So howdy…and welcome to Suffolk! Suffolk is one of my favourite counties in England due to its colourful cottages and wobbly houses…if you want to fall in love with England then this is a good starting point and a cheaper and less crowded alternative to the Cotswolds. I thought I would create an itinerary for a weekend break in Suffolk with a few add ons depending on your travel style and speed…just in time for the Easter Break and the May bank holidays which are all fast approaching!
This itinerary requires a car to get around the county…all the links for the various websites are listed below each destination. If you are leaving London ex Heathrow, then it will take approximately 2 hours for the journey to Clare depending on traffic conditions. So lets begin…
Day 1 – Weekend Break in Suffolk
This little town is such a cutie pie and if you love pargetting then there is a rather fine example to behold right in the town centre…the house resembles a custard creme biscuit!
Make sure you climb to the top of the remains of the old castle to get views over the little town and then wander around the old priory…where nobility are buried in the grounds…it’s a peaceful little spot and worthy of a picnic if you’ve packed one for your road trip. The town is easy to walk around and there are few tea rooms and a number of antique shops to browse so you will keep everyone happy.
Parking – there is free on road parking on the outskirts of Clare or you can pay for parking by the Old Priory Castle car park
Eating – there are a few cafes in Clare which offer gluten free options; I checked all three but only ate in one! Honey Hill Cafe right in the centre of the town and offers indoor and outdoor seating; Clare Antiques & Interiors has a little cafe attached which very yummy looking cafes on offer and last but not least Cafe Clare is another option if you feel peckish!
Shopping – if you love a spot of antique shopping then I would recommend Clare Antiques & Interiors (link above) and there are a number of tiny little independent shops dotted around including an art gallery and an old fashioned ironmongers.
Our next little stop is less than 4 miles away, if you blink you may just miss it! Cavendish is a little chocolate box village which features in a number of books as one of the cutest places in England……there is the iconic photo of the church, the pink cottage and the green which is just the bees knees and totally worthy of a stop.
Parking – there is plenty of free on road parking, park up and go for a wander around this delightful little village.
Eating and Shopping – there is a rather cute little antique shop and cafe combined…where you are truly having a cuppa while surrounded by antiques…I may have bought a bright yellow antique vase which I love! While there was no gluten free option, if you’re after a drink then this is a great little stop. There is also a couple of pubs in the village…of course! The charity shop has a great collection of vintage vinyl if that tickles your fancy.
Our third stop is 6 miles away from Cavendish and it’s another cute little town called Long Melford…the town itself is a rather long street filled with independent shops, vintage tea rooms (many of which have gluten free cakes, I checked but didn’t partake…I must be sick!) and a few pubs. I thought the town was very pretty with all the spring blossoms but I didn’t spend very much time exploring.
Parking – there is plenty of on road parking which is free, you may have to park further out and walk in during the busy times of the day.
Eating and Shopping – Tiffins looked really lovely and they had a few gluten free options to tide you over..there was also numerous pubs so you could sit outside and enjoy a pint in the sunshine (just remember not to drink and drive!). There is a rather nifty kitchen shop which sells lovely crystal and every baking tray ever produced.
A Few Day 1 Add Ons…
Long Melford is home to two Stately Homes so depending if you love doing a bit of snooping around a home that isn’t your own…well you’re in luck!
National Trust – Melford Hall
For the National Trust members (and non members can visit also!), Melford Hall is worthy of a visit especially for fans of Beatrix Potter whom was a cousin of the Hyde Family that were the owners of the property and there are some of her sketches to admire. It would be a lovely spot for a picnic! You can read more about the National Trust property here.
Just a short drive down the road (and I mean maybe a minute or two if the traffic is bad) is the Stately Home, Kentwell Hall. If you hold a Historic Houses Association Card then you will be able to gain free entry to this property. You can read more about Kentwell Hall here.
Accommodation in Suffolk for the Night
Finding the perfect accommodation in Suffolk really depends on how much you want to spend, location and what you really want to take away from the experience….a nights sleep can be a magical experience so here a few options to research –
Stay in Thatched Cottage close to Long Melford, how about a luxurious night at The Swan at Lavenham or maybe a holiday cottage for the whole family…maybe stay at DeVere House especially if you’re a Harry Potter fan or an Old English Inn…or for the price conscious then why not check out the endless options on Airbnb…maybe take a look at staying at Kentwell Hall! The possibilities are endless and there is something for every budget.
Day 2 – Weekend Break in Suffolk
Spend the day exploring Lavenham which is just over a 5 mile drive from Long Melford so if you stay overnight in this area then you won’t have to travel far…after breakfast, pop out and explore this adorable wobbly village before the day trip tourists arrive from the big smoke. Lavenham is England’s best preserved medieval village!
If you’re a Harry Potter fan than that you will be pleased to know that this gorgeous chocolate box village was used in the Harry Potter films and you can even stay in his house.
The village is full of little independent shops, tea rooms so you can pop inside and then back out to see the beautiful village without feeling guilty.
The National Trust have a property, The Lavenham Guildhall which made an appearance in the Harry Potter films.
Parking – there is very limited long stay parking in Lavenham so if you have stayed the night in Lavenham then you may have this issue sorted but the earlier you arrive, the easier you can find a car park and remember to take cash to pay for parking.
Eating and Shopping – there are numerous tea shops and pubs to tickle your fancy. Why not book yourself into The Swan for afternoon tea or if you want something lighter then head to a tea room and support a local business. There are a number of independent businesses offering unique souvenirs from your trip to Suffolk.
Add On Destinations – Weekend Break in Suffolk
Now if you have a few more days to explore Suffolk then I have some more suggestions for you…the county is rather beautiful with many pretty little villages and towns just waiting to be explored.
Bury St Edmunds
The town is aptly named the Jewel in Suffolks Crown and it’s a very pretty stop on any road trip…Bury St Edmunds is a bustling town and it’s very different to the above destinations. You can read my full post on the town here.
This pargetting gem isn’t located in Suffolk but in Essex however you could potentially drive past the town on your way back to London and it’s worthy of a visit just to look at the beautiful pargetting work on the buildings. You can read my post on Saffron Walden here.
There are a number of spots around Suffolk including Kersey, Boxford, Brent Eleigh, Bures, Chelsworth, Nayland, Polstead and Woolpit just to name a few! Just drive and get lost in Suffolk and you will find some wonderful spots just waiting to be discovered.
Where is your favourite spots in Suffolk for a weekend break?
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