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Suffolk and Essex
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About Suffolk and Essex
Despite the best efforts of reality television to portray Essex as party central for the loud and proud wannabe WAG brigade, the county has a great deal of beautiful rural countryside. We love the Milsom family's hotels which are comfortable, cossetting, fun places to stay and reflect the true Essex in all its glory.
When people around the world imagine England, Suffolk is probably pretty close to what they see. Stuffed with some of the best places to stay, Suffolk's lovely villages are full of warmth and character with huge churches, mellow halls and large greens, bordered by half-timbered houses and thatched cottages.
It is intensely cosy and bucolic with a pleasant climate, lots of good places to stay and is not overcrowded like many of the Home Counties closer to London.
However there is still plenty to do and see from the annual Aldeburgh Festival, to the historic abbey at Bury St Edmunds. Ipswich has a wealth of architecture to admire and Newmarket is a must for horse racing fans.
What Not To Miss
- Head off hiking and go visit the ruins of Hadleigh Castle. Offering wonderful views and providing lots of information on the castle's history, there's also a farm shop with its own café. Pack a picnic and spend the afternoon in this tranquil spot!
- Colchester Zoo is a fabulous family day out. Boasting over 270 species set in 60 acres of parkland and lakes, you can learn all about the animals by watching one of their 50 daily diplays. Kids will love the various play areas dotted around, and you can even join in with feeding the elephants and giraffes!
- Spend the afternoon wandering around the delightful 7.5 acre Beth Chatto Gardens. This wonderfully-tended spot is a tranquil visit, complete with tea rooms to unwind in after walking around taking in the wonderful nature.
- Ickworth House is a divine Georgian Italianate Palace set in an idyllic rural landscape. Learn all about the house's rich history, intertwined with that of the Hervey family, and enjoy the wondrous art collection that it houses (including works by Velàzquez, Titian and Gainsborough!). A must-see for history and architecture buffs!
- Kids will love visiting Oasis Camel Park! The only place in the UK where you can pet, feed and ride on camels, there are also cuddle-a-pet sessions with smaller animals as well as llama walks. A fun-filled family day out.
- If you're into your horses then you'll adore The National Stud Tours, run by Discover Newmarket. This is the only commercial stud farm in the UK where you're allowed a behind the scenes peek at what goes on, and tours (lasting 90 minutes) cover every aspect of the Thoroughbred breeding operation.
- Opened in 1864 to put up passengers who had disembarked from boats from the continent, The Pier at Harwich is an absolute delight for anyone who loves the sea and boats. Right on the harbour, its fresh, modern, nautical design and really great seafood restaurant make it a popular buzzy location with locals and guests alike. Rooms at the front of the hotel have huge windows overlooking the harbour with big squashy armchairs thoughtfully provided so guests can sit and watch the shipping slip by.
- Boasting smart, traditional accommodation with antique furnishings, The Wentworth is a classic seaside hotel. Enjoy the wonderful sea views and spend your days wandering along the coast.
- The Swan Hotel, Southwold is a lovely 4* spot boasting smart and cosy accommodation. Enjoy splendid meals at their award winning restaurant which specialises in French cuisine. A fantastic coastal retreat.
- The bathroom of the Earl of Sandwich Room in Sutherland House, Southwold has a slipper bath in front of an open fire. Many people would visit for that alone. This boutique B & B is family run and serves excellent seafood.
- Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa exudes Georgian charm - featuring lush interiors, first-rate service and chic accommodation. Enjoy splendid meals at their Squires Restaurant and unwind in the extensive spa!
- The Great House is a wonderfully romantic spot, expertly combining French chic with quintessential English charm. Located in the peaceful Lavenham, their 3 AA Rosettes restaurant is a delight! Characterful accommodation with exposed wooden beams and antique furnishings.
- The Angel, Bury St Edmunds is a historic spot, featuring a beautiful creepered façade and elegant accommodation complete with four poster beds. Classically British meals served up at the restaurant and a superb cocktail menu to boot. A superbly romantic getaway in a lovely spot.
- Close to the Maison Talbooth is its sister hotel, Milsoms, just outside the charming village of Dedham. A boutique hotel of fifteen rooms with a lively brasserie and bar, it showcases local art and has old fashioned telephones with dials and corkscrew wires in the rooms. Attention to detail in the bedrooms is good with wonderfully comfortable beds, lovely linen sheets and in the morning papers and coffee delivered to your room, ensuring that you will want to linger even longer in bed.
