Needham Lake in the Heart of Suffolk

Grand Day Out in the Heart of Suffolk

So here’s another of our Grand Days Out for you and this one revolves around the very Heart of Suffolk.

We’re going to take you for a walk along the beautiful River Gipping, have a wander around the Museum of East Anglian Life, buy some tasty treats at the Alder Carr Farm Shop and of course go to the Pub. The Highwayman in Coddenham Green to be precise.

The Heart of Suffolk has a great mix of beautiful scenery, a tranquil pace of life, some fascinating history and of course, some great food and drink!

So, all of the things we are going to cover today are within a 15 minute reach of your holiday cottage at Woodfarm Barns, so you can dip in and out of any combination of them as they are so close by.

If you want to have a picnic then your first stop has to be…

Alder Carr Farm

Alder Carr in the Heart of SuffolkNot Alan Carr Farm as my daughter calls it! Alder Carr is a working farm with a superb farm shop, deli, café and gifts shops on site. It’s certainly my favourite farm shop nearby simply because it’s a proper farm shop overflowing with lovely produce. You will find their own Highland beef, free-range eggs and award-winning fruit ice cream as well as locally produced food and pick your own fruit and vegetables.

You can browse their craft shops, including one in their Dovecote. The farm animals and play area are particularly popular with children and there are monthly farmers’ markets where local farmers and producers sell their produce directly to the public.

Their café is The Barn Café and serves amazing home-made cakes!

The owners Joan & Nick Hardingham believe there is a niche market for fresh, local products – supplying unusual varieties and delivering freshness where the supermarkets have difficulty – such as asparagus and sweetcorn whose flavour deteriorates almost hourly apparently! Also, for the high quality products of local farmers and food producers who do not wish to supply supermarkets which involves sacrificing quality to meet demands for a lower price. They have had all their hard work supporting local food recognised by being crowned ‘Food Heroes of the Year’ at the Suffolk Food and Drinks Awards. They were awarded for proving their commitment to championing Suffolk food and drink, a sustained high level of performance and service to the local food industry and for expertise in their chosen field.

You can contact Alder Carr Farm on 01449 720820. They are in Creeting St Mary, IP68LX, about ten minutes away from Woodfarm. Check out their website.

If you’ve picked up some great picnic goodies from Alder Carr, you could head off for a great walk along the…

River Gipping & Needham Lake

You may recognise the name as we named one of our barns after it! You can do as little or as much of this walk as you like. If you do the whole thing, it’s a long one! All the way from Stowmarket to Ipswich is 11.5 miles but the more local section to our little bit of the Heart of Suffolk is the Stowmarket to Needham Market bit.

The River Gipping Trust have a great website and you can downloads PDFs for both walks. The shorter one is Walk 2. We do have both of these walks in our welcome folders, though they do sometimes go walkies themselves so maybe print your own and you can get familiar with it before you come.

If you want a really short walk then just head for Needham Lake with your picnic and walk all that lovely food off around the lake!

If you’re then up for some culture, head to the…

Museum of East Anglian Life

The Museum is tucked away on the edge of the town centre in Stowmarket. You enter through this building which is the Tourist Information Centre. They are a really friendly team and are passionate about making sure visitors have the best time ever.

The Museum of East Anglian Life does exactly what it says on the tin! It’s a social enterprise “sharing the compelling story of East Anglian lives through historic buildings, collections and landscape”.

Their goal is to enrich people’s lives, encouraging enjoyment, learning and participation through their public programmes, training and volunteering schemes. The museum is a space for people to be active, learn new things, look at the world differently, make friends and give something back.

It’s a fabulous insight into some of the history of the area so well worth fitting into your itinerary if you’re interested in this field.

You can find them at IP14 1DL and give them a buzz on 01449 612229. Check out everything they have to offer visitors to the Heart of Suffolk on their website here.

Last but not least, we give you an awesome pub!

The Highwayman, Coddenham Green

The Highwayman was the first pub I went in near here, when I bought Woodfarm in 2009. I was looking for local businesses to help support my application for a tourism grant, by confirming that a development of luxury holiday cottages would add to their income. David Parry was one of the first business owners to jump in with his support and our guests have been enjoying the Highwayman ever since we opened.

The Highwayman pub: restaurant in the Heart of SuffolkA traditional country pub/restaurant with a really friendly welcome and fabulous food with a bit of a twist. David’s wife Olga is Ukranian and as she is the chef, there is often some wonderful cuisine that we don’t see very often around here! In the main, you’ll find many of your favourite pub/restaurant classics using a great selection of local produce.

They have a bar menu with snacks and sandwiches, as well as a fab restaurant menu with such mouth-watering dishes as Chefs Pie of the Day, Freerange Grilled Chicken Supreme with mushroom and tarragon sauce and Dingly Dell Free Range Pork Loin served with dauphinoise potato, Bramley & Aspall cider sauce. They also have fresh fish of the day and vegetarian options available on their Specials Board.

You’re advised to ring ahead during busy times as it is as popular as ever and we have always had superb feedback from our guests.

Check out the Highwayman’s website here and give them a buzz on 01449 760369. Ten minutes from Woodfarm – IP6 8PD.

Well, I hope you enjoy your day out, in whichever order you plan it and however much of it you do! If you’re not yet booked in to one of our luxury dog-friendly cottages in the Heart of Suffolk, then check out our availability and if you haven’t already seen it, check out Woodfarm Barns – The Movie!

Reasons to Stay at Woodfarm, Suffolk

We happen to think what we have on offer is pretty bloomin' good. However, we thought you might like a bunch of reasons to stay, other than we think you should!

beach huts
all accommodation

Brilliant beaches! Suffolk has an incredible Heritage Coast, with great beaches, all in easy reach of us.

dog paw print
all accommodation

Dogs stay FREE, and we don't just tolerate them, we welcome them! We've built our reputation on this, and we're proud of it!

at the barns

Pawesome, fully-enclosed two acre Pooch Paddock for your Dogs to go bonkers and make new friends in.

dog biscuit
all accommodation

Free Doggy treats, Dog bowls, and Dog towels. Our furry friends even get Woodfarm branded poop bag holders!

all accommodation

Visit England Gold Awards coming out of our ears, as well as their coveted ROSE Award for Service Excellence.

thumbs up
all accommodation

Well in excess of 1,000 Five Star Tripadvisor, Facebook & Google Reviews. Over 25% of our guests come back!

hot tubs
all accommodation

Private Hot tubs with seven of our eight Barns and Cottages. The ultimate in relaxation, just because you're worth it.

all accommodation

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Yes, plural. Two AONB's on our doorstep! Suffolk Coast & Heaths, and Dedham Vale.

river walks
on the barges

Stunning river walks directly from your gangplank on either Barge! Wildlife and breathtaking scenery in abundance.

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