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A Dog’s Day at Woodfarm Barges

Following my delightful trip to Woodfarm Barns, I was more than a little excited to discover that The Humans had booked a weekend away on board a barge with Woodfarm Barges. The announcement of this news, however, had me curling my paws. I’ll relay it to you now, fair reader, as it was an altogether ridiculous spectacle.

Barging into the room (pun intended) after a day at work, Human 1 not only woke me from my peaceful slumber, but offended my eyes with a garish sailor’s outfit he’d adorned to deliver the news.

“Guess where we’re off to?!” he screeched with all the grace of a goose.

“No, you didn’t!” Human 2 replied, clearly besides herself and on the verge of an embarrassing episode.

“I did! You’ve been on at me all week, and we had such a good time at the barns that I just couldn’t resist!”

Throwing her arms around him, Human 2 kept repeating “you’re the best, you’re the best, you’re the best!”

Was she seeing the same man I was? He wasn’t the best, he was positively the worst. I mean, a sailors hat, a striped tee shirt and goofy grin- whoever heard of such a thing?!

I can only thank my stars that he didn’t do it down the park in front of all the neighbourhood dogs. It’s bad enough that they insist on me wearing a wooly jumper in winter. The Alsatians have a literal field day when they spot me out in that thing.

After the commotion died down, the Humans took up their iPads to find even more things to do in Suffolk. Dog-friendly things to do, obviously.

Though they’ve learned I never dignify their questions with a response, they kept asking if I was excited and would I be ok on board a barge.

As a dog that knows his port from his starboard, and his stern from his bow, my four sea legs would be perfectly at home.

I’ve also read Moby Dick several times, so I also knew that there was nothing the open seas could throw at me that I wouldn’t be prepared for.

(I did later learn that the barge was to remain moored for the entire duration of our stay, and I really needn’t have worried about huge white whales threatening our trip.)

Following a few days of anticipation on my behalf, and plenty of itinerary building on the behalf of The Humans, I was placed in my travel crate and we were on our way to Woodfarm Barges. Thankfully, the Humans left the fancy dress in the Big Basket Downstairs on their way out of the house.

Immediately upon our arrival at Snape Maltings, it was evident that Woodfarm Barges are just as spotless and just as superb as Woodfarm Barns. Three double cabins, three bathrooms and two lounge areas?! I could hardly believe my luck. I could easily walk the length of the vessel and The Humans would have no need for me to don my wooly jumper for another of their walks.

Once we’d settled in and The Humans had their customary glass of bubbles and I’d had my customary bowl of water, we set about doing all of the dog-friendly activities suggested on the Woodfarm Barns and Barges websites. 

You really have to hand it to those guys – I suspect they actually spend more time researching things for us canines to do than they do human activities.


Quite right, too. 

Barge stern

All in all, I was treated to days of endless walks through picturesque fields, pub bowls of water in Southwold, Felixstowe and Aldeburgh. I journeyed along the Sailor’s Path, visited Walberswick, took a dip at Thorpeness, and even got to see what all the fuss was about surrounding Rendlesham Forest. Turns out the fuss is fully justified. Even I, a dog that is fitter than a butcher’s dog (I know, I’ve seen the dalmatian that belongs to our local butcher, and he isn’t a patch on me), couldn’t have possibly walked all of the trails in a single day.

I really feel that I can be quite harsh on The Humans sometimes. They do treat me to stays and days out at some of the best places in England, after all.

I’m reliably informed by the proprietor that you can easily book a place on board one of these barges in Suffolk by clicking the following link. I think you really should do it, it’s fantastic. And that’s coming from one the most discerning of poodles around.

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5 Reasons Why You Have to Rent a Barge in Suffolk This Summer

Kenneth Grahame, celebrated author of The Wind in The Willows, once famously declared that “there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as messing about in boats”. Whilst the Barges available to rent Woodfarm Barges are moored, we’re still confident that our guests are able to discover the truth of this wisdom when enjoying a holiday on board either Onderneming or Twee Gebroeders.  

Dating back to the 1800s, our converted Dutch Sailing Barges are comfortably furnished and equipped with everything guests would expect from modern holiday accommodation. From cozy cabins to comfortable saloons and all the necessary amenities, they are effectively floating cottages which can be used as the perfect base from which to enjoy everything that Suffolk has to offer. 

Read the full article on the Woodfarm Barns website…

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10 of the Best Places to Wine and Dine in Suffolk

At Woodfarm Barns and Barges, we’re committed to providing the best possible experience for couples looking to get away for a holiday in Suffolk. Situated amidst beautiful countryside surroundings and equipped with hot tubs and cosy bedrooms, we’re fairly sure that our accommodation has everything you could possibly require for a memorable romantic break.

