Posted on

Jimmy’s Farm in the heart of Suffolk

Jimmy’s Farm became a household name when the BBC made a documentary about Jimmy Doherty’s farm near Ipswich in Suffolk. 

Jimmy Doherty of Jimmy's FarmIt’s easy to see why Jimmy’s Farm has proven to be such a popular destination for local residents of Suffolk as well as visitors from all around the UK and beyond. There is so much on offer there for children and adults alike. 

This rare breed’s farm is open to all and offers a wonderful taste of the rural life that Suffolk is so famous for. 

Visitors to Jimmy’s Farm are able to feed the animals from bags of food provided by the farm. This is an excellent opportunity to get up close to the sheep, goats, donkeys, chicken, rabbits, ducks, cows, pigs and many more who live on the farm. Making the place a must visit for any animal lover!

Lambs at Jimmy's FarmThere is also a stunning butterfly house, in which beautiful colourful tropical butterflies delight visitors, a fine restaurant, fishing, farm foods, a giant sandpit, climbing pyramids and play vehicles. Everything needed for a truly fantastic day out for all the family. 

Jimmy's Farm restaurant near our Suffolk holiday barges and cottages

And all within 20 minutes of all of our Holiday Cottages and Barges!

Jimmy’s Farm even hosts an annual festival of music food and drink in July. This popular event has been growing year on year and has become a highlight of the calendar here in Suffolk. Well worth checking out if it coincides with your visit to us. 

You can find out more about Jimmy’s Farm by visiting their official website here, or connecting with them on Facebook here, or you can find out what other people have made of their visits by looking on TripAdvisor here.

So if you’re thinking of joining us on a Woodfarm Barge and you’re also on the look out for fun for all ages then Jimmy’s Farm could be the place for you.

Posted on

Dedham Vale from your Suffolk Holiday Cottage Barge

Dedham Vale on the Essex-Suffolk border has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and it’s easy to see why. 

We think Dedham Vale is an ideal piece of East Anglia to explore when you’re staying on a Woodfarm Barge.

Even if you’ve ever visited the area personally there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with some of the wonderful vistas on offer in this Designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

That’s because Dedham Vale has inspired some of our most famous artists in history to produce paintings of it’s natural beauty.

The Haywain, Sue and Buster in Dedham ValeConstable and Gainsborough, among many others, worked in the picturesque meadows, rivers, rolling farmland and ancient woodlands. Painting such internationally recognised works as Constable’s ‘Dedham Vale’ in 1802 and ‘The Hay Wain’ in 1821.

Indeed, we can still pay a visit to Flatford Mill in the Dedham Vale AONB and see the almost unchanged spot upon which Constable produced his most famous work. Here’s the original and then photobombed by Woodfarm guests Sue & Buster just to prove it! 

You can plan your visit to Flatford Mill by fist visiting the National Trust’s official page for the place here

With a population of fewer than 10,000 in the entire AONB, it’s as perfect an example of unspoilt landscapes as one can find in the UK. Due to the fact that much of our traditional grasslands here in East Anglia have been drained and ploughed, the wildflower meadows of the Dedham Vale AONB and the surrounding area are some of the most precious historical landscapes in the country.

Flatford Mill near our Suffolk holiday cottagesThere’s no shortage of natural wonder to absorb on your trip to Dedham Vale, however the AONB is also a perfect jumping off point for a visit to the large towns of Colchester and Ipswich for a fun family day out shopping and exploring.

A good place to visit online to help you get the most out of your trip to Dedham Vale is the official AONB website here

If visiting the Dedham Vale AONB whilst staying on a Woodfarm Barge sounds to you like a small slice of heaven  (it does to us!) then we invite you to join us to do just that. 

Posted on

Walking along the River Deben in Suffolk

River Deben at night from our Holiday Cottage Barge

The River Deben offers some of the most beautiful scenery in England, let alone Suffolk. And what better way to enjoy it than with a walk along its banks?

The Tidemill on the River DebenWe are so lucky to have some wonderful walks along the banks of the River Deben, where we have one of the Woodfarm Barges, Twee Gebroeders, moored next the iconic Tidemill.

Heading North

From the Tidemill, walk along the river to Wilford Bridge, which will take you about 20 leisurely minutes or so and is as far as you can go in a sailing boat. Take a canoe or kayak and you can continue for about a mile on tranquil waters through reedbeds and meadows. I know as I’ve done so on several occasions. There’s an easy footpath along the river bank as you meander past a number of houseboats.

