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Why take a unique Barge holiday?

Onderneming at Snape Maltings

Thank you for taking the time to consider staying at one of our Suffolk Holiday Barges. Still mulling over your booking? Below are some reasons that might help you make a decision!

Please let me know if you have any queries by calling me directly on 01449 710032, or emailing carl@woodfarmbarns.com. You can even WhatsApp me by clicking below…

We’re dog-friendly

We say this on nearly every page of our website – but we still get questions about our dog-friendly status! Yes, we welcome up to three dogs on each of our Barges. Included in your holiday will be necessities to keep your dog happy, including dog treats in your welcome basket, dog poop bags, towels, and more. There are plenty of walks and activities for you and your dog to enjoy in Suffolk, and you don’t even have to venture far from your Barge!

Twee Gebroeders Barge

Fantastic reviews and awards

Our guests love staying at Woodfarm Barges, and we have many who return year after year! Guests have described our Barges as ‘authentic’, ‘unique’ and ‘exceeding all expectations’. But don’t just take our word for it! We have an entire page of reviews that you can read through at your leisure here.

We’re also the proud recipients of the Visit England Gold Awards for both our Barges and Barns, which we’ve been awarded every year since we first launched, back in 2014.

The main bedroom of our Holiday Cottage Barge

We’re constantly full!

The fact that we’re constantly taking back-to-back bookings is a testament to how popular our Barges really are! And no, this isn’t just us bragging, nor is it a sales technique – we would love to be able to fit everyone in who wants a booking, and we don’t like having to turn people away. We want you to be able to enjoy our Barges just as every guest has before you, so it’s important to book right away if you see a space in the calendar that fits your holiday dates.

Onderneming at Snape Maltings

Excellent location

Our Historic, Dutch Holiday Barges are located in blissful Suffolk, in the midst of nature but conveniently located near fabulous amenities such as riverside restaurants and independent shops. Onderneming is moored on the River Alde in the one-of-a-kind village of Snape Maltings, while Twee Gebroeders is moored on the River Deben at the Tidemill in Woodbridge.

Onderneming Barge at Snape Maltings

View before you stay

We know it can be difficult to make your mind up about where to go on holiday, as there’s so much choice out there. That’s why we’ve got plenty of info, images and videos to show you just why you should stay with us. We’ve just about covered everything you need to know about our Barges on this website, but if you have any more questions, feel free to message us at any time and someone will get back to you. Watch our videos here to find out more about our Barges.

We’re expanding to Tuscany

It won’t be long now before we can welcome guests at our breathtakingly beautiful Holiday Cottage in the heart of the Tuscan countryside in Italy. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing countryside break with warmer weather, a Mediterranean culinary exploration, picturesque views that would make any avid photographer swoon – or all of the above! – then visit our Woodfarm Tuscany website to know more and follow our progress.

FREE breaks!

We love to give away free breaks to our Woodfarm VIP Rewards Group. You don’t have to have stayed with us to become a member, and it doesn’t cost anything. All you need to do is sign up to our email list here and you could be selected to win.

We never share your info. It’s simply to keep you informed of the good stuff so that you may consider us when making your holiday and short break decisions. You can unsubscribe any time you like.

We hope that this page has provided you with all the information you need about our Suffolk Holiday Barges, but please let me know if you have any more queries by calling me directly on 01449 710032, or emailing carl@woodfarmbarns.com. You can also click here to book your holiday.

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What to bring for a beach day with your dog

What to bring to a beach day with your dog

As spring and summer approach, what could complement the warmer weather more than a trip to the beach with your dog? Just like humans, many dogs will adore the fresh air and the chance to run around – and if your dog is a strong swimmer and the current isn’t strong, maybe even a dip in the sea!

However, it’s important to be prepared when going to the beach. Just as you wouldn’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen, you should also bring a few items for your dog’s wellbeing. Read on to find out what to bring (aside from the standard collar, leash, poop bags, etc.)!

