The Local Area

At Windmill Lodges you are never short of things to do or places to visit. Whether you want an active holiday or prefer more cultural pursuits, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Southwold, Blythburgh, Thorpeness (with its Mere) Aldeburgh and Dunwich are all within easy reach with their beaches, walks, restaurants and pubs, while Minsmere RSPB reserve is a must for bird watchers. Shoppers, too will enjoy Southwold and Aldeburgh with their assortment of individual stores.

Whatever your interests, there’s plenty to see and do within a short drive of Windmill Lodges. The list below is not exhaustive, but we hope it gives you an indication of the variety of things to do and places to see.

Framlingham
Arts
Beaches
Courses & Workshops
Family Fun
For Foodies (and Drinkies!)
Gardens, Nature and Walking
History and Heritage
Sporting Suffolk

Rainy Day Ideas
Animal Attractions Near Windmill Lodges
Farm Shops and Farmers’ Markets
Windmill Lodges – Our Museums Guide to Suffolk
Cinemas in Suffolk

SAXTEAD

We are situated in rural Suffolk in the small village of Saxtead.

Saxtead is renowned for its Post Mill, which is within easy walking distance of our lodges. The Mill is considered to be one of the most important of its kind in Europe and is an English Heritage property.

Our driveway is on the edge of the village green, taking a stroll across the green and within walking distance of Windmill Lodges is The Old Mill House pub, which is perfect for a quick drink or dining out.

From our site you can directly access the local footpath network, allowing you to enjoy the delights of rural Suffolk on foot.

Saxtead Green

FRAMLINGHAM

Just five minutes’ drive from Windmill Lodges, this charming small market town is a must. It’s the perfect place to pick up all the essentials for your stay at the lodge, but it’s much more than that! Country Life magazine voted Framlingham the Number One place to live in the country, and the town regularly features in top-ten lists of the best small towns and market towns. Something which doesn’t surprise us at all!

There’s a market every Tuesday and Saturday morning, where you can buy from local producers to cook up a feast without running up those food miles! If you want to give the kitchen a break, there’s a good choice of restaurants, including the Crown Hotel restaurant and the Station Hotel. If you fancy something a little lighter, cafes abound, including the Dancing Goat and – on market days only – the tiny Over the Moon outdoor cafe (waffles and crepes are highly recommended!).

And Framlingham is packed with historic houses and buildings, including Framlingham Castle and St Michael’s Church – a great place to stroll around and take in the sights.

Framlingham Castle
Framlingham Castle

THE ARTS

June each year sees the world-renowned Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts – a huge attraction. Aldeburgh is known world-wide for this event, which was founded in 1948 by the composer Benjamin Britten, the singer Peter Pears and the writer-producer Eric Crozier. The annual Christmas Spectacular is also a firm favourite.

Art galleries – too numerous to mention! The old Ipswich Art School has a gallery space and from Ipswich to Southwold and Woodbridge to Aldeburgh, this whole area is crammed with galleries, along with antiques shops and studios. We recommend Google as a good place to start your search for galleries and, for studios, check out the Suffolk Open Studios website.

This part of Suffolk has the full range of multi-plex cinemas etc, but, for something a little different and more charming, there are small cinemas in Woodbridge and Aldeburgh and, for something totally different there’s the Electric Picture Palace, Southwold. Created in 2002, but designed in 1912 theatrical style by John Bennett RIBA, Southwold’s award-winning 68 seat Electric Picture Palace shows an eclectic mix of films in four seasons each year. It has a rising ‘Tiny Wurlitzer’ cinema organ, a Circle, a Kiosk, second features, usherettes, a commissionaire and the National Anthem.

Theatres also abound (although, alas, the closest to Windmill Lodges – Framlingham’s own theatre – is now an antiques shop!). Ipswich has several, including the Regent, which often features on national tours. Woodbridge boasts the Riverside Theatre/Cinema, while The Cut in Halesworth offers theatrical and music performances plus art exhibitions and Dance East, one of the national’s leading dance organisations can be found at Jerwood Dance House on the Ipswich waterfront. We’re also lucky enough to have some great outdoor theatrical performances, most notably the Thorington Theatre, an amphitheatre in Suffolk woodland and summer theatres each year run by Aldeburgh and Southwold Theatre.

