Please note our writers visited Suffolk prior to the coronavirus pandemic
Just 90 minutes from London by car, Suffolk offers everything one could need for a family holiday: long, sandy beaches, lively towns packed with fun things to do, a fine selection of pubs and restaurants and, of course, a good choice of picturesque cottages and holiday lets to stay in. It’s often referred to as ‘Constable Country’, owing to its string of bucolic villages straddling the Essex border that were famously painted by the English landscape painter, John Constable. Whether it’s the charming seaside towns of Southwold or Aldeburgh, or the big-skied Broads that straddle the border with neighbouring Norfolk, chances are there’s a cottage here that fits your every need. After visiting dozens of countryside and coastal cottages around the country, here’s our pick of the best self-catering properties in Suffolk, featuring locations in and around Southwold, Aldeburgh, Ipswitch and more.
Found Tower, Woodbridge
This superb and imaginatively designed conversion of a brick-built, early 19th-century circular tower is in a dramatic position overlooking the wild, shingle coastline. The coastal footpath runs directly past the tower, making it a great base for walkers, anglers, kite-flyers and birdwatchers. Inside, cutting-edge design combines with 200-year-old craftsmanship. The best feature of this self-catering Suffolk bolthole is the uninterrupted glass window which provides a 360-degree view of land and sea from the rooftop living and dining space. On the lowest level are three double bedrooms cocooned within three-metre thick brick walls.
Gardens House, Ickworth
The cottage sits in an idyllic setting in the heart of the beautiful 1,800-acre Ickworth estate dominated by a striking Neoclassical house, which was home to the Hervey family until 1996. Now owned by the National Trust and run as a luxury, family-friendly hotel, Gardens House sleeps up to six people in three bedrooms and provides a welcoming bolthole. It includes out-of-hours access to the grounds and is within walking distance of the hotel’s restaurants. For luxury cottages in Suffolk, this is a good choice. And you can bring up to two dogs with you, meaning the whole family can enjoy some countryside escapism.
Three nights from £454; sleeps up to six (nationaltrust.org.uk)
South Green House, Southwold
In terms of coastal cottages in Suffolk, this is in one of Southwold’s best locations. The Georgian house overlooks the wide, grassy South Green area, and is within easy reach of the market place, Southwold Denes beach and numerous pubs. The artistic owners have imprinted their creative stamp on the interiors with stand-out, contemporary furniture and over-large, colourful wall canvasses depicting beach huts and seaside scenes, giving the house a great sense of location. A narrow but sizeable garden combines a decking area with a spacious barbecue and outside dining courtyard.
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The Farmhouse, Ipswitch
Part of Retreat East, a collection of stylishly converted barns with beamed ceilings and freestanding tubs on the site of an original 16th-century farm, the four-bedroom Farmhouse cottage achieves a sweet and chic home in the country effect, with details like exposed wooden beams, brick flooring and vaulted ceilings. Guests staying for a few nights may want to make use of the kitchen, but on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays you can (and certainly should) opt to book a table in the Great Barn instead. Well-behaved pets are allowed, and children who love the outdoors during school holidays.
One night from £500; sleeps up to eight (suffolk.farm)
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Dairy Wing, Lavenham
Lavenham Priory, right in the centre of the former wool town, is one of the oldest hotels in the village. There’s a variety of accommodation including two self-catering cottages: The Priory Chamber and The Dairy Wing. The Priory Chamber, which sleeps two, has two levels; one with a ground-floor kitchenette and sitting area, and one with an upstairs bedroom featuring a four-poster bed. The Dairy Wing sleeps up to six in three double rooms. There’s a fully equipped kitchen, sitting/dining room with wood-burning stove and patio doors leading out to an enclosed private patio garden. They also welcome extremely well-behaved dogs
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Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa, Leavenheath
The 10 contemporary self-catering lodges are set deep in the grounds of this hotel in Leavenheath, which was founded two decades ago by the owners of the Copella fruit business, and is known for its two championship golf courses and a spa. The lodges are beautiful, full of light and with one to four bedrooms, and high-spec fitted kitchens and furnishings. They are well set up for guests with tea, coffee, etc., and a hamper containing wine and – naturally – a bottle of Copella apple juice. A shuttle can take you up to the main hotel building or you can order in from the restaurant – or, for for a touch of added luxury, hire your own chef to come over and cook you a private dinner.
One night from £92; sleeps up to four (stokebynayland.com)
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Mill Cottage, Walberswick
Mill Cottage is on the road leading into Walberswick, a strung-out, linear village, with a broad central green with tea shops, general store and playground. It’s a quiet, seaside village, south of Southwold, and linked to its bigger, livelier neighbour by a small ferry which takes foot passengers across the mouth of the River Blyth. The atmosphere on this coastal spot is more serenely residential with a surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty comprising a huge area of heath and marshland that’s popular with walkers and cyclists. You can also bring up to two pets.
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Wing Cottage, Orford
You’d be hard pushed to find a better location in Orford, one of the region’s most picture-perfect seaside villages. While beautifully private, this cosy and beautifully designed little cottage is also centrally located within the village and the seaside is within a few minutes’ walk. Contemporary furniture, a cream and pale grey colour scheme and subtle lighting create a warm and welcoming living space inside. Bedrooms are neatly presented and uncluttered, though the views from these rooms aren’t a plus point. However, the outlook from the landing windows, over rooftops towards the sea and castle, make up for it.
One night from £110; sleeps up to four (suffolkcottageholidays.com)
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Number Six, Southwold
In this darling of a cottage you’ll fall asleep listening to the sound of the waves and early wakers can watch the sun rise over the sea. It’s located at the end of a terraced row of tiny, seafront cottages behind white picket fencing in a prime spot overlooking Southwold beach. Look down and you’ll see the tops of the colourful, wooden beach huts which back the shore. Inside, the entrance opens straight into the whitewashed living room with sofa bed, bookshelves and quirky artefacts on display (model boats, nautical equipment, antique prints and motley jugs). One dog is permitted.
Contributions by Sophie Butler & Martin Dunford
Rates above are guide prices for minimum stays in low season, please note that packages can differ across cottages. Owing to the current coronavirus pandemic, these rates may change. Please check the properties’ websites for further information on what’s included.