But first, a brief note about Suffolk’s beaches

We know many people love going abroad for their holidays, especially to beachfront locations where the weather is much hotter and ‘all-inclusive’ is the name of the game. However, there are many reasons to take a holiday in the UK: it can be far more cost effective, it’s better for the environment and it’s a great way to visit areas that you might not have thought about before.

What to bring to a beach day with your dog
A local holiday with your pup is easier on the pocket and the environment!

If you’d love to go on a local holiday, but you still like the idea of being at the beach, then Suffolk is the place to go. Our beaches are very clean and, if you have a dog, many are dog-friendly at certain times of the year. Suffolk Coasts and Heaths is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which lines our county; this means that our beaches are untouched by development and maintain a healthy flora and fauna population. There’s so much to see here – and all just a stone’s throw away from our Dog-Friendly Dutch Barges!

5 things to bring to the beach with your dog

Plenty of water

Even though you’re by the sea, it’s essential to bring clean water for your dog to drink during your beach trip. A few gulps of sea water can cause diarrhoea, and any more than that could cause vomiting and dehydration, which is dangerous for dogs. If your dog is running around in hot weather, they will need plenty of hydration. Bring a bottle or two with you; some popular beaches offer communal taps for refilling bottles.

Towel

Whether or not your dog is going in the sea, beaches can be messy places, with sand, seaweed and other substances sticking to your dog’s fur. An old towel is a simple but very handy item to help you keep your dog clean.

Beach umbrella

Did you know that dogs can get sunburnt, too? Their noses and ears are the most sensitive areas, and it can be quite painful for them to get burnt there. Dogs can also get heat stroke from being in the sun for too long, and this can be very dangerous. A beach umbrella will provide some sun relief for both you and your pup – so take one during your next visit!

Floating toy

Bringing your dog’s favourite toy to the beach is nice – but what if it disappears under water?! Balls, ropes and other toys can quickly disappear if dropped in the sea, and this can result in a distraught doggy! Floating toys stay on the surface, allowing your dog to easily locate their toy. Take one along to the beach for a game of fetch.

Small first aid kit

Accidents do happen, whether your dog has stood on a piece of broken shell and cut themselves, or they’ve been stung by a wasp. A small first aid kit filled with essential items will help you keep your dog safe until you can get them home and make them comfortable again. A couple of bandages, dog-safe antiseptic towelettes and scissors can come in handy (always read the labels before using any products on your dog’s skin).

What to bring to a beach day with your dog
Stay with up to three dogs on our holiday barges, which are close to Suffolk’s beautiful beaches

Dog-Friendly Suffolk Holidays with Woodfarm Barges

We hope that you and your dog have a waggly tail of a time at the beach! If you are thinking about coming to Suffolk for a holiday, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our two historic, Dog-Friendly Dutch Barges are situated at Woodbridge and Snape Maltings, and both can accommodate up to three dogs each. We also have a set of Luxury, Dog-Friendly Holiday Cottages further into the Suffolk countryside, but also not far from the beach.

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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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Indulge in the finest Suffolk foods at Aldeburgh Food Festival

Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival

Did you know that the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival is happening this weekend? Taking place across two days, this festival celebrates the best of what our county has to offer in terms of locally sourced food and drink.

At Woodfarm Barges, you can stay right in the middle of the action on our unique, historic Dutch barge, Onderneming. You can be the first person through the gates of the show – and the last, depending on how many samples you want to consume!

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

100ft in length and 18ft wide, Onderneming is an incredibly spacious home-away-from-home for you, five other guests, and even your dogs! The festivities will be right on your doorstep, as this beautiful barge is moored at Snape Maltings, where Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival is held. 

