Saturday, 21 September 2013

Suffolk Holidays – Cultural Events in 2013

If you are taking holidays in Suffolk, you will soon discover that the county is rich in culture, ranging from its many historic sites to music, art and literature. It is worthwhile checking what’s on during your stay, so you can attend one or more of the many special events in the region.

Windmill Lodges is a great place to stay during your UK break, set amid beautiful countryside. With just seven log cabins, all offering four or five star luxury, it is an exclusive resort, quiet and secluded, and you are in easy reach of some of the prettiest places in the county – including Aldeburgh, where composer Benjamin Britten spent most of his life and founded the famous festival, and Flatford, where artist John Constable lived. The site is also close to major historical sites such as Sutton Hoo.

Click here to browse our luxury holiday log cabin accommodation for your country breaks in Suffolk

What’s on in 2013

September (28-29) Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, at Snape Maltings. Around 90 exhibitors from the local area will showcase their food and drink at this festival weekend, which will also include demonstrations by chefs and workshops on everything from sausage making and cake decorating to beer and wine tastings. The weekend is just the beginning, though, as all kinds of foodie events will be organised across the surrounding area running through to October 13. These range from an introduction to breadmaking to a heritage walk in Dunwich and tours of the Crunchy Seeds factory in Leiston.

October (4-6) Aldeburgh FlipSide Brazilian Festival, at Snape Maltings. As Brazil prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, the country's art, music, literature and dance will all be taking centre stage at the FlipSide Festival, organised together with the FLIP literary festival in Brazil. Top Brazilian writers taking part include Adriana Lisboa, Bernardo Carvalho and Milton Hatoum, as well as famous British authors including Ian McEwan, Ali Smith and Will Self. The festival will open with a concert entitled The Boys from Ipanema, which will pay musical tribute to the creators of Bossa Nova, Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim. Another musical highlight will be a performance by Brazilian superstar Adriana Calcanhotto, a leading singer-songwriter. Children's events will add to the carnival atmosphere, and there will also be a chance to enjoy Brazilian street food. You need to buy tickets for the various events.

(19-20) Military Re-enactment at Landguard Fort, Felixstowe. You can take a trip back in time during this weekend staged by the 95th Rifles group, which will include displays of all kinds of military skills from the Napoleonic Wars, including musketry and drill. Visitors will need to pay the fort's normal admission fees.

26-29 – Storm of Stories in Aldeburgh. Theatre company Wonderful Beast is set to lead a four day celebration of the sea over the half-term break, including many free events. Highlights will include shows involving local schools, music, dance, storytelling and a pop-up writing clinic. Among the main shows planned for the festival is Strange Fish, a dramatisation of folk tales from Russia, Scotland and India featuring Bharatanatyam dancer Anusha Subramanyam together with Russian baritone Mikhail Pavlov. There will also be a Concert of Stories featuring top French performance storyteller Abbi Patrix.

November (8-10) Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, in Snape Maltings and Aldeburgh. This annual celebration of poetry is celebrating its 25th birthday this year. It has become a major event which attracts poets and their readers from a wide area, and this year 30 poets will be taking the stage, with 56 different sessions, workshops and performances over the packed weekend. Ian McMillan, Grace Nichols and Craig Raine are among the well known poets taking part.

(21 – 24) Britten Centenary weekend at Aldeburgh Music. Holidays in Suffolk can be enjoyed all year round, and Aldeburgh Music's year-long celebration of composer Benjamin Britten's centenary will finish with a host of special events over the weekend of what would have been his 100th birthday, November 22. The main performances include a Centenary Concert and a performance of Britten's 'A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra', both at Snape Maltings Concert Hall. There will also be a special celebration by the Aldeburgh Music Club, which Britten founded, in Orford Church.

Looking forward to 2014, many more special events are planned, including a feast of classical music at the Aldeburgh Festival, roots music at the Maverick Festival at Easton Farm Park, the Stamping Ground Festival of Americana at Stonham Barns, and much more.

About Windmill Lodges

If you are planning a log cabin break in Suffolk, Windmill Lodges will give you a perfect base in the heart of the countryside, within reach of many beauty spots and top attractions. Each of the luxury log cabins at our site in Saxtead has its own private outdoor hot tub, while the Kingfisher lodge also has an infrared sauna.

Windmill Lodges Holidays  – click here for full details on our choice of Suffolk log cabins

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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

UK Holiday Homes – Birdwatching in Suffolk

Thanks to its diverse landscape, which includes marshes, dunes and heathland, Suffolk has been declared as one of the best counties in England for bird watching – and log cabin holidays in the countryside offer the perfect opportunity to appreciate the area's wonderful wildlife.