BEACHES

Just five minutes’ drive from Windmill Lodges, this charming small market town is a must. It’s the perfect place to pick up all the essentials for your stay at the lodge, but it’s much more than that! Country Life magazine voted Framlingham the Number One place to live in the country, and the town regularly features in top-ten lists of the best small towns and market towns. Something which doesn’t surprise us at all!

There’s a market every Tuesday and Saturday morning, where you can buy from local producers to cook up a feast without running up those food miles! If you want to give the kitchen a break, there’s a good choice of restaurants, including the Crown Hotel restaurant and the Station Hotel. If you fancy something a little lighter, cafes abound, including the Dancing Goat and – on market days only – the tiny Over the Moon outdoor cafe (waffles and crepes are highly recommended!).

And Framlingham is packed with historic houses and buildings, including Framlingham Castle and St Michael’s Church – a great place to stroll around and take in the sights.

Aldeburgh Beach
Aldeburgh Beach
the beach at Southwold
Suffolk Coastline – Southwold

COURSES AND WORKSHOPS

If you are a keen baker then a visit to Two Magpies Bake School in Darsham is a must! They offer courses on creating everything from afternoon tea, doughnuts and macarons to pizza and sourdough and with 4 cafe’s in Suffolk you are sure to come across one whilst you are on holiday here. Their cakes are a work of art!

Adult and children cookery classes can also be found at Suffolk Food Hall, a wonderful place to explore if you enjoy shopping for local produce.

Yoxford Makers offer experience days, taster sessions and courses in all aspects of pottery. Their studio is situated a short scenic drive from our lodges along the A1120 tourist route offering you a great opportunity to try something different during your stay with us.

Suffolk Owl Sanctuary – Offer popular half-day activity courses that provides the chance for you to find out everything you always wanted to know about owls. Conducted by experienced falconers, participants meet and fly with many of the varied owl species and find out more about their lifestyles, care and conservation. Young Falconers’ courses are also available.

FAMILY FUN

Easton Farm Park – this award-winning attraction set in the beautiful surroundings of the Deben river valley offers a host of fun and adventures against a backdrop of lovely Victorian buildings . There are farm animals to meet, daily rides and hands-on animal activities and also an outdoor adventure play area.

The Pier at Southwold boasts places to eat and drink, a traditional amusement arcade, an arcade full of handmade, handbuilt wacky machines and three great shops. There’s also a famously cheeky water clock, a Flash Gordon-esque telescope, weather stations and lots more to entertain the whole family all day long whether it’s raining or shining.

The Suffolk Owl Sanctuary at Stonham Barns provides a delightful place to visit to watch, study or simply enjoy the company of owls and other birds of prey. There are over 60 raptors at the Centre, all housed in spacious aviaries and flying free in narrated flying displays or demonstrations. At Stonham Barns you’ll also find miniature and full-size golf courses, a playground, shops and tea room.

If your family is the adventurous type, why not head out to sea in the Coastal Voyager? Situated in Southwold, you can take a trip in this 9 metre rigid inflatable vessels with its deep V hull is equipped with wrap-round seats, seat belts, and lifejackets for 12 people. It’s a half-hour high speed blast with views of Southwold! There is also a 3 hour seal and wind farm trip if you want to explore for longer.

FOR FOODIES

One of the beauties of staying in a Windmill Lodge is that you have your own very well appointed kitchen. This part of Suffolk is simply full of fantastic farm shops and small producers making quite spectacular food to tempt all appetites, so you’ll be able to cook up some amazing meals. If you love farmers’ markets, you’ll be spoiled for choice, and if you’re into fish, you couldn’t get it much fresher than straight off the boat! Here’s just a tiny taste of what’s available…

Emmett’s of Peasenhall – a Rick Stein Food Hero, selling Suffolk hams and bacon made in a traditional manner, Emmetts has been trading in the same premises in the picturesque village of Peasenhall since 1840. Even if ham or bacon isn’t your thing, it’s well worth a visit as it’s a sumptuous little shop, and they sell lots of other delights, including chocolate, wines, cheeses, oils and vinegars. It’s also beautiful to look at, and a great source of foodie gifts.

