Nestled among 22 acres of completely undisturbed countryside, Gladwin’s Farm in Suffolk was a rural treat I would be delighted to return to. After a busy week it was the perfect way to unwind and refocus. My boyfriend and I have just moved into our first home in Norfolk, and we haven’t been away since moving in. Mostly because finding somewhere that’s 100% dog-friendly is never an easy task. (Look at her face – how could I ever leave her at home?!)
So when an invitation arrived for a complimentary visit to a totally dog-friendly self-catering cottage in the countryside, I couldn’t resist.
Just 1 ½ hours from London, the rolling hills and tranquil landscape is enough to tempt anyone away from city living for a short break or weekend getaway. Whilst I got the feeling that Gladwin’s target market is young families, the cottages are equally beneficial for couples too thanks to the recent addition of private patio hot tubs! The cottages sleep from 2 – 8 people and they start from only £30 a night, which is really quite reasonable for what you get.
There are 9 cottages on the site, and everything is powered from solar panels and bio mass panels. That means they are entirely self-sustainable! Ten points for being environmentally aware. Inside, they are everything you’d expect – solid wood furnishings compliment the exposed beams and country-style kitchen, whilst shabby chic wall decorations, polka-dot curtains and gingham blankets add to the feeling of farmhouse living.
The cottage we stayed in was called Gainsbourough, and it sleeps 4. Everything was set out over 1 level, including a double bedroom, a twin bedroom, bathroom with shower and an open-plan kitchen/living room. It was the little things that made it memorable, such as a brand new Nespresso coffee machine, cupboards stocked with fair-trade teas and coffees, extra blankets for snuggling up next to the wood-burning stove, a breakfast hamper filled with local produce and a plush dog bed for Maisie Moo!
Our Saturday morning breakfast lasted for hours thanks to the generous hamper of goodies, and we spent the whole afternoon walking off the bacon and sausages in the surrounding woodland.
As you might gave guessed, there were other residents on the farm other than the owners and guests. For families or young children, this is really where the magic of Gladwins begins. Pigmy coats, chickens, pigs, horses and sheep graze happily around the farmland, and you can even pick up little brown bags of pellets from the Visitor’s Centre, and feed the animals straight from your hand. That’s fun for all the family, including 25-year-old bloggers.
There are woodland trails for walking and cycling, all-weather tennis courts, a heated indoor swimming pool and a hair and beauty salon! Boutique 22 aims to have guests feeling as beautiful as the surroundings they’re in, and offers a range of treatments using high-end brands such as St Tropez, Shellac and Dermalogica. We just didn’t have the time to fit in a treatment, but the salon sat on the top of a hill, and looked like the most idyllic place to enjoy a hot stone massage or a manicure.
Saturday afternoon rolled into evening, and we started thinking about dinner. Whilst on our way back from the woodland trail, we called into the Visitor’s Centre, where I may or may not have collected a few bags of pellets for the Pigmy goats…
As well as taking care of the animals on site, Gladwin’s Visitor Centre is absolutely packed with treats for its two-legged friends. From fresh bread, croissants, cereals and jams to biscuits, chocolate and cake and even frozen ready-meals – all yours for the taking. It is an “honesty” shop, which means it’s unmanned and relies on the customer to either leave cash for what they take, or fill in a form to bring with you when you checkout.
They even had a cupboard of DVDs, which is so lovely when it gets to around 9pm and you’re craving a really good movie!
We picked up some wholewheat pasta and pesto for a lazy dinner in front of the fire.
Saturday evening was spent cuddled up with a DVD and a wood-burning fire, sipping champagne and popping out for occasional dips in the private hot tub. The patio was entirely fenced in, and kitted out with a traditional table and chairs and irresistible greenery.
Just imagine it in the roaring sunshine! The hot tub was a god-send after hours of walking, and turned this charming country retreat into something quite luxurious!
If you are looking for a weekend getaway, I highly recommend the beautiful Gladwin’s Farm. It’s the definition of tranquility, especially if you enjoy long walks and stunning landscapes. We really felt like we could relax here, and I have already recommended it to family and friends.
Like a true country bumpkin, I tried out a bit of double denim for this Suffolk getaway. Whadd’ya reckon? Should I trade in my heels and become a full-time farmer yet?