Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Sample Home-Grown Suffolk Produce in the Region’s Christmas Markets

As Christmas is fast approaching, a stay in Windmill Lodges’ luxury self-catering log cabins in Suffolk wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of the festive markets. Winter is a magical time of year in the UK, made even more enchanting with a cosy cabin break in the midst of the East Anglian countryside. At Windmill Lodges, we believe in giving you all your home comforts and more…so after a brisk walk, or a day’s sightseeing, you can unwind in your own private hot tub, then relax in front of the coal effect fire after cooking up a treat in our fully equipped kitchens.

Meanwhile, if you want to sample some of the county’s specialities, or stock up on handcrafted goods, it’s worthwhile heading to one of the local seasonal markets, where you can get into Christmas spirit. Here are some of our favourite Christmas markets within easy driving distance of Windmill Lodges.

Self Catering Log Cabins Suffolk  – Click here to see the availability of Windmill Lodges log cabins over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Suffolk’s Christmas Markets

Ipswich Christmas Market – Under the glitz of the Christmas lights, right in the heart of Ipswich town centre, is the annual market from November 21-23. Highlights include stalls selling unique gifts such as handmade decorations, toys, crafts, and local food. It promises to be fun for all, as local entertainment and music will bring the spirit of Christmas to adults and children alike. The market is spread out over the Cornhill, Buttermarket, Giles Street and Queen Street areas. Hot food, including roast chestnuts, will also be available for sale. The market takes place Friday to Sunday 10 am to 6 pm.

Bury St Edmunds Christmas Market – Now in its tenth year, the historic town of Bury St Edmunds will once again be brought alive with the annual Christmas Fayre which is expected to be a huge hit with locals and visitors. Children and adults can browse the 300 plus stalls, enjoy a ride on the funfair, or watch the entertainment on one of the two separate stages, from November 27-30.  The dates also tie in with the Christmas Fayre at the Cathedral and the Medieval Fayre at the Moyse’s Hall Museum and there will be street entertainment aplenty. Opening times for the fayre are Thursday 4-8 pm, Friday and Saturday 10-8 pm, and 10-5 pm Sunday.

Felixstowe Christmas Craft Market – Browse the stalls and watch the Christmas light switch-on by Felixstowe’s Mayor on Saturday November 29. Here, you can browse the stalls of traditional crafts in Hamilton Road, listen to carol singing, and take your little ones to see Santa in the Christmas grotto.  The market opens from 10-6 pm, and highlights of the occasion will be a children’s candlelight procession at 4.40 pm, followed by the light switch on at 5 pm.

Woodbridge Christmas Street Fair – Head to Woodbridge town centre on Sunday December 7 to buy some scrumptious Christmas delights. The fair will held on the town’s main street, The Thoroughfare, and it promises to be a bright and colourful event with well over 100 gift stalls selling a range of tempting items from delicious food to beautiful jewellery and handmade Christmas decorations. A brass band will entertain you during the event, from 10 am until 5 pm, and you can stock up on treats to fill up the fridge in your self-catering log cabin.

Snape Maltings Vintage Market – The Vintage Market takes place on Sunday November 30, where you can find some great gifts to spoil friends or family members. It comes hot on the heels of the regular Saturday market, where you can buy fresh food direct from the producers. Browse the 50 plus stalls for antiques and vintage fabrics.

Windmill Lodges Log Cabins  offer year round luxury holiday rental accommodation in picturesque countryside. Click on the link above to find out more.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Experience Rural Life at One of the Country Fayres in Suffolk

If your holiday in Suffolk corresponds with one of the country fayres, you’re in luck as these offer a fun-filled day out for the whole family. Experience the sights and sounds of rural life with fascinating shows – such as motorbike stunt riding or equestrian acrobatics – pet the animals, win prizes or buy some delicious food and drink; locally produced cider, homemade fudge, butchers’ sausages, and honey or preserves are all available for sale.

For a day out to remember, here are some of the most popular country fayres within easy reach of Windmill Lodges luxury log cabins. Even if you have missed a rural event this year, you can make a date for your diary next year and book your stay to correspond with one of the shows below.

These appear in date order and we have included some 2015 shows too.

Rural Life and Horse Show – If you love all things equestrian, it is well worth heading along to Stonham Barns on September 28. It has five horse show rings where you can admire show jumping, see Suffolk heavy horses, and watch birds of prey. This year may also feature the Jive pony female equestrian team.