We’re confident, too, that the location of our Cottages, Barns and Barges make it easy for guests to do all of the things they could possibly want to do when taking a break, whether they’re celebrating a special anniversary or simply enjoying a summer holiday.

Read the full article on the Woodfarm Barns website…  

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Secret Suffolk: 5 of the Best Hidden Gems You Should Know About

Every county in the world has its hidden gems and Suffolk is no exception. Behind every one of its standout attractions, there are various exciting destinations tucked away just waiting to be discovered by the more informed traveler. 

From a forest and walking trail rumoured to be visited by UFOs, to a farm full of rare breeds, there’s a lot more to our floral and historic county than meets the eyes.

Read the full article on the Woodfarm Barns website…

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Snuggle Up In Suffolk: How To Plan The Perfect Romantic Summer Staycation

We’re pretty confident that Suffolk rivals the big boys when it comes to romantic holiday destinations. We’re so confident, in fact, that we previously mentioned it in the same breath as Paris and Venice when describing the best place to take a couples holiday.

Doubling down on this suggestion, we’re back to provide you with a detailed plan for the perfect romantic staycation in Suffolk. From fine dining to long walks on the beach and even horse riding, we’ve got everything you could possibly desire from a couples holiday right here in our beautiful county. 

Whether you’re marking a special anniversary or simply fancy a memorable summer holiday with your better half, here are five exciting activities to consider when planning a romantic break in Suffolk:

Read the full post on the Woodfarm Barns website…

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5 Reasons Why You Have to Rent a Cottage or Barn in Suffolk This Summer

The Granary Barn at Woodfarm Barns

At Woodfarm Barns and Barges, it will come as no surprise to learn that we believe renting a Cottage or Barn for a holiday in Suffolk is the best thing you can do in summer. Providing you with everything you need to relax in comfort and style, our Cottages and Barns allow you to experience everything that our fantastic county has to offer from a comfortable and superbly equipped base.

Read the full article on the Woodfarm Barns website…

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“The Dig” Brings Suffolk to the Small Screen

“The Dig”, a brand new film from Netflix has turned the spotlight on to Sutton Hoo, a location directly opposite our barge Twee Gebroeders at Woodbridge. The featured image is me at Sutton Hoo years ago. Can’t imagine why they didn’t ask me to star in the film!

Starring the multi award-winning Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan, the film tells the story of how Edith Pretty, a landowner in 1939, requested a local archaeologist to look into some unexplained mounds on her estate. 

After plenty of digging, it transpired that beneath these mounds was a royal burial chamber complete with all the trimmings – unearthed in the excavation was a warrior’s helmet as well as a sword and shield believed to have once belonged to King Raedwald.

viking ship
‘The dig” unveils the story behind one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time

Described by experts as “one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time”, the film does a fantastic job of revealing all of the drama, excitement and repercussions that came with the work carried out by Basil Brown, the determined local archeologist employed by Edith Pretty.

As you might expect, “The Dig” features plenty of footage from around Suffolk, and the production team headed out to Snape Maltings and Aldeburgh to get what we believe are some of the best shots in the film. Whilst we might be a little biased, we think that the scenes featuring Fiennes biking through some recognisable Suffolk scenes do a great amount of service to the rural landscape of the county. 

Onderneming moored alongside Cygnet, featured in ‘The dig’

Interestingly, A barge that can be seen sailing near Snape in the film is moored next to our very own Onderneming at Snape Maltings! I know the guy who looks after that barge and it may be him sailing her in the film, though I honestly couldn’t quite tell. Here she is in a screenshot from the film. From here, guests on board our barge are able to easily visit the central destination featured in “The Dig” to immerse themselves in this exciting chapter of modern history. It’s just a short walk from Onderneming to where Ralph Fiennes was sitting in this scene.

The Dig Netflix film
This screenshot from ‘The dig’ shows Ralph Fiennes on the bank of the River Alde, near Snape Maltings and Onderneming

Expertly cared for by the National Trust, the Royal Burial Ground at Sutton Hoo welcomes visitors to walk the various mounds that make up the landscape and to see for themselves the task that Basil Brown undertook back in the late thirties.

Whilst history buffs will no doubt be excited to get up close and personal with the Royal Burial Ground, there’s plenty more to Sutton Hoo and the surrounding areas for holidaymakers to take advantage of. Aldebrugh beach, for example, is only a short distance away from our barge Twee Gebroeders. Similarly, the restaurants and attractions in and around Ipswich are easily reached by car.   

