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We did a survey thingy, with some amazing results…

We wrote to our entire database (circa 25,000 people) in February 2023 to ask a whole bunch of questions. We had a phenomenal response, and as we operate in a very transparent way, we are sharing some of our findings with you…

Thank you if you are one of those who took part, which was the best part of a thousand humans! We sent the survey to everyone who has ever stayed with us, as well as all those subscribed to our newsletters, ie our VIP Rewards Group.

We have five main ’takeaways’ from the results, which we find really fascinating. I hope you do too. It also inspired us to create an exclusive SPECIAL OFFER purely for our VIP Rewards Group.

1 – We clearly have a solid level of engagement as 58% of those responding have never stayed with us.

engagement image

In marketing terms that’s a great number as we are clearly being ‘followed’, i.e. we are an aspirational brand, which means a LOT!

People don’t bother following things they have no interest in. This is really encouraging data for us.

2 – We asked if, having stayed, you would recommend us to family and friends?

thumbs up

A staggering 98% said they would. Ok, it’s not 100%, but I don’t think I know any business that would get that figure. This is fab data for us, and we’re truly humbled by it. We work really hard to make sure everyone who stays wants to come back, and refer us. We can’t please all the people all the time, but it doesn’t stop us trying!

3 – A huge number of you follow us on Facebook.

social media image

This kinda ties in with the point on level of engagement, but for us in the WMD (Woodfarm Marketing Department of me and Andrew), a strong social media presence is key nowadays.

We are also active on Instagram and to a lesser extent Twitter. If you don’t currently follow us and want to, then here are your buttons to make sure you don’t miss out!

4 – A really interesting one was that 12% of you said that it’d be an incentive to book if we offered the ability to pay in instalments. We do!

interest free payments

We launched this last year and did write to everyone. We mention it on the websites etc, but it’s reminded us that not everyone has the time to read everything.

So please be aware that we have a flexible, interest free way for you to pay for your break! It’s an option on the booking form.

short breaks

5 – Quite a few people wanted some flexibility on shorter midweek breaks too. Again, we listened, and here’s something exclusively for them.

Once Easter is upon us we tend to be pretty chocka block all week, so we’ve offered them a 2 or 3 night stay during any midweek until the end of March.

Featured Image by Jon Tyson

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Where to Find Some of the Best Hampers in Suffolk

Hamper for sale in Suffolk

In a previous article, we shared some of our favourite places to go shopping for homeware and gifts in Suffolk. Keen to extend on this theme, we thought it would also be helpful to provide a few places that you can stop by to pick up a hamper full of delicious treats and beverages when staying at one of our Barns or Barges for rent in Suffolk.

Earsham Street Deli 

With locations at Bungay and Snape Maltings, Earsham Street Deli is an independent, award-winning cafe and delicatessen which specialises in unique and artisan hampers. All beautifully presented, there are various hampers to choose from that include a variety of sourdough, jams, and ground coffee. Providing plenty of choice, Earsham Street Deli welcomes visitors to hand select products to create their own bespoke hamper. Of course, there’s plenty to see and do around both Bungay and at Snape Maltings to make a visit even sweeter!     

Suffolk Food Hall

Having recently launched a brand new selection of hampers, there’s never been a better time to visit the Suffolk Food Hall. With options ranging from champagne and chocolate hampers, to cheese and breakfast hampers, there truly is something for everyone here. Allowing you to easily bring home a taste of Suffolk for yourself or a loved one, many of the products are locally sourced and boast a range of Suffolk specialties. The ‘local treats’ hamper, for example, is made up of apple pie, preserves, and tea bags that are all produced by local businesses. In short, the Suffolk Food Hall is as good for hamper shopping as it is eating and drinking.

Food hamper in Suffolk


Undoubtedly one of Suffolk’s finest exports, Adnams brewery has a number of stores that are easily accessible from our Barns and Barges. Whilst they may technically be described as “bundles” rather than “hampers”, we’re still confident that these still qualify as an exciting treat to collect when in Suffolk. Whether prosecco, rose, ales or a mixed assortment is your tipple of choice, Adnams is certainly the place for you.     

