Retreat East

East Anglia Suffolk Ipswich

  • From £126 a night
  • 27 Barns & 5 Shepherds Huts
  • Boutique Country Hotel

Jaded city dwellers will think they have died and gone to Country Heaven at this unique Suffolk hotel

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Deep in the wilds of Suffolk countryside, you're in for a big surprise at this beautiful rural hotel, which takes relaxing country breaks to the next level. Indeed, tired city folk arriving at Retreat East from the big city may think they have died and gone to country heaven – this is not called a 'Retreat' for nothing. A former dairy farm, it's like a deconstructed country house hotel, made up of a series of self-contained barns, a self-catering farmhouse and a handful of luxury shepherds huts, generously spaced among gorgeous grounds. At its centre lies the purpose-built Great Barn, whose bar, restaurant and spa anchor a complex that is drenched in peace, calm and tranquillity.

Acquired by place-maker and Londoner Dominic Richards around five years ago, it's hard to think of anything they have got wrong at Retreat East. A graduate of the Prince of Wales architecture school, Richards saw this as a chance to put into practice some of the principles he had learned at Highgrove. As a result, not only are the barns decked out with flair and taste, and the location about as peaceful as you will find anywhere, the business is run with a keen eye on the environment. As well as charging points for your car, the hotel has its own bore-hole for water, an efficient and sustainable waste system,  power comes from solar panels and a lot of the ingredients for the restaurant come from their own kitchen garden. Their hives even deliver the honey for your toast every morning for your breakfast, so you can feel good about enjoying yourself while you're here! Perhaps not surprisingly, Retreat East was voted a 'Sustainable Hotel of the Year in the recent East of England awards, and 'Romantic Hotel of the Year' in the 2023 Times hotel awards, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know! Handily, It's also barely an hour and a half from London.

There are 29 barns in total, each containing one or two bedrooms: closest to reception, the original Dairy Barns have been beautifully converted, with open-plan kitchens and living spaces with TVs and Bluetooth speakers, stone-flagged floors, private terraces and large bathrooms with powerful walk-in showers and separate bathtubs; coffee and tea facilities are provided, along with fresh milk and other basics. All stays include a continental breakfast, use of the spa facilities and free bike hire. Further afield, there are the equally luxurious, purpose-built 'Field Barns', beyond which are five rather beautiful Shepherds Huts, which boast similar levels of comfort. There's also the original farmhouse, which has recently been stylishly refurbished, preserving its original features while making it thoroughly contemporary. It sleeps eight people in four bedrooms and has a private garden, and it would be hard to find a better self-catering option in this part of Suffolk.

Most of the barns are dog-friendly, and a couple are accessible, with parking right outside and extra-wide doorways for easy access. Children are welcome, but to be honest, the vibe is more one of adults kicking back and enjoying themselves, plus only some of the barns accept children. It's the sort of place where you would quite easily just stuff your car keys in the drawer for a couple of days and not go anywhere at all – perfect for lazing about, exploring the estate on undertaking undemanding country walks (of which there are plenty).  Breakfast is served every day in the Great Barn, as are lunch and dinner, and the food is delicious, locally sourced, very seasonal and always interesting.

The Great Barn also houses the hotel's spa, which has a sauna, steam room and various treatment rooms, and the hotel has a small gym and hosts regular outdoor events they in one of the meadows – archery, axe-throwing and the like. They also lay on yoga classes, sound bath healing and other wellness workshops., and the estate is home to its own re-wilding project – something that can only make exploring the surroundings more interesting.

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Suitable For


Open all year.


Field Barns from £172 a night; Dairy Barns from £272 a night; Shepherd Huts from £126 a night; The Farmhouse costs from £533 a night and sleeps 8.

One-night stays are available Sun – Thurs.

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Contact Website  01449 760 480  Retreat East, Brick Kiln Farm, Sandy Lane, Hemingstone, Near Ipswich, Suffolk IP6 9QE

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  • Bar
  • Gardens & Grounds
  • Hot Tub
  • Restaurant
  • Spa & Treatments
  • Wifi
  • Adults Only
  • Walking
  • Café
  • Car-charging points
  • Gym
  • Parking
  • Room Service
  • Sauna
  • Wedding Venue
  • Activities
  • Bicycle Routes
  • Dog-friendly
  • Eco-Friendly
  • Five-Star Luxury
  • Foodies
  • Remote location
  • Romantic Retreat
  • Sensational Views
  • Wellbeing
  • Country House hotel
  • Afternoon Tea

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Let us know what you think of your stay.

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Rated ★★★★★ over 4 reviews


Excellent accommodation

Ideal location for relaxing, amenities are excellent and staff could not help enough. All areas are dog friendly it was great to actually enjoy an excellent meal inside the restaurant with our dog at our feet and not made to sit outside like most restaurants.
Jul 12, 2023 by Linda R

Response from Retreat East

Hello Linda! Thank you for taking the time to leave us a 5 star review and such lovely comments! Furry friends are more than welcome here at Retreat East! We hope to welcome you back soon.

Customer Care,
Retreat East

We love it here

Honestly incredible roast, reasonably priced for quality of the food. The pork was like nothing I’d had before, fell apart, and each element of the roast had a unique but complimentary taste to the next. Dog-friendly, warm cosy atmosphere and a beautiful barn design.
Jun 27, 2023 by Hannah

Response from Retreat East

Hello Hannah! We are so pleased to hear you enjoyed your visit to The Great Barn here at Retreat East. Our Sunday Roast is very popular, and we're glad you can see why! We hope to welcome you back soon.

Customer Care
Retreat East

Luxury personified

We stayed overnight in 'The Coop' - the name of a lodge. Luxury personified, with a log burner, four-poster bed, and an outdoor free-standing bath! A fabulous stay and the service was second to none.
Jun 20, 2023 by Ian

10/10 for me!

I didn't know what to expect when I got to the place, but let me tell you - the pictures do match the reality! I think it's even better in real life. I was absolutely gobsmacked by the beautiful, clean and spacious barns. The staff are all super nice and helpful, and the area around it is so peaceful and beautiful. A perfect couples' getaway or a quiet family escape to the countryside.
Apr 1, 2023 by Julia

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Everything I needed for a stay

I'm already looking forward to going again and would highly recommend this hotel to anyone visiting the area. It definitely deserves a five star rating!

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6 out of 5!!!!

This place was amazing… I could not recommend this place enough, I’ll be singing their praise for many years to come and we are going to book again soon.

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