Friday, 16 September 2016

Six Reasons Why Short Breaks Are Good for You

Westleton Suffolk
Are you keen to get away from it all and relax, but still months away from your next long holiday? If so, taking a shorter break for three or four nights is the perfect way to recharge your batteries without having to take a lot of time off work. Short breaks in log cabins at Windmill Lodges are ideal for couples wanting a romantic long weekend together, or for families looking to enjoy a mini-holiday.

Just a short getaway can allow you to spend quality time with loved ones, with no need to fly abroad or travel long distances. Here are six reasons why mini-holidays are good for you:

1.      Visiting New Places – You don’t have to travel to the ends of the earth to discover an exciting new area. If you usually go on long-haul holidays, you may be amazed at how much there is nearer to home which you had never seen before. If you are staying in Suffolk, you can explore the bird reserve at Minsmere and the unspoilt landscapes of Westleton, pictured above, as well as historic towns like Framlingham and Woodbridge and coastal resorts such as Aldeburgh and Southwold. Your break will give you a different outlook, with memories to share with others when you return to work. You might enjoy it so much that you decide to take longer holidays in Suffolk next time around.

2.      Recharging Your Batteries – Working solidly for long periods without a break can make you feel over-tired and run down. This could mean it’s hard to concentrate, gradually affecting your productivity and focus while at work, as well as making it difficult to unwind and enjoy your evenings and weekends.

Taking some time out for just a few days means a chance to escape from the daily routine, especially if you travel to a countryside location far from the rat-race. Pampering yourself, for instance by enjoying a dip in your private hot tub at one of our luxury lodges in East Anglia, will make you more relaxed. Surveys have found evidence that productivity tends to improve after holidays, and people can also concentrate better on their work when they return after time away.

3.      Mental and Physical Health Benefits – One research study carried out by academics at the University of Pittsburgh found that taking a holiday or short break has a positive effect on people’s mental health, helping to reduce the risk of depression or stress. The study also found that physical health can be boosted by time off, with blood pressure being lowered. Yet another health benefit reported by survey respondents was losing weight – perhaps because holidaymakers often go for long walks after enjoying a delicious meal!  
4.      Spending Quality Time with Loved Ones – Daily life can often be such a rush that it is hard to make enough time to talk to your partner and children about what is going on in their lives. Sometimes, even when you are all in the same house, clashing schedules mean that eating a meal together can be difficult. Too often families can all end up grabbing a snack at different times. Taking a short holiday gives the chance to spend more time together in a relaxed setting, without the constant pressure of timetables and deadlines.

5.      Getting Exercise – As well as being a time to relax, holidays are also a time when many people enjoy taking some exercise. Enjoying the open air while walking or cycling are clearly beneficial to health, and the relatively flat landscapes of Suffolk are ideal for both.  Many guides for walkers and cyclists are available to download from local council websites, and a number of cycle hire firms are based locally if you fancy travelling on two wheels. There are also swimming pools in Woodbridge and Leiston, conveniently located for visitors to our site, and of course our swimming pool is open in the spring and summer months.

6.      Trying New Activities – Short-break holidays give the chance to be adventurous and to try out all sorts of different things you have never done before. This may help to sow the seeds of a new hobby which you can pursue after you return home, and will also give you greater confidence about new experiences in future.

Unusual activities available in our area include taking a boat trip on the River Deben near Woodbridge, off-road karting at Beacon Rally Karts in Woodbridge or hiring canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards from Iken Canoe. An hour’s drive away, Go Ape in Thetford is a popular high ropes course.
The perfect way to benefit from all of these advantages of short breaks is to book a stay in our log cabins near Framlingham. We offer 3 and 4-night stays at our lodges, from Friday to Monday or Monday to Friday, as well as longer holidays. Our accommodation will give you the best of all worlds, since it is in an unspoilt area but is luxuriously equipped, so you can get away from it all and pamper yourself at the same time.

Short Breaks in Log Cabins – Click to see our range of holiday lodges in Suffolk.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Going on the Antiques Trail in Suffolk

antiques shops, holidays in Suffolk

East Anglia is famous for its antiques shops and markets, as featured in the much-loved classic TV series Lovejoy. Windmill Lodges’ luxury holiday cabin site in Suffolk is ideally located for you to explore some of these attractions, and maybe find a piece of history to take home as a special souvenir of your stay with us.