Scarlett and Mustard

Don’t let the name mislead you – we tend to leave the mustard to our neighbours over in Norfolk! Instead, Scarlett and Mustard provides an exceptional range of cheese, jams, and condiments. All beautifully packaged and bursting with flavour, there’s a fantastic assortment of hampers to choose from when visiting their shop in Framlingham. All made using locally sourced ingredients, Scarlett and Mustard is another reliable place to find yourself a taste of Suffolk to bring home.      

To pick up one of these hampers when enjoying a holiday, be sure to take a look at the availability of our Barns and Barges for rent in Suffolk.

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Buying Gifts and Homeware When on Holiday in Suffolk

A collection of homeware for purchase in Suffolk.

Though it may seem counterintuitive to be spending time thinking about your home when on holiday, there are so many incredible places to pick up special gifts and homeware in Suffolk that it would be remiss of us not to mention them. What’s more, many guests that we welcome to our Barns and Barges for rent have commented on the superb additions to their home that they’ve collected when out and about. Of course, you won’t struggle to discover boutique homeware and gift stores in Suffolk, but we thought we’d provide a little inspiration all the same.

Stag Interiors in Southwold

Bringing together a phenomenal range of homewares and accessories, Stag Interiors in Southwold stocks everything from classic pieces of kitchenware to seahorse sculptures. All bearing a distinctly modern style, their items are characterised by a sense of playfulness that would be at home in just about any home. Whether you’re looking to bring a flash of fun to your home, or are shopping for someone you know would appreciate it, you’ll be sure to find it at Stag Interiors.   

Snape Maltings 

Situated on the bank of the River Alde – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – Snape Maltings is home to a remarkable independent homeware store. Covering everything from dining tables to fire pit accessories, the store provides everything you could possibly need to dress your home in a beautifully rustic fashion. Their collection of bath and body products also make for incredible gifts if you’re planning on bringing something back in the way of a gift. The timber dining tables are a particular favourite of this blogger.

Happiness at Home Store

Perhaps the most aptly named stores on this list of places to go for homeware and gifts in Suffolk, the Happiness at Home Store in Woodbridge is a charming boutique positively brimming with pieces that promise to, well, bring happiness to your home. From thoughtfully handmade gifts to unique accessories, this is certainly the place to head if you’re keen to source some true “one offs” when in Suffolk.

A pillow with the word relax written on it.

Risby Barns Antiques Centre

An exciting alternative to the range of modern homeware and gift stores in Suffolk, the Risby Barns Antiques Centre is a veritable emporium of gems. As the name suggests, this destination is made up of an assortment of barns that are quite literally packed to the rafters with vintage homeware and accessories. To discover other treasures, be sure to read our guide to antiques and homeware shops in Suffolk.

To visit all of these stores and to experience everything else that Suffolk has to offer, be sure to take a look at the availability of our Barns and Barges for rent.

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Thinking of Buying a Home in Suffolk? Why Not Visit Us For a Holiday First?

Buying a property in Suffolk.

Whether you’re thinking of buying a home in Suffolk in the short or long term, a visit to one of our Barns or Barges for rent will allow you to gain an authentic experience of Suffolk life. With many of our previous guests making the move here themselves, here’s a few suggestions for how you might blend your research with some fun things to see and do.  

Get a taste of town and country living:

With such a wide variety of environments, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to exploring homes in Suffolk. If you’re inclined towards towns, we’ve got some great ones on the coast and some equally brilliant ones in the country. Take Bury St Edmunds, the ‘jewel in the crown of Suffolk’, as one example. Dating all the way back to 633, the town has moved with the times and boasts a range of modern and traditional homes within walking distance of its bars and restaurants. If you find yourself visiting for the day when scoping out a future home, we highly recommend Maison Blue for dinner and the Masons Arms for refreshments.