As well as the individual shows, there’s also traditional crafts, machinery, vehicles, garden products, gifts, and food and drink to sample. Soak up the atmosphere and mingle with the crowds!

Robin Hood Country Show – Visit the Suffolk Showground, Ipswich, on October 11 - 12 and you are in for a treat.

The Robin Hood Country Show is the biggest game and country show in Suffolk, so you can expect a huge crowd. See knights, archers, Vikings and falcons…not to mention four legged friends such as horses and dogs.

The show is enjoyable for all ages and, if you are visiting with children, the kids can have a go at archery or bungee trampolining, try their hand at the laser maze, pet animals and learn all about life in a medieval village. And, if you like shopping, you can browse the 200 or so trade stands.  

Framlingham Country Show – The next Framlingham Country Show will be held in April 2015, although the exact date is still to be set. Again, it is set in picturesque surroundings against the backdrop of Framlingham College, which was built at the end of the 19th century in memory of Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert.

Described as ‘quintessentially British’ the all-day event features locally sourced food and drink, cookery demonstrations, rural crafts, vintage shopping stands, archery, and ring displays – including sheep racing.

It offers the perfect opportunity to see rural life at its best and to buy some delicious local produce to take home.

Hadleigh Show – This show has a 175 year history and is set in beautiful surroundings in Holbecks Park. Last year visitors had the chance to view machinery, including tractors, take a ride on the Land Train, see amazing dancing sheep and watch a falcon display!

It’s not quite on the scale of the Suffolk show (see below) but attracts thousands of visitors and keeps getting bigger and better. Last year’s show had 150 stands, and there were various hands-on areas for children, including educational sections with the chance to mill wheat, make dough and see rural crafts.

Next year’s event is on May 16th and the show is a 45 minute drive from the Windmill Lodges.

Suffolk Show – We’ve saved the best until last! This is the county’s biggest and most celebrated country fayre, and takes place annually at the Suffolk Showground in Ipswich. The much anticipated event – which takes 12 months to plan – attracts around 90,000 visitors a year and will he held on May 27 and 28, 2015.

The importance of the show cannot be underestimated as it injects a massive £20-£30 million into the local economy. It’s visited by royalty with Prince Harry opening last year’s show.

The 800 or so trade stands and arenas cover 120 acres, so there’s plenty to see and do. Here you can give one of the 50 or so sport and dance classes a try, pet an animal at the  agricultural corner,  make sausages, watch sheep shows and equestrian displays, or find out about life during World War I.

Enjoy country life at Windmill Lodges in Saxtead – Click here to view our log cabins for your holiday in Suffolk

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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Give Country Sports a Try on Suffolk’s Heritage Coast

UK Holidays in Suffolk offer the perfect opportunity for adventure: whether it’s to taste different food, explore a place you’ve never been before, or to try a new activity. While some of you may be skilled in country sports such as shooting, horse riding, archery or fishing, those of you that don’t will have fun learning – and it’ll make your stay at Windmill Lodges even more memorable.

Our exclusive development of seven luxury holiday lodges has a stunning rural location in Saxtead, near Woodbridge, on Suffolk’s beautiful heritage coast. Our off the beaten track location means that you are well placed to enjoy some of the traditional English sports. And, after a few hours activity, you can retreat to your lodge and unwind in your own private hot tub. If you are renting Kingfisher Lodge (our deluxe log cabin), you also have an infra-red sauna to relax in!

Meanwhile, here are some of the traditional country sports to try near Woodbridge and Framlingham:

Horse Riding – As we’re based right in the countryside, you’ll find plenty of riding stables a short drive away from Windmill Lodges, offering equestrian activities for all – beginners, intermediate, experienced riders, and riders with disabilities.

Valley Farm Equestrian Leisure in Wickham Market, Woodbridge, has indoor and outdoor arenas. Budding riders can enjoy group or private lessons in a variety of disciplines (including side saddle), hacks, all day pony clubs and carriage rides – so you are sure to find something of interest here.

Popular Park Equestrian Training Centre, near Woodbridge, teaches riders of all ages and specialises in hacking. You can even bring your horse with you on your holiday as it has a livery service!

Rifle Shooting – While this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, you can test out your accuracy at the Felixstowe Rifle Club, which has a 50m outdoor range, a 10m air weapons range and also offers target shooting for the blind.

As you might expect, you need to attend a safety course first, and it’s only open to beginners on Monday nights (2nd and 4th Monday of the month – except Bank Holidays).  On these dates you can drop in anytime between 7.30 - 9.30 pm and you’ll be closely supervised by one of the friendly and experienced team. 

