The “staycation” has become an increasingly popular option amongst Brits in recent years, with record numbers shunning the hassle of holidaying abroad. Indeed, according to Visit England, the number of people holidaying at home in the first quarter of 2016 was up 10% on the same period the previous year, with millions opting to stay in Britain instead of braving the overcrowded beaches of Benidorm.
With the term “staycation” now increasingly part of the public lexicon, the concept of holidaying at home is no longer as “foreign” a concept to the general public as in years past, with many shunning the tired package holiday to experience home comforts instead. Not only are the rise of staycations a fantastic boost to the economy (and indeed to our own wallets), but it enables Britons to re engage with their history and discover the beautiful scenery right on their doorstep.
If you’re after an unforgettable getaway with family or friends, we’re here to tell you why Suffolk should be your destination of choice in 2017. Fantastic locations all over the county are just waiting to be discovered, both easily accessible and available year-round. With no airport hold ups, language barriers or exchange rates to contend with, pack up the car and escape!
Where to even begin? The Suffolk Coast and Countryside are infamous not only for the abundance of wildlife, but also the magnificent scenery that comes with it. John Constable, often referred to as the greatest English landscape painter of all time, drew much inspiration from Suffolk’s valleys, meadows, rivers and farmland, painting the idyllic views on his famous six-foot canvases. With an abundance of walks to keep you occupied, including many within the heart of Constable Country itself, experience the views that persuaded one of England’s greatest artists to return to the county again and again - with many scenes remaining easily recognisable even in the present day.
Suffolk’s towns and villages are also continuously recognised as some of the most beautiful in the UK. If you’re after a quintessentially English picture-postcard break, then Suffolk is certainly a perfect choice. The village of Kersey is a prime example of this, with the Times recently commenting that “Suffolk has dozens of beautiful villages, enriched through medieval wool wealth and dignified through age, but none matches Kersey for sheer eye-catching perfection.” Lavenham is equally as picturesque; once one of the wealthiest places in England due to its thriving wool trade, in the present day the sleepy village is often used as a location for many films and television programmes, a testament to its enduring beauty.
Visit Suffolk recommends Priory Holme for those seeking a quaint countryside break. Sleeping up to 6 people, guests have previously described it as a “fairytale cottage”.
If you’re looking to reacquaint yourself with nature on your next holiday, Suffolk has plenty to offer. Experience breathtaking natural beauty at five different National Trust sites, including RSPB Minsmere, a stunning natural reserve situated on the coast between Dunwich and Sizewell. Packed full of wildlife, immerse yourself in the home of BBC’s Springwatch, and try your hand at some birdwatching whilst you’re at it! For more birdwatching, head to the River Deben in Woodbridge - with several idyllic walks by the water’s edge, there are plenty of feathered friends to spot.
The Orford Ness National Nature Reserve is equally as enchanting; breeding and migrating birds can be spotted in the greenery, with brown hares, barn owls and even Chinese water deer amongst the wildlife residents here. In Orford itself, you may even spot seals fishing in the river mouth, with a short walk along the bank bringing you into contact with these fascinating creatures. If this wasn’t enough, Tunstall Forest provides walkers, cyclists and horse riders alike with a beautiful site of ancient lowland heath. An Outstanding Area of Natural Beauty, nature lovers will enjoy exploring the broadleaved trees, fauna and flora.
For the budding or seasoned wildlife enthusiast, we recommend Boot Cottage in Iken, a rural retreat deep in the heart of the Suffolk countryside. The perfect respite from city life, guests have reported spotting hares, deer, barn owls and even bats!
Suffolk’s cultural excellence is certainly well-documented, with a wealth of activities on offer for the even the most discerning critic. From opera to contemporary music festivals, galleries to performance art, Suffolk has something to suit every age and taste. Over the years, many artists, writers and painters have escaped to Suffolk for some much needed rest, recuperation and inspiration, drawing on their experiences in the county. Amongst the county’s most famous exports are Benjamin Britten, George Orwell - and yes, Ed Sheeran!
Aldeburgh is a fantastic place to begin your cultural expedition; visit The Red House, take a stroll along to nearby Snape Maltings, and visit the many galleries dotted along the High Street. Plan a trip to Orford, a quaint English village synonymous with its magical Lighthouse, and round off the day with a visit to the world-renowned Pump Street Bakery. In the Summer, the award-winning Latitude Festival held close to Southwold is the ideal adventure for all the family, with world-famous music, comedy, theatre, literature and more. If this wasn’t enough, there are also numerous events held in the county throughout the year, including the iconic Aldeburgh Festival.
For the cultural expedition that dreams are made of, we recommend the Writer’s Studio in Snape. Guests are perfectly placed for all the happenings at the Maltings, and the stunning views from the property are certainly inspiring.
As one of the oldest established counties in the UK, Suffolk’s history is integral to its appeal. In the wake of the Anglo-Saxon settlement in Britain in the 6th century, Suffolk and Norfolk were originally divided into subdivisions representing the “South Folk” and the “North Folk”, and remnants of this ancient civilisation are preserved to this day. A day out at Sutton Hoo is a must for anyone wishing to gain an invaluable insight into the lives of our Saxon ancestors; home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time, the Burial ground of the first Saxon king is now under the watchful eye of the National Trust.
Although significant, Sutton Hoo is certainly not the county’s only historical draw. Suffolk’s castles, most notably Framlingham, Orford and Eye, are all equally as fascinating and make for fantastic days out for all the family. Kentwall Hall, Melford Hall and Gainsborough House are amongst the grand buildings of the countryside, and the coast has many museums and monuments, including a number of Martello Towers. For those interested in the supernatural, Suffolk is also notable for the Rendlesham Forest Incident, considered to this day as the most significant UFO sighting in the UK. The county’s diverse history can indeed be classed as eclectic!
If you’re keen to discover the county’s history, we recommend Honeypot Cottage, a charming property in Woodbridge only a short drive from Sutton Hoo.
Let’s face it; food really is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and when better to indulge than on holiday? Any self-declared foodie is in for a treat if they decide to visit Suffolk, with delights from both coast and countryside on offer. With local produce and independent businesses galore, whether you’re self-catering, dining out or a mixture of the two, you truly will be spoilt for choice.
If you decide to visit the coast, one of the many benefits (including the magnificent sea air) is the fantastic fresh fish on offer. We highly recommend both The Butley Orford Oysterage, as well as the Brudenell in Aldeburgh for fine dining. And of course, who can resist a quintessentially English fish and chips by the seaside? Aldeburgh’s first class frying rounded off with an indulgent Ives ice cream for afters is perfect if you fancy a day by the sea front.
If the countryside is more your thing, make sure to visit the county’s many cosy pubs. The Unruly Pig, winner of “Best Suffolk Pub” 2016/2017, features British seasonal produce, made using only the finest of ingredients. If you’re visiting in Summer, why not pack a picnic with some fantastic local produce? Check out our guides on produce in Aldeburgh, Lavenham, Woodbridge, Constable Country and Orford for the best of the bunch.
For wannabe food critics out there, it’s certainly a challenge to suggest one location in particular to stay in Suffolk, but if we had to choose it would be Orford. Castle House is mere strides away from Pump Street Bakery, Pinneys of Orford and Brinkley’s Fish Shed.
What are you waiting for? Plan your 2017 adventure today with Suffolk Cottage Holidays.
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