Laurence Mitchell is a freelance travel writer and photographer, as well as being the author of Norfolk (Slow Travel) and Suffolk (Slow Travel), both in Bradt’s award-winning series of Slow Travel guides to UK regions.
Here, Laurence shares some of his recommendations for where to stay in Norfolk.
The places to stay listed below have been selected for their good location and because they embrace the Slow mindset, either in terms of their overall feel or because they embody a ‘green’ approach. Prices for hotels vary considerably, but two people sharing a room in a B&B can usually expect to spend around £80–100 per night. Holiday cottage prices also cover a wide range, depending on capacity, season and location. Of course, school holidays and especially August mean peak prices. There is plenty to be said for visiting out of season in order to save money. Campsites run the gamut from no-frills to luxurious ‘glamping’ options.
The accommodation selection here is just a small assortment of selected places. These have been ordered according to geographical area. The list is not meant to be in the least bit exhaustive but rather just a small personal selection.
The Suffolk Heritage Coast
The Crown and Castle
Market Hill, Orford IP12 2LJ • 01394 450205 • crownandcastle.co.uk
A smart and stylish place to stay with a gorgeous location in Orford, this is probably best known for its excellent restaurant. Indeed, the Crown and Castle describes itself as a ‘restaurant with rooms’ rather than the other way around. There are 21 very comfortable rooms, some newly refurbished, with plenty of style; the ten luxurious garden rooms each have their own terrace.
The Ship St James St
Dunwich IP17 3DT • 01728 648219 • shipatdunwich.co.uk
A nice old pub with rooms close to the beach at this fascinating seaside village, The Ship has 16 comfortable rooms; some are newly converted, all come with traditional furniture and old-fashioned iron bedsteads.
Market Pl, Southwold IP18 6EG • 01502 722186 • theswansouthwold.co.uk
Right in the heart of the Suffolk coast’s most elegant resort, close to the seafront, this has tastefully decorated guest rooms. Each is equipped with a ‘tall boy’ cupboard that houses a coffee machine, Smart TV and wireless speaker; bedrooms in the main building have four-poster beds.
Argyll House B&B
Yoxford Rd, Westleton IP17 3AE • 01728 649054 • argyllhousebnb.co.uk
Located in Westleton village, close to the coast and RSPB Minsmere, this B&B is managed following a sustainability ethos and has three cosy bird-themed rooms. Breakfasts make use of locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. No dogs or under 14s.
High St, Aldeburgh IP15 5DQ • 01728 638962 • bestofsuffolk.co.uk
Stylish self-catering close to the beach in a restored Victorian cottage that combines period features with clutter-free contemporary style.
The Balancing Barn
Near Walberswick • living-architecture.co.uk
A highly unusual modern building that appears to defy gravity. Set in six acres of private grounds and accommodating up to eight people in four bedrooms, it has ultra-modern interior decoration and a top-of-the-range kitchen.
The Dune House
Near Thorpeness • living-architecture.co.uk
Another very unusual modern dwelling in the Living Architecture collection, this beautiful Norwegian-designed house is right on the edge of the sea nestled among dunes. It sleeps nine and is dog-friendly.
Five Acre Barn
Aldeburgh Rd, Aldringham IP16 4QH • 07788 424642 • fiveacrebarn.co.uk
This modern barn conversion has five bright rooms with high ceilings and polished, heated concrete floors. Four of the rooms have a plywood mezzanine sleeping area with a downstairs sitting area that has doors leading to the garden. The fifth is a single-storey garden room. Although primarily a B&B, the whole barn may be rented out by large groups.
Bawdsey • 01637 881183 • uniquehomestays.com
Very expensive but undoubtedly a unique experience, this converted Martello tower on the coast at Bawdsey has been completely refurbished and comes with all mod cons – and even a grand piano. Sleeps up to six.
Blythburgh • 01728 440981 • bestofsuffolk.co.uk
A well-equipped house with views of the Blyth Valley and an en-suite bedroom on each of the three floors. The spacious L-shaped open-plan living space contains the kitchen, dining and sitting area. There is also access to a shared swimming pool and fitness room.
Aldeburgh • 01628 825925 • landmarktrust.org.uk
This large quatrefoil-shaped converted Martello tower near Aldeburgh at the start of the Orford Ness peninsula is the most northerly in England and sleeps four in two bedrooms.`
Harbour Camping & Caravan Park
Ferry Rd, Southwold IP18 6ND • 01502 722486 • southwoldcamping.com
Right by the beach and Southwold harbour just south of the town, this council-owned site with a basic but adequate toilet and shower block has straightforward family camping at a moderate price.
Mill Hill Farm Caravan & Campsite
Westleton Rd, Darsham, Saxmundham IP17 3BS • 01728 668555 • https://www.millhillfarm.net/
Good-value with 110 pitches spread across three fields reasonably close to the coast. There is also an electric car charging point and three en-suite camping pods for hire.