Leo’s Deli, Framlingham. Just a few minutes drive from Windmill Lodges, this small but perfectly formed deli sells delicious local products and glorious Belgian chocolates – just the place to stock up for luxuries for your stay!

The small village of Earl Soham, again, just a few minutes drive from the Lodges, has a renowned butcher – John Hutton and a well-stocked deli and coffee shop.

Suffolk Food Hall – a showcase for quality local food with provenance. The hall is packed with local food specialists across its 8,000 square feet. Suppliers include free-range pork from Blythburgh, local Red Poll beef, Spring Hill Farm lamb, Sutton Hoo chickens and fresh-caught Lowestoft fish. There’s a delicatessen offering Hamish Johnston cheeses, antipasti and charcuterie from the on-site butchery; an artisan bakery and chocolatier. They also run cookery demonstrations and other ‘foodie’ events.

Snape Maltings – a day out in itself, the old maltings on the river at Snape have been converted into a shopping and eating complex, complete with a superb food and kitchen shop.

The award-winning Shawsgate Vineyard, just 10 minutes from Windmill Lodges, offers winetasting, tours and a childrens’ play area, plus a retail outlet selling their wide range of wines, ciders and non-alcoholic grape juices. The perfect place to pick up some local wine to sample in your lodge!

Aldeburgh is home to plenty of fantastic cafes and restaurants in this popular small coastal town – Muchies is great for lunch!

And there is no shortage of pubs and shops selling local beers from the Earl Soham, Adnams, Mauldons and Calvors breweries, and the award-winning Aspall Cyder.

GARDENS, NATURE AND WALKING

Helmingham Hall Gardens – glorious gardens surrounding an impressive Tudor moated Hall set in a 400 year old ancient deer park. The gardens are open from May each year, and several major events are also held here, including the annual plant sales, the hugely popular Classic Car Festival and the equally well-attended Suffolk Dog Day.

Orford Ness National Nature Reserve – the largest vegetated shingle spit in Europe and an internationally important nature reserve, providing an important location for breeding and passage birds as well as for the coastal shingle flora and wildlife, including a large number of nationally rare species. Until the mid-1980s the Ness was used as a secret military test site and visitors can walk amongst some of the unusual and intriguing test sites and buildings.

RSPB Minsmere – one of the RSPB’s most famous nature reserves. It has been an RSPB reserve for over 50 years and pioneered the use of observation hides and management of wetland areas to enable visitors to see a sample of the huge range of birds that pass along the Suffolk coast.

Walkers are spoilt for choice, with the Suffolk Coastal Path stretching from north of Felixstowe, to Lowestoft while the Sandlings Walk runs between Ipswich and Southwold. Both these routes have shorter, circular walks at intervals along the way which are suitable for an afternoon’s stroll. Of course there are other, shorter walks following marked footpaths around Saxtead, Dennington, Framlingham and a Woodland Trust site between Rendham and Framlingham.

There’s also The Mere, a 33-acre lake and nature reserve, lying between Framlingham Castle and Framlingham College, with a circular footpath giving great views of the wild flowers and wildlife.

HISTORY AND HERITAGE

Saxtead Green Postmill –  the windmill Windmill Lodges is named after, and literally a minute’s walk from the lodges!  It’s an historic corn mill, whose whole body revolves on its base. Now looked after by English Heritage property and open for visiting.

Framlingham Castle is a fantastic 12th century castle, the largest in East Anglia – and just five minutes’ drive away. The view from its 60’ high battlements is incredible, and the English Heritage audio tour really gives you an idea of life in this area several centuries ago. There’s also an excellent cafe and shop, packed with English Heritage goodies. Many of our guests enjoy visiting the castle during their stay, which was also the subject of the popular Ed Sheeran song ‘Castle on the Hill’.