Alternatively, if you’re thinking of moving to Suffolk to secure a home on the coast, Aldeburgh is an ideal choice. A quintessential British seaside town, Aldeburgh has a range of boutique shops that perfectly complement its range of places to eat and drink. Naturally, the best advice we have for food here is fish and chips on the beach.

If village living is more your thing, we have an abundance of options that bring together everything you could possibly want from a new place to live. Take somewhere like Barrow, for example. A mere twenty minute drive from Bury St Edmunds, this village has recently become home to a modern pub and restaurant that captured the imagination of architects thanks to its impressive design. In addition to having a great place to eat and drink, Barrow also has a green that hosts fetes, an historic church, and plenty of walking routes to claim its place as one of the greatest Great British villages. Fast becoming a popular dining spot, we’d highly recommend sampling the menu at the Weeping Willow should you decide to visit.  

Suffolk as seen from above

For a village with a slightly slower pace of life, Bawdsey is easily accessible when enjoying a holiday at one of our Barns or Barges. Providing the perfect antidote to modern life, the village is situated at the mouth of the River Deben and combines remote housing with fantastic cycle paths and rolling landscapes. Despite being a slightly quieter spot in Suffolk, it does have its own Boathouse Cafe that serves up a delicious range of locally sourced snacks for refreshment when visiting.

Ultimately, wherever you’re thinking of buying a home in Suffolk, our Barns and Barges for rent provide a superb retreat to return to after a day spent carrying out research or house viewings. We’re also a proud provider of dog-friendly holidays, so feel free to bring along any four legged friends who also plan to make the move with you.

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What Does AI Think About Holidays in Suffolk?

Artificial intelligence in Suffolk

Exiting the realm of science fiction and propelling itself into the mainstream, artificial intelligence has taken the news by storm over the past month. Debate has abounded around the efficacy and ethics of turning to artificial intelligence when solving our problems. From broadsheet papers to social media, everyone seems to be asking “will it take everyone’s jobs?”, “can it be trusted to drive the car?”, and “was the Terminator a prophetic foreshadowing and not simply the imaginings of paranoid Hollywood hotshots?”. Always keen to test out new things for ourselves, we decided to ask ChatGPT, a sophisticated chatbot, what it thought about Suffolk.

Question: Why Should I Take a Holiday to Suffolk?


  1. Scenic countryside and coastal towns: Suffolk is home to rolling hills, rural landscapes and charming coastal towns that are perfect for exploring on foot or by bike.
  2. Rich cultural heritage: Suffolk is full of historic sites and cultural attractions, including mediaeval castles, beautiful churches and modern art museums.
  3. Unique food and drink: Suffolk is known for its local produce, including the famous Suffolk ham, local ales and wines.
  4. Relaxing atmosphere: With its laid-back pace of life, Suffolk is the perfect destination for a relaxing break away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
  5. Wildlife and nature: Suffolk is home to a rich variety of wildlife, including many species of birds, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts.

On the basis of this response, maybe I should be concerned that I pursued writing as a career; the answer is entirely accurate and I very much doubt the chatbot has a habit of sending emails at strange hours of the day. Let’s ask another question to make sure it isn’t a fluke.

What dog friendly things are there to do in Suffolk?


  1. Beaches: Suffolk has several dog-friendly beaches where you and your furry friend can enjoy the sun and sea.
  2. Coastal walks: Take a walk along the stunning Suffolk coastline, with many walks offering stunning views and plenty of space for dogs to run and play.
  3. National Trust properties: Many National Trust properties in Suffolk, including gardens and parks, welcome dogs on leads.
  4. Country parks: Suffolk is home to many picturesque country parks that are ideal for a leisurely stroll with your dog.
  5. Pet-friendly pubs and cafes: There are many pubs and cafes in Suffolk that welcome dogs, so you can enjoy a bite to eat or a drink with your pet by your side.

