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Get your fill of classical music at Snape Maltings

Violins in an orchestra

Love classical music? Or just want to try something different? Not only is the Suffolk music scene bursting with life in the genres of pop, rock, jazz and more, it’s also a hub for classical music – and arts complex Snape Maltings is the number one place in the county to get your fill.

The history of Snape Maltings

Built in the 19th century by entrepreneur Newson Garrett, the maltings were originally intended for converting barley into malt for beer production. Snape, the village in which the maltings are situated, although small, had a bustling inland port in the 1800s. Through this port, malted barley, fertiliser and sugar beet were exported to London and the rest of the UK. However, as production in other towns grew, output in Snape declined and the maltings closed in 1960 as a result.

Luckily, for us and many other music and art lovers out there, legendary British composer Benjamin Britten was on the lookout for the perfect location for a concert hall. Britten had already established the Aldeburgh Music Festival in 1948 in collaboration with singer Peter Pears and writer Eric Crozier; however, its new 832-seat home in the largest malthouse at Snape Maltings was far more suitable than the various churches and town halls in which it was previously hosted.

The concert hall was officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II in 1967. Its popularity with both the public and renowned and aspiring musicians prompted Britten and Pears to convert further disused buildings on the site into rehearsal spaces and teaching rooms, cementing Snape Maltings as a centre for music on the Suffolk coast.

The next big revamp came in 2006, when Aldeburgh Music purchased a 999 year lease on the Snape Maltings Concert Hall. The organisation invested around £14m into the venue, which, three years later, became the ‘Creative Campus’ with four performance venues and many rehearsal and public spaces.

Snape Maltings
Snape maltings hosts the annual Aldeburgh Festival, launched by legendary composer Benjamin Britten

The Aldeburgh Music Festival

Despite its name, Aldeburgh Music Festival’s permanent location is Snape Maltings, which is a 5-mile drive from Aldeburgh town centre. The festival takes place over two weeks in June each year, and hosts dozens of classical musical acts from around the world. 

During this time, there are also various art exhibitions taking place in the galleries around the maltings. These exhibitions showcase a range of artists working in an assortment of mediums, from photography to moving images, to paintings and sculpture.

Snape Proms

Snape Proms takes place each August and welcomes musicians from around the world, from solo artists to orchestras. Make sure you get tickets early to this intimate event, which offers floor seating (bring a comfy pillow!) to provide a close-up view of the action.

Britten Weekend

Don’t think that all the classical music fun takes place in summer! Britten Weekend happens over a weekend in autumn, and celebrates Snape Maltings’ founder and his impact on the world of music.

Visit Snape Maltings’ website to find out more about these events, including dates, dress code, ticket prices and more.

Houseboat holiday in Suffolk - Onderneming Barge
Our Onderneming Dutch Barge is moored at Snape Malting on the River Alde in Suffolk

Staying in Snape

Snape is such a unique and inspiring part of the country (which is one of the reasons why Britten wanted to move the Aldeburgh Festival here!), so why not stay inspired by booking accommodation right outside Snape Maltings on a historic Dutch barge? Our spacious Onderneming barge is no more than a two minute’s walk from the concert halls, and we provide all the luxuries that you might need to enjoy a culturally fulfilling stay in Suffolk. Find more about Onderneming here.

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Where to see wildlife in Suffolk

A barn owl

Thanks to Suffolk’s varied landscape, a huge range of wild animals call the county ‘home’, including rare birds, mysterious marine animals and even snakes!

However, you don’t have to go aimlessly traipsing around in the depths of Suffolk to spot these creatures – there are dedicated nature reserves all around the county, managed by specialist charities who maintain natural habitats so that our wildlife can thrive.

If you’re staying in Suffolk to spot a skylark or an adder (we weren’t joking about the snakes!), there’s no better location to rest your head than our historic, dog-friendly holiday barges. These ‘cottages on water’ can be found in stunning river settings in the quintessential village of Snape Maltings and bustling Woodbridge. Both of these locations are close by to nature reserves, and you can even spot a range of birds and other wildlife from the windows of the barges! Take a look at each barge here.

Here’s a selection of some of our favourite nature reserves and wildlife experiences in Suffolk:

RSPB Minsmere

RSPB Minsmere
Spot birds amongst the flora at RSPB Minsmere

A coastal nature reserve that’s perfect for family days out, Minsmere is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. This means that you’re likely to spot a huge array of birds, from avocets to bitterns.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/minsmere/

Dunwich Heath

Adder at Dunwich Heath
Want to spot an adder?