The Waveney Valley
Waveney House Hotel
Puddingmoor, Beccles NR34 9PL • 01502 712270 • waveneyhousehotel.co.uk
In a lovely position overlooking the River Waveney close to the town centre in Beccles, this attractive riverside hotel has 12 tastefully furnished, comfortable rooms and suites.
The Common, Mellis, Eye IP23 8EE • 01379 788196 • bedandbreakfasts.co.uk
On the edge of Mellis Common, once home to the writer Roger Deakin, this comfortable B&B set in a peaceful and quiet location offers just two double rooms.
Fritton Lake Woodland Lodges
Church Lane, Fritton NR31 9HA • 01493 484008 • frittonlake.co.uk
A choice of eco-friendly lodges scattered around the mature woodland and lake of the Somerleyton Estate in northeast Suffolk. There’s a choice of sizes but all come with great views, open-plan living area and fully fitted kitchens.
Outney Meadow Touring & Camping Park
Outney Meadow, Bungay NR35 1HG • 01986 892338 • outneymeadow.co.uk
Very close to Bungay in the Waveney Valley, this campsite with 45 pitches, some with electric hook ups for motor homes, is part-sheltered by trees and has canoe and bike hire available.
Thoroughfare, Woodbridge IP12 1AD • 01394 384242 • thecrownatwoodbridge.co.uk
With ten stylishly modern yet comfortable bedrooms, this chic boutique-style hotel is the smartest place in town.
Hall Rd, Kesgrave, Ipswich IP5 2PU • 01473 333741 • milsomhotels.com/kesgrave-hall
A little way east of Ipswich and convenient for visits to that town, this boutique hotel has a choice of 27 rooms that range from standard to super-deluxe. The latter have bathtubs and super-king-size beds.
13 Sea Rd, Felixstowe IP11 2BB • 01394 284881 • the.graftonguest.house
Good-value traditional seafront B&B in a three-storey Victorian house with eight rooms, some en-suite and with sea views.
Station Rd, Woodbridge IP12 4AU • 01394 384831 • stationguesthouse.co.uk
Situated right next door to Woodbridge railway station, this has three recently refurbished brightly lit rooms with views over the River Deben.
Near Ipswich • 01628 825925 • landmarktrust.org.uk
This six-storey Tudor folly is available for rent through the Landmark Trust if you fancy living vertically for a while. It sleeps four and the sitting room at the top offers wonderful views over the River Orwell.
Woodbridge • 03330 151348 • suffolk-secrets.co.uk
This refurbished cottage is located just seconds from The Thoroughfare, Woodbridge’s principal pedestrian street. Close to all that Woodbridge has to offer but without a dedicated parking space. Sleeps four.
Shottisham Rd, Alterton, Woodbridge IP12 3DE • 01728 638962 • bestofsuffolk.co.uk
Once the teacher’s house for the former village school, this is near Woodbridge on the Bawdsey Peninsula, close to the River Deben and the sea. It sleeps up to four.
White House Farm, Hasketon, Woodbridge IP13 6JP • 01394 337337 • secretmeadows.co.uk
Secret Meadows offers expensive boutique-style camping in luxury lodge tents with four-poster beds, Gypsy caravans or a ‘Hobbit box’ – a wooden horsebox truck with a Middle Earth theme. Organic towels, complimentary handmade soap and a welcome basket are all part of the package. The site, close to the Suffolk coast, is surrounded by a 100-acre nature reserve.
Suffolk Yurt Holidays
Ufford Rd, Bredfield, Woodbridge IP13 6AR • 07976 613602 • suffolkyurtholidays.co.uk
Five spacious hand-crafted yurts set in wildflower meadows surrounded by ancient trees. Each yurt has a fridge and wood stove and can accommodate either four adults or two adults and up to four children. Separate eco-friendly shower block, kitchen and safari-style eating area.
Central & East Suffolk
Framlingham IP13 9NU • 01728 885422 • boundaryfarmcottages.co.uk
This 17th-century farmhouse set in open countryside east of Framlingham has four rooms furnished in period style and a cosy guest room with woodburner stove. Other options at the farm include a two-bedroom converted hayloft, a one-bedroom former cart lodge and two shepherd’s huts.
The Barns at Belle Grove
Bell Grove Farm, Halesworth IP19 8QU • 01986 873124 • bellegrovebarns.com
Five converted barns, each with a different character, fitted out with sumptuous textiles, rugs and reclaimed wooden fixtures. With wood-burning stoves and under-floor heating powered by solar panels, each barn has its own private garden area.
Bramfield, Halesworth IP19 9AG • 03330 151348 • suffolk-secrets.co.uk
Self-catering property on a 250-acre working organic farm close to Halesworth with homely, nicely furnished rooms. Sleeps up to seven.
The Round House
Station Rd, Framlingham • 07968 711565 • theroundhousesuffolk.co.uk
Tucked away in a quiet half-acre of lovely gardens close to the centre of Framlingham, this 18th-century thatched accommodation was formerly a windmill. It sleeps six, with three en-suite double rooms, a sitting room with woodburner, a dining room and farmhouse kitchen.