And breathe. It seems that, as correct as ChatGPT is, it’s largely echoing the sound advice we’ve made in similar blogs like 5 of the Best Dog Friendly Beaches in Suffolk. In articles like this, and others across the blog, you’ll see plenty of references to ‘furry friends’, ‘picturesque country parks’, and places to ‘enjoy a bite to eat’. Evidently, there’s still room for writers who take the time to research and explore Suffolk to provide chatbots with the information they need to produce accurate content.

Let’s take one last roll of the dice, just for luck:

Question: What makes Woodfarm Barns great?


  1. Location: Woodfarm Barns is situated in a beautiful rural location, surrounded by rolling hills and countryside, making it the perfect getaway for those seeking peace and tranquillity.
  2. Luxury accommodation: The barns at Woodfarm offer luxurious, spacious and well-appointed accommodation, providing guests with the ultimate in comfort and relaxation.
  3. Pet-friendly: Woodfarm Barns is a pet-friendly holiday destination, making it the perfect choice for families with dogs.
  4. Surrounding attractions: The surrounding area is full of attractions, including beautiful beaches, historic towns and charming villages, making it the ideal base for exploring the local area.

Whilst there’s no doubt that the chatbot got a lot of things right here, it did neglect to mention that almost all our Barns for rent come with hot tubs, we provide a fabulous welcome breakfast hamper, and have hundreds of Five Star reviews on Tripadvisor, Facebook, and Google, amongst other things. Hopefully, there’s still a future for writers yet…

To book your stay with us now, be sure to take a look at the availability of our Barns and Barges for rent in Suffolk.

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Where to go Clothes Shopping When In Suffolk

clothes rack in Suffolk

In addition to rolling landscapes, picturesque beaches, and all manner of other attractions that can best be described in majestic terms, Suffolk also boasts a range of independent and boutique shopping spots that are perfect for enjoying a little retail therapy when staying at one of our Barns or Barges for rent. Whether you’re on the lookout for designer brands, expert tailoring, or anything in between, the following destinations will provide you with everything you need to source new additions for your wardrobe:

Trotter & Deane

Putting our best foot forward with the first entry on this list, Trotter & Deane has been suiting and booting Suffolk for the past thirty years. Situated in the heart of Bury St Edmunds, this classic suit shop sources high quality fabrics from across the world and is staffed by a team of skilled tailors. From made to measure suits to luxury knitwear, this is an unmissable spot when holidaying in Suffolk. 

O & C Butcher

Priding themselves on delivering a personal and quality service since 1884, O & C Butcher in Aldeburgh offers the very best in men and womenswear. Stocking established brands as well as up and coming names, this is the place to go no matter what time of the year you find yourself in the area. With a selection of fashionable dog accessories, O & C Butcher is the perfect place to visit during a dog friendly holiday in Suffolk.  

Gun Hill

Bringing together tradition and modern trends, Gun Hill specialises in dressing shoppers in the best pieces from Barbour, Ralph Lauren, Gant, and an assortment of other exciting brands. With a reputation for adding unexpected items and flashes of colour to their collections, a visit to Gun Hill always makes for a real treat.

Man wearing Barbour in Suffolk


Based in our home of Woodbridge, Seasalt has its origins in Cornwall and is proud to put these origins on the sleeves of their clothes. Specialising in womenswear, the store stocks everything from dresses to workwear and knitwear. In short, whatever you need in the way of womenswear, Seasalt provides you with all of the options you need. 


The place to go for all the latest luxury pieces, Tessuti stocks collections from Boss, Moncler, Tom Ford, and a range of other exciting designers. Based in Ipswich, a shopping spree at Tessuti can be nicely complemented with a stop at any number of outstanding bars and restaurants.

Bohemia Vintage

Describing itself as a “little shop of vintage and removable gorgeousness in the heart of Bury St Edmunds”, Bohemia Vintage is an artfully curated store that brings together the very best in vintage clothing. From colourful jackets from the 60s to unique couture items, Bohemia Vintage also stock a selection of very fetching retro homeware.  