Heading South

The River DebenGo the other way and the path takes you to Kyson Hill which is owned by the National Trust. There is a boatshed and slipway at Kyson point and the path turns right here to run along side Martlesham Creek. It is a lovely walk to the end of the creek where the tidal waters meet the fresh water of the River Fynn. The path is well-trodden and a great one for dogs, with lots of interesting smells and long grasses to run through.

Wherever you walk along the River Deben you are likely to  see a huge range of wading birds and even the occasional seal. Watch out too for the swans along the river wall and the turnstones which are very tame and fun to watch at low tide. You’re sure to spot Avocets too, which are a real stalwart of the Deben, so much so, that they feature on the hand-made tiles in the shower aboard Twee Gebroeders.

Much of the River Deben is accessible only by boat but if you head from Woodbridge by car (or boat!) to Felixstowe or Bawdsey and take the ferry across to the other side. There are great great walks either side, as well as views right out to sea as this is the mouth of the River Deben

Posted on

Fabulous local produce at the Suffolk Food Hall

Suffolk Food Hall entrance

The Suffolk Food Hall has developed a well earn’t reputation as the ‘Champion of champions’ for local  Suffolk food.

The Suffolk Food HallWe think this makes Suffolk Food Hall an ideal spot to visit when exploring our county staying aboard a Woodfarm Barge. Just ten mins from Onderneming and around fifteen from Twee Gebroeders.

By providing a permanent famers market with all the convenience of a supermarket it’s not hard to see why The Countryside Alliance judged it to be the best Local Food venue in the entire UK & Ireland when they compared all the pervious winners over the past ten years! Check it out here. Highest praise indeed.

In 2013 The National Farm Shop Association (FARMA) called Suffolk Food Hall “probably the most ambitious retail and restaurant project that any farm in the UK has undertaken”. We would agree wholeheartedly with that assessment and add that it’s probably one of the most successful too. Not only in terms of popularity but also in the way it succeeds so completely in it’s vision as a hub for local produce. We’re so lucky to have it right on the doorstep of our holiday cottage barges, and within easy reach of our other holiday cottages at Woodfarm Barns too!

Suffolk Food Hall restaurant near our holiday cottage bargesThere’s plenty in the way of wonderful local sourced Suffolk food for all tastes on offer. Including all kinds of baked good from their scratch bakery (which operates seven days a week), a traditional style ‘carcass to customer’ butchery, a fully equipped fishmonger and a delicatessen, as well as a chocolatier, wine & beer merchant and greengrocer. What more could you want? And all under one roof too. They also have a fabulous restaurant with stunning views of the River Orwell too.

You can connect with Suffolk Food Hall on Facebook and keep up to date with all the events and latest news from this fantastic local treasure. Or visit the official website here for more information including opening times etc.

So come and experience a literal ‘real taste of Suffolk’ at Suffolk food Hall whilst you enjoy the tranquillity of Suffolk’s rivers on a Woodfarm Barge. 

Posted on

The Butt and Oyster on the River Orwell

The Butt and Oyster pub in Pin Mill Suffolk

The Butt and Oyster is one of Suffolk’s favourite and most well known pubs. And it’s just yards from Onderneming, our fabulous Dutch barge moored at Pin Mill

The Butt and Oyster pubNamed after the part the pub played in the old oyster trade in Suffolk, The Butt and Oyster is part of the Deben Inns Group and typifies what they do so well. Great pub, great food and great beer. The Butt & Oyster is one of their two best locations (in my opinion, other opinions are available, but wrong)

They also have The Maybush at Waldringfield, near Woodbridge, which is my other favourite of theirs and nice and handy for our other Dutch Sailing Barge ‘Twee Gebroeders’. You can read all about the Maybush here

The Butt and Oyster is down the end of a tiny lane down a hill, leading to the equally tiny hamlet of Pin Mill, in Suffolk. There’s very little at Pin Mill; a sailing club, two boatyards, a scattering of houses, fabulous walks along the River Orwell, a ceramics workshop, some houseboats, our Dutch Sailing Barge Onderneming, and The Butt & Oyster. Oh, and some of the most breathtaking views in the country!