Searching for collectables can be very relaxing and enjoyable, as you browse through items at a shop or stall. This is the total opposite of chain store culture and mass production, since every shop and its contents are unique. It is fun to pursue your own interests by looking for specific items, from Art Deco and jewellery to stamps, postcards and rural bygones, discovering the thrill of the chase.

Here is a look at just a few of the top spots for antiques which you can look forward to visiting while staying at our site in Saxtead. There are also many others to discover during your lodge holidays in East Anglia. Opening hours vary and can also be changed at short notice, and some shops are mainly open by appointment, so it is always a good idea to check by phone before making a special journey.

Just a few miles away from Windmill Lodges in Saxtead, Framlingham is one of Suffolk’s best-known historic towns. Dominated by its famous castle, it also boasts many other well-preserved old buildings. The town’s love of history is reflected in the variety of antiques and collectors’ shops which are based there.
In Fore Street, Carley’s Yard is a building dating from the 18th century, which was once a pub and then a well-known grocer’s, most recently called Carley & Webb. It now has a number of traders based in six rooms spread over two floors. As well as a wide range of vintage and retro items to explore, the centre also sells upcycled items. It includes an art gallery and holds regular decorative paint workshops. There are also a number of other antiques shops in and around the town.

Another beautifully-preserved historic town within a short distance of our site is Woodbridge, on the River Deben. The town is known for its fine range of independent shops. Located on Quay Street, Woodbridge Antiques Centre specialises in smaller items, such as jewellery and vintage toys, making it a great place to look for holiday souvenirs. It has over 20 showcases, with items from a number of different antique dealers on display.

Another popular venue is Vintage Forty Nine, in The Thoroughfare, which has antiques and collectables from 20-plus dealers. In a nearby village is Marlesford Mill, a 3-storey former grain mill with over 30 independent retailers selling a mix of old and new furniture and collectables. 

Yoxford and Debenham
These are two large villages in the area which are both known as antiques destinations. Stock from around 70 dealers is showcased at Yoxford Antiques Centre, which has a large showroom set among five acres of gardens. An unusual attraction here is a number of colourful beach huts, where various arts and crafts are on sale. You can also admire the centre’s Alpacas and chickens, or enjoy a snack at its Flying Goose Café. 
Shops in Debenham include Deco Debenham, based in the Foresters Hall, stocking a wide range of Art Deco furniture. Swan House and Garden in the High Street sells a wide range of antique furniture, decorations and textiles.

Long Melford
This famous village is about an hour’s drive from Saxtead, but is well worth the trip for a day out if you love antiques. It is known as East Anglia’s “antiques capital” and was featured in the TV Lovejoy series. The village has an amazing range of antique shops, including Melford Antiques and Interiors Warehouse, in the centre. This is a 4-storey building with over 150 dealers exhibiting items.

There are also plenty of historic items and gifts to be found in surrounding towns and villages, including Lavenham, which is the starting point for an “Antiques Trail” tour created by the Lavenham Forum. This is a drive taking in a range of shops and warehouses in Clare and Halstead as well as Long Melford.

Vintage Markets and Auctions
Various centres in Suffolk regularly hold antiques fairs.  Snape Maltings is one popular venue close to Windmill Lodges, with clothing and furnishings among the items sold at its vintage markets. The Maltings complex also has an antiques and collectors’ store, as well as other shops, restaurants and galleries to explore.

Auctions are another popular way to snap up an antiques bargain. Clarke & Simpson holds antiques and fine art auctions 5 times a year in Wickham Market, near Framlingham, as well as rural bygones and Art Deco sales.

If you are a lover of history, staying in a luxury holiday cabin in Suffolk is the perfect way to enjoy a relaxing break. Our quality log cabins are close to Saxtead Mill, a popular heritage attraction, allowing you to get away from it all and relax amid the unspoilt countryside.