To explore all of these spots during a holiday, be sure to take a look at the current availability of our Barns and Barges for rent in Suffolk.

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It’s all just guesswork…

There are hundreds of thousands (at least) of people in this new-fangled world of technology and social media supremacy, all trying to be the next big internet thing. I’m not, I’m just trying to do my job and have fun.

What’s my job? To get as many bookings as I can for the Wonderful World of Woodfarm Barns & Barges.

I hate ‘selling’ on social media, and in our newsletters, but it is my job to tell as many people as possible about Suffolk and Woodfarm, and pass on some reasons to book with us. I have to really try hard not to say “Hey, book a break, we are the bee knees”. It does make me squirm when people continually do that. I have to try and promote what we do, but in fun, innovative, or creative ways. And that is not easy.

If you’ve followed us for any length of time, you’ll know that a lot of what I do is plain daft. I take my business extremely seriously, but fortunately I don’t take myself too seriously. Business should pass the fun test! If it doesn’t (or your job doesn’t) then do something else.

I post a lot of ridiculous things on social media, and we recently started sending our ‘Woodfarm weekly roundup of positive stuff in a wonky world’ emails. 

The response to those emails every week is off the charts! My first response to last Friday’s email was this from Sarah: “Seriously the best newsletter I’ve ever received. The world needs more communications like these.” That made my day, and I wrote back and told her so. I write to everybody who responds.

You see, most of my competitors, most of the industry, and most of the world doesn’t do things the way I do. I’m not to everyone’s taste, and I’m ok with that. But it drives me crazy when people just send out bland, boring, magnolia messages to try to get us to buy their goods or services.

I can’t help doing things differently, it’s just the way my brain works. As I say, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. There will be people out there who have unsubscribed from our emails and unfollowed us on social media. In the early days I got paranoid about that, but not any more. I even get the occasional comment of “this is supposed to be about business”. Oh you dull plebeian, you couldn’t be more wrong if you tried! It’s about life! It’s about living, having fun, and yes, I do this because I want to make money, but I want to enjoy my short time on this planet. 

It’s a shame I have to share the planet with someone who objects to my approach, but as long as we don’t hurt anybody, we all have a right to be here. I just wish these people wouldn’t share their opinion with me on how I go about my business. It’s my business. Trouble is, social media gives everyone a voice, unlike the old days, when they would just mumble over what they read in the newspaper.

As you may know, I recently gave away yet another free holiday. I’ve been doing this for over a decade now, and loads of people have been very happy about this. This may seem daft, but I’ve built a database well in excess of 30,000 subscribers over the years, partly by doing this. 

It’s such a lovely feeling to talk to someone who you have just given a holiday to. Yes it costs me money, but I bet there are very few small, independent holiday cottage businesses like mine with a database that size. That’s a database that has been grown organically, from scratch, not by buying mailing lists. 

People can unsubscribe any time they like, but we even go through it periodically and remove from circulation anyone who hasn’t opened our emails in a certain number of months. We figure it’s pointless sending them email which they consider to be uninteresting or irrelevant to them. We don’t remove them, we just pop them in our inactive pile. Our actual list of active people is just under 25,000 at the mo. That’s 25,000 people who do read the things I send.

Our main Facebook page currently has just over 19,000 followers. We have 3,500 on Woodfarm Barges as well, but we amalgamated the brands on Facebook a while back, so I don’t post anything on there any more.

The Woodfarm Instagram page has 1,500 followers, and we have just under 2,000 on Twitter. So that’s around 26,000 followers on social media.People who have chosen to keep an eye on us. Not everybody chips in, but that’s a lot of people observing my business.

Let me get back to where I started (I do go on don’t I?). My job is to get bookings for my Barns and Barges, that’s it. That’s my ultimate aim. How I go about it is up to me. Nobody told me how, and nobody tells me what to write. It goes much deeper in terms of how we operate to ensure our guests have an awesome time, but I have an equally awesome team to help me!

