Farming, in the storied realms of East Anglia, is infused in the air. And, nowhere will the visitor feel more attuned to nature’s rhythms than in our five rustic barns - each lovingly restored, luxuriously appointed, unique in character and named after someone who tended the surrounding land at some point over the last century - sprinkled over a sprawling Suffolk estate near the idyllic market town of Eye.
Whether soul-replenishing peace and recuperation or a weekend of rural revelry are top of your getaway goals, families, groups of friends and wedding parties will find this authentic farming estate - run by the family which has farmed here since 1908, and replete with eclectic wildlife and bucolic charm - a dream destination.
Our five barns are all in the same area, four are next to each other, and Warren Hill is a 15 minute walk through fields or 3 mins by car.
Our Local Restaurant / Pub, The Oaksmere boasts beautiful gardens, a swanky restaurant, a traditional pub, private rooms, and a cocktail bar. It's just a 8 minute walk from Whistlecraft Barn, Baxter's Barn, Crawford's Barn and Church Farm House. And, a 18 minute walk from Warren hill.
It may be the smallest town in Suffolk but don’t let its size fool you – it’s a jewel in our county’s crown with charming streets that are brimming with historic buildings and some seriously good places to shop and eat.
If you love history and architecture then Eye doesn’t disappoint; from the imposing Victorian flint-and-bricktown hall and the magnificent fifteenth century church to Eye Castle, around which the town is built, our local area is steeped in history. We highly recommend climbing the castle’s steps to the ramparts for a picture-perfect, breath-taking bird’s eye view of Eye and the glorious countryside that wraps around it.
Time for a light refreshment?
When you’re in need of a pit stop, head to the heart of the town and you’ll find The Queen’s Head pub… the perfect place to refuel after all that exploring. Authentic and traditional – think medieval beams and roaring, open fires – we love that it serves real ale from the cask; with a fine selection of local ales including the award-winning Suffolk brewery, Adnams of Southwold. If cider’s more your tipple, then locally produced Aspall is always on tap. You can enjoy a meal in one of the pub’s three bars or dine al fresco in the garden. And if you’re holidaying with your dog, four-legged friends are always welcome at the Queen’s Head. Non meat eaters might like to head further afield to Thwaite, where The Walnut Tree vegetarian and vegan pub wins rave reviews (they also sell their own range of frozen vegan gluten-free ready meals – including their gourmet pizza – to take away).
They say, ‘Eat breakfast like a king’ and you can do just that at Caféye, which serves hearty English and Turkish breakfasts along with a warm welcome. Open all day, this cosy café/restaurant is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy some lovingly homemade fare with a difference. Chocolate brownie and an Americano anyone? And if sampling local produce is your thing, then pop into Beard’s Deli, which boasts an amazing cheese counter (try some fabulous local cheeses: Baron Bigod – it’s a creamy, nutty delight, Suffolk Gold – is a creamy, semi hard farmbase cheese made in Cottenham, Binham Blue - made in Walsingham and is a soft tangy blue cheese or a Norfolk Mardler - a very creamy goats cheese, matured for 8 weeks) and a great selection of wines… the perfect pairing for a gourmet night in.
Shop til you drop
If it's retail therapy you’re craving then look no further than Green Door, an antiques and interiors shop with a French flavour. You’re sure to find that special something for your home or garden… a lasting keepsake of your time in Eye. And if a 19th century Rococo wall mirror or a Georgian mahogany cutlery box is on your wish list, then take a stroll to English and Continental Antiques, an absolute treasure trove of antiquities.
A visit to Eye wouldn’t be complete without sampling the delights of Cocoa Mama – its team of chocolatiers produce chocolates the old-fashioned way, by hand and in small batches. We love that they take inspiration from local Suffolk flavours like apple, lavender, raspberry, and dark ale, and that their focus is sourcing sustainably. Treat someone to a box of handcrafted luxury…or better still, treat yourself!
So, there you have it, just a few good reasons to spend some time in our historic hometown…small in size but chock-full of delightful character.
Walks & Cycling
It takes little imagination, when ambling the footpaths which score the fields surrounding our barns, to conjure images of the place teeming with agricultural activity in decades past -from ploughing to harrowing via sowing, reaping, thrashing, winnowing and milling.
But the overpowering backdrop to this site’s charm has been bestowed by Mother Nature. We take huge pride in our role in maintaining the estate’s credentials as a natural wildlife habitat - indeed, keen-eyed visitors will notice owl boxes that we've built mounted around the place, and kestrels and English partridge are also amongst the birdlife visitors can enjoy, while denizens of the four-legged variety include red deer, roe deer, Chinese water deer, muntjac, hares and hedgehogs.
To maximise your own enjoyment - and also to allow the beautiful wildlife who also call our estate home to live without disturbance - we implore visitors to use the designated footpaths which criss-cross the grounds.
There are pubs within walking distance, adult and children’s bikes available - and plenty of blackberry picking (July – August) opportunities along the way.
Adventure parks, award-winning zoos, stunning gardens, stately homes, wildlife reserves... Norfolk and Suffolk are packed with attractions for visitors of every ilk.
The history buff might wish to make a beeline just over 20miles south-east to Anglo-Saxon burial site Sutton Hoo, arguably the most significant archaeological discovery in British history (recently captured beautifully on 'Netflix – TheDig'); Royal watchers might prefer to head 50 miles in the opposite direction, and visit the 20,000-acre Sandringham Estate, Queen Elizabeth II’s private home.
Just 25 miles or so directly to the east lies the charming seaside town of Southwold, or if more dramatic beaches appeal, 55 miles directly north lie the vast, sweeping stretches of coast that are Holkham and Brancaster beaches.
Clay pigeon shooting, fishing, golf, vineyards, breweries and towns including Diss, Harleston, Norwich and Great Yarmouth are all easily accessible for day trips.