Now, if you really want to see an adder, Dunwich Heath is the perfect spot. These non-aggressive snakes feast on small birds and lizards, so there’s plenty for them to choose from at this beachside paradise. Plus, it’s dog-friendly.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunwich-heath-and-beach

Alde-Ore Estuary

Alde Estuary
Take a trip down the river Alde with Iken Canoe

A 2,534 hectare biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest, Alde-Ore Estuary stretches along the Suffolk coast between Aldeburgh and Bawdsey. We recommend going on a walk along the Iken Cliffs footpath for uninhibited views of the Alde Mudflats and its undisturbed wildlife reserve, or taking a trip down the river with Iken Canoe. Keep an eye out for otters!

https://www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/aldemudflats

Orford Ness

Birds at Orford Ness
Visit the natural wildlife haven at Orford Ness

The habitats here range from vegetated shingle to brackish lagoons, and reed marshes to mud flats – a haven for coastal wildlife. You’re just as likely to see hares darting across the landscape as you are oystercatchers and migratory waders feeding on shrimp from the lagoons.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/orford-ness-national-nature-reserve

Owl Sanctuary

A barn owl
See a variety of owl species at the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary

Suffolk Owl Sanctuary is a registered charity which cares for injured owls and other birds of prey at its facility in Stonham Aspal (which happens to be right near our luxury, dog-friendly cottages (on dry land) at Woodfarm Barns). There are flying demonstrations throughout summer, and you can also visit the Meerkat Kastle to feed the meerkats!

https://www.owl-help.org.uk/

Easton Farm Park

Baby goats
Head to Easton Farm Park for family fun

For a classic, family-friendly farm experience, Easton Farm Park is a must-do. See and feed lambs, baby goats, piglets and more, and say hello to the county’s famous Suffolk Punch horses. Here, you’ll also find a cafe, large play area, shop and lots of other wildlife experiences for children of all ages.

https://www.eastonfarmpark.co.uk/

Jimmy’s Farm

A tapir at Jimmy's Farm
Embark on a ‘wildlife trail’ at Jimmy’s Farm

The recently introduced wildlife park at local-food-hotspot Jimmy’s Farm features a wide range of animals for children to learn about and engage with, including reptiles, farmyard animals and more exotic mammals such as coatis, capybaras and tapirs.

https://jimmysfarm.com/farm-wildlife-park/

Lavenham Falconry

Falcon
Get up close and personal with birds of prey at Lavenham Falconry

Based in the village of Monks Eliegh, Lavenham Falconry offers avian experiences like no other. From a one hour session with super intelligent and mischievous ravens, to a full day with mighty hawks, owls and falcons, there is plenty on offer for those who want up-close encounters with birds.

https://www.lavenhamfalconry.co.uk/

Staying in Suffolk

We would love to welcome you to our Onderming and Twee Gebroeders barges, where you can find plenty more information on Suffolk’s wildlife, as well as the best places to eat, shop and walk your dog(s) during your stay with us. We count ourselves extremely lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country, and we can’t wait to share the magic with you!

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Adnams Brewery Tour

© Copyright Mel Darke and licensed for reuse under creativecommons.orglicensesby-sa2.0

If you’ve heard about Suffolk’s rich and varied food and drink offerings, you’ve probably heard of Adnams Southwold (very often shortened to ‘Adnams’), one of the county’s much-loved, historic breweries.

Adnams Brewery
© Copyright Julian Osley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Adnams is proud of the fact that beer has been produced on the same site of its Southwold brewery for over 670 years. The brewery’s history began in 1345, when Johanna de Corby and 17 others were charged in court for serving illegal measures; however, it wasn’t associated with Adnams until 1872, when brothers George and Ernest Adnams purchased it.

Beer bottling at Adnams
Beer bottling at Adnams in 1947 (@adnams)

Since then, the brand has been making iconic beers, popular spirits and delicious wines for distribution all over Suffolk and the world, with Adnams products reaching as far as South Korea, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

For this blog post, however, we wanted to bring it back home to where it all started: the Southwold brewery. Here, you can take a tour of both the brewery and the recently introduced (in comparison to the age of the brewery) distillery. However, the brewery tour is a really immersive way to find out about the company’s vast, colourful history – so we do recommend it if that’s what you’re into!

Adnams Brewery
Adnams Brewery from the outside (@adnams)

On the tour, you’ll be able to see a huge collection of Adnams memorabilia, including photos, vintage beer mats, discontinued bottles and more. Your tour guide will take you through the raw ingredients that go into making Adnams beer, before walking you around the brewhouse itself and filling you in on how Adnams is really made. As you’d expect, there’s lots of neat, shiny brewing machinery and equipment to gawk at!