On the tech side of the business, my colleague Andrew handles all our digital marketing with me. He used to try and reign me in, in the early days. He’s long since given up on that though and has realised that I go about things differently, and it works.

Andrew and I have a digital marketing meeting every week, where we analyse statistics, work on the websites, and brainstorm ideas. As scientific and as commercial as we try to be, we still think a lot of it is in the lap of the gods. We sometimes have no idea why something we did works well, or doesn’t work well.

If I did what I did and nobody booked, and nobody subscribed, and nobody followed us, then I’d have a rethink, but that’s not usually the case. Despite global concerns, 2022 was a great year for Woodfarm, and 2023, though just two weeks in as I type, is up on 2022.

That said, I continually scratch my chin and wonder what people want to read, what makes them like what we do, and what doesn’t. If anybody really knew the answer to that they would be a multi-gazillionaire. Nobody really knows though, even if they think they do.

As long as I keep getting bookings, and getting the kind of positive feedback that I get, I’ll keep doing what I do. And if there’s anything I don’t do that you think I should do, then tell me! I operate in an extremely transparent way as you can see, so I’m more than happy for you to pitch in your ideas too.

We know you have a choice on who to follow, and where to go on holiday, and I am genuinely grateful every single time that someone chooses Woodfarm, comes back, and recommends us to family and friends.

I’ll keep trying to mix up fun stuff with business messages, whilst trying not to overly ‘sell’ to you. I can’t help it if I do kinda sometimes promote Woodfarm though, it’s my job!

So in summary, it’s all just guesswork.

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A Complete Guide to Suffolk Dog Day

Photo of a curious dog on holiday

As proud providers of dog friendly holidays in Suffolk, it’s no surprise that we’re big lovers of Suffolk Dog Day at Woodfarm Barns and Barges. No doubt the best way of celebrating the joy that our four legged friends bring us, the annual event provides owners with the opportunity to enjoy a vast range of activities. From agility competitions to dog scurries and trade stands, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Hosted at Helmingham Hall in Stowmarket, a short distance from our Barns for rent, the event takes place each July and features the following popular attractions: 

  • Dog classes (complete with prizes)
  • Over 50 stalls selling a range of impressive dog accessories and cheese
  • All day entertainment and demonstrations
  • A dedicated catering village for refreshments and lunch

In addition to all of the dog-related activities on offer, a ticket to the Suffolk Dog Day provides access to Helmingham Gardens, an environment that is every bit as enjoyable to soak up as the event itself!

If you’re thinking of planning a dog friendly holiday in Suffolk, why not take a look at the availability of our Barns and Barges for rent? All accommodating dogs to the highest standard, we’re sure that your pooch will enjoy them just as much as you will!

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The Best Things to See and do in Suffolk in 2023

The number 2023 inflated in gold balloons

Though Suffolk has plenty of annual events that bring visitors back year after year – we’re looking at you Latitude Festival – there are plenty of new and interesting things to do when planning your holiday at one of our Barns or Barges in 2023.

To get you nicely inspired, we’ve brought together a few of our top picks for this year:

The Framlingham Country Show:

Taking place on our doorstep, the Framlingham Country Show brings together everything from stunt displays to a World of Birds flying demonstration. From parakeets to daredevils, the show also boasts a commendable range of refreshments that form part of the Suffolk Food and Drink event. Whether you fancy sampling a few delights or enjoying a local version of the British Bake Off, there’s something for every kind of foodie here.

In addition to these standout attractions, there’s also the Festival of Dogs which will be pitching up to offer a range of classes as well as agility demonstrations. Taking place across the long weekend of the 19th-21st August, this is one Suffolk event not to miss in 2023.

