Which Suffolk Holiday Tribe Are You?
Published: Tuesday 19th Dec 2017
Written by: Chloe Baker.
More people are holidaying in Suffolk than ever before – and who can blame them?
Suffolk Secrets, the county’s largest and leading holiday lettings agency, saw an increase of over 15% in bookings over 2016, a figure which already looks like being eclipsed in this much-touted ‘year of the staycation’.
“We’ve seen the popularity of Suffolk as a holiday destination soar in recent years, “says George Bradley, General Manager and life-long Suffolk native. “What’s particularly great, though, is that the increase in visitor numbers isn’t just from visitors from outside the region, but from people who already live here, using their holiday time to enjoy the many things on their own doorstep.
“It’s a Suffolk success story.”
The Southwold-based lettings agency, which also has an office in Aldeburgh, has also noticed some other trends.
“We have a huge return rate, with more than 30% of our customers returning to Suffolk to holiday again.”
Part of Suffolk’s appeal is its diversity, from coast to the wool and market towns, forest to rolling countryside, it truly does offer something for everyone.
Here, we give a light-hearted nod to the different types of people Suffolk appeals to.
Which Suffolk holiday tribe are you?
The Multigenerational Family
As trends go, the rise of the multi-generational break is the fastest growing sector or ‘tribe’ in the holiday lettings market. 70th birthdays are the most cited reason to bring everyone together, with joint summer holidays and Christmas breaks closely following.
Properties that can accommodate grandparents, parents and grandchildren under the same roof are one of our most popular type and for good reason. Booking a shared holiday home, whether you prefer a grand Georgian house with sea views, a rural barn conversion, country estate with tennis court or modern townhouse, is the easiest way to celebrate an occasion ‘en famille’, in terms of travel, in terms of flexibility and accessibility (many properties have bedrooms on the ground floor).
It’s cost-effective, too, as you’re paying for the whole property, not just per head, like a hotel.
And, If the thought of the whole family under one roof brings you out in an anxiety rash, there’s always interconnected or adjoining properties.
What? Chelsea Villa
How many? Sleeps 14 in 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms
How much? Price from £2,385 per person to £3385 per person
Why? A property with panache, located as it is in one of Southwold’s prime positions, overlooking the beach and with views of the iconic lighthouse, too. Inside, Chelsea Villa has been renovated to the highest spec, providing flexible yet luxury accommodation for groups of up to 14 people – ideal for large gatherings, birthday parties or a group holiday. Our favourite features: the fantastic outdoor space for al fresco dining and that each of the six, sumptuous bedrooms have been named after Victorian authors, from Bronte to Trollope. Which will you pick?
The Culture Vultures
2017 has been declared, ‘Year of Literary Heroes’ by tourism body, Visit England which for us in Suffolk has caused quite the conundrum: whom to choose?
Did you know, for example, that ‘Swallows and Amazon’ Arthur Ransome (who died 50 years ago this year) based two of his books at his one-time home of Pin Mill, Suffolk, or that his boat, the Nancy Tuckett, is still moored there? Or that George Orwell’s former home, Montague House, is in Southwold, which you can book through Suffolk Secrets? Or that authors PD James and Ruth Rendell were Suffolk based, and Esther Freud, still is?
That Benjamin Britten, the UK’s best-known composer, came from and lived in Aldeburgh is perhaps better known, his legacy, the concert hall at Snape Maltings, still draws internationally renowned musicians to the county for concerts and festivals (Snape Proms and Aldeburgh Music festival just two examples) throughout the year.
The art world would also be much poorer without the contributions of artists and sculptors modern (Maggi Hambling) and past, Gainsborough (from Sudbury) and Constable (come and see ‘The Haywain’ for yourself at Flatford Mill).
Yes, Suffolk is, without doubt, a cultural melting pot of music, literature, painting and more; galleries, open studios, festivals, concerts and performances. How lucky are we?!
What? 2, The Courtyard
Where? Snape Maltings
How many? Sleeps 4 in 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
How much? £550 - £890 per week
Why? If you want to be in the heart of all things cultural, look no further. One of the few holiday properties available in the Snape Maltings complex, this bright, modern yet art-filled apartment is less than fifty metres from shops, delicatessen, art gallery, pub, river to walk along oh, and a world-famous concert hall. Every fortnight, there’s a farmers’ market and each September, the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival right on the doorstep offering local produce and demonstrations from celebrity and regional chefs. A three-mile drive away and you’ll find the shingle beach of Aldeburgh, also with galleries, shops, restaurants and, if you walk towards Thorpeness, Maggi Hambling’s famous ‘Scallop’ sculpture, a tribute to Benjamin Britten, who used to live here.
The Galloping Gourmets
If fabulous food is your recipe for a gourmet getaway, Suffolk has more than its fair share of venues, food and drink festivals, artisan producers and fresh-from-the-water fishermen’s shacks to tempt the taste buds.