Like many modern companies, Adnams has refined their processes in order to reduce their carbon footprint. This includes recycling water and heat – two major benefits of the massive 2006 refit of the brewery. You’ll find out all about these processes before you head to the last part of the tour – the tasting session! Your tour guide will offer you samples from Adnams’ diverse beer portfolio, including the more unusual flavours, such as Earl Grey Lager.

Handy details

  • The tour lasts between 1h30 and 1h45, depending on how long you want to spend tasting beers at the end of the tour
  • Tours cost £20
  • Pre-booking online is recommended, especially around busy periods like Christmas and summer
  • The tour is over 18s only
  • There is some stair-climbing, which may not be ideal for those who are less mobile
  • We recommend booking on a weekday, as this is when the brewery is functional
Adnams visitor centre
© Copyright Des Blenkinsopp and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Southwold is a 45-minute drive from Twee Gebroeders at Woodbridge’s Tidemill Yacht Harbour, and 33 minutes from Onderneming at Snape Maltings. Not only can you enjoy the experience of the brewery tour, but you’ll also be able to explore Southwold, one of Suffolk’s most renowned beach towns.

Book an Adnams Brewery Tour here.

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Suffolk pubs near Woodfarm Barges

The Plough & Sail

What’s more British than heading to the pub for a spot of lunch on your staycation? 

At Woodfarm Barges, we’re in two prime locations for some of the best pubs in Suffolk: Onderneming is moored on the River Alde at Snape Maltings and Twee Gebroeders is at the Tidemill in Woodbridge. Both of these locations feature an array of delicious local cuisine and cosy pub atmospheres within easy reach.

The Grundisburgh Dog
Dogs are welcome at The Grundisburgh Dog – if you can believe!

The Grundisburgh Dog – IP13 6TA

11 minutes from Twee Gebroeders

26 minutes from Onderneming

The Grundisburgh Dog is a self-dubbed ‘proper pub’, featuring a tiled bar and a restaurant with a log burner to provide a warm, snug undercurrent. Choose from an excellent wine list or a fantastic selection of real ales to enjoy while you sit back and relax inside this spacious tavern, or saunter over to the Mediterranean garden in the summer.

As its names suggests, dogs are very much welcome at this pub – it has even won UK Dog Friendly Pub of the Year! Your pups can stay by your side whether you’re seated outside, enjoying a pint at the bar or demolishing a meal in the restaurant area. 

If you visit during Tuesday to Friday, you can experience one of the Dog’s themed nights and get a taste of the award-winning chef’s take on a particular cuisine. Alternatively, stop by on a Sunday afternoon for a hearty roast. 

The Turks Head
This pub is known for it’s excellent service

The Turk’s Head, Hasketon – IP13 6JG

10 minutes from Twee Gebroeders

23 minutes from Onderneming

Winner of ‘Outstanding Customer Service’ at the Suffolk and Drink Awards, The Turk’s Head is one country pub where you’ll be well looked after – as well as your dog! 

With many local ales, gins and wines to choose from, you’ll be able to get a real taste of Suffolk’s brewery and vineyard offerings. You’ll also be able to take advantage of a wonderful menu full of seasonal dishes and fine local ingredients.

Stop by for the increasingly popular ‘Indulgent Brunch’ between 10am and 2pm on a Saturday for a relaxing late-morning filler. It’s the perfect way to kickstart the day before a walk with the pooch!

The Table Woodbridge
The Table’s menu features cuisine from around the world

The Table, Woodbridge – IP12 1BX

5 minutes from Twee Gebroeders

20 minutes from Onderneming

Each visit to The Table in Woodbridge presents a unique dining experience. The ever changing menu showcases the talents of the brasserie’s chefs in the form of stunning world cuisine. One visit might proffer a perfectly light souffle, while the next might introduce you to an aromatic chicken curry.

The Table works closely with local suppliers to ensure the freshest ingredients for these beautifully cooked dishes. Even though you might be eating a fantastic Moroccan spiced lamb, it’s likely that the ingredients will have been sourced from a farm just down the road!

It’s central Woodbridge location makes it easy to access – especially from our Onderneming barge, which is just a five-minute walk away.

The Plough & Sail
The Plough & Sail is a two-minute walk from Onderneming!

The Plough & Sail, Snape Maltings – IP17 1SR

20 minutes from Twee Gebroeders

2 minute’s walk from Onderneming

Owned by twin brothers Alex and Oliver Burnside, The Plough & Sail is a delightful pub with a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere and first-class customer service.