All New Escape Rooms:

Fast becoming one of the best ways of spending a weekend, escape rooms have grown in popularity in Suffolk just as much as they have elsewhere on the globe. Offering two new exciting enigmas, the Suffolk Food Hall challenges guests to solve the mystery of Professor Campbell’s Disappearance or escape from the Gamekeeper’s Bothy. Furnished with authentic props and based around distinctly Suffolk themes, the adventures are no doubt one of the most interesting ways of learning about the heritage of Suffolk.

Shawsgate Vineyard:

Set to celebrate their fiftieth birthday, there’s never been a better time to visit the Shawsgate Vineyard in Suffolk. Here, visitors are welcomed to explore the vineyard at their leisure at no charge, given an information sheet and map to squeeze every last drop out of the experience (we’re sorry, we couldn’t resist!).

Making the Shawsgate Vineyard even sweeter, visitors are welcome to bring their dogs along for the trip – as firm believers in the power of dog friendly holidays, we can’t help but recommend the place!

Woodbridge Antiques:

Recently featured on the Antiques Roadshow, Woodbridge Antiques is well worth browsing when visiting Suffolk for a holiday. Located near our Barns for rent, the store offers an impressive range of vintage pieces that range from glassware to furniture, and houses cabinets full of everything from jewellery to clocks, watches, pottery, and other fascinating curiosities.

To enjoy all of these events and attractions, as well as an all but limitless list of other things to see and do, why not pay us a visit at our Barns and Barges for rent in Suffolk?

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What’s in a Name? The Meaning Behind Popular Suffolk Town Names

The what what surrounded by question marks

Whilst the Bard may have surmised that there isn’t an awful lot of significance to names, we’re going to go out on a limb and suggest, politely, that he may have been wrong. Especially when it comes to the names of Suffolk towns. 

Due to various pirates from Scandinavia settling in the county during the 8th and 9th centuries, as well as a few native Englishman staking a claim to certain parts of the land, Suffolk has acquired a fair amount of interesting town names due to its unique history.

Donning our history hats, we’ve taken a closer look at a few of the more curious examples of the meaning behind Suffolk towns. And where better to start than Ipswich, a fantastic town close to our Barns and Barges for rent?

First recorded as “Gipes wic” in a version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that dates all the way back to 993, historians have suggested that the naming convention of Ipswich had to do with the River Orwell. Specifically, the Old English word “gype” describes an “opening gap” like that of the estuary of the river. Pronounced with a soft g, “Gipes wic” broadly translated to the name we know now, but it wasn’t until the 13th century that the spelling caught up with the sound.

Interestingly, some historians have also speculated that when compiling the Domesday Book, the Normans read the name slightly differently, leading to two distinct pronunciations emerging in the town, a fact that can be observed today at Gipperswick Park.

Another Suffolk town with a fascinating past, Bury St Edmunds owes its name to a curious mystery.  

Taking its name from the original Patron Saint of England, King Edmund, the story goes that in his reign, the king was killed by invading Danes after refusing to renounce his Christianity. Carried out in a rather gruesome fashion, St Edmund was at first tied to a tree before being shot with arrows and beheaded. Following this belts and braces approach to assaination, the king’s body was gathered up, but his head was missing. Later on, a group of his supporters claim to have been led to the king’s missing head by the cry of a wolf.

No, honestly.

After reuniting his head with his body, the King’s supporters entombed him in the town, eventually moving him to the cathedral which would lead to it becoming a popular place of pilgrimage for future kings. All told, it would certainly be hard to imagine someone more deserving of a town name than St Edmund! 

Now to end with something a little lighter.

No doubt one of the more intriguing place names in Suffolk, Dallinghoo is a small village nearby our Barns for rent. Believed to take its name from the Old English for “hill spur of the family or followers of a man with the name of Deall”, this historic spot remains a favourite amongst treasure-seekers keen to find similar riches to those found at the iconic and nearby Sutton Hoo.     

Whether you’re keen to embark on a treasure hunt of your own, or would prefer to visit the more modern attractions belonging to these towns and villages, be sure to do it in comfort by browsing our Barns and Barges for rent in Suffolk.