3 days in Suffolk

May 18th, 2012, 08:04 AM
  #1  
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3 days in Suffolk

Hello, I have (at the last minute) extended a vacation that is mainly centered in The Netherlands and Belgium to include just 3 days in Suffolk(where I was unable to visit last year on our wonderful trip to England). I simply couldn't visit Europe without seeing just a bit of England again! I actually don't even have my means of transport yet(somehow dropping off rental car in or near Maastricht, and assuming that I can take a train into Brussels and hop on the direct to London train---have a lot to figure out!), but I've booked 3 nights in July in the village of Long Melford(Bull Inn), and am asking for opinions on where to visit in these 3 days. I wanted The Swan in Lavenham but they're all booked up.
Some of you may remember me from last year with my many questions---and you'll know that I mainly enjoy small, quaint villages. Morgana(who helped tremendously with Yorkshire last year) mentioned then that I'd like exploring the villages of Suffolk.
Any tips, opinions, transport options would be greatly appreciated. I plan on renting a car again(not terribly excited about driving out of London--but will do whatever it takes). I may even extend the trip further and venture back down into East Sussex again which I barely got to see last year. Not sure if my wallet agrees with me, though!

Thanks,
Kip
ancestralvoices is offline  
May 18th, 2012, 08:18 AM
  #2  
 
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Brussels to London St Pancras on Eurostar, assuming you can get a seat. Gets quickly booked up. Train from Liverpool Street station in London to Bishops Stortford (35-45 mins) and pick up hire car there if you're nervous about driving in London. Even easier would be flight from wherever (Amsterdam?) to London Stansted (which is actually near to Bishops Stortford.
Villages to visit- the coast at Southwold and Walberswick, villages of Long Melford and Lavenham. Have fun!
bellini is offline  
May 18th, 2012, 08:43 AM
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Another option would be to take the train from Maastricht to Hook of Holland and do the overnight ferry to Harwich and rent your car there. The ferries are great. I will post our trip report that gives more details.
jamikins is online now  
May 18th, 2012, 08:45 AM
  #4  
 
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Here you go - its from London to Amsterdam return but you would just connect at Rotterdam and do a one way - it will save you a night's hotel room and it is really affordable.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-adventure.cfm

And this site has the details as well!

http://www.seat61.com/Netherlands.htm

Happy travels!
jamikins is online now  
May 18th, 2012, 09:32 AM
  #5  
 
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You might like Orford Ness nature reservebr />
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/orford-ness/

And/or the oyster bar in Orford (actually in the little villagy bit, not on the 'ness' itself)br />
http://www.butleyorfordoysterage.co.uk/

And I like Snape maltings - bit of a weird place - little antique stores in the maltings, a concert hall, and walks along the river.

Here is a general website that helps with the coastal area

http://www.thesuffolkcoast.co.uk/

If you do take the train option to Bishops Stortford (where I live!) or a flight to Stansted car rental is ridiculously cheap because of competition between the airport car services and those in the nearby towns. I use Europcar, who will deliver at no charge, and rates start from about a £8-10 a day.....
RM67 is offline  
May 18th, 2012, 09:54 AM
  #6  
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Thanks so much for the quick replies. My confusion has been car rental. I have changed it from picking up in Paris to picking it up in Brussels and dropping it off there as well(saves a lot of money---and not a long drive from Maastricht, Holland) and then getting the Eurostar there to London. Will now check into Hiring a car at Bishops Stortford(which I must confess I am not familiar).

Clare and Kersey look like 2 particularly charming villages. I need to research the coast as well.

How far is Long Melford from Cambridge?

Decided to extend my trip a little longer and revisit Rye, and perhaps drive down to Alfriston or Amberley. I also want to see Beachy Head again---and this time perhaps Seven Sisters.
ancestralvoices is offline  
May 18th, 2012, 10:10 AM
  #7  
 
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Btw, also very partial to the Stour Valley/Flatford Mill/ Manningtree area, which is on the Suffolk/Essex borders.

Shameless plug for my own pics, belowbr />
http://www.flickr.com/photos/4945230...7626798758420/
RM67 is offline  
May 18th, 2012, 10:15 AM
  #8  
 
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Walk across Southwold Common and cross the Bailey bridge to Walberswick Walk to the Bell Inn, have lunch and go back to Southwold on the ferry.
You might enjoy visiting Dunwich which used to be a large town but has gradually been eaten up by the North Sea.
Certainly don't miss visiting Lavenham.
You might also enjoy visiting Flatford and Constable country
If you compare the painting of Willy Lott's cottage with this photo of mine http://tinyurl.com/78gagvu
you'll see that it hasn't changed much
There are more photos at http://tinyurl.com/3cjnxdf
MissPrism is offline  
May 18th, 2012, 10:16 AM
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PPS - might be better picking up your car at Stansted, whether you fly in, or get the train.....
RM67 is offline  
May 18th, 2012, 10:57 AM
  #10  
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RM67, I've booked a non refundable Eurostar from Brussels to St Pancras. From there, I can take a train to Stansted and hire a car? Better than going to Bishops Stortford?