The unique polygonal tower keep of Orford Castle is fascinating. Visitors can explore the basement with its well, the lower and upper halls and a maze of passages, leading to the chapel, kitchen and other chambers in the turrets. From the roof there are magnificent views seaward to Orford Ness. Orford itself is a lovely village, with two splendid pubs, the Crown & Castle hotel’s restaurant and a tearoom down by the water’s edge.

The burial ground of Anglo Saxon Kings, Sutton Hoo,  a 255 acre estate managed by National Trust is well with a visit during your stay. Find out more about this amazing archaeological discovery as you view the burial ground from the viewing tower. The site includes an exhibition hall with replicas of the treasure found and more. It makes a fascinating day out in itself – or can be combined with a trip to Woodbridge, an elegant small town with great shops.

In addition, East Suffolk has some wonderful old churches, reminiscent of former wealthy eras when the size of a church was proportionate to the wealth of its community. And we have one famous one virtually on our doorstep – St Michael’s Church – a stunning 14th century church, with world-famous Thamar organ.

SPORTING SUFFOLK

Fishing – There are plenty of local fishing lakes to Windmill Lodges, the nearest being at Stonham Barns. If you want to fish from the sea, Dunwich beach is often a popular location or you could fish from the pier at Southwold. For something a bit different for all the family you can also head for the river and try your hand at crabbing at Walberswick.

Shooting – High Lodge at Darsham is run by European and World champion, John Bidwell and is classed as a Premier Plus ground by the CPSA, the official Clay Pigeon Shooting Association, making it one of the top UK shooting venues. They offer clay shooting instruction and experience sessions if you want to try your hand at something new during your holiday.

Golf – whether you enjoy playing in sight of the sea, or surrounded by forests or farmland, there’ll be a golf course within reach to appeal to you. Golf is available at High Lodge, Cretingham, Aldeburgh  Thorpeness, Ufford, Woodbridge, Witnesham and Halesworth.

Cycling – this is a lovely area for cycling, with many cycling paths and trails through the villages and countryside. There’s even an official Suffolk cycling route with the full circuit of 88 miles (142 km) designed to take between two and four days to complete. There are a great explorer cycling guides from Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths If you don’t have your own bikes with you, Suffolk Cycle Hire will deliver a bike to you here at our lodges. If you want to explore Southwold, you can hire a bike or a tandem from Southwold Cycle Hire.

Sailing – Suffolk Coast Sailing offers day sailing trips aboard a modern Beneteau yacht, skippered by an experienced RYA Yachtmaster. If you are looking to build your skills or just experience a day trip you can sail the River Orwell near Ipswich and explore the uncrowded waters of the East Anglia Coast, taking in the Rivers Deben, Stour, Ore/Alde, Backwater, Blackwater and Crouch.

ANIMAL ATTRACTIONS

o find out more about the zoos, farms and wildlife parks you can visit in the local area, click here.

availability-bg-square

CHECK LODGE AVAILABILITY

WHAT OUR GUESTS SAY

Bullfinch Lodge

Best holiday ever! Had a brilliant stay! Excellent accommodation and friendly team. Lots of information given before arrival so was stress free! Thank you!

Wagtail Lodge

This is an absolute gem, you should be very proud, We will definitely recommend. Thank you for such a relaxing, peaceful stay, just what we needed!!

Woodpecker Lodge

Always a wonderful stay – 4th stay, 4th different cabin, just as lovely as the others!

Greenfinch Lodge

A wonderfully relaxing stay. Felt very safe here, not worried at all. Appreciate all your hard work, thank you! We will return with friends and family.

Chaffinch Lodge

Cannot thank you enough for the guidelines you have put in place for everyone’s

Goldfinch

Have have been coming here for 7 years now and will continue to do so. Thank you for a lovely holiday once again.

Kingfisher Lodge

We absolutely adore the lodge. Every detail to make sure guests are comfortable immediately makes it feel like home. Thank you!

    Drop us a quick note:

    Please prove you are human by selecting the star.