Luxury Holiday Cabin Suffolk – Click to find out about availability of our lodges. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Celebrating Delicious Suffolk Food

Suffolk is known for its fresh produce and farms, attracting thousands of visitors each year to sample the local delights. The county’s produce is favoured by some of the UK’s best chefs such as Jamie Oliver, and also Tom Kerridge, who uses only Suffolk chicken and pork in his Michelin starred pub. Here Windmill Lodges puts the spotlight on some of the best places to stock up on food and drink while you enjoy a short break in Suffolk with us.

Pint of Suffolk beer

Adnams, an award winning brewer, works with local farmers and producers in Suffolk to supply their breweries, hotels and pubs to make great products without harming the earth. Their famous distillery is based in Southwold, and here you can enjoy a tour around the facilities before sampling some of their wines, beers and spirits. Adnams is sold throughout Suffolk by a number of shops and pubs, and is one of the most popular brands with the locals.

Suffolk sausages

Jimmy’s Farm is found in the heart of Suffolk, where you can buy a variety of fresh meat, including their speciality sausages. Voted Britain’s Top 10 Sausage by The Independent, the sausages feature a wide range of flavours, from Marmite to more traditional flavours such as pork and leek.

Free-range chickens

Sutton Hoo’s free range chickens are famous in the area for their dense, succulent meat and delicious juicy flavours. All of the chickens on the farm are allowed to roam freely on 40 acres of pasture, found next to the ancient Anglo-Saxon National Trust site at Sutton Hoo. All of the birds enjoy a natural, additive free life and have gained a national reputation for the high quality and welfare of the birds.

Crusty Suffolk bread

Winner of the BBCs Best Food Producer 2012, Pump Street Bakery in Orford is branded as one of the best places in Suffolk to buy bread, pastries and cakes. Each loaf of bread is handmade using the finest ingredients with no preservatives, additives or softeners. Pump Street Bakery also sell bean to bar chocolate, handmade from scratch to create delicious and unique bars of chocolate.

The Suffolk Pate Company supply many of the local delicatessens with pates in a multitude of flavours, from chicken liver with port and brandy, to blue cheese with lemon and parsley. These can be served traditionally on toasted bread for a light lunch or snack, or can be incorporated into recipes such as Bolognese for a rich flavour. 

Suffolk cider

Aspall, based in the village of Aspall near Debenham, is a well-known manufacturer of cyder in Suffolk. They have always spelt their cider with a y to show that it is of high quality. This is also to indicate that the cyders have been fermented twice, giving them a stronger, nicer taste.
Smoked Eel
For the more adventurous, why not try some smoked eels while you stay with us on a short break in Suffolk. Pinney’s of Orford sell both slices and chunks of smoked eel which are hot smoked over oak to bring out the succulent, delicate flavours. These are rich in oil, and are a popular delicacy in Europe. Serve at room temperature with lemon and toast for a refreshing and healthy meal.

Pesto is a great thing to stock up on while staying with us, ready for a quick meal or sandwich before rushing out for a busy day in the countryside. Purely Pesto sell a variety of pesto dips and sauces and are based in Leiston, Suffolk. All of their products are handmade and made in small batches to give them a unique taste and texture. They also sell soup, hummus, guacamole, and taramasalata.

Fresh strawberries

Goslings Farm in Felixstowe, home of the famous “Suffolk strawberries”, sells a wide variety of fresh produce. They specialise in pick your own strawberries, so you can enjoy a day out picking some of the ripest and freshest strawberries you can find. You can also pick your own raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, blackberries, broad beans, runner beans, French beans and courgettes throughout the year.

Short breaks in Suffolk - Click here to view the available dates for our luxury log cabins.  

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Local Suffolk Markets

fruit display
Enjoy a local shopping experience in Suffolk and visit some of the country markets where you can buy fresh produce and handmade gifts. These take place on a regular basis and are ideal for meeting the locals and farmers, and to find out more about what is produced in the area. Our luxury lodges in East Anglia are just a few miles away from some of the very best farmers markets, where you can pick up some delicious delights to take back to our self-catering lodges.

Crafts and Produce Market at Yoxford Village Hall
Yoxford, a small village in the east of Suffolk, is just a 20 minute drive from our luxury log cabins, and here they hold both a farmers’ market and a Brocantes on the second Saturday of every month. A Brocantes is the French word for a flea market. At these markets they sell a large variety of fascinating wares, including vintage clothing, homewares, bric-a-brac, cards and stationary, and jewellery. They also sell a selection of fresh produce and plants such as sausages, pork joints, vegetables, marmalade, artisan breads, and cakes.

