Friday, 26 July 2013

Explore the Beauty of the Suffolk Scenery by Bike

Holidays in Suffolk are all about unwinding completely, and a great way to relax is to explore the county's beautiful countryside by bike. Top events have put the spotlight on cycling in Suffolk recently, as the Pearl Izumi Tour Series brought its final stage to the county this month, while Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish took part in the launch of the Tour of Britain in the county last year.

These events underlined the fact that Suffolk's relatively flat scenery is the perfect setting to enjoy a cycle break. Of course, it isn't all flat by any means, and you can challenge yourself by riding up the odd hill! Advantages of cycling holidays are that you can enjoy them at any time of year, and it's up to you how far to travel – you can make your destination as near or as far as you want it to be.

Windmill Lodges are a great base for cycling holidays in Suffolk, as the site is right in the heart of the countryside. You can bring your own bikes on vacation or hire them nearby, for instance from Byways Bicycles in Darsham, Avocet Sports in Snape or Suffolk Cycle Hire in Rendlesham. After a day out in the open air, you can relax in the knowledge that, at the end of all that exercising, you can enjoy all the luxuries the log cabins have to offer – such as getting rid of any aches and pains in your own private hot tub. Or, if you are renting Kingfisher Lodge, you can relax in the infra red sauna. If you are feeling really energetic, you can even go for a swim in the Windmill Lodges heated indoor pool, which is open from Easter to October.

Windmill Lodges' Saxtead base is in a wonderful location near Woodbridge, Framlingham and the Suffolk Heritage Coast, with many cycle routes you can enjoy either nearby or slightly further afield, taking in all kinds of interesting sights along the way.

Leisure Cycling – If you fancy a day's relaxed cycling on a forest trail, then Rendlesham Forest near Woodbridge is a great place to visit, with two cycle routes laid out, plus a bike park to enjoy. The routes vary in difficulty to cater for everyone from children and beginners to keen cyclists, and it is possible to hire a bike for periods of three hours upwards from Avocet Sports' retail outlet at the Tangham picnic site in the forest. Slightly further afield, another popular place to visit for leisure cycling is Alton Water near Ipswich, which has four miles of waterside tracks for all the family to enjoy, and again has cycle hire available on site.

Of course, during your holidays in Suffolk at Windmill Lodges, you can also cycle nearer to home. Why not take a leisurely ride into the village of Saxtead? You could take a tour of historic Saxtead Mill, run by English Heritage and open on Fridays and Saturdays between March and September, and then enjoy a pub lunch at the Old Mill House on Saxtead Green, which has a full carvery and fresh fish dishes.

Cycle Routes

There are many popular routes for cyclists in the Suffolk Coastal area, and you can either go on a circular ride returning to Saxtead or take your bikes with you by car if you want to go further afield. It's usually also possible to take bikes on the train in Suffolk.

Whether you are looking for an easy ride or something more demanding, a good bet could be to get the information pack about the Suffolk Coastal Cycle Route from a tourist information centre. This is a circular signed route which sticks to quiet roads, covering a wide coastal area between Felixstowe and Dunwich with a loop via Framlingham and Woodbridge. The whole route is 88 miles, ideal to take a couple of days over, but you can pick a section or short cut for a gentle day's cycling.

An intermediate route is from Snape to Framlingham, a 32-mile route which mainly sticks to B roads with little traffic and could include a visit to Snape Maltings and Framlingham Castle. There are also many long-distance cycle routes to choose from in Suffolk, such as the full Suffolk Coastal route or the Heart of Suffolk Cycle Route, a 75-mile route which will take you through Halesworth and the Waveney Valley as well as Framlingham and Debenham.

A cycling holiday brings many benefits, meaning that you relax and get fit at the same time, and don't need to feel guilty about the delicious meals you enjoy en route, as you have earned them!

About Windmill Lodges

In their beautiful rural location, Windmill Lodges are the perfect base for self catering holidays in Suffolk. Our log cabins all offer four star accommodation and the chance to have a luxury break in the heart of the countryside.

Click here to view our luxurious self catering holiday accommodation at Windmill Lodges

Related articles:

Open Air Attractions in Suffolk – Perfect Places to Visit in the Summer Months

Log Cabin Holidays – Taking an Active Break at Windmill Lodge

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Discover the Beautiful and Historic Village of Orford

When you are heading off on your holidays in the UK, Windmill Lodges in rural Suffolk are well-placed to explore the beauty of the surrounding countryside and discover the area's many historic towns and villages.