If you enjoy a spot of birding, then Windmill Lodges are well-placed for this. Just bring along your binoculars and a picnic and head towards any of the well known sites for bird watching. These include the world famous RSPB Minsmere reserve, the Blyth Estuary near Walberswick, the RSPB's North Warren site close to Aldeburgh, Landguard Point at Felixstowe, the Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Trimley Marshes, RSPB Havergate Island and Shingle Street.

The majority of these sites are open all year round and there is even an annual competition held by Suffolk Birders Information Networked Service (BINS) on how many birds you can sight – with the top figure in January 2008 put at an incredible 130 species.

As Windmill Lodges is open to guests at any time of year, it’s a fantastic base for bird watching. The site is at Saxtead, right in the heart of the Suffolk countryside, and just 13 miles from the most famous site for birders, Minsmere.

After a day's bird-watching, you can unwind in luxurious surroundings in your log cabin, have a swim in the site's heated pool (open summer months only) or relax in your own private hot tub on the veranda. You will also get the chance to enjoy the wildlife here, as there are many birds which can be seen during your short Suffolk break – and each of our superb lodges is even named after a bird, including the kingfisher, wagtail and woodpecker.

Click here to find out more about our top-quality country holiday lodges

Top Sites for Birdwatching

There are many top sites for birdwatching near Windmill Lodges and these offer perfect opportunities to see a host of beautiful wildlife during your holiday in the Suffolk countryside.

RSPB Minsmere: The charity's flagship reserve on the Suffolk Heritage Coast near Leiston has become famed around the world for its rich habitats – including reed beds, grassland and shingle – and its impressive range of birds. The most famous Minsmere success story is the return of the avocet, a black and white wading bird with a long curved beak which was extinct in the UK for a century until a few pairs returned to breed at Minsmere in 1947, the year that the RSPB took over the site. The bird is now the emblem of the RSPB, with around 900 breeding pairs in the UK including a large number at Minsmere.

Other birds you might see here include the rare bittern with its distinctive booming call, the marsh harrier, the nightingale, the sand martin and the bearded tit, as well as a host of wading birds. There are often unusual visitors, too, such as spoonbills. But it's not just birds at Minsmere – there are also other creatures, including a large herd of red deer, whose rutting season in September and October is well worth seeing. Minsmere is open all year round and makes a great day out in itself, but you could also combine your visit with fish and chips on the beach at Dunwich.

RSPB North Warren: Near the resorts of Aldeburgh and Thorpeness, this reserve is open all year round and has a mix of habitats, including reed beds and marshes as well as heathland and woods. The birds you might spot here include the woodlark as well as the bittern and marsh harrier. You could combine a visit here with a trip to historic Aldeburgh.

RSPB Havergate Island: Suffolk's only island, on the River Ore, can only be reached by boat on a pre-booked trip from Orford Quay – bookings can be made by contacting the Minsmere reserve. The trips take place on the first Saturday of each month, although there are some special events on other days. Birds on the island include avocets and terns, and you might also spot a brown hare. The trips last for most of the day and are likely to be a real highlight of your holiday.

Trimley Marshes: This Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve near Felixstowe is a wetland site where you might spot species such as the redshank, little grebe and oystercatcher. It's a two mile walk from the car park to the hides and it can be muddy, so don't forget your wellies! The site is open all year round and you could combine a visit with a trip to Felixstowe.

Landguard Nature Reserve, Felixstowe: Landguard Point is the most southerly point in Suffolk, and the local nature reserve on this shingle spit is a good spot to see migrating birds as well as unusual plants. The wheatear is among the birds which pass through, as well as many warblers and seabirds. The site is open all through the year.

Shingle Street: At the mouth of Orford Ness, Shingle Street is a popular spot to see birds because of its mix of shingle, lagoons and salt marshes. Cormorant can be seen here and it is also a good spot for seeing migrant birds. As it is so near to Orford, you could combine it with a visit to the castle.

Blyth Estuary near Walberswick: There is a hide here which is open all year round and the birds you might see including avocets, bitterns and woodlarks. You could go crabbing after visiting the site or, on a good day, have a picnic amid the sand dunes.

About Windmill Lodges

When you are heading to Suffolk for log cabin holidays, Windmill Lodges offers a wonderful chance to combine luxury with a natural setting. Our cabins offer excellent facilities including your own private hot tub, a fishing lake and an on-site swimming pool for the summer months.

Click here for information about our four star luxury log cabins at Windmill Lodges

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