In addition to the markets, this pretty village is known for its antique shops where you can pick up some interesting gifts. Spend the day in Yoxford, and after trawling the shops and market you can enjoy a lunch at one of the village’s two local pubs, The Griffin and The Kings Head. Yoxford is also surrounded by beautiful parklands, so you can enjoy a stroll after lunch. 

Fruit and vegetables

Hoxne Artisan Market at St Edmunds Village Hall
This historic village market has over 20 stalls of handmade crafts and fresh home-grown food, and is held on the second Saturday of every month, from 10am till 2pm. There is also usually a local demonstration of craftsmen at work at the event, where they show you how some of their items are skilfully created. The village café is open during the market, selling warm soups, cakes, bacon butties, and tea and coffee.
Hoxne is full of ancient history, and King Edmund was martyred by the Danes just yards away from the market’s venue. Discover the past of Hoxne on a day out, and enjoy the strong sense of community found here. Hoxne is just a 20 minute drive from Windmill Lodges.

Felixstowe Giant Sunday Market
Held every Sunday, this market brings you all of Felixstowe’s best bargains. Found just 45 minutes away from our scenic log cabins, Felixstowe is an Edwardian seaside town full of charm. At this market you will find food, garden furniture, flowers, books, plants and clothing, among many other items.
For a fun family day out, after visiting the market why not take your children on one of the rides at the beach front amusement park, or try your hand at adventure golf? Alternatively, you can enjoy a walk along the beach, or on hot days you can go for a paddle or swim in the water.

Framlingham Market
Framlingham has hosted a weekly market since the town was granted a license by Hugh Bigod, the third Earl of Norfolk in the 13th century. This twice weekly market is hugely popular with local residents and tourists, with its friendly atmosphere and beautiful location. This market takes place on Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 8am to 5pm, however the stall holders tend to finish earlier on a Tuesday, so make sure you get in quick.
While browsing the market you can buy plants, flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables, fudge, fish and meat. You can also buy jewellery, wine and clothing from shops such as Jamboree Bag and Crafty Mrs Fox. 

Beautiful beaches in Suffolk

Vintage Soul Market at Southwold
For something a bit different, why not visit the vintage soul market at Southwold, where you can buy a unique selection of clothes from the forties, fifties and sixties? You can also find retro handbags, shoes, tea sets and jewellery here, with many handmade items. This friendly market has a lovely atmosphere, and is ideal for a family day out from our luxury log cabins.
The whole family will enjoy a day out in Southwold, and you can visit the boating lake and nature island, or hire a pedal boat on the lake.

Luxury Lodges East Anglia  – Click here to see our available lodges. 

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Discovering the Magic of Sutton Hoo

Found near Woodbridge, Sutton Hoo is the site of two ancient cemeteries where archaeologists unearthed significant finds dating back to the Anglo Saxon era. Sutton Hoo can be visited for a fun and informative day out with the family, with three main sections to visit on your day out: the Royal
Burial Mounds, an indoor exhibition and the 20th century built Tranmer House.

Sutton Hoo is just a 30 minute drive from our luxury log cabins. Here you can enjoy a day of exciting activities while learning about the ancient history of England. You can round off your visit with a stroll through the countryside following one of the National Trust’s designated walking routes.

The Royal Burial Mounds
This consists of eighteen burial mounds, many of which have been eroded over the centuries. These early burials can be traced back to the seventh century AD, although unfortunately there are no written records of the people who were buried, so there is no way of knowing exactly who they were. Many of the mounds were robbed in the Tudor period; however, two of the mounds remain untouched and loom over the grounds spectacularly.

Mound One, one of the untouched mounds, is the richest burial ever found in northern Europe, and was the grave of a king and his 90ft ship. King Raedwald was said to be buried here, the great King of East Anglia who was heavily criticised for establishing an altar for Christ and an altar for the old gods next to each other. The actual 90ft boat no longer exists and has long since disintegrated into the acidic soil, and now there is only an imprint of where the majestic vessel once lay.
Found under Mound Seventeen was the double burial of a warrior and his horse, surrounded by weapons and everyday items such as combs.