Sure to inspire more than a few holidaymakers to visit Suffolk this year, we’re pleased to offer families and couples the opportunity to discover the magic of this destination for themselves when renting one of our barges. 

To find out more about the times Suffolk made its way onto the silver and small screen, be sure to take a look at our article  5 film and TV locations you can visit when taking a holiday in Suffolk. I also wrote a blog post about my own visit to Sutton Hoo many years, which you can see here on on the Woodfarm Barns website.

If the film has got you excited about a Suffolk getaway, be sure to get in touch to start planning your stay on board one of our barges today.

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Directions and some extra info for your Woodfarm Barges break

Here’s some extra information such as how to get to us, links to things to do, arrival & departure info, deposit and balance info etc. You might want to save it to you your phone.

Payments
We take a deposit of £100 per Barge at the time of booking, with the balance being payable one month before arrival (extended to two months for Christmas and New year bookings). If your stay is within a month of booking (or within 2 months if for Christmas or New Year) then the total amount is due now.

Directions for our two barges;

For Onderneming
Snape Maltings, Snape, Suffolk, IP17 1SP
From the A12 take the A1094 signposted towards Snape Maltings. At Snape Church turn on to the B1069 into the village of Snape itself before turning left into Snape Maltings. Onderneming is on the quay as you drive in. You can’t miss her!

We have reserved parking just before the slipway nearby so you can unload and park near the Barge.
For Twee Gebroeders
Bass Dock, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 1BW. Use the Post Code IP12 1BP for parking (see below)
From the A12 in either direction turn off for Woodbridge and simply follow the road through the town to the riverside, keeping a lookout for signs to ‘The Tidemill’. It is so iconic, there are signs everywhere.

The Barge is moored on a public quay so we don’t have parking. You can park just a few minutes walk to the Train Station car park next door to the quay. It’s £4 per day via the RingGo app. The postcode is IP12 4AU and the RingGo location is 4415

Just walk through to the river and follow the quay around towards the Tidemill. Twee Gebroeders is the barge nearest the Tidemill itself. If you have a lot of luggage, you can drive to The Tidemill directly to drop off close to the Barge.


Arrival & Departure – we’ll be in touch a couple of days before arrival to arrange a time
Arrival whilst we are ‘under the COVID cloud’ is 4pm as we have a lot of extra housekeeping and we like to make sure your barge is ready. We do like to welcome you but we have key safes if you are likely to arriving when we’re not around. If this is the case we’ll let you have the current code for your barge. Departures are by 10.00am at the latest on the day of departure so we can prepare it for the next guests. Please don’t make us send in the heavies to drag you out kicking and screaming.

Planning your stay
We have loads of ideas on our Blog Pages, plus on the Blog Pages of woodfarmbarns.com. We also have a website that we’ve developed just for you to start getting excited about your stay. ‘Where Do We?…‘ is your online guide to lots of things in  Suffolk so hopefully it’ll help.

Days Out
We also have a blog series especially for our guests that pulls together some great Days Out – so you can find out how to spend a full day out in specific parts of the local area. Visit our blog here…

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See the autumn red deer rut in Suffolk

Red deer rut

The red deer rut is a one-of-a-kind spectacle of nature and marks the height of autumn in the county of Suffolk! For everything you need to know about how to see the red deer rut in Suffolk, read on…

What is the red deer rut?

Taking place in autumn, specifically the month of October, the red deer rut is a part of the mating process for red deer.

Mating begins with the females of the species gathering in a large herd. This herd is then joined by large, fierce stags, who are ready to intimidate each other in front of their potential mates. The stags tip their heads back and roar into the air; the one with the loudest roar becomes the dominant male, and essentially wins his harem of females.

Deer in misty park
Red deer are the largest land mammals in the UK!

However – and this is where it gets really interesting – if there is another stag with a similarly loud roar and a taste for dominance, the two will battle it out using their antlers. They’ll clash together and lock antlers until one becomes injured or backs down, and the winner will take his position as the dominant male of the harem. The fight usually doesn’t last long, but it is a very exciting part of nature in the Suffolk countryside!

Incredible facts about red deer

Did you know that red deer are the largest land mammals in the UK? These majestic animals can grow to around four feet tall, minus their antlers! Although their size is rather intimidating, most red deer (even park deer) will try to escape if a human or other large animal gets too close. However, it’s important not to approach male deer, especially during mating season, as they will display aggressive behaviour. 

Deer bathing in water
Suffolk has one of the largest populations of red deer outside Scotland

Formerly extinct across much of the UK in the 1700s, conservationists have worked extremely hard to bring populations back to life. The national population has now reached 360,000, with a large percentage based in Scotland. Here in Suffolk, we’re very lucky to have one of the largest populations of red deer outside of Scottish borders!

