful. Thank you for everything you do Carl, your clients appreciate it   
  • Staying in the UK is a bit of a no brainer, we hope to be venturing into the skies in 2023 but it’ll be the first time since 2017. 
  • I couldn’t think of anything worse than queuing for planes 

Cost of living

Quite a lot of people said that our prices are very fair but not the cheapest. And we know this. This is not what we are about. We have never set out to win business based on price. Ever. The Woodfarm team work their socks off every week to ensure that everything is as good as we can get it, for every single guest. And we have worked tirelessly for 13 years to build up our reputation, securing almost 700 Five Star Tripadvisor, Google, and Facebook reviews. 

I have always spent a lot of time, effort and money on our websites, as they are our ‘shop window’. I’ve spent money on amazing photography and videography to represent our Barns & Barges as well as we can. I spend so much on maintenance to ensure that everything is ‘just so’. And I don’t mind doing this. Because I want to have properties I’m proud of.

I spoke with a tradesman this week who said he’s never chased the money, but has always tried to make every customer happy. THAT is the guy I want repairing windows for me, as that is the way I’ve always done it. I’ve written countless times about this. About the fact that I never set out with financial targets, like I had to in my previous corporate life. I set out to make sure every guest loves what we do, wants to come back, and to tell their family and friends about us. That’s it. It ain’t rocket science! I knew if I did that, and did it well, I would make money.

I don’t usually share this information, but our average rate of repeat business has built steadily over the last few years to 26%. This is one of the proudest factors of my business. 

Now we know that price is a consideration right now, so we had already temporarily lowered our prices. We wanted to ensure that we could meet the demands of the market, and felt that we just needed to do this in order to try to help where we can. We did write to let our VIP Rewards Group know, so they were aware. We didn’t go shouting about it on social media or putting huge ‘discount banners’ on our websites though as that’s just not our style. We simply wanted to let our audience know that we had dropped our prices for a little while to make a break with us more affordable. And we’ve only told our audience about this blog post. If you happen to come across it and you’re not on our database, then that’s fine, but the vast majority of readers who get this far will be within the ‘audience’ we have already connected with.

Nothing in life is too expensive. Nothing. It might be too expensive for someone, but not for someone else. Some might say that a brand new Bentley is too expensive. I don’t think it is. It’s just too expensive for me! It doesn’t stop them selling though does it? Everything boils down to two questions; 1) Do I want it? 2) Can I buy it?

The results of our question…

We had hundreds of responses to our reaching out, and this is what we found;

14% people categorically said that they have no intention of flying anywhere on holiday

17% people said that they will only be holidaying in the UK – most citing two factors – airport chaos and holidaying with their dogs (obvs!)

5% people said they had been abroad this year or would be

5% people said they are staying in the UK but need to do it on a budget due to the cost of living crisis

10% people said they were unable to afford a holiday this year

2% people are staying at home due to ill health

We had quite a few entertaining/random comments, which we thought we’d share with you too…

  • I do enjoy following you on Facebook and some of your posts make me laugh out loud!
  • What would make me book to stay with you would be a family gathering – my commitment-phobic boyfriend lives nearby, but I dream of the day I need to put far flung relatives in most of your adorable properties.
  • I love following you on FB – your lockdown posts were amazing – and maybe one day we’ll feel flush enough to book a stay!
  • Your posts and blog let us know that you are a mad Englishman with a humor to match.
  • You are amazing and gorgeous. Even though we have a static home in Saxmundham we still love to stay at your barns, which we did for my mum’s 80th birthday last year, you were the go to place, wouldn’t have taken them anywhere else and they loved it . 
  • I love the barns, they are more effective when loved up and not single
  • I follow your page because you always entertain me.
  • If I had someone to have a romantic weekend with I would pay these prices. 

Well, I hope you found this interesting. What was really reassuring is the incredibly positive things people were saying about us, what we offer, the way we operate, and the way we are prepared to tackle this kind of thing. We will keep doing what we do and hope to see you soon, either aboard one of our Barges, or in one of our Barns or Cottages

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A Guide to one of Suffolk’s Best Golf Parks

A Guide to one of Suffolk’s Best Golf Parks

At Woodfarm Barns, we’re blessed with some truly great neighbours. Indeed, we’ve got some fantastic bars, restaurants and parks all within a short drive from our Barns for rent in Suffolk. In addition to such standout local attractions, our visitors are also just around the corner from Stonham Barns Golf Park.

Committed to making golf fun and accessible to all, Stonham Barns Golf Park features everything from a traditional 9 hold course to adventure golf, indoor golf and footgolf. There’s also a dedicated big hole golf course which takes the basic principles of golf but adds – you guessed it – bigger holes! This subtle variation ultimately increases participation and leads to fast rather than frustrating rounds.

Promising just as much fun as the adventure golf and big hole course, the eighteen hole footgolf course can be completed inside of ninety minutes (we’re sure this must be by design!) and can be enjoyed along with a food and drinks package. Very much the home of Suffolk footgolf, Stonham Barns was responsible for bringing the sport to the county back in 2013 and has gone on to make impressive improvements to the course over the past nine years.

When the weather makes a round of the Smugglers Bay adventure course or footgolf impossible, the Suffolk Golf Studio serves as an indoor golf centre at the park that offers an impressive high tech alternative. Allowing players to enjoy a casual practice session or participate in virtual recreations of memorable golfing moments, the studio is equipped with the most advanced 3D simulation technology for a truly immersive experience.

For anyone keen to get to grips with golf or improve their swing, there’s also a variety of coaching sessions provided by PGA professionals. Alternatively, for anyone who would prefer to simply unwind after trying their hand at some of the activities, there’s the Stonham Barns Bistro right on the doorstep of the park.

Altogether, the range of activities on offer at the park make it perfect for everyone, whether they’re a golfing extraordinaire, golfing intermediate, or a total golfing newcomer. To visit Stonham Barns Golf Park or any of the other fantastic golf courses in Suffolk as part of your next holiday, be sure to take a look at our ranges of Barns and Barges for rent.