Located in the heart of the small village of Snape, just a two minute walk away from the gangplank of Onderneming, this friendly pub is ideal for any time of day, whether you’re in the mood for a light meal or something a little more formal. The menu consists of a brilliant range of upmarket pub favourites, with plenty available for those with special dietary requirements.

Dogs are welcome in the old part of the pub, which includes a cosy snug and intimate balcony area. The courtyard at the back of the pub is also very enjoyable on a summer evening!

The Duck Campsea Ashe
You’ll find lots of duck-themed decor at the dog-friendly Duck at Campsea Ashe

The Duck, Campsea Ashe – IP13 0PT

13 minutes from Twee Gebroeders

11 minutes from Onderneming

To truly get away from the hustle and bustle, visit The Duck in the beautiful village of Campsea Ashe. A stylish pub with duck ornaments abound, you’ll find yourself lingering in the inviting atmosphere long after you’ve finished eating.

The well-stocked bar features the best of Suffolk’s breweries, alongside popular spirits and wines. Continuing the ‘local’ theme, The Duck sources local and seasonal produce for preparation onsite, with plenty of options for those who are gluten intolerant, vegan and more.

This is a great place to visit if you want to try the county’s famous Gressingham Duck. The pub has a great relationship with the supplier and produces a number of dishes centering around this delicious ingredient.

The Kings Head
The Kings Head has a menu for dogs!

The Kings Head, Woodbridge – IP12 4LP

11 minute’s walk from Twee Gebroeders

21 minutes from Onderneming

Settle into this 15th century pub in the heart of Woodbridge, little more than a 10-minute walk from our Twee Gebroeders barge. 

Dog owners will love The Kings Head; dogs are welcome in the pub, and even have their own ‘Mutt’s Menu’, which features snacks such as pig ears and knotted bones to enjoy while you grab a pint or choose a delectable, locally sourced dish from the main menu. Owners Mike and Lucy Ball have two labradors themselves, so they know a thing or two about catering for dogs!

This is the perfect place to stop for some grub after a scenic walk along the river – especially when the fire’s roaring in winter!

There are also plenty of fantastic pubs near our luxury, dog-friendly holiday cottages at Woodfarm Barns. To find out about these, read our blog post here.

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Where to play golf in Suffolk

Fynn Valley Golf Club

If your golf game is feeling up to par (sorry, I had to) then Suffolk is the perfect place to bring your clubs for a golfing holiday.

Take a few hours by yourself, with your partner or with friends and sample the best that our county has to offer, from beginner-friendly pitch and putts, to advanced links courses.

If you’re planning on coming to Suffolk for a golfing holiday, why not stay with us at Woodfarm Barges? Our unique, historic Dutch barges make for a fantastic stay, and we’re just a short drive away from a wide range of Suffolk golf courses. Our barges are dog-friendly, and so are some of these courses; however, we always advise ringing ahead to make sure that you are allowed to bring your pup, as policies may change over time.

If barges aren’t your thing, we also have seven luxury cottages on dry land at Woodfarm Barns, nearby. These are also dog (and golfer!) friendly.

Without further ado, here are our recommendations for golfing in Suffolk. 

The Championship Course, Aldeburgh

Dog on Aldeburgh Golf Course
Resident dog, Morse, at Aldeburgh

This is one of the oldest courses in the county. You’re in great company here; the Championship Course has been graced by many golfing greats, including Willie Fernie, Willie Park Jnr. and J.H. Taylor. This is a 6,603 yard heathland course that lies within a mile of the coastline. It features no par fives on the men’s card, proving quite the challenge, even for the most accomplished golfer. Many golfers bring well-behaved dogs to walk the course with them.

Distance from Twee Gebroeders: 17 miles

Distance from Onderneming: 5 miles

James Braid Course, Thorpeness

Thorpeness Golf Club
Thorpeness Golf Club, overlooked by The House in the Clouds

The proudly dog-friendly Thorpeness Golf Club would never want your furry friend to miss out on a long walk around their par 70! The James Braid Course is laid out on predominantly sandy soil, and is earmarked by the architectural attraction, the House in the Clouds. A traditional maritime heathland course, it was voted the ‘greenest golf club in Britain’ in 2018 thanks to its seamless blending with the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in which it lies. 

Distance from Twee Gebroeders: 19 miles

Distance from Onderneming: 7 miles

The Martello Course, Felixstowe

Sunrise over Felixstowe Golf Club
A misty morning over the Martello Course

Named after the grand Martello towers that stand like sentinels along the shore, the Martello Course at Felixstowe is one that many become attached to for its beautiful views and unique character. Suffolk’s only links course, the 18-hole at Felixstowe is available for year-round play thanks to the area’s low precipitation and mild climate. The opening tee shot features one of the best views around – in almost any weather you can view the entirety of Felixstowe Ferry, the mouth of the River Deben and the historic Bawdsey Manor on the other side of the peninsula. Plus, it’s dog-friendly!