Thirsty? Then why not sample Adnam’s finest brews and tipples in its ‘hometown’ of Southwold, with not just ales but award-winning gins, whiskies and vodkas. Greene King, too, has its HQ in Bury St Edmunds whilst St Peter’s brewery is in Bungay. If cider is more your thing we’re sure Debenham-based Aspall’s needs no introduction, being such a familiar sight on our supermarket shelves.
Hungry? Suffolk doesn’t just have the occasional stand-out-star restaurant, but whole villages and towns devoted to appetite appeal, like Orford (Pump Street Bakery, Pinneys, Ruth Watson’s Crown and Castle, whilst the fish pie at the ‘no frills’ Butley Oysterage has been described by the Times as one of the Top 30 things to eat before you die).
Lavenham, too, as well as being the UK’s best preserved medieval village is certainly ‘up there is a magnet for foodies, too, boasting, as it does, The Great House (the finest French cuisine this side of the Channel) and The Swan.
There’s far, far too many single establishments and food products to mention, but if you want to experience a smorgasbord of flavour, don’t miss the Aldeburgh Food and Drink festival held this year on 23rd – 24th September.
We’ll see you there!
What? Lady Cottage
How many? Sleeps 2 in 1 bedroom
How much? Price from £390 to £595 per week
Why? A beautiful bolthole for two, the oak beams throughout this cute-as-a-button cottage are typical of the medieval buildings for which Lavenham is famed for. High ceilings, a woodburning stove, outside courtyard furniture and ridiculously romantic bedroom also features. Located in ‘Lady Street’, from which the property takes its name, your centrally located for all the award-winning restaurants and cafes, the historic Guild Hall and, if you really want to pamper yourself, the new spa facilities at The Swan. Our tip? Do NOT miss the cheese board served at The Great House.
The Wild and Wonderful
If you think it’s just a coincidence that the BBC’s flagship nature programme, Springwatch, chose Suffolk’s RSPB Minsmere as its base, think again. Boasting 5,600 species of plant and wildlife, producers said, Minsmere is the most wildlife-rich site in Springwatch’s 11-year history,” and, during filming, was boosting visitor numbers by 70% per day.
The film crew may have gone to leave the nature reserve in peace, but the enthusiasm for Suffolk and its world-class wildlife spotting opportunities remain, attracting nature lovers in their droves.
It’s not just Minsmere, though that attracts lovers of the outdoors, though. As the UK’s greenest county, Suffolk’s myriad of walking and cycling trails, rivers and coast, forest, heath and grasslands tick every box as far as outdoor activities are concerned, from high ropes adventure trails to learning the ropes sailing courses. Just remember to pack your wellies.
What? Scotts Hall Cottage
How many? Sleeps 6 in 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
How much? Price from £555 - £1,085 per week
Why? Situated on the Minsmere reserve itself, this charming holiday cottage is owned by the RSPB, so as well as offering an unrivalled position for wildlife spotting, comfortable, warm and modern interiors, all profits go towards conservation. And, after a day outside making the most of the heathland, woodland, wetland and coastal scenery, rare birds breeding, shy wildlife like otters, the booming call of bitterns in spring, beautiful bugs and colourful wildflowers in summer, the pub is just a mile away.
The Fabulously Footloose
A few years ago, someone in the media coined the term, ‘DINKY’; an acronym to describe the demographic with ‘Double Income No Kids Yet’.
It’s a term thankfully long forgotten (condescending, much?) but the draw of Suffolk to those who are too young for kids or childfree by choice remains. Why? Because being a just an hour and a half from central London, Suffolk’s one of the closest and easiest weekend destinations to ‘get away from it all’. Why else? Well, Ed Sheeran probably has something to do with it…
Understanding that this time poor but often cash-rich ‘tribe’ expect more from their short break than just a property, Suffolk Secrets has introduced a range of ‘holiday extras’, including a private chef to cook a meal for you in your holiday home, classic car hire, hot tub hire and even in-home pampering sessions. With add-ons like these, you may not want to leave the house at all…
What? The Courthouse
How many? Sleeps 8 in 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
How much? Price from £1185 – £1800 per week
What? Don’t be fooled by the Tudor beamed exterior. Inside, this three-storey property with vaulted ceilings is fun and funky – ideal for hanging out for a long weekend with friends. There’s more than a few industrial fixtures, but what’s most striking is how well the modern sits with the sumptuous furnish
furnishings. We particularly love the mezzanine level as a fab place to hang out. Situated in the quirky coastal resort of Thorpeness, there’s a pub in the village, boating lake, golf course and tennis courts nearby whilst Aldeburgh is a just a short drive away. Why not, though, order some holiday extras like a hot tub or private chef for the ultimate in R & R.
If you’re interested in any of the above properties or would like more information about the 500 plus apartments, townhouses, quaint cottages or luxuriously larger holiday homes, visit www.suffolk-secrets.co.uk or call them on 01502 722717. They’d love to hear from you.
Written by Rebecca Scrase
Suffolk Secrets - The Finest Choice of Holiday Cottages