- The Bildeston Crown is a country inn enjoying a quiet village setting. Boasts cosy, traditional accommodation and a range of wonderful dining options. A wonderful and intimate getaway.
Top Spots for Foodies
- The Crown, Stoke by Nayland is a popular restaurant with rooms featuring boutique accommodation. Enjoy delicious grub made from local produce and accompanied by a tremendous wine list. A charming stay.
- Sutherland House is a family-run restaurant offering four spacious and comfortable rooms full of charm and period detail. You'll adore the divine meals served up at their AA Rosette restaurant and specialising in seafood dishes.
- The Pier at Harwich is a charming waterfront property overlooking the quayside. Boasts unfussy, contemporary accommodation with sea views and fresh seafood at the restaurant. What's more, there's a gin library and Prosecco cocktails served up!
- The Westleton Crown is a classic country gastropub with smart rooms. Named 'Country Dining Pub of the Year' in 2008, their 2 AA Rosette restaurant serves up delicious cuisine which you can either enjoy in front of a log fire, in the sunny Garden Room Restaurant or outdoors if the weather's nice.
- The Maison Talbooth is a sumptuously comfortable hotel with quirky touches in the heart of beautiful Constable country, outside Colchester. Popular for exclusive use bookings and weekend parties, it has a heated outdoor pool complex and hearty log fires (gas, but good). Family and dog friendly, there is a lovely tennis court with good coaching available. A friendly, relaxed, welcoming, fun hotel.
- The Ickworth, set in a picturesque stately home, is a fabulous family retreat. Complimentary creches are available and babysitting services offered, whilst there's a play room as well as a myriad of activities for the kids to enjoy in their 1800 acre estate! A truly wonderful stay.
- Surrounded by wide lawns and woodland, the family-friendly Kesgrave Hall near Woodbridge in Suffolk is confidently decorated with bold fabrics, tempered with warm wooden floors and muted wall colours. A hugely welcoming hotel, the public areas are generous and sociable with great food and a lovely sunny terrace on the right day. Plus, it's just a short distance from the beach!
- Feel a million miles away from all your worries at The Pier At Harwich. This charming waterfront spot offers chic yet unfussy accommodation boasting wonderful sea views. Spend your days on the beach before taking in the sunset on the restaurant's balcony whilst enjoying dinner.
- Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa enjoys a tranquil atmosphere and stylish interiors. Get stuck into a good book in the solarium, treat yourself to a massage, nip into the sauna or enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool.
- Maison Talbooth, boasting chic interiors in a peaceful setting, is a wonderfully relaxing retreat. Spend your days in the spa, relax with a book outside by the pool (on good days!) and enjoy a casual game of tennis on their courts.
- Tudenham Mill is a converted mill enjoying a serene pond-side setting. Offers spacious and contemporary whitewashed accommodation with large rooms and walk in showers. You'll love the food served up at the restaurant and you can also book yourself a private wood fired cedar hot tub for the night!
- The Black Lion Hotel belies its rather characterless exterior to provide exuberantly opulent accommodation featuring plenty of bright hues and antique furnishings. Enjoy superb meals in their elegant dining room and curl up with a good book by the roaring fireplaces. Quintessentially English!
- The Swan At Lavenham is wonderfully historic, dating all the way back to the 1400s! Their gorgeously atmospheric rooms feature exposed wooden beams and stylish, comfortable furnishings (including four poster beds in some of them). Enjoy an afternoon tipple in their quaint garden.
- The hip Salthouse Harbour Hotel oozes modern luxury, with a wonderful setting on the waterfront of Ipswich harbour and chic contemporary interiors. Their trendy and individually decorated rooms are filled with modern art, whilst the restaurant serves up local sustainable produce.
- It's best to visit Suffolk and Essex over the summer months, with the average daily temperature reaching around 16°C. So it's hardly balmy, but on the warmer days you'll love exploring the countryside or heading down to the beach!
- If Essex is your destination then international visitors can fly into Stansted Airport. Alternatively, most towns are served by their own train station which is probably the best way to visit these two counties.
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.