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  • Writer's pictureClaire

A week's stay in Suffolk - Part 2: Thorpeness, Sutton Hoo, Elephants and a finale in Bury St-Edmunds

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

The second half of our week began with a slight detour. The windmill I had booked us in to see was unexpectedly closed due to operational reasons, so a quick consult with my trusty OS pathfinders book led me to Thorpeness instead. This was a 5 mile walk around the Suffolk heathland and coast further up from Orford, however it had to unusual sights along the way. A windmill (actually a water pumping mill) that pumps water to the very close-by 'House-in-the-Clouds'. The latter is a cottage that is the top part of the building which houses a water tank which served the village of Thorpeness. It is however quite a marvel to look at, and is now a unique holiday home, right next to an outstanding golf course that also does mini-golf next to the lake.

The second half of the walk takes you through the healthland and onto the shingle beach, adjacent to the Sizewell nuclear power facility. I have to confess this did give the beach a slight apocalyptic edge. The walk back does take you a back to Thorpeness village, and the amazing houses that fringe the shoreline. Once back in the centre of the village you can visit the Meare, which is a quaint boating lake in the centre of the village. With so much to do here, it is well worth a day visit, I don't think you would be disappointed. The next day we were continuing our second visit on our Saxon theme to Sutton Hoo. This was a place my eldest had spoken of from our last visit that he had learnt recently and it sounded fascinating.

I am so glad we came, I think this is THE best National Trust place I have visited to date. Such a lot to see; so much so ,a film was recently made about the place and 'The Dig' that happened here. We paid extra for the 'Gruesome Graves' tour and I am glad we did as we got to sit atop the big burial mound to discuss what went on underneath, and my eldest kept shouting we saw these pictures in class, so it was really great to bring his lesson to life in this way. As a bonus we also did the Easter Egg trail much to my youngest's delight. Our penultimate day was all for our youngest, a visit to Colchester Zoo and a sneaky life goal for me to see a real Elephant! This zoo I think, is the best I have been to in the UK, so much to see and do it easily swallows a whole day so an early start is required!

Our last day took us to Bury St-Edmunds. I had booked a matinee show for the kids to see Mark Thompson's Spectacular Science Show (which we all loved) and as a treat for the adults; a lunch at The Northgate, who were marvellous with my son who had taken and interest in cooking and let him meet the head chef and look into the kitchen. Much thanks to them, the food was outstanding well deserved of a Michelin star which I hope they will get very soon. This place alone is worth a visit and has a wonderful cocktail bar and rooms for the night.

You can find the walk to see the House-in-the-clouds in Thorpeness in this OS Pathfinder Guide

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