Distance from Twee Gebroeders: 14 miles

Distance from Onderneming: 26 miles

Purdis Heath Course, Ipswich

Ipswich Golf Club
An example of the ever-changing colour at Ipswich Golf Club

Most people who visit Ipswich don’t realise that there’s a peaceful, stylish golf course just a few miles outside the county town. Another James Braid design, the Purdis Heath course was created with the experienced golfer in mind, as you’ll find your game exposed to the elements throughout play. Visit in different seasons and you’ll discover that the course transforms in tandem; autumn has to be our favourite, with the stunning range of golds, reds and burnt oranges appearing on the trees. 

Distance from Twee Gebroeders: 9.5 miles

Distance from Onderneming: 21 miles

Par Three Course at Finn Valley Golf Club, Witnesham

Fynn Valley Golf Club
A view of the fantastically presented Fynn Valley golf course

If you’re a beginner and you want to try your hand at golf on an informal, relaxed course, the Par Three at Finn Valley is just right for you. With club hire available and no dress code, you don’t even have to be prepared to take a whack at golf here. Don’t let the informality put you off, however; the Par Three is very well maintained and beautifully presented. 

Distance from Twee Gebroeders: 8 miles

Distance from Onderneming: 20 miles

Stonham Barns Golf Park

Smugglers Bay Adventure Golf
Plenty of fun to be had at Smugglers Bay Adventure Golf!

For an entertaining day out with the family, the UK’s first golf park at Stonham Barns features eight golfing activities that are sure to cause endless smiles and many memories. From the Smugglers Bay Adventure Golf complete with treasure-filled cave and a shipwreck, to a super fun footgolf course, there are hours of enjoyment to be had at this golf park. For those who are a little more serious about learning to play, there are also luxury bays with course simulators, as well as excellent coaching services.

This is just around the corner from our luxury cottages at Woodfarm Barns!

Distance from Twee Gebroeders: 13 miles

Distance from Onderneming: 20 miles

We hope you enjoy your golfing holiday in Suffolk, whichever course you decide to play. Don’t forget to browse our unique, dog-friendly barges on the Suffolk riverways, or our luxurious, dog-friendly cottages at Woodfarm Barns.

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Head to Suffolk for unique homeware and antiques

Yoxford Antiques, Yoxford

Sure, there are those who like their homes to consist of shiny new furniture and decor, but there are also many of us who prefer to deck out our homes with antiques and homeware from independent shops. If you’re part of the latter, Suffolk is perfect for you.

There are dozens of exciting independent stores in Suffolk stocking everything from the weird to the wonderful – and plenty near our luxury, dog-friendly barges and barns, too! 

Whether you fancy a new Persian rug or a centuries-old fireplace, there is plenty to peruse while you’re here. In fact, we’ve put together a blog post on our Woodfarm Barns site listing our top five favourites in our local area. Why not stop by and give it a read? Click here!

 

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Newbourne dog walking trail with views galore

River Deben on the Newbourne dog walking trail

For scenic views of the river and countryside and a delicious pub meal, head to the small-but-charming village of Newbourne with your dog and venture on this easy circular walking trail around the nearby parishes.

Newbourne is just a 15-minute drive from our Twee Gebroeders barge at The Tidemill in Woodbridge, and 30 minutes from our Onderneming barge at Snape Maltings. 

Here, you’ll find a dog walking trail which takes you through the villages and parishes of this area, encompassing expansive countryside and riverside views. The walk takes you past two dog-friendly pubs which present the opportunity to rest your tired feet and indulge in excellent Suffolk pub fare.

You’ll also stumble across a range of architecture and historic buildings, including a house which was once occupied by two famous giants!

We cover this must-do Newbourne dog walking trail step by step on our Woodfarm Barns blog. Click here to read the post.

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Explore Suffolk in a canoe

Iken Cliff

Our dog-friendly, Suffolk-based, 19th century Dutch sailing barges may be static on their respective rivers, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take to the water to see Suffolk!

The River Alde
Sunrise on the beautiful River Alde

The River Alde – © Copyright Roger Jones and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

When you’re staying with Woodfarm Barges, think of your accommodation as a static luxury holiday cottage on a stunning waterway. You get all the benefits of a relaxing river stay, without requiring any experience in sailing – simply hop aboard via the gangplank and you’re set!

