We've just returned to London from a chilly and wet weekend in Suffolk where we stayed in an amazing Airbnb property that I have to tell you about! We want to make the most of the relative calm there is at the moment before baby 2 arrives in January so thought a fun weekend away from London just the 3 of us was just what the doctor ordered. Although we were mostly camped up inside, away from the rain, drinking tea, playing hide and seek and colouring at the kitchen table (or at the pub of course) it was a lovely escape from London life and I love the cosiness of relaxed Autumn weekends spent like this. Finn's toucan activity box (recently reviewed on the blog here) also came in handy as a rainy afternoon activity with Finn enjoying making a dream catcher and feather headband.
Being away with a little one made me think about recommending some nice weekends away and places to stay on the blog. We are regular visitors to the North Norfolk coast but Suffolk is that little bit closer to London (around 1.5 - 2 hours) and easy enough to jump in the car with a little one (or 2 or 3).
We stayed in Ivy House which we randomly found on Airbnb and it's a real gem of a cottage. It's located near Harleston (officially Norfolk but right on the Suffolk borders) and is a restored medieval farm cottage in a rural setting next to a beautiful 15th century church, set within a 3 acre church yard. It has beautifully styled interiors, exposed beams and lovely attention to detail with rustic and retro touches, very tastefully done and I would like my own home to look like this! It has 2 bedrooms, very low ceilings (we did bang our heads a few times) a big family bathroom with a cast iron roll top bath, metro tiled kitchen diner and cosy sitting room. It has been renovated very tastefully with a contemporary feel, all pale wood floorboards, tollix chairs, g-plan tables, vintage furniture and pictures and rugs. It's not completely child proof - no stair gates, hard floors for falls and a step up in the kitchen - but as far as a period rental cottage went it worked fine for us with a 2.5 yr old. They had some kids books and a high chair but we bought Finn's mattress with us for him to sleep on as he's too big for a travel cost and too little for a double bed (anyone else having this annoying problem at the moment when they travel??). They also have a second house attached next door (Ivywood House) with 6 bedrooms, which would be great if there were a few more of you or even to rent both for a larger family/friends get together.
A homemade Norfolk cake waited for us as we arrived and the house was filled with fresh flowers (who doesn't love an old bonne maman jar filled with short wild roses?). Please excuse the quality of the pics, all of which were taken with my iPhone 6 and it was quite dark and cloudy - this is making me realise I need to get back into using my proper camera!
We spent Friday and Saturday mostly huddled away inside away from the miserable weather (plus serious parent fail we forgot Finn's wellies) but ventured out to nearby Harleston (5 min drive) which was great for antique shops, charming independent stores and tea rooms. If you need to deck a house out with some cool vintage finds this is the place to go. A trip to the traditional Queens Head Pub in Eye for early lunch was perfect with a cosy roaring fire sheltering from the rain (more colouring and a peppa pig magazine for Finn of course!)
On Sunday we headed to Southwold via Darsham Nurseries (20 minutes drive) which has an excellent cafe, shop and garden centre, a bit like a much more affordable Daylesford Organic. The brunch menu was amazing for the area (I am a complete food snob and it is harder to find good food outside of London, sorry ;) ), the menu included pork belly, squash & potato hash, fried egg & pickles and buttermilk pancakes, plum compote, maple syrup & yoghurt mmmm plus bottomless cups of excellent coffee. The shop had some great presents and Christmas decorations which we stocked up on. It was a real gem of a find and can highly recommend it!
We then drove on to Southwold beach with its famous pier and colourful beach huts for a windy walk in the afternoon. We tried out newly opened The Little Fish and Chip Shop (which was totally packed to the rafters so we ate outside) and pottered round the streets of Southwold which had lots of nice delis, bakeries and independent shops. You won't go hungry here!
Suffolk is perfect for a short or long weekend away and Airbnb has some really affordable options on it.
Details of the places I mention above are here:
Ivy House, Harleston. 2 bedroom cottage, found on Air bnb
Ivywood House, Harleston. The bigger 6 bed house next door
Cornucopia at the Corn Exchange, Harleston - Vintage shop Harleston
The Queens Head, Eye - Lovely traditional pub
Darsham Nurseries, Darsham - Great cafe, shop and garden centre