The Handbook
The Handbook

You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.

This idiom is far to accurate about my relationship with the countryside. As soon as I was 18, I was zooming up way out of the hamlet I grew up in and off to ‘the big city’ as everyone would always say (well, to Brighton anyway. It’s definitely a whole lot bigger than anywhere any countryside folk knew.) But, every time I return back to the lovely little county of Suffolk, or sleepy Suffolk as my family has nicknamed it, my love for the rural destination grows stronger and I fall back into the countryside slang and way of life.

How can I describe Suffolk? It’s flat. Seriously, if you’re after a hiking expedition, Suffolk isn’t going to be for you. If, however, you’re in search of sweeping fields, picturesque villages and idyllic thatched houses, Suffolk is your next go-to destination.

Here’s where to stay in you fancy venturing into the ‘outback’ of England:

Tuddenham Mill

For a countryside getaway with a flash of charisma and class Tuddenham Mill needs to be your new go-to stop. 

Set within an old watermill building and 12 acres of Suffolk’s ‘rolling’ countryside (Suffolk is widely known for being flat AF), Tuddenham Mill combines rustic countryside vibes with contemporary twists. Interiors wise, expect light airy, high beamed loft suites and gapping views over the grounds. Those looking for something a little different should opt for the Meadow Nooks, two spots that’ll transport you to the Scandivian way of living, hot tub and all. 

As for food, the restaurant nuzzled inside is known for its field-to-fork dishes, pioneered by Chef Patron Lee Bye and his talented team, who champion the very best of local and seasonal produce.

Where: High Street, Tuddenham, Nr Bury St Edmunds, IP28 6SQ
Website: www.tuddenhammill.co.uk

Where: Uplands Road, Thorpeness, Leiston, Suffolk, IP16 4NQ
Website: www.houseintheclouds.co.uk

House in the Clouds

It’s not everyday you’re reclining high up in the sky… 

Nuzzled in the quaint coastal village of Thorpeness, just a short stroll from Aldeburgh, sits the House in the Clouds. Home to five bedrooms and set amongst its one acre of private grounds, the ‘skyscraper’ is the perfect spot for a family staycation with a twist. 

Having originally been built to provide storage capacity for a basic water supply for Thorpeness village, the house is littered with rickety beams, unusual quirks and cosy corners perfect for whiling away the day headfirst in a book. Outside, you’ll find views that seep over Thorpeness Meare, the Suffolk coast and rolling fields.

Where: Great Bealings, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP13 6NU
Website: www.seckford.co.uk

Seckford Hall Hotel

Hoping to add a little sparkle into Suffolk’s hotel scene is Seckford Hall, the dreamchild of Tammy Madge and Michael Chittenden who always dreamt of adding in a little warmth, love and celebration back into one of Suffolk’s heritage buildings. 

Adorn with climbing ivy, this red bricked delight boasts a bundle of rooms and suites that help combine classical charms with modern quirks, while the spa will see you delighting in calming massages, beauty treatments and steaming saunas. Unleash yourself from the mundanities of the everyday and cosy up for a country weekend here.

The Swan

Think seaside chic and you’ve got yourself The Swan in Southwold. 

Dating back to the 1600s, The Swan is steeped in history and is run and owned by Suffolk’s own famous brewers the Adnams family (not to be mistaken for The Addams Family). Nuzzled in the heart of the thriving seaside town of Southwold, The Swan is home to contemporary roomy suites brimming with natural light. 

A stay at this hotel wouldn’t be complete without a tour at Adnams Brewery & Distillery. A favourite tipple of mine is their Copper House Dry Gin.

Where: Market Place, Southwold, Suffolk, IP18 6EG
Website: www.theswansouthwold.co.uk

Hengrave Hall

For pure bliss and extravagance, Hengrave Hall boasts grandeur rooms fit for royals. Accommodation itself is only available for those who’ve attended a function here so if you’re also on the lookout for an idyllic wedding retreat or the host one hell of a stylish party, this spot is for you. Expect grand furnishings and even banqueting breakfasts on offer.

Where: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP28 6LZ`
Website: www.hengravehall.com

Rectory Manor

I can’t deny it, I’ll always have a soft spot for Lavenham, and you might to if you’re a Potterhead. It’s home to Harry Potter’s birthplace, the house that saw Potter’s parents sadly lose the battle against Voldemort, and if you’re looking to whizz on over to this adorable village, you should definitely be checking into Rectory Manor.

Located just outside the infamous village, Rectory Manor is known for its beamed ceilings, stylish interiors and country vibes with a luxe twist. Yep, it’s here you’ll find the areas only hotel accommodation home to a swimming pool, tennis court and sauna. Clad up in your woollen fleece, wellies and enjoy this countryside retreat. 

Where: Great Waldingfield, Lavenham, Suffolk, CO10 0TL
Website: www.rectorymanorhotel.co.uk

The Angel

One of Bury St Edmunds’ most iconic buildings, namely down to its exterior adorn with climbing ivy, The Angel has made quite the name for itself across the county and beyond. 

It’s slap bang in the middle of the town’s historic square and has rooms overlooking St Edmundsbury Cathedral. After its major refurb, The Angel is now as grand as ever, seriously stylish and you might even find a copper gold bath slotted in your room.

Where: 3 Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1LT
Website: www.theangel.co.uk

The Northgate

Another spot we’re loving in Bury St Edmunds is The Northgate, a Victorian townhouse that’s since been transported into the 21st century thanks to its quirky restaurant, cheeky cocktail bar and home-away-from-home feel. 

The rooms are cosy and cute, with deep colours and bellowing natural light, while downstairs you’ll find head chef Greig Young crafting dishes that have been shaped with your tastes and awareness for the environment in mind. 

Where: Northgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1HP
Website: www.thenorthgate.com

Where: 101 High Street, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 8JL
Website: www.jockeyclubrooms.co.uk 

The Jockey Club Rooms

Fine food, fine service and fine accommodation? Pair it alongside a night at the races and you’ve got a recipe made in heaven. 

Tucked in the horsey land of Newmarket, The Jockey Club Rooms provides the perfect backdrop for a home-away-from-home stay. Although home to 18 country-style bedrooms, The Kings Suite, equipped with Edward VII’s original bath and taps, antique furnishings and an elaborate four poster bed, is one suite that’ll leave you feeling like a royal as you lay your head down for the night.