If, however, you would like to try your hand at navigating a Suffolk river, head to the nearby Iken Canoe hire for canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. Just a four-minute drive away from our Onderneming barge and 20 minutes away from Twee Gebroeders, Iken Canoe is situated at Iken Cliff, a stunning location in the Alde Estuary.

Iken Cliff
Iken Cliff was once a bustling trade passage

View from Iken Cliff – © Copyright Dave Thompson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Iken Cliff used to see a host of activity in the form of trade barges transporting corn into London. Now, however, things are much quieter, making it the perfect place to set off on a journey to explore the river in all its natural beauty.

Canoe hire in Suffolk

Are you an avid watersports participant? Or perhaps you’re just looking for a relaxing glide down the river. Either way, Iken Canoe can kit you out with everything you need to enjoy this unique method of discovering Suffolk.

As their name suggests, Iken Canoe offer easy-to-paddle Canadian canoes, which are suitable for most abilities. They also offer kayaks for the more adventurous of visitors, stand-up paddleboards for the well-balanced, and katakunas, which are catamaran-canoe hybrids that can take up to six people. So whether you’re travelling with family or friends, or you just want to head out for a quiet sail with your partner, Iken Canoe is the place to go.

With your canoe hire, you’ll also be given a buoyancy aid, paddles and a dry bag for expensive gear like phones and cameras – after all that last thing you’d want is for that pretty river sunset selfie to end up at the bottom of the Alde! Iken Canoe will brief you on safety precautions before your journey, and they can also give you plenty of advice on the best spots along the river.

Canoeing in Suffolk on the River Alde

The River Alde stretches from a tiny stream in the ancient village of Laxfield, past Snape Maltings and Aldeburgh, and eventually turns into the River Ore as it reaches Orford and flows out to the North Sea. Although it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll sail the whole thing in a canoe, there is plenty to see in the parts of the river which are more accessible.

This part of Suffolk is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Along your journey, you’ll see many different types of wildlife that rarely pop up in other parts of the county. For example, did you know that you can see seals along the River Alde? The common seal can sometimes be found lazing on the mud flats in this area – and they’re not hard to spot! Being at the top of the food chain in Suffolk rivers, seals have little to fear and have been known to indulge their curiosities upon seeing boats and canoes by swimming right up to the vessels. There was even an instance on the River Deben where a seal decided to hop onto a rowing boat for a leisurely trip upstream.

Common Seal
You might see one of these along your journey!

Common seal – © Copyright Anne Burgess and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Birds are by far one of the most common types of animals you’ll see on your canoe trip. However, these aren’t any old birds; keep an eye out for avocets (black and white with long legs and bills), marsh harriers (medium-sized, brown birds of prey), curlews (brown with long, down-curved bills) and more.

If you have great eyesight or even hearing, you may be able to spot an otter nearby. Listen out for a subtle splash as otters slip into the water from the riverbanks, or look out for their footprints in the mud to get an idea of where these happy semi-aquatic mammals might appear. Unlike seals, otters don’t really like to be seen and take advantage of their ability for stealth, so you have to be on high alert if you want to spot one!

Stay with Woodfarm Barges while you explore Suffolk

Woodfarm Barges is the perfect location for your Suffolk holiday. Whether you adore active holidays and want to get out on the river with Iken Canoe right away, or you just like sitting back and admiring the scenery, book one of our luxury, dog-friendly barges and stay in the best location for access to rural Suffolk activities.

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Woodfarm Barges’ favourite Woodbridge restaurants

The Galley, Woodbridge, Suffolk

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as stimulating your tastebuds with some delicious local cuisine while on holiday – and Woodbridge in Suffolk has some great options.

Visit this small, quintessentially English town, which is situated on the doorstep of our Twee Gebroeders barge, or just a 20 minute drive away from our Onderneming barge at Snape Maltings. Here, you’ll not only find traditional shops and picturesque walks along the river, but also a number of excellent restaurants.

Some might find it surprising that such a small town in rural Suffolk has so much to offer in terms of eating out, but the truth is that Woodbridge has access to some of the best local producers that the county has to offer, as well as top chefs who know just what to do with the produce itself!

Here is a selection of Woodbridge restaurants that receive the Woodfarm seal of approval:

The Galley, Woodbridge, Suffolk
The Galley in Woodbridge is known for its excellent service, artistic decor and local food

@thegalleywoodbridge

The Galley

For fine dining, The Galley comes highly recommended. Once a brewhouse during the time of the Napoleonic War, the historic charm of the building is evident throughout the restaurant. There’s even a nod to Woodbridge’s naval heritage in the form of an exposed beam of wood from a ship.

