Five-star frolics in rural Suffolk

Deep in Suffolk’s rural hush sits a world of chefs, estate activities, english nature and five-star concierged luxury. The Walled Garden on the Wilderness estate offers tennis in the garden, drinks and dinner on the terrace, a swim in the shared pool and three giant glasshouses for gourmet dinners, movie nights and games.

Chefs and butlers in the Suffolk hush

Enter the world of chefs, estate activities, english nature and five-star concierged luxury. Deep in the rural hush of Suffolk, The Walled Garden sits on the celebrated Wilderness estate, delighting in its quirky furnishings, vaulted baronial hall and three Sir John Soane-inspired glasshouse receptions, each devoted to different aspects of pleasure.

Within these walls sit eight sumptuous bedrooms, plus four more in the adjoining Garden Cottage, including a bunk room for up to six kids. That’s plenty room for family fun, dinner and downtime. There are open fires to light in Ancaster fireplaces, underfloor heating to warm your toes, sunken baths, wine fridge, Nespresso and tea pig teas.

The fun begins in the giant glasshouses: be waited on in the giant breakfast kitchen, fire up a flick in the cinema room with 110” wall-mounted TV, and get competitive in the games room.

Beyond the glasshouse kitchen, the garden sits, croquet-ready, or will it be tennis? Play all-year round on the all-weather court. Or swim in the sunken shared pool. At night, the table’s set on the terrace for dinner: let us light the candles, toss the salad, butter the bread and pour the wine from the carafe. It’s going to be a great evening.

Pool, gardens and grounds

Gardens here are English garden-party good, Downton-Abbey grand. The lawns inside The Walled Garden sprawl forever, inviting croquet, cream teas in high summer or just high jinks. Dozens can dine on the terrace: call the (optional) butler and waiter, butter your bread, top up your glass and toast the starlit canopy.

Beyond the sun-trap terrace and your own private, one-acre kitchen garden, sit the reserve’s vast pleasure parks with rowing and fishing, nature walks, cycling and private picnics. Out here too is the signature feature: the spectacularly sunken pool, the work of British landscape architect Kim Wilkie.

Among the espaliered fruit trees and vegetable beds, there’s a thatched summer house. Inside, the indulgent sauna and hot tub bubble and steam their promise of wellbeing. Elsewhere, your own all-weather tennis court sits ready to sharpen your game and whet your appetite before dinner.

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Living spaces

Living spaces here are transparently beautiful: three huge glasshouses inspired by neoclassical architect Sir John Soane. They’re practical and spacious by day; special when lit up at night. They form the perfect backdrop for games nights, movies or simply spectacular kitchen living.

In the games room, table football and table tennis compete for your attention, while the cinema is peachy perfect for a movie on the 110” wall-mounted TV, as you sprawl with popcorn on the world’s largest sofa.

These are the perfect spaces to shut out the evening chill and get toasty with your warmest friends: light the open fires, click on the underfloor heating and curl up with wine from the estate cellar. Expand your living space in the adjoining old Victorian Garden Cottage with its own sitting room which can be rented in conjunction with The Walled Garden or separately.

The effect is a quirky, unique and palatial bolthole, as you’d expect from living spaces wrought from a walled kitchen garden. Relax, top up your glass and let the glass warm up the sun as walls of natural light flood into your life.

Cooking and dining

Welcome to the English rural dream, where waiters and butlers attend to your every need as you sip a Sauvignon, nibble nuts and prepare for dinner. That comes care of Wilderness’s team of chefs who serve up hearty local home-cooked food, fine dining, seasonal picnics for the surrounding parkland and anything in between.

Pick wines from the estate cellar, discuss your dinner options with the chef, start the evening with cocktails on the lawn. Maybe it’ll be braised beef or chicken casserole. Maybe it’ll roast slowly outdoors on the barbecue. If it turns chilly, you’ll eat inside in the moonlight that floods in through the glasshouse windows.

After late-night talk and deep slumber, it’s breakfast. That means fresh, warm bread, organic eggs, local bacon and tea pigs teabags. If you want to go all DIY, the facilities couldn’t inspire you more. The kitchen/diner glasshouse comes with oak island and range cooker. Open the doors to the patio to the kitchen garden beyond.

Eating out? Try beer-battered fish and pan-fried seabass at The Queen’s Head in Dennington, Carlingford Lough rock oysters at The Crown and Castle in Orford, or The Unrurly Pig near Woodbridge.

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Bedrooms

Immerse yourself in five-star luxury and historic charm. The eight bedrooms – and four more in Garden Cottage – are elegant and authentic, with the same king-size Hypnos beds favoured by British royalty. Need your beds making? Add a little housekeeping and put your feet up.

The eight bedrooms, with their quirky furnishings, are arranged either side of a large, central baronial hall with vaulted ceiling and huge English Ancaster limestone fireplaces. All bedrooms sleep two and all are en-suite.

Bedroom one is a king-size that comes with bath and shower, while bedrooms three and six are king-size with a shower. Bedroom five is a double with en-suite bath. All other bedrooms are king-size with en-suite baths. The adjoining Garden Cottage offers four en-suite bedrooms including a bunk room for up to six kids.

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What people say

What people say

"What a gorgeous house! It was the perfect balance of the rich and the rustic. So lovely to wake up each morning to the sound of the countryside!" - Hannah
"I had high hopes and I'm pleased to say that my expectations were met. I can't wait till we're all back again." - Peter

Bonfires, boats and beaches

Light a bonfire in the woods and toast marshmallows, row the boats, shoot some arrows or clay – all on site. Off-site, Southwold and Aldeburgh promise beachy, breezy fun, while enchanting Captain’s Wood offers muntjac deer munching in the meadows.

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