“A self-catering holiday in Britain can be many things: relaxing, sociable, convenient, reassuringly familiar. But this one felt genuinely inspirational… I rediscovered my love of reading, something that had been sidelined by the demands of work and motherhood.” - Joanne O’Connor, The Telegraph
Suffolk has been in the news again recently, with Me Before You author Jojo Moyes offering up her Suffolk cottage for free to aspiring writers in a competition that aims to help those both “published or unpublished kick start or even finish their work.” Having written 11 novels in the past 25 years after giving up her career as a journalist, and following the highly successful film adaptation of Me Before You, it’s certainly safe to say that Moyes is onto something!
Of course Moyes isn’t the first writer to escape to Suffolk for some much needed peace and quiet whilst penning her novels; our wonderful county has offered a wealth of inspiration for an array of writers, both past and present. George Orwell famously spent much of his youth in the seaside town of Southwold, drawing ideas from his fellow townspeople, as well as renowned crime fiction writer P D James who also had a second home in Southwold and set several of her novels in Suffolk. Aldeburgh has also been of influence, with literary great E M Forster staying and working in the seaside town in the 1950s, hiding away in a quaint cottage near the waves.
Reading and writing often get put on the backburner in a world in which we are constantly busy, filled with obligations and stresses and inundated with technology. With so many distractions, many choose the option of holidaying away from the noise of the crowd and retreat to a place to be at peace with themselves, to engage in a hobby that so often gets put on the sidelines. Whilst we can’t, like Moyes, offer you a cottage free of charge, we have some fantastic recommendations if you’re searching for space to write the next big thing, or are simply in need of somewhere to read in peace.
Hidden behind what looks like your average cottage door is Aldeburgh’s Old Library, a stunning conversion just yards from the beach. It’s not just a library by name, but also by nature; once this quaint seaside town’s local library, in recent years it has transformed into a cosy artist’s studio. Tastefully decorated and superbly finished, you will be tasked with finding a more fitting literary retreat.
Whilst today Gallery Cottage is the part-time home of artist Tessa Henderson, in the 1950s E M Forster retreated to this idyllic location for his own literary getaways. Featuring a spacious, luxurious living room with exquisite views of the sea, an incredibly cosy reading nook and a writer’s desk, this property is ideal for anyone searching for a bohemian escape - reader or writer.
Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the stunning views that this property boasts is sure to provide a wealth of inspiration for any writer. Open fields provide the perfect backdrop for cosy nights on the sofa curled up with a book, with the living room featuring a delightful wood burning stove for colder evenings. If you’re seeking seclusion, space and inspiring sights, Acorn Barn is the literary retreat for you.
The clue is in the name with this property! With gorgeous desks both in the sitting room and garden areas, Writer’s Studio is perfect for any budding author, any season of the year. Recently converted from a stable and cartlodge, the Studio boasts a contemporary kitchen, breakfast bar table and cosy sitting area, complete with Scandinavian style wood burning stove. Stunning views over the private garden and the open fields inspired Aldeburgh’s own Benjamin Britten - now let the wonder of this area inspire you!
Whilst the entirety of Albion House is indeed beautiful - rooms that overlook open fields and farmland, beautifully furnished in keeping with its Edwardian style - what truly sets this property apart is its charming attic room, perfect for writers, artists and book lovers alike. There’s even an old-fashioned type-writer should you wish to recreate a literary experience of a bygone era.
Writers, what are you waiting for? Plan your very own retreat today with Suffolk Cottage Holidays, and be inspired by the wonders of both coast and countryside.