Owner Ugur Vata’s love of art brings a tasteful hint of eclecticism to the scene. Look out for a Picasso lithograph and Salvador Dalí plates on display, plus a collection of work by local artists. Even the menu cover was commissioned.

When it comes to food, The Galley’s ever-changing menu means you’ll be able to try a unique dish each time you visit. However, one thing you can be sure of is that the restaurant makes good use of local produce, including locally caught fish.

For special occasions and large groups, we recommend booking one of the private dining rooms for a more exclusive experience. The private dining room upstairs is bright and airy and seats up to 14 people, while the wine cellar downstairs seats up to 30.

Visit the website here.

The Table, Woodbridge, Suffolk
Spend a summer’s afternoon in the courtyard at The Table – you won’t regret it!

@the_table_

The Table

Traditional brasserie restaurant The Table has served Woodbridge for over 50 years. Housed in a charming 16th century building, this restaurant encourages a relaxed dining experience with non-pretentious, high quality food.

In the summer, try and get a seat in the courtyard, with its pretty floral displays and English cottage aesthetic. You’ll want to spend all afternoon there!

The Table prides itself on its close relationships with local producers. You’ll find a menu full of fresh, local ingredients, which heavily influence the daily menu changes.

Try a curry at The Table; the team are working with local growers to source unusual Far Eastern vegetables to enhance the flavours of their curries. They’ve even developed their own range of award-winning curry pastes for you to use at home.

Visit the website here.

The Riverside, Woodbridge, Suffolk
Take a trip to this Michelin listed restaurant, and see a film in the same building!

@theriversidewoodbridge

The Riverside

The Riverside isn’t just a cinema; its in-house restaurant is surprisingly brilliant (Surprising in that it’s part of a cinema!). It appears in Which’s Good Food Guide and is Michelin listed, while also being recommended by The Financial Times.

Inside you’ll find stylish decor and dimmed lighting, perfect for a romantic evening out. Without being too expensive, the daily written menus offer a plethora of incredible dishes, from lunch through to supper.

Enjoy local favourites such as Dingley Dell pork and Deben seabass alongside mouth watering foods from further afield like Devon crab. And after all that, why not watch a film?

Visit the website here.

The Turks Head, Hasketon, Suffolk
The Turks Head: A ‘proper country pub’

@theturkshead

The Turks Head

Located just outside Woodbridge in the small rural village of Hasketon, this self-dubbed ‘proper country pub’ is an easy drive or just under an hour’s walk away from the gangplank of Twee Gebroeders or a 25 minute drive from Onderneming.

Dogs are welcome in the bar and snug at The Turks Head, so if you’re popping in for a pint with your pup, this is the perfect pitstop! The pub is known for local ales and an extensive gin and wine list, so you’re in good hands.

The menu consists of hearty and high quality dishes which, like other establishments on this list, includes a local touch. However, you’ll see that these ingredients aren’t just served as you’d expect them. For example, the Tandoori Sutton Hoo chicken mixes one of the county’s most delicious free range chicken products with a taste of India. Exciting stuff!

Visit the website here.

The Grundisburgh Dog, Suffolk
The Grundisburgh Dog has just won Pub of the Year!

@grundisburghdog

The Grundisburgh Dog

As its name suggests, The Grundisburgh Dog is a dog-friendly pub, and your furry friend is welcome in the pub, restaurant and gardens. They’ve even won the award of UK Dog-Frendly Pub of the Year!

Located in the village of Grundisburgh, this splendid pub and restaurant is 12 minutes by car from Twee Gebroeders and a half hour’s drive from Onderneming.

The pub offers a vast range of craft and cask beers and ales, as well as a bespoke gin and tonic menu. If that wasn’t enough, the restaurant menu will have you salivating. Think slow cooked pork belly, pan-fried gurnard and more; plus, they proudly cater for intolerances and special diets.

The Grundisburgh Dog have just won Pub of the Year in the Suffolk Food and Drink Awards, so make this a ‘must-do’ on your list!

Visit the website here.

Stay with Woodfarm Barges and experience the taste of Suffolk

We hope that you’ll choose to stay with us when you embark on your Suffolk food journey, as the location of our barges makes it very easy to access many of the best restaurants in the county’s portfolio. Take a look at our dog-friendly Onderneming and Twee Gebroeders barges now and don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to arrange a stay.

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What’s on in Suffolk in spring 2019?

Sparrow on a branch

Spring is an exciting time in Suffolk. A simple drive through the countryside will reveal a landscape bursting with nature and wildlife. From blossoming flora to newborn animals, there’s an air of vitality in every forest, field or farm.