The who’s who of Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival

Here, you’ll find over 100 producers exhibiting the best of Suffolk’s food and drink scene. Satisfy your appetite with mouth-watering cheese by award-winning farms such as Fen Farm Dairy and Suffolk Farmhouse Cheese. Let your nose lead you to the sweet and savoury baked goods of Two Magpies, Pump Street and Brownie & The Bean. Indulge your tastebuds with the rich, juicy offerings of butchers such as Salter & King and The Wild Meat Company. If you’re planning a family roast this Christmas, this is the place to get your inspiration!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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For the forever-hungry, there’s also a magnificent selection of street food vendors ready to fill your tummy. Enjoy the tender texture and succulent flavour of a classic hog roast by Parkers Hog Roast and follow up with fresh, homemade doughnuts from Doodle Donuts. If Greek food is on your mind, make a beeline for The Souvlaki Shack where authentically cooked pork and pitta is waiting for you. Or, if you’re after a quick snack, stop by Wrights, purveyors of posh cheese toasties. Are you salivating yet?

What’s on at Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival

If you’re not so keen on wandering around stalls all day, there’s a great programme of activities available at Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival. 

Try out your skills at a masterclass. The Great British Bake-Off’s Chetna Makan is hosting a one-hour class on healthy Indian food, taken from her new book Healthy Indian. Meanwhile, author and presenter Jo Pratt is teaching attendees about pescatarian cooking with a hands-on workshop revolving around seafood scotch eggs.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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That’s not all. One of Suffolk’s most well-known alcoholic drink brands, Adnams, is hosting a two-day drinks experience at the show, which will involve talks and workshops with cyder, gin, mocktails and more.

Where to stay

If this exciting event takes your fancy, we would love you to come and stay with us at Woodfarm Barges! As we mentioned, our historic Dutch barge, Onderneming, is based at Snape Maltings, where the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival takes place. However, we also have another barge, Twee Gebroeders, which is just a twenty-minute drive away, at Tidemill in Woodbridge.

If those are fully booked, we also have seven luxury, dog-friendly cottages at Woodfarm Barns in Stonham Aspal, which is 20 miles away from Snape Maltings.

We hope that you’ll visit the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival, and we look forward to welcoming you at our beautiful Suffolk accommodation!

Find out more about the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival here.

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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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See our favourite Midweek Mutt-Shots from 2019

Midweek Mutt-Shots

If you follow us on Facebook, you’ve probably seen our Midweek Mutt-Shots. If not, this is where we give our followers a theme, and they respond with a photo of their dog!

The images have ranged from hilarious to downright adorable, and we love scrolling through everyone’s contributions each week. It’s a nice little pick-me-up for everyone at Woodfarm.

Although we find it hard to choose a favourite each week as there are so many brilliant entries, we usually manage to come to an agreement and pick one or two dogs who we think fit the theme perfectly.

It’s a hard feat, becoming doggy king or queen of the Midweek Mutt-Shots, so we feel like our very special ‘favourites’ should be immortalised in a blog post. And that’s exactly what we’ve done! We’ve put each week’s favourite dog into a blog post over on our Woodfarm Barns site. That means plenty of scrolling through gorgeous dog pictures for you, and plenty of recognition for the dogs!

Head over to the blog post now to see what all the fuss is about, and follow us on Facebook to see more Muttshots!

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Win a free holiday for Woodfarm Barges and Barns’ 10th birthday

We’re celebrating Woodfarm’s 10th anniversary with another competition! This time, you’ll have the chance to stay aboard our Twee Gebroeders barge in Woodbridge or our Granary Barn in Stonham Aspal. Both are dog-friendly and both present wonderful opportunities to take a well-earned break in the beautiful Suffolk countryside.

There are many reasons to come to Suffolk, like the fresh country air, the picturesque seaside and the charming towns and villages dotted throughout the county. Here, there’s plenty of room for you and your dog to roam about – not to mention an abundance of award-winning pubs to visit when you’re tired of exploring. We’re very lucky to call this county home, and we’d love to share it with you if you decide to stay in our barns or barges.

If you like the sound of a free holiday, head on over to our Woodfarm Barns blog, where we explain all the details of the competition. Good luck!

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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.