The Exhibition Hall at Sutton Hoo is the perfect place to learn more about the burials and the history behind them. Here you will begin by watching a short film about the era, followed by a tour around the exhibition where you can learn more from information boards.

There is even a reconstruction of the burial chamber which allows you to see how the ritual would have taken place as the king was laid to rest. This also shows how the treasures would have been carefully placed around the king in the ship. Also found in the exhibition are some of the artefacts from Mound Seventeen, where the warrior and his horse were buried, including gold harness pieces and weaponry.

Sutton Hoo hold ‘Out of the Case’ sessions once a month where you can get a closer look at some of their replica treasures, made using the very same skills and tools as the Anglo-Saxon craftsmen.

Tranmer House
Originally named Sutton Hoo House, this beautiful Edwardian home was built in 1910. Soon after it was brought by Edith Pretty, who owned the house when the treasures were unearthed. This warm and aged house looks over the River Deben and the town of Woodbridge, and is the ideal place to discover the story behind the archaeological digs in the 1930s.

With wood panelled interiors, grand marble fireplaces and views across the vast fields outside, you can sit back and enjoy Tranmer House on your visit while history is brought to life around you. Play music on a gramophone, or sit in a chaise lounge reading 1930s magazines to immerse yourself in the past of Tranmer House.

Tranmer House was built with no garden as it was believed that rabbits would destroy it, and part of the house was demolished later on to save heating costs.

Luxury Log Cabins – Click here to view our available log cabins for a short family break away. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Discover Magical Afternoon Teas in Suffolk

Suffolk is home to a variety of high end locations where you can enjoy a range of afternoon teas, from traditional to modern. Our romantic log cabins are the perfect place to spend a short break away, and there are many scenic routes and places around our wood lodges which can be explored on foot or by car. To book your relaxing short break in East Anglia, visit Windmill Lodges
Afternoon tea originated from the wealthy classes in England in the 1840s where it was said to be first introduced by Anna Maria Russel, Duchess of Bedford. By the end of the 19th century, afternoon tea spread in popularity and was enjoyed by both upper and middle classes. Afternoon tea traditionally involves loose tea leaves which are brewed in a teapot and served with milk and sugar. The drink is often served accompanied by a tiered stand with delicate savouries, such as small sandwiches and scones as well as cakes and chocolates.

Orwell River Cruises
Treat yourself to afternoon tea aboard the Orwell Lady, a river cruise vessel which regularly travels down the river Orwell to show you the delights of the Suffolk coastline. This afternoon tea includes a lovely selection of mini sandwiches, homemade fruit scones and a variety of cakes, with delights such as chocolate eclairs and Victoria sponge.

The afternoon tea cruises run from Pin Mill, near Shotley, and last two and a half hours. It’s a real luxury, as you and you partner can admire the spectacular coastline of Suffolk while you dine. 

Salt House Harbour Hotel
For those who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground, the Salt House Harbour Hotel allows you to sit by the docks while enjoying a luxurious afternoon tea. With a quiet and calming atmosphere, here you can sit back and enjoy a romantic afternoon tea with your loved one. Here they offer three packages: cream tea, afternoon tea and luxury afternoon tea to suit your needs.

For just £17.50 you can enjoy a variety of scones and cakes, including Eton mess, macaroons and millionaire chocolate terrine alongside a cup of tea or coffee, or even a glass of champagne for special occasions.

Tally Ho Tearooms
Known for their delicious traditional Victorian afternoon teas, the Tally Ho Tearooms in Mettingham will give you an authentic experience with staff dressed in Victorian outfits and food and drinks served in bone china. This realistic experience will supply you with more than you can eat, and many leave the tearoom with a doggy bag full of treats which can be enjoyed back at our romantic log cabins.

For something a bit different why not choose their Sovereign Afternoon Tea which puts a spin on the traditional tea, with chocolate mousses, cordial and petit fours served in a lace and pearls setting. You could raise a cup to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s landmark year!

