Every so often, an invitation drops into my email inbox that has me more than a little bit excited. A few weeks ago, the kids and I were asked if we would like to spend a couple of nights at Wilderness in Suffolk. This was such an invitation. Apart from the fact that Suffolk is my neighbouring county, it has all the rolling topography that my immediate home environment lacks.
There are so many inspiring world-traveling galleries on Instagram, it's easy to get sucked in to thinking that to live a full life, we must travel the four (round) corners of the earth. Often, though, the best experiences for the soul are closest to home.
Wilderness is nestled in a rural part of Suffolk, but only 15 minutes away from the coast (Southwold is well worth a visit). It comprises various old properties, all very different in size and style, all stunningly restored, on the Sibton Park Estate.
As soon as we stepped into Garden Cottage, I knew we were in for a treat... A hearty welcome awaited us from Tom and Shelby - Shelby made me a coffee and Tom lit a roaring fire and they both made sure we had everything we needed before leaving us in our little slice of heaven.
... Placed on the large, aluminium topped kitchen table, was a welcome array of scrummy things to eat (and even a bottle of Prosceco for me), and all the ingredients needed to make chocolate cookies (which Lucy and I did the next morning).
There was much excitement from the kids as they discovered hand-crafted triple decker bunk beds, times 2! Naturally each had to have a top bunk - they were literally on cloud nine. With three other bedrooms for me to make a choice from, it took me the rest of the afternoon to make a decision because they were all so beautiful.
There is so much attention to detail in all the Wilderness Properties, from the practical touches, such as underfloor heating throughout (powered by eco-friendly wood pellet boilers), thick, fluffy towels and bath robes, very high quality kitchen utensils and appliances (it was bliss to have a dishwasher!), to the aesthetic elements - beautiful rugs, cushions and ornaments, taps and lighting...
You really don't need to take very much with you at all - everything seems to have been thought of, even bicycles, which was a total relief to me as, having packed up my van complete with bikes on the morning of our departure for Suffolk, said van totally refused to start...
Despite the mostly inclement weather, we managed to explore some of the grounds. Beautiful at this time of year, they must be breathtaking in summer.
The kids and I were so happy at Wilderness, bowled over by how helpful and kind all the staff were, we wondered how we might manage never to leave...
Yoxford Road, Sibton, Saxmundham, Suffolk, IP17 2LZ