Clay Pigeon Shooting – This country sport was introduced in the late 19th century for the landed gentry to hone their skills in preparation for shooting parties. You can have a go yourself at Coopers Country which offers hour long sessions or a ‘Shoot and Dine’ session (three and a half hours).

Prices of shoots include training, and if you are opting for the ‘Shoot and Dine’ you can round off your session with a delicious three course meal at Coopers Country sporting lodge. Choose from daytime or evening activities.  

Fishing – If being close to the water is more your style, Coopers Country also offers Fish and Feast sessions where you can catch fresh trout while enjoying expert tuition. Again, your session will end with some fine dining – and you can take your caught trout back with you to the lodge to cook up a treat in the evening. Bakers Puddle and Creeting Lakes are other places to fish.

Archery – The history of archery can be traced back to the Upper Palaeolithic times where the bow and arrow was a vital hunting weapon. It’s fun to do, and if you are aged eight and upwards, there are plenty of places where you can give it a go.

Gipping Valley Archers hosts taster sessions on the second Sunday of each month at Claydon High School, Ipswich, or you can book a taster session with Suffolk Activities, Thetford. For a more intensive session, beginners can head to the Blue Arrows Archery Club in Ipswich for a one day course.

Golf – While some clubs require membership, others offer play as you go sessions. Cretingham Golf Club has various green fees, including all day sessions and you get a reduction if you arrive with a member.

Fynn Valley Golf Club in Witnesham also welcomes you to play on their 18 and 9 hole courses; however, check in advance for availability.

Quad Biking – Over 12s can get out and about in the country on quad bikes if they book a session with Suffolk Activities. An instructor will train you first before taking your bike for a spin.  

You can also enjoy quad biking and various driving experiences at the Suffolk Moto Park, where you can experience purpose built tracks or, in the case of 4x4s, rough terrain courses. For 4x4 driving, however, you do need a valid driving licence.

Experience a country break at Windmill Lodges Click here to view the availability of our wooden lodge holiday accommodation.

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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Animal Parks to Visit on Your Log Cabin Holidays

When you are spending weekend breaks in Suffolk, there are many animal attractions in the area which will provide a great family day out, ranging from zoos to farm parks. Close encounters with giraffes, goats or guinea pigs are bound to prove a big hit with the younger members of the family in particular. Both parents and children will come away with memories to cherish when it's time to go home again.

Windmill Lodges is a great place to stay with all the family for short breaks in log cabins because of its relaxed atmosphere and excellent facilities. These include your own private hot tub, as well as a catch-and-release fishing lake and a covered heated swimming pool for use during the summer. The site is in beautiful rural Suffolk, at Saxtead, with many different visitor attractions within easy reach.

Click here to see our luxury holiday cabins on your weekend breaks in Suffolk 

Animal Attractions

Here are details of some of the best animal-themed parks to go to during your lodge holidays in Suffolk. Please do check with the venues on opening times before visiting, as these vary according to the time of year and can often change. 

Easton Farm Park: This popular family attraction is less than seven miles from Windmill Lodges' site, so it is an ideal place to visit during your weekend breaks in Suffolk. Youngsters can enjoy all kinds of hands-on activities here, ranging from hugging a bunny to handling chicks and collecting eggs. There is also lots of themed seasonal fun every year, from Easter through to Hallowe'en. The animals to be seen here include pigs, sheep, cows and Suffolk Punch horses, with many new arrivals through the year.

Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm: There are all kinds of animals to see at this farm park, just half an hour's drive from Windmill Lodges. Among the most unusual breeds are the Kune Kune pigs from New Zealand, as well as Pygmy Goats, Norfolk Horn and Greyface Dartmoor Sheep and many more rare creatures. Attractions include a shop, café and picnic area.

Suffolk Punch Trust, Hollesley: Suffolk Punch horses are the county's most famous animals. These magnificent creatures played a vital role in agriculture through the centuries, pulling ploughs and other vehicles. The trust, which is 20 miles from our site, not only has a collection of Punches to visit, including foals, but also holds demonstrations where you can see the horses in harness. Other animals here include rare pigs, chickens, cows and sheep.

Oasis Camels Park, Halesworth: About half an hour's drive from our site, this unique attraction is the only animal park in the whole country to focus on camels. As well as the camels themselves, visitors can also see llamas, alpacas and many other animals, including donkeys, goats, and smaller pets to handle. It is even possible to ride a camel, given the right weather conditions, although you do need to pay extra for this.

