The great outdoors
Knettishall Heath, 5 miles down the road, is a fantastic place to see some of the local countryside. It also provides access to the start of the Peddars Way Walk. Other beautiful spots to explore are Redgrave and Lopham Fen and Thelnetham Fen. We are a short drive away from the Thornham Estate which has 12 miles of way-marked walks, walled gardens and an adventure playground. The 200 acre Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds has woodland walks, a wildflower meadow, a children’s play area and a cafe.
For those of you who fancy something closer to home, you can walk from Ling’s Meadow campsite to the next village of Market Weston along a 3 mile country lane. This is just long enough to justify the pub lunch at the Mill Inn at the other end. If this sounds too much like hard work you can cut the walk in half and visit the Royal George pub in Barningham, which you can almost see from the campsite.
If you are looking for outdoor adventure we can highly recommend High Lodge at Thetford Forest. This is a lovely place for children to explore and offers den building, an adventure playground, a musical instrument trail in the forest and bike hire. If you are feeling brave you can book a Go Ape Tree Top Adventure or a Segway ride.
A day at the seaside
We are about a 1 hour drive from the Suffolk coast and 1 hour and 30 minutes from Cromer in north Norfolk. Two of our favourite beaches are Southwold and Holkham. Southwold is a very picturesque seaside town with a pier. It is very child friendly and has a beautiful sandy beach with sand dunes to play in. Holkham also has a wonderful expanse of sand (a long walk to the sea but worth it) with pine forest behind. If you have seen Shakespeare in Love you will recognise the beach from the final scene when shipwrecked Viola walks along the shore.
Historic Norfolk and Suffolk
We think Suffolk and Norfolk have some of the prettiest villages in Britain. Lavenham and Long Melford are worth a particular mention and both have lovely antique and secondhand book shops. Norfolk is home to the royal estate of Sandringham. Other historic houses in our area include Ickworth House, Kentwell Hall, Blickling Hall and Houghton Hall. You can find lots of National Trust and English Heritage sites to visit nearby. For more ancient history you could visit the Neolithic flint mine at Grimes Graves near Thetford, West Stow Anglo-Saxon village near Bury St Edmunds or the ancient Anglo-Saxon burial mounds at Sutton Hoo.
Our children are particular fans of Norwich and Framlingham Castles. Thetford, Diss and Bury St Edmunds all have lovely town museums and Bury also offers a beautiful Cathedral, Abbey ruins and the only surviving Regency Playhouse in the UK.
Our village was on the doorstep of a number of airbases up until the 1960s. We recently discovered the wonderful Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum, where you can see some of the planes that were stationed nearby. Our kids love it, as it is full of aeroplanes, engines, gliders and other exciting bits of history.
Arts and culture
As well as the Regency Playhouse, Bury St Edmunds is very proud of the Apex, a live music venue that also offers comedy nights and dance performances. The historic Abbeygate Cinema is also a firm favourite if you are looking for an eclectic mix of mainstream and art films in a relaxed but luxurious setting. For a wider choice of films, but perhaps without the sparkle, you could also try Cineworld. We have lots of fantastic local museums, including the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket, Moyses Hall in Bury St Edmunds, Ancient House Museum in Thetford and Norwich Castle Museum. Lavenham has a lovely selection of art galleries to visit. Diss has a lovely gallery, Designermakers@21, which includes several makers’ workshops where you can meet the artists and buy examples of their work.
Food and drink
We have a fantastic farm shop and plant nursery just down the road and a local Spar. Between them they should provide you with everything that you might need. If you are arriving late, or just fancy the extra convenience, you can order bakery items, or a BBQ or breakfast hamper from us to be delivered to your tent. See the Cooking Outdoors page for further details.
The farm shop also has a cafe that serves a lovely cooked breakfast. Our local pubs, the Royal George and the Mill Inn, are a 30 and 45 minute walk through the lane, 20 minutes by bicycle or 5 minutes by car. We can also recommend the White Horse at Thelnetham, which is a 5 minute drive or a 30 minute cycle. Moriarty’s Cafe in Walsham le Willows is a perfect spot for coffee and cake. They also do lovely lunches and have a small courtyard garden. Star Wing Brewery at Redgrave is very handy for a great selection of local bottled beers.
If you are out and about we can recommend Amandines vegetarian restaurant in Diss (which is near to DesignerMakers@21) and Fairchild’s Tea Rooms. We also love No 4 Hatter Street, the cafe and restaurant attached to the Abbeygate cinema in Bury St Edmunds. Friends have also recommended Oakes Barn, a new real ale pub also in Bury. A new find is Ben’s restaurant, which sources all of its produce locally.
We can recommend a visit to St George’s Whisky Distillery which offers tours as well as a chance to buy. Wyken Vineyards, a short cycle ride away, is also home to the Leaping Hare restaurant and a country store where you can buy bottles of the wine produced from the grapes that are grown on site. Wyken holds a farmer’s market with local produce each Saturday (we sell our yarn there once a month).
We have really enjoyed the Museum of East Anglian Life, West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village, Jimmy’s Farm, Banham Zoo, Thrigby Hall, Oasis Camel Centre, Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum and BeWILDerwood.
Festivals and events
There are local fetes and festivals happening throughout the summer. Look out for these!