Last weekend, for the first May bank holiday, we booked three nights at 'Tickety Boo' in the middle of the Suffolk countryside. A two hour drive from London, it was a great escape with minimal faffing and travel.
We arrived late on Friday night and were blown away by our little bolt hole. Richard and Rachel, who live in the house next door, have built an amazing mini cottage at what is the end of their driveway. It's beautifully kitted out with a really high quality finish and lots of little touches that make it feel like a swanky boutique hotel. It's rented out via Unique Homestays (who we discovered last summer when we stayed at The Potting Shed in Cornwall) and they'd left us a little hamper full of yummy treats. In all their properties you also get an iPad with the 'House Book' loaded up. It's chocablock with recommended restaurants and info on local shops and attractions which makes it so much easier to make the most of every moment of a long weekend.
We awoke to glorious sunshine on Saturday and hit the OS map and internet in search of a long walk through the countryside. We drove just a couple of miles to Long Melford where we dropped off the car and walked a stunning 5 mile route to Lavenham with its interiors shops, galleries and yummy restaurants. Our lunch pitstop (Number 10) was a total winner with a really varied and interesting menu and a loooooong wine list. We were quite boring and each devoured the pie of the day and then shared crumble and custard. It was delish and the walk back was sigificantly less comfortable that the way there!
On Saturday night we hunkered down at Tickety Boo. We'd stocked up with a few (light!) supplies at Willow Tree Farm Shop and sat outside in the gorgeous mini garden chatting, quaffing wine and eating olives and Kettle Chips. Once the cold became unbearable (there was just the one rug so poor James drew the line once he started to full on shiver!) we snugged up inside with the wood-burner raging and Suits on Netflix. Total bliss.
After an initial burst of energy with a 6km run piglet spotting on the deserted country roads around the cottage, Sunday was a full blown day of rest. We ventured out to Giffords Hall Vineyard where we stocked up on their rose ahead of BBQ season and mooched around Long Melford and shared a (delish!) afternoon tea at Tiffin but then the lure of the sofa got the better of us and we were back in the cottage for more Suits and more wine. There's something about the extra day of bank holiday weekends that totally justifies a day of absolute inefficiency and I love it.
To celebrate the 'wahey we don't have work tomorrow' Sunday we went for dinner at The Swan at Long Melford. They have a whole artisan gin and tonic menu - win! - and the food was delicious. After major food envy of the couple next to us who had ordered a fillet of beef to share, we (remarkably!) weren't disappointed with the lamb and venison dishes we'd picked. The Swan also has rooms above it and there are some great dinner, bed and breakfast offers on their website.
And then we were up bright and early on Monday, winging our way back to London where real life awaited. I have a feeling we may be back...
Tickety Boo: https://www.uniquehomestays.com/self-catering/uk/suffolk/long-melford/tickety-boo/
Walk plotting: http://www.walkinginsuffolk.co.uk/index.php
Number 10 restaurant: http://www.ten-lavenham.co.uk/
The Swan at Long Melford: http://www.longmelfordswan.co.uk/