Jimmy's Farm: Around 20 miles from Windmill Lodges, Jimmy's Farm is run by TV farmer Jimmy Doherty. The farm has a nature trail and petting zoo, where young visitors can feed and pet guinea pigs and other creatures, plus a tropical butterfly house. Animals to see include ponies and donkeys.

Banham Zoo: More than 2,000 different creatures can be seen at this zoo, which is around 26 miles from Saxtead, and makes a great day out for families enjoying weekend breaks in Suffolk. The zoo animals range from marmosets and tamarins to snow leopards, giraffes, seals and zebras, plus many more. There is a whole timetable of daily activities, such as birds of prey displays and close-up encounters with lemurs. Another highlight is the amazing animals display, which features meerkats among its stars. All sorts of special events are organised over the year, and there are play facilities for children, as well as the chance to ride a road train.

Africa Alive: About 25 miles from our site, this safari-themed zoo park at Kessingland, which is run together with Banham, puts the emphasis on African animals. Lions, cheetahs, white rhinos and smaller animals such as African crested porcupines are among the host of animals to be seen. The collection of birds includes Egyptian vultures, cranes and flamingoes. There are many different displays and activities, including an indoor adventure play area for under-12s.

About Windmill Lodges

When you are looking for somewhere to spend weekend breaks, Suffolk-based Windmill Lodges is a great choice. We have seven luxury log cabins, each offering four or five-star accommodation, and catering for families as well as couples seeking romantic short breaks. Get in touch now for more information.

Click to browse details of our holiday lodges with hot tub in Suffolk

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Friday, 10 January 2014

A Village Full of Activity - A Spotlight on Snape

If you are heading to Windmill Lodges for your weekend breaks in Suffolk, and enjoy shopping and culture, the village of Snape has a fabulous retail complex that is open all year round. Full of history, Snape Maltings is a great destination for those who are looking for the best the county has to offer – and you can combine your visit with a night at the Concert Hall, established by two of Suffolk’s most famous former residents.

Windmill Lodges is a perfect destination for those who want to combine a country break with luxurious self-catering accommodation. All of our lodges are rated four or five stars by the English Tourism Council, and all have high spec facilities, including your own private hot tub –  while one of our lodges even has an infra-red sauna! 

If you love browsing independent shops and discovering hidden gems, Snape Maltings is just a thirty-minute drive from Windmill Lodges and offers a great day out, whatever the weather. If you are visiting over the Christmas period, one top tip is to pop into the Food Hall, where you can stock up on some fabulous festive treats.

Why Visit Snape?

Snape has a fascinating history, which dates right back to Roman times when it was an important site for salt production. In the Anglo-Saxon period, it was a burial site, and a number of artefacts discovered here can be viewed at the Aldeburgh Moot Hall Museum. And, in the 18th and 19th centuries it became a prime tourist destination, where an annual race meeting was held at the Snape Race Course on the banks of the River Alde.

Today, its most popular tourist draw is the Maltings, and the concert hall here is the venue for the annual Aldeburgh Festival. It serves as a permanent reminder of Snape’s most famous former resident, Benjamin Britten, who established Snape Maltings’ Concert Hall with his partner, tenor Peter Pears, in 1967.

Fascinating Independent Shops

If you love retail therapy, Snape Maltings is a shoppers’ paradise. The stunning collection of shops include a house and garden shop, clothing boutiques, bookshop, toy store, craft shop, antique shop, art galleries and a food hall. You can easily set aside a whole afternoon for to browse and buy, and, if you are Christmas shopping, this is the ideal destination to find interesting decorations and gifts for friends and family.

Delicious Local Food

When you are all shopped out, Snape Maltings has some fabulous eateries where you can relax and unwind. For tea and snacks, head for the tea room, or if you want something more substantial, Cafe 1885 serves delicious lunches. For a more relaxed atmosphere, the Plough and Sail pub is a popular venue and serves traditional pub lunches and local ales.

For those of you who want to buy local fare and cook up a treat at Windmill Lodges, the food hall is a fantastic place to head for, and you can find some amazing festive buys from cakes to chocolates, chutneys, pates, sauces, spices and local wines. There’s also a monthly Farmers’ Market on the first Saturday of the month, where you can buy direct from local producers. You will be spoiled for choice here as you will find an array of tempting locally grown and home made products such as cheese, honey, chocolate, herbs, spices, pâté, fudge and wild meat.