However, it’s not just the rural areas that are having all the fun. Suffolk towns are full of life as the days become warmer and us locals migrate to our favourite hotspots for delicious seasonal grub and fun activities.

With plenty to see during this time of year, there’s no better place to rest your head than Woodfarm Barges. Our historic Dutch barges are located in Woodbridge and Snape Maltings – ideally situated for your Suffolk holiday. Both barges are within easy reach of popular landmarks, and can easily accommodate a family and up to three dogs.

What’s on in Suffolk in March 2019?

Helmet Of Raedwald, High King Of Britain
Helmet Of Raedwald, High King Of Britain cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Tim Marchant – geograph.org.uk/p/1484425

Saturday 9th March – Sutton Hoo Roadshow

Where: Aldeburgh Library

While Suffolk’s famous ancient burial ground is closed for major transformation works, the National Trust is taking its Anglo Saxon artefacts on the road for a county-wide tour. Catch the show at Aldeburgh Library, where you’ll be able to learn about this early civilisation and take part in child-friendly activities such as making your own shield.

For more info visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sutton-hoo/features/sutton-hoo-goes-on-tour

Saturday 16th March – Suffolk Farmers Market

Where: The Suffolk Showground, Trinity Park

Join the Suffolk Agricultural Association for a day spent sampling and buying fresh local produce from some of the best suppliers Suffolk has to offer. From local meats, to wines, to vegan foods, there is something for everyone here.

For more info visit http://www.suffolkfarmersmarket.co.uk/

Sunday 31st March – Steam Up 2019

Where: The Long Shop Museum, Leiston

Discover the power of steam with The Long Shop Museum’s magnificent range of steam engines. Take a ride in a steam tractor, engage in hands-on children’s activities and enjoy tea, coffee and homemade cakes from the tea room.

For more info visit http://www.longshopmuseum.co.uk/steam-up-2019/

What’s on in Suffolk in April 2019?

Latte and a laptop at Jimmy's Farm
We like the countryside atmosphere over at Jimmy’s Farm!

Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th April – Jimmy’s Spring Fayre

Where: Jimmy’s Farm, Ipswich

Bring the family to Jimmy’s Farm, where you and the kids can enjoy an Easter egg hunt, carousel rides, local food and more. In addition, the Farm & Wildlife Park will be open throughout the day, with a team on hand to provide animal encounters.

For more info visit https://jimmysfarm.com/event/jimmys-spring-fayre/

Friday 18th & Saturday 20th April – Easter Weekend

Where: Snape Maltings

Enjoy a feast for your ears as Snape Maltings presents a collection of sacred music spanning Bach to Fauré. Plus, find many family-friendly activities throughout the weekend, including an Easter egg hunt and farmers’ market.

For more info visit https://snapemaltings.co.uk/season/easter-weekend/

Saturday 27th April to Sunday 26th May – Alde Valley Spring Festival

Where: White House Farm, Great Glemham

This annual festival celebrates the arts, food, landscape and agriculture throughout Suffolk. During this year’s month long celebration, a theme of plants and gardening will tie each facet of Suffolk’s creative community together, influencing artists, musicians, chefs and many more.

For more info visit http://www.aldevalleyspringfestival.co.uk/

What’s on in Suffolk in May 2019?

Sparrow on a branch
Photo by Pritiranjan Maharana on Unsplash

Wednesday 1st May – Early Morning Birdsong Walk

Where: National Trust Dunwich Heath

Tour Dunwich Heath on foot with a guide and discover the beautiful chirps and songs of the early morning birds. Known for its wealth of wildlife, this is the perfect place to spot local birds, as well as some species native to heath land habitats. Follow up the walk with a hearty breakfast at the Coastguard Cottages tea room.

For more info visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunwich-heath-and-beach

Thursday 8th to Wednesday 15th May – Exhibition: Suffolk and Beyond

Where: Snape Maltings

Discover the art of Ian Last and Clare Rizzo, who bring Suffolk to life with their individual takes on the landscape and nature. Based in the Quay Gallery at Snape Maltings, this exhibition is free to enter.

For more info visit https://snapemaltings.co.uk/whats-on/exhibition-suffolk-and-beyond/

Saturday 25th May – Beccles Food and Drink Festival 2019

Where: Beccles town centre

Wander the many stalls at this bountiful food and drink festival, and try scrumptious food and drink from local producers. You’ll also find cookery demonstrations, talks, live music and children’s activities.

For more info visit http://becclesfoodfestival.co.uk/

Whatever you decide to do in Suffolk, we hope you have a lovely time. Consider staying with us at Woodfarm Barges for a truly unique trip and create some unforgettable memories from the comfort of our luxury barges.