Dog-friendly cottages in a gloriously rural Suffolk location.
If you're looking for a romantic retreat close to London then Woodfarm Barns, deep in the heart of sleepy, rural Suffolk, might just fit the bill perfectly – a small complex of converted barns for two, together with a 15th-century farmhouse, surrounded by fields, footpaths and hedgerows, that make for a tremendously relaxing place to stay.
The accommodation here is dog-friendly too, but it's also extremely comfortable for mere humans, with no less than six luxuriously converted barns set in a peaceful meadow, each sleeping two people, plus a 15th-century partially thatched farmhouse that sleeps seven. All of the barns are lovely – bright and stylish, with original oak beams and clapboard exteriors with enclosed private gardens; some have ground floor bedrooms, some mezzanines, and all perfect for a romantic escape; five of the six have hot tubs and the only one that doesn't – Granary Barn – has a very large garden and a big window set into the eaves of the bedroom that offers wonderful country views. They all have well-equipped modern kitchens, but you also get a delivery of a breakfast basket, complete with coffee, croissants and more, so you can feel even more like you're staying at the poshest of hotels. Inside, they have thought of everything: all are kitted out with flatscreen Freeview TVs, DVD players and good wifi, and there's also a shed nearby that's full of things you can borrow – from bikes to stuff for your dog to books and DVDs. The farmhouse is wonderfully cosy, with a comfy sitting room with an open fire, a big farmhouse kitchen complete with Aga and 4 spacious bedrooms and 3 bathrooms with freestanding baths for luxurious soaking. It's hard not to feel right at home immediately.
Finally, you don't have to be a dog-owner to enjoy the accommodation at Woodfarm Barns, but it helps: they make a big thing of welcoming four-legged friends, and once they've stayed here once can stay again for free, having been issued with their very own Dog Passports to prove their credentials. Dog-friendliness aside, one of the nicest things about Woodfarm Barns is the location: there's a huge, enclosed two-acre garden for you (and your hounds) to gambol in, plus loads of lovely walks and cycling routes straight from the Barn; and the Suffolk Coast is also less half an hour's drive away – though with all this tranquillity on your doorstep you might not want to leave! Consider also a stay on the same owners' two Dutch barges, which are quirky but just as comfortable as the barns – and they enjoy superb mooring spots, one moored on Deben river at Woodbridge quay and the other on the Alde river right by Snape Maltings.
AccommodationSix converted barns that each sleep two people, and a thatched Farmhouse sleeping 7 people.
PriceBarns £1030–£1160 a week (low season), £1370–£1540 a week (high season); short breaks £430–£650. Woodfarm House £1530 a week (low season), £2030 a week (high season), short breaks £650–£860.
Opening TimesAvailable all year.
Woodfarm Barns is four miles north of Needham Market on the A1120, just outside the the village Stonham Aspal. Go past the church on your right and the school on your left, and take the first right, signposted ‘Crowfield Church’. The Barns are almost a mile down the road, on the right.
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