Explore Beyond the Barn
From our first ever visit to Suffolk, it was a county that we just loved, with its hospitality and its rural pace of life.
During your stay, we have tried to think of everything to make your time within Beyond the Barn as enjoyable and relaxing as possible. There is also plenty to see and do and we hope the following might provide some quick tips to help you explore the local area.
Suffolk has a rich heritage of locally produced food and drinks. East Anglia is famously known as the breadbasket of England. Experience the vibrant artisan food community of Suffolk, which is represented across the county with award winning local food and drinks at the host of local deli 's, shops and roadside honesty boxes you will find around.
In Debenham you will find a fantastic delicatessen at River Green Café and an artisan butcher, Palfrey & Hall. There are also a couple of great local farm shops to check out; the Hog & Hen Farmshop and Alder Carr Farm.
The nearest supermarket is the East of England Co-op in Debenham, which stocks all the usual as well as lots of local and fresh food. Right next door is the hardware shop, Henry Abbotts Hardware, for any bits and pieces you might need. The shop has been in the same family for over 300 years!
Up the road is also the market town of Eye; grab some treats from the local bakery and if you are a lover of fish, visit on a Friday morning when the travelling fishmonger is in town selling fresh fish and crab from Cromer.
On Sundays, whilst most local shops close at 4pm, the Co-op in Eye stays open until 10pm.
You will also find in both Debenham and Eye, some other delightful independent shops, like the Swan House and Garden, for Antiques and 20th century decoration, the florist, Lucy Jane Flowers and Cocoa Mama for a selection of hand crafted chocolates.
There are a number of options for eating out and we suggest you book in advance during this time. Most are also offering takeaway. Our recommendations include
Cafes & Restaurants
The Queens Head pub at Eye – for hearty pub food
The Walnut Tree in Thwaite – a lovely vegetarian restaurant
The Bull Auberge at Yaxely – for local cuisine, French/European
River Green Café – for breakfast and lunches
The Barn Café at Alder Carr Farm – Another great spot for a good breakfast or lunch
Two recommendations slightly further afield (the first two take you under the stunning Orwell bridge) and all sit in incredibly beautiful locations.
If you want a night off, but don’t want to eat out, then here are some good local take-aways (mostly they wont be able to deliver, with the exception of Zeeras)
Zeera (serving Indian takeaway and good value Sunday night buffet takeaway deal)
Lee's Cottage Restaurant – Chinese take away and restaurant in Eye
Smokehouse Barbecue – serving Burger & Beers (just up the road along the A140 at the Chilli Farm)
Whether you want to paddle, fly a kite, swim in the sea, go crabbing or just take in the coastal air, there are a numerous amazing beaches along the Suffolk coast. Take the scenic route to the coast and stunning Suffolk coastal towns of Aldeburgh, Southwold and Walberswick, through picture-perfect Suffolk villages like Peasenhall, with its pride of peacocks roaming the high-street. Walberswick and Southwold would be our recommendations. Both are sandy beaches, Southwold has its famous pier and colourful beachhuts. Walberswick is simply a stunning bit of Suffolk coastline, famed for its crabbing. Get over the dunes and onto the miles of beach, you cant fail to find a spot to sit and enjoy the coast.
Further afield and if you are a little more adventurous, you can head off to Cove Hithe. You park next to the medieval derelict church and then hike about 10/15 min to the beach. It is a stretch of isolated, somewhat forgotten but stunning bit of the Suffolk coast.
Aldeburgh and Dunwich beach are also worth a mention, Aldeburgh is a renowned seaside town perfect for a lovely day by the sea as well as take in the shops and cafes. Dunwich is another stretch of lovely isolated beach, with the added advantage of a fantastic pub (the Ship Inn) in this tiny hamlet.
Places and towns worth considering to visit
Our village, steeped in history, has all the charm of the traditional Suffolk country village, with its very own working steam railway (Mid Suffolk Light Railway) and throughout the summer a Friday night bar is usually held in the station's railway carriages.
Further afield, some other suggestions include:
Orford (famed for its freshly caught fish and smokehouse)
Framlingham (including Framlingham Castle)
Norwich City (especially the Lanes)
Seasonal – there are numerous seasonal events that happen in Suffolk, including:
Helmingham Hall (various events)
Blackthorpe Barn (Christmas Festival)
Snape Proms (summer concerts)
With the exception of Abby Gate Cinema, the remainder are currently closed, but we hope we will have them open again soon, so please check with respective box offices:
Abbey Gate Cinema (Bury St Edmunds)
Dance East (Ipswich Waterfront)
The Apex (Bury St Edmunds)
The New Wolsey Theatre (Ipswich)
Norwich Theatre Royal (Norwich)
There are various gardens to see and visit. We have three favourites.
Helmingham Hall – including the beautiful walled garden
Ickworth House, Park and Gardens (National Trust)
Beth Chatto Gardens - an inspiring garden and story (just off the A12, near Colchester)
Suffolk is gifted with medieval historical churches in many of the towns and villages around the area. Our very own Church of All Saints in the village of Wetheringsett is a great example. This Grade I listed church is described as “pretty much a perfect example of a late-Medieval East Anglian church”, with bits of the church dating to 1086, although most of what is there now was rebuilt during the second half of the 15th Century.
If you fancy a walk, then striding across the fields to the church is a nice way to spend a morning or afternoon.
Walking and footpaths
Likewise, if you want to go exploring on foot, there are lots of local footpaths that are well signposted and take you over the local fields and farmland . We do advise to keep to the signposted paths.
There is also, about 10 minute drive up the road, a delightful woodland, called Thornham Walks, with over 12 miles of waymarked footpaths within the Thornham Estate, through ancient parkland, woodland and villages.
And if all you want to do is sit quietly in the garden, there is a wealth of wildlife here that you might get to see and hear. Sitting outside you wont be able to miss the birdsong. We have many visitors too to watch for; house martins and swallows, buzzards and kestrels, tawny and barn owls, muntjac deer, rabbits, ducks, moorhens, pheasants and more besides.
There is a taxi (mini cab) service at Stowmarket station (Stowmarket Cab Co - 01449 677777) or alternatively a pre-booked local executive service from rural taxi firm, Village Cars 2020 (T: 01379 210420 / E: firstname.lastname@example.org). Village Cars 2020 ordinarily recommend 48 hours notice and payment can be made using a credit or debit card over the phone with their office or by cash direct to the driver. The following are provided as a sample guide to fares from Beyond the Barn to various local destinations; Eye (£17.00 ), Framlingham (£27.00 ), Stowmarket (£17.00).
Whilst we sincerely hope you never need any of these, we thought it useful just to share. The nearest A&E is Ipswich Hospital and Bury St Edmunds hospital. There is a defibrillator for the community at Wetheringsett Village Hall and also outside the CooP in Debenham.
We are happy to answer any questions or offer recommendations if there are any specific things you are interested in. Our aim is to help you make the most of your time here.