Bedford Lodge Hotel and Spa
Treat your partner with a gentlemen’s afternoon tea at the Bedford Lodge Hotel and Spa in Newmarket, where you can enjoy your tea in their Squires restaurant, Roxana bar or on the terrace overlooking their beautiful lawns and rose gardens. The Bedford Lodge Hotel offers a variety of afternoon teas, which can be eaten as a light snack between meals or as a full meal on its own.

The Gentlemen’s afternoon tea is made to be much more sustainable, and includes club sandwiches, sausage rolls, pasties and tarts. For £4 extra you can also enjoy a pint of beer alongside your sweet and savoury treats.

White Lion Hotel
Enjoy a picturesque afternoon tea on Aldeburgh beach front, and eat a range of sweet treats including macarons, meringue kisses, scones and hidden surprises in bottles and jars. The White Lion Hotel also has a Magical Afternoon Tea menu, which features a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed menu full of chocolate and sweets.

To view our available log cabins and to book a romantic short break, visit Windmill Lodges. 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Hot Air Balloon Trips to Make Your Holiday Special

Tour Suffolk in a wonderful hot air balloon this year with several safe and friendly local companies to guide you through the air above stunning landscapes and buildings. Children over the ages of eight are welcome to enjoy the flight with you, but must be at least 4’ 6” to be able to see out over the edge of the basket.

Hot air balloons are an exciting way to travel on calm weather days, and many are within a close distance to our lodges. East Anglia is home to a vast number of historical buildings and land, all of which can be seen from the sky on your day out. The route in which you travel will depend entirely on the direction of the wind that day, but views from the sky are guaranteed to be stunning no matter where you go.

Windmill Lodges is based in rural Saxtead, near to the beautiful and historic town of Framlingham. Our attractive wooden lodges are ideal for a quiet holiday away with the family, where you can enjoy views of the surrounding countryside and the sounds of nature.

Wizard Balloons

Wizard Balloons launch from a number of locations, with the closest site to our luxury lodges being at Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds. This large park is over 200 acres and was designed over a century ago in a Victorian style. Bury St Edmunds is a stunning medieval market town which looks breathtakingly beautiful from the sky.

Hot air balloon rides from Bury St Edmunds can take you over small villages, such as Lavenham and Long Melford, with views of exquisite country houses and cathedrals. Newmarket is often travelled over on days with easterly winds, and its famous racing yard can be seen from miles around. On clear days London landmarks can also be seen on the horizon, especially on early morning trips.

Flights with Wizard Balloons either run in the early morning or late evening due to the calm nature of the weather around these times. If the weather is unsuitable your flight may be cancelled, however you will be warned of this in advance and allowed to rebook for another time.

Broadland Balloons

Operating for over 20 years, Broadland Balloons have allowed over 20,000 people to enjoy the joy of hot air balloons. All of their balloons have a much larger capacity than normal, and their two brand new balloons even have seating for when the balloon is in landing for added comfort.

The balloons take off from Brome, near Eye, and flights last around an hour each. While flying above the Suffolk countryside you may, if the weather permits, see Framlingham Castle in the distance, and if you look carefully you should also be able to see our luxury lodges. East Anglia has an abundance of wildlife and reserves, including Thornham Walled and Bressingham Gardens, which can be seen from high up in the sky due to their vast size.

Balloons fly at heights ranging from 500ft to 3000ft, depending on the weather, and it is advisable that you wear sensible clothing as temperatures will be the same as they are on the ground. Hats are recommended to protect your head from the heat of the burner above, as well as gloves on cold days.

Virgin Balloon Flights

Virgin have a huge range of locations for you to fly from in close proximity to our luxury lodges, including Brome, Stowmarket and Old Buckenham Airfield. Flying from Stowmarket will give you spectacular views of the River Gipping, which flows through the area, as well as the nearby farms and countryside.

Old Buckenham Airfield is around an hour’s drive from our lodges, however this will reward you with gorgeous overhead views of the Norfolk Broads. These beautiful lakes and rivers look lovely from the sky, and this trip is especially charming on sunny days.

Virgin offer a variety of trips which vary in price, and all come with a champagne toast, luxury voucher and gift wallet. Flights last around an hour, and you will be invited to help with the inflation and deflation of the balloon. Virgin also offer a retrieval service back to your original launch site, which is particularly convenient for when the whole family wants to take part.

Visit Windmill Lodges to view our available luxury log cabins.