Wow, loving all of these options and suggestions! 3 days is not enough time.
ancestralvoices is offline  
May 18th, 2012, 12:25 PM
  #11  
 
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You will indeed love Suffolk (where I was born and grew up) very different from Yorkshire!!
What you will notice about Suffolk are the magnificent churches, many built on the proceeds of the wool trade centuries ago.
Lavenham and Long Melford both have superb examples of these churches, but as you drive around you will notice them in just about every village you come to, and they are so attractive. The vast majority will be unlocked.
Clare and Kersey are indeed pretty villages. Kersey especially has some wonderful timbered houses and a ford in the middle of the main village street. Wonderful views from the church too. Notice the big windows in some of the older houses in Kersey - so that every bit of daylight could be used for weaving the once famous Kersey cloth (mentioned in Shakespeare).
Hartest and Cavendish are also nice.
We've had some good meals at the Bildeston Crown.
http://www.thebildestoncrown.com/
The Swan at Monks Eleigh is also good.
http://www.monkseleigh.com/
If you fancy stately homes there's Kentwell Hall and Long Melford Hall very close to where you are staying. They sometimes have special events on, so it's worth checking out their websites. Ickworth House would also be within easy reach.
http://www.kentwell.co.uk/
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/melford-hall/
Lavenham has an interesing little museum in the old Guildhall.
Don't forget to try some of the local beer too - Greene King or Adnams.
Have a wonderful time - and in many of these villages you'll be the only tourists.
Morgana is online now  
May 18th, 2012, 08:49 PM
  #12  
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"and in many of these villages you'll be the only tourists" --- Oh Morgana I really like the sound of that! I hadn't heard of Hartest. So much for me to read and research. SOmething strange---when I was in The Cotswolds last year and mentioned Suffolk we were told it was flat country, but in looking at pics on Flickr it appears to be rolling--at least around Lavenham.(inland grass covered dunes?) I need to check the geography of East Anglia. I don't expect the vales and dales of Yorkshire, but I had pictured it as being similar to North Holland which is very flat--and those pics make it appear rolling.

Thanks!
ancestralvoices is offline  
May 18th, 2012, 08:56 PM
  #13  
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RM67--- I just had a look at your Flickr pics. Well done! Beautiful, and now I want to be at the same vantage point and look at that picture postcard cottage. I also must visit Flatford. Is Constable country far from Long Melford/Lavenham? Doesn't matter---I'll enjoy driving and hopefully getting lost on some sweet back road.

You should submit your pictures to the picturesofengland.com site if you haven't done so already. That's where I have many of my own pics from last years journey.
ancestralvoices is offline  
May 18th, 2012, 11:55 PM
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Yes, you've already worked out that Suffolk is not flat although people always say it is! Rolling is a very good adjective, especially the area round Lavenham. And if you puff up the hill from the ford to the church in Kersey you'll find some of the hills are pretty steep!
Having said that, Suffolk (and Norfolk) were widely used during WW2 for airfields. Lavenham had one, and you may spot other abandoned ones as you drive around (tell tale signs of odd buildings or long strips of concrete in farmer's fields)http://www.lavenham.co.uk/airfield/
The Suffolk countryside isn't dramatic or spectacular, and the fields tend to be arable rather than full of cows or sheep, but it all somehow works together, and the villages fit perfectly into the landscape.
If you like reading about where you are visiting then you might like to find out about Maria Marten and the Red Barn Murder, as Polstead isn't far from you. Or the ghostly goings on at Borley Rectory (Borley is close by too, and the Rectory has gone but you can visit the church).
Morgana is online now  
May 19th, 2012, 05:53 AM
  #15  
 
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ancestralvoices:

Try http://www.novacarhire.co.uk for your car hire

Take a peak at htpp://www.visiteastofengland.com

3 days is not enough time.

Sandy
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May 19th, 2012, 05:59 AM
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ancestralvoices:

http://www.novacarhire.com is a better link

Sandy
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May 19th, 2012, 06:39 PM
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ooh ooh ooh you are staying in my favourite village! I've been going there for donkeys years to work as a volunteer - it's my little bit of Heaven. Make sure you allow some time for Melford itself - it has lovely walks through water meadows along the river (just behind the high street), and it's packed with antique shops/junk shops if that's your cup of tea. Would recommend Kentwell Hall if one of their special events is running when you are there, something really unusual (but I'm biased as that's where I volunteer ) Melford Hall is also good but not that different to other stately homes/NT places. Melford church is worth a quick visit and it's a nice walk up from the Bull past the common. Have heard very good things about the Bull for accomodation/food but not been there myself. Lots of pubs in the village if you fancy a change, The Hare has a nice big garden.

Bury St Edmunds isn't far and good for a couple of hours, along with Lavenham. It's such beautiful countryside all round there, real chocolate box stuff with rolling green hills and pink thatched cottages, sometimes I just point the car in a direction and follow my nose randomly for a few miles.

If you have company one fun evening is to try and do a pub crawl along Melford high street right from one end to the other (it claims to have the longest high street in England).

I even have a soft spot for Sudbury, just up the road, although I probably wouldn't go out of my way to go there on a short trip, Gainsborough's house is there if that gets you. Also a swimming pool if you fancy a dip. And a train station if the car thing doesn't work out.
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May 21st, 2012, 11:50 AM
  #18  
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Nona, thanks for all the information! You've gotten me very excited about Long Melford---and any suggestions for walks in the country are very much appreciated!

Finally got the car reserved from Stansted---St Pancras to Tottenham Hale to Stansted if I remember correctly--then off to Suffolk. That Friday(the 13th) is going to be a tough day(arriving St Pancras at 4 from Eurostar---rush hour) but I'd rather get all the hassle over with in one day and be in a sleepy village by evening.

So Morgana---you moved from one beautiful part of the country to another! Lucky gal!
Thanks again!
Kip
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May 21st, 2012, 11:51 AM
  #19  
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Oh and I will be certain to write a Trip Report just like last year! As for Joey---well, he never finished last years(as some of you know)....
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May 21st, 2012, 01:34 PM
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Do visit the Swan Hotel when in Lavenham. Its bar was a hangout for RAF, and later, USAAF aircrew during WWII. Many airmen left their signatures on the wall, which have been preserved under glass to this day. The hotel also does good afternoon teas.
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