Yoxford IP17 3EU • 07986 812851 • suffolkcottagefor2.co.uk
A cosy mid-terrace cottage sleeping just two. The small sitting room has a wood-burning stove and there’s a raised decked sitting area in the garden
Bruisyard Rd, Peasenhall IP17 2HP • 07768 693548 • sheepcottages.co.uk
Two 16th-century cottages – Black Sheep and White Sheep – that have been refurbished in a simple, modern style to create a contemporary uncluttered feel.
The Orchard Campsite
28 Spring Lane, Wickham Market IP13 0SJ • 017818 034729/746170 • orchardcampsite.co.uk
A friendly family campsite with a relaxed atmosphere and a good choice of tent pitches – in woodland, next to a pond or in a meadow. There’s a landscaped barbecue area and a campsite shop with an off-licence. Open fires are encouraged and firewood can be provided. A pre-erected safari tent is also available, which sleeps four and has its own shower and toilet.
Gislingham Rd, Thornham Magna IP23 8HH • 01379 788668 • swattesfieldcampsite.co.uk
A small, low-impact campsite in the Waveney Valley where you can either bring your own tent to pitch or rent a boutique bell tent or log cabin ‘pixie hut’.
South Suffolk & The Stour Valley
The Angel Inn
Stoke-by-Nayland CO6 4SA • 01206 263645 • angelinnsuffolk.co.uk
This 16th-century inn in Constable country has 11 luxury rooms, each with individually designed furnishings and original artwork. Six rooms are in the main building and five in a converted stable annexe.
Lavenham CO10 9QA • 01787 247477 • theswanatlavenham.co.uk
This timber-framed 15th-century inn with rooms is in the heart of the celebrated wool town of Lavenham. Expect luxurious surroundings, oak beams, open fires and 45 well-appointed bedrooms, each one individual and slightly different from the others.
26 Nethergate St, Clare CO10 8NP • 01787 277539 • cobblesinclare.co.uk
A cosy B&B in a listed 14th-century cottage close to the centre of historic Clare. Breakfasts cooked using local produce are served in an oak-beamed dining room.
Milden Hall Farmhouse
Milden, Lavenham CO10 9NY • 01787 247235 • thehall-milden.co.uk
In a grand 16th-century hall farmhouse near Lavenham, this has elegant, old-fashioned large rooms with tapestries, wall hangings and characterful furniture. There’s also self-catering accommodation for large groups in a 16th-century barn conversion.
Cross St, Sudbury CO10 2DS • 01787 882966 • millhouse-sudbury.co.uk
Close to Sudbury town centre with views to the River Stour, this 500-year-old listed house offers two large comfortable rooms, one with a balcony, and a very small single suitable for a child.
Prentice St, Lavenham CO10 9RD • 01787 247833 • suffolk-secrets.co.uk
This deceptively spacious 17th-century barn conversion is set in a quiet location beside a stream in historic Lavenham. Sleeps four; both bedrooms are en-suite.
West Suffolk & The Brecks
3 Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1LT • 01284 714007 • theangel.co.uk
Bury’s best-known hotel – Charles Dickens, Nick Cave and Angelina Jolie have all stayed here in the past. Located in the heart of the town’s historic centre, this combines comfort and exotic grandeur and offers a wide range of accommodation that includes suites and family rooms as well as better-value classic rooms.
Horringer, Bury St Edmunds IP29 5QE • 02080 765555 • luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk/locations/the-ickworth
Located within the Ickworth Estate at Horringer near Bury St Edmunds this elegant and well-appointed hotel, formerly the home of the Marquess of Bristol, has 27 rooms decorated in a variety of styles as well as 11 apartments for families. There’s also a games and cinema room, crèche and swimming pool, and a wealth of country walks right on the doorstep.
Bridge St, Moulton CB8 8SP • 01638 751818 • thepackhorseinn.com
Close to Newmarket, next to a medieval packhorse bridge in the village of Moulton, this well-regarded dining inn has a range of elegant rooms of different styles and sizes, two of them come with standalone bath as well as en-suite shower.
The Green, Hartest IP29 4DH • clickbedandbreakfast.co.uk
Right on the village green in a beautiful west Suffolk village, this relaxed informal B&B is perfectly located for walking in the area.
East End House
140 Eastgate St, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1XX • 02081 234532 • oldschoolhouseholidayproperties.com
Ideally located next to the town’s Abbey Gardens, this spacious property has four rooms sleeping up to eight guests. Two of the rooms have king-size beds and one is en suite; the living area is open plan, with a kitchen, dining room and lounge.
Now you know where to stay, you should pick up a copy of Laurence Mitchell’s Slow Travel Guide to Suffolk.
Expert local author Laurence Mitchell helps visitors discover what makes Suffolk tick, combining personal insights, enjoyable anecdotes and up-to-date information on the best places to visit, stay and eat.