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.

Related articles:
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