Windmill Lodges offer the chance to stay in an unspoilt location at Saxtead, on the beautiful Suffolk heritage coast, and relax in a luxury setting. All our cabins have a four star English Tourism Council rating, with a host of features including their own private hot tubs, and one lodge even has an infra-red sauna.

Whether you have hired a car for your holiday, or are bringing your own, just a 40-minute drive from Saxtead is the fascinating village of Orford, where you can spend a beautiful summer’s day exploring the castle and museum. And after you have immersed yourself in its history, you may want to take a walk into the heart of the village to eat at one of the local pubs or restaurants and try out some of the local delicacies.

Orford has been declared one of the prettiest villages in Suffolk, which is one of the many reasons why it is such as wonderful place to visit. In this  article, we will take a look at the many attractions in Orford to visit during your log cabin holiday.

Click here to enjoy a short break away in a luxury log cabin in Suffolk 

Why Visit Orford?

Immersed in history – The village's history dates back to the 12th century, when King Henry II chose it as the site for his castle, and the building was completed in 1173. For centuries Orford was a town with a market, annual fair and even its own MPs. The castle, with its amazingly intact polygonal keep, now belongs to English Heritage and is open daily from March to November. Visitors can explore a network of passages and, once you are up on the castle roof, you enjoy magnificent views of Orford Ness. Admission charges of £6 per adult apply for the castle, but once you are inside you can gain free admission to Orford Museum in the upper hall. It features items and information related to the area, including a 13th-century silver cross and a tiny Anglo-Saxon gold coin, both found locally.

Beautiful Scenery

Orford is a fantastic place to go for country walks as it is within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It's possible to take some great photos of the castle up on its mound. One popular route is the Suffolk Coast Path which runs from Orford to Butley Ferry.  The area's unique scenery also includes the famous Orford Ness, the largest shingle spit in Europe, a wild and remote spot which is now run by the National Trust as a national nature reserve and can be reached by a short boat trip. There is a charge of £8 for access to the Ness, or £4 for a National Trust member.

Fantastic Places to Eat – Orford has some excellent places to eat, including the Crown and Castle country hotel and restaurant, which is co-owned by food writer and broadcaster Ruth Watson, former presenter of TV show 'The Hotel Inspector'. The hotel's Trinity restaurant has two AA rosettes, with menus including local delicacies like roast Suffolk partridge or skate caught in Orford.  Another famous restaurant is the Butley Orford Oysterage, which serves local fish, shellfish and oysters in an informal cafe-style setting. You could also enjoy a pub meal at The Jolly Sailor or The Kings Head, both well-known for their food.

Interesting Shops –  Orford has a weekly country market where you can buy fresh fish landed locally as well as other produce. You can also buy fresh fish from Brinkley's fish shed, run by local fishermen on the quay. The village shops include Richardson's Smokehouse in Baker's Lane, a traditional family business which originally started smoking as a way of preserving locally-caught mackerel, but then branched out to smoke many other products including sausages, cheeses and pâtés. Smoked specialities are also available from Pinney's of Orford on Orford Quay, which also has a fresh fish counter, while other good food shops include the Suffolk Butcher and Pump Street Bakery.

In Front Street, Orford Crafts stocks everything from baskets to pottery and has a display on the first floor about the Suffolk coast, including a detailed look at the underwater site of the lost city of Dunwich. You can also browse an intriguing range of items at Castle Antiques on Market Hill.

Explore the Water – In summertime you can combine a walk along the Suffolk Coast Path with a crossing via the Butley Ferry, staffed by volunteers, which takes walkers and cyclists across Butley Creek. Or why not enjoy some exclusive dining on the river by booking a meal aboard the Lady Florence, a river cruise restaurant which cruises the Alde and Ore, starting out from Orford Quay?

About Windmill Lodges

Whether you are looking for a romantic break with your partner or a family holiday, Windmill Lodges at Saxtead in rural Suffolk is the perfect choice for a country break, allowing you to get away from it all in style. The site includes a heated swimming pool and catch-and-release fishing lake open in the summer.

Luxury UK Holidays – click here to view our luxurious range of accommodation in the heart of the Suffolk Countryside.

Related articles:

A Village Full of Activity – A Spotlight on Snape

Log Cabin Holidays – Immerse Yourself in Suffolk’s History – Your Guide to Some of the Historic Villages to Visit

Spotlighting Suffolk’s Lost City of Dunwich