Where to see the red deer rut in Suffolk

RSPB Minsmere is, without a doubt, the best place to see the red deer rut in Suffolk. Following a brief closure during the COVID-19 lockdown, all trails and most hides are now open, allowing you to see the deer, as well as a huge range of autumn migrating birds and wonderful flora across the reserve. Most paths on the trails are wide enough to allow for social distancing, ensuring a safe and positive environment for visitors of all ages.

RSPB sign and robin
RSPB Minsmere: the ideal location to spot the red deer rut

RSPB Minsmere is open from dawn until dusk, with the visitor centre open between 9am-5pm from 1st February to 31st October, and 9am-4pm from 1st November to 31st January. 

Tickets are £9 per adult and £5 for children under 19 (first child gets free entrance, and children under 5 go free). Student tickets are £6 each.

Can I bring my dog?

At RSPB Minsmere, dogs are not allowed on trails or in the hides. However, maps are available for walking dogs locally in the area. We also have a selection of blog posts about where you can take your dog, on our ‘Where Do We?’ website.

Dunwich heath
RSPB Minsmere is right next to the stunning Dunwich Beach & Heath
Where to stay in Suffolk during the red deer rut

We welcome you to stay on board our unique, historic Suffolk Holiday Barges. These stunning static Barges are available for couples, families and groups of friends looking for a relaxing stay in wonderful Suffolk. Our Onderneming Barge is based in the charming village of Snape Maltings and sleep 6, while Twee Gebroeders is based in the market town of Woodbridge and sleeps 4. Both have been refurbished to a high standard, and feature their own kitchen and dining facilities, bathrooms, comfortable bedrooms, cosy living areas and central heating. 

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

Onderneming is a half-hour drive from RSPB Minsmere, while Twee Gebroeders is 45 minutes away. It’s the perfect location for an autumn day out! Want to dive into a snug Suffolk pub for a drink and a hearty meal after walking around the reserve? Click here to view our favourite Suffolk pubs located near our Barges!

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The Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival 2020 – what’s happening?

Local Suffolk produce

The Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival is a much-loved event in the Suffolk event calendar – however, this year’s event will be a little bit different. Read on for the lowdown of what’s happening during the 2020 festival.

What is the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival

Widely regarded as one of the best annual food festivals in the country, this event brings together dozens of local producers of fresh food, drink, confectionery and more. It’s the place to be if you want to fill your fridge and pantry with mouth watering produce – and indulge in a cheeky, freshly-made meal while you’re browsing. 

Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival

Not only that, but you can meet the producers themselves, and grill them about food miles, sustainable practices, and more. It’s a great way to learn about the thriving food industry in Suffolk.

The event takes place at the stunning riverside village of Snape, which is also where one of our beautiful, Historic Suffolk Holiday Barges is based! The Barge, Onderneming, sleeps six guests and up to three dogs, and features three bathrooms, two large lounge and dining areas, two kitchens and stunning river views. We clean both of our Barges thoroughly following each visit, ensuring that our guests are safe and happy during their stay.

What’s changing for 2020?

As a precautionary measure in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival is undergoing a few temporary changes this year. On 26th to 27th September, a ‘Market Weekend’ will replace the festival. Don’t worry – it’ll still take place at Snape Maltings, and there will be over 50 local producers spread across the grounds of the outdoor event area, plus entertainment and street food kiosks.

Tim Anderson and Kwoklyn Wan at the 2019 Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival
Tim Anderson (left) and Kwoklyn Wan on the Tiptree Stage at last year’s event

Unfortunately, this year’s event will lack the live chef demonstrations and masterclasses of previous years, but the market itself will be a wonderful experience! 

Where to get tickets for the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival 2020

Tickets are FREE this year! However, to enable the festival to keep going for future years and to keep bringing local producers together for the event, the arrangers are asking for optional donations with bookings. You can book your tickets via the festival website here. Be aware that festival visitor numbers will be limited to allow for social distancing measures, so make sure to book well in advance. 

Wild Suffolk at the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival
Wild Suffolk at the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival
Where to stay

Our Onderneming Barge is moored on the river at Snape Maltings, meaning that the festival is right on your doorstep. However, the Barge is fully booked for the 2020 event, as is our Twee Gebroeders Barge at Woodbridge and our Luxury, Dog-Friendly Cottages in Stonham Aspal.

As our Holiday Barges and Cottages are so popular, we recommend booking well in advance – especially for popular Suffolk events! We do have some space available for later in the autumn and winter. It’s a beautiful time of year to visit Suffolk, so book now to enjoy the beauty that our county has to offer!