Excellent Scenery

If the weather isn’t too nippy, and you want to burn off those calories, you can enjoy a picturesque stroll along the Alde Estuary. Short and long walking routes, varying from 2-12 miles, can be downloaded from the Snape Maltings website. These walks are suitable all year round and, if the weather is cold and fresh, you can warm up with tea and cake afterwards.

Stunning Boat Trips

Boat trips run during the summer season, from late spring to early autumn, giving you the chance to explore the beauty of Suffolk from the water. Each trip takes 45 minutes and heads in the direction of the village of Iken and back. Sailing times do vary, so it’s important to check ahead so you can be certain of when to board.

A Year Round Music Programme

The Snape Malting Concert Hall has a full programme of events throughout the year. From family concerts to classical music, singing, poetry and theatre, you will always find something of interest. Shows and events are extremely varied, so it is best to visit their website to see what is on during your stay at Windmill Lodges.

Windmill Lodges – click here to view our luxurious log cabins with hot tubs in Suffolk

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Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Fishing Expeditions on Your Holidays in Suffolk

If you are arranging lodge holidays in East Anglia, you will find that there are many activities in the area for all the family to enjoy. With its beautiful coast, Suffolk is a top location for those who want to go sea angling, and there are many places where you can go fishing in lakes and rivers during your stay here. Everyone, from beginners to expert anglers, is bound to find something to get them hooked.

The seven luxury log cabins at Windmill Lodges are arranged around a private catch-and-release fishing lake. This attraction is only open to guests staying at our site in rural Saxtead. We also offer fishing equipment to hire, if you so choose, at an additional cost.

Here we will discuss just some of the great places to go fishing during your UK based holiday.

Great Places to Go Fishing

Aldeburgh –This famous resort is only 13 miles from Windmill Lodges. The sloping shingle beach here is a popular location for sea fishing during family holidays in this area of the UK, with parking available by the beach at the Slaughden end. Many people head for the town beach area because of the easy access, but experts tend to go for the deeper water in areas such as the fishing spot by the Martello Tower. Codling, whiting, sole and dogfish are among the types of fish caught in Aldeburgh. Beach fishing matches are sometimes held here.

Southwold – This is another attractive resort within easy reach of our site, with the distance between the two being about 18 miles. Southwold Pier is a popular visitor attraction in its own right, but also has its own angling club, with members fishing from the end of the pier every day. You can buy a day fishing permit as a non-member, and fish between 9 am and 4 pm. Southwold Harbour is also another popular spot, although there are strong tides here. Types of fish include codling, mullet, bass and sole.

Walberswick – You can park near to the beach at Walberswick, 18 miles from our site, and the whole stretch between the resort and nearby Dunwich is a popular location for sea fishing. This is a particularly popular area to catch bass during the summer. Walberswick is also famous for its crabbing, which is a popular summer pastime for families enjoying lodge holidays in this part of East Anglia. Local shops sell bait and youngsters can spend hours catching and admiring the crabs, as long as they put them back afterwards. An annual crabbing championship used to be held here, but has now been stopped, due to the sheer numbers attending.

Orford Ness – The Ness is a shingle spit best known as a wildlife haven owned by the National Trust, but it is also a popular spot for sea angling. The best way to get to the Ness is by boat, taking a ferry from Orford Quay, which is around 15 miles from Saxtead.

Suffolk Water Park – As well as sea angling, there are also plenty of opportunities for freshwater fishing during lodge holidays in East Anglia. Rod licences are needed for all fishing of this type. Suffolk Waterpark in Bramford, about 18 miles from Saxtead, is a popular venue with nine different lakes, including two specially geared to training. It is privately owned and day tickets are available. The fish in these include small roach and tench, while the larger lakes contain carp and pike. The waterpark offers professional training for novice anglers of all ages.

Manor Farm Fishery – Among the many options for coarse fishing in Suffolk during your holidays is this mixed fishery at Swilland, near Ipswich, 11 miles from Windmill Lodges. The two lakes are stocked with fish including carp, bream and roach.

About Windmill Lodges
Couples seeking romantic lodge holidays in East Anglia and families looking for fun and relaxation will all find that Windmill Lodges is the answer. With each log cabin having luxurious fittings including a private hot tub, the site is a top choice for holidays in Suffolk. Contact us to find out more about our four and five-star accommodation.

Click to see our log cabin lodges to enjoy relaxing hot tub holidays in Suffolk

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