The Butt and Oyster pub in Pin Mill SuffolkThe Butt and Oyster sits right on the River Orwell, with the tide coming up to it’s feet at High Water. It’s a gorgeous old proper Suffolk pub, with barrels of (mostly) Adnams stacked up behind the bar, serving some of the best beer in the country (again, in my opinion, other opinions are available, but wrong)

It’s very much a mish-mash of lovely old wooden furniture and bare floorboards that could tell a tale or two I’m sure. They do have a number of tables with river views but these are very hard to get hold of. There’s plenty of seating outside overlooking the river too though, for the warmer weather.

They have an incredibly busy kitchen, dishing up some amazing seafood, as well as other pub favourites and all really reasonably priced.

This is very much Arthur Ransome’s ‘Swallows and Amazons’ Country too!

So do try the Butt and Oyster when you’re in the neighbourhood, or better still, book a break on Onderneming and you can try the pub a lot!

Posted on

The Anchor Woodbridge near our holiday cottages

The Anchor Woodbridge, near our luxury holiday cottages

The Anchor Woodbridge is just minutes from Twee Gebroeders; it’s the ideal place for quick pint or home-cooked meal. 

The Anchor Woodbridge, near our luxury holiday cottagesIf you’re staying on the beautiful river Deben here in Suffolk then there’s a very strong possibility you’ll be stopping into this delightful market town for a drink at some point and the Anchor Woodbridge is a proper old pub!

One of the most popular watering holes in the town, as well as the most convenient to the quayside.

When you first enter the pub you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s a tiny place. But you’ll soon discover that the inside opens out TARDIS like to reveal a ‘smugglers warren’ of rooms with plenty of space for drinkers and diners. 

The clientele is a perfect mix of locals and tourists, making The Anchor Woodbridge a superb destination for a few pints of locally produced ale or cider after a long day relaxing on the Deben or visiting the many other attractions in the town and the surrounding area. 

The Anchor WoodbridgeThe Anchor Woodbridge hosts many evenings of local music (including a popular open mic if you fancy giving performing a go yourself!) making it a vibrant hub for entertainment in the town. 

In terms of food on offer the pub provides a rich mix of traditional English staples, such as Gressingham duck breast and slow roast pork belly, and more exotic dishes such as seared wood pigeon and Istana lamb curry. So there should be something on the menu to delight all tastes.

You can discover more about The Anchor Woodbridge by paying a visit to their official website, or you can find out what others have to say about the pub on TripAdvisor 

Interested in paying a visit to this wonderful little pub whilst taking a well-earned break on a Woodfarm Barge? Then you can keep up to date with all the latest happenings there by connecting with them on Facebook

Posted on

The Tidemill Woodbridge – an iconic Suffolk landmark

The Tide Mill Woodbridge; iconic Suffolk landmark

The historic Tidemill Woodbridge makes for a great location for a break on a Woodfarm Barge 

The Tidemill WoodbridgeThere are few things in this world that are better than spending some quality time on the wonderful water ways we’re fortunate enough to enjoy here in East Anglia and a visit to the Tidemill Woodbridge is a great one to add to your bucket list.

Many of us are happy to simply go with the flow and see where the water takes us. However, if you’re looking for a great place to visit at the end of your journey, then the beautiful Tidemill Woodbridge could be just the place!

Whereas most mills rely upon wind power, animal strength or good old fashioned elbow grease to grind the flour for the daily bread, this mill is the heart of the beautiful town of Woodbridge and has been using the reliable power of the tide to produce flour and animal feed for over 800 years!

The mill wheel of the Tidemill WoodbridgeIt’s still in operation today, having been lovingly restored back to working order and is open to the public so do go and take a trip back in time.

If you’re able to visit at the right time you can enjoy the experience of seeing the full drama of the mill in action. Today you can see the stones turn and watch them grind the grain as they have for many generations.

As well as still being a fully functioning mill, the Tidemill Woodbridge is also a well equipped museum offering visitors an interesting and engaging timeline of the mill’s long history, telling the stories of the many fascinating owners of the Tidemill Woodbridge. The Museum includes interactive models, videos and even life-sized cut-outs of the various miller’s families (and their cats!)

The Tidemill Woodbridge in SuffolkYou can find out much more about the historic Tidemill Woodbridge (including opening and operating times) by visiting the official website here

For more top tips on getting the most out of your visit, a quick stop at the TripAdvisor page about the mill can be a big help. You can visit it here

We hope you come and join us soon for a magical stay on one of the most beautiful rivers in England. There’s some truly wonderful places here to explore and experience.