Ancient yews within a 5,000-acre estate frame the pink façade of Suffolk Mansion. Follow the long sweeping drive over rolling parkland past the old Suffolk Punch stables, the lake and the paddock. This is the ultimate English escape for 30: a squire’s tweedy residence repurposed as a playful party palace.
There’s plenty to keep you amused beyond the ha-ha, the wisteria, the croquet lawn, and the carp pond. Waste your days in the natural-salt heated indoor swimming pool. Sizzle in the sauna. Towel off in the changing rooms and cue up some pre-prandial billiards. Cook on the range and eat around the long table in front of the stone fireplace.
Tranquillity reigns here in rural Suffolk, encouraged by the Japanese garden and the lake-fed stream and broken only by the thwock of racket on ball on the all-weather tennis court. Game, set and match? Repair to the terrace for barbied burgers and bangers enjoyed around the three teak tables for up to 30.
Laze away your time on a lounger on the lawn, just a short stroll away through the vegetable and herb gardens. Drink in the private club room. Sneak some pages of your book in the log-lit drawing-room. Pick from eleven bedrooms that fuse contemporary comfort with traditional antiques. Buy tweed. Eat pheasant. Join the county set.
Looking for tranquillity? It’s right here, behind every trailing arm of wisteria, every neatly sculpted bush and every seasonal bed. A lake-fed stream and Japanese gardens ensure you nurture your soul, and there’s a barbie and tables for 30 to cater for your hunger.
After you’ve beaten all and sundry on the all-weather tennis court, call the day a day and crash with a gin on the loungers in front of the pool reached through the vegetable and herb gardens. Did we say pool? Oh yes. The natural-salt, 15-metre heated indoor pool with its changing rooms, showers, music system and sauna. That pool.
Elsewhere, you might want to simply wander. In a 5,000-acre estate, there’s a lot of wandering to get through. Potter past the lake and horse paddocks, the ha-ha, the seasonal planting and the koi-carp pond. Clack the croquet balls around. Check the post for your peerage.
So what kind of living spaces are on offer? Only the kind you’d imagine in a classical English period house accommodating 30 on a 5000-acre estate. Expect the spectacular, the staggering and the surprising. And yet, for all its grandeur, Suffolk Mansion remains a simple font of five-star fun for families, stags and hens.
The fun begins and ends in the formal spaces, which you can deformalise to your heart’s content. Although the house makes a statement with its grand staircases, plush décor and brilliant Britishness, it’s bursting with modern amenities and contemporary comforts. So move in, spread out and kick back.
Never miss a movie or a match on the 50” smart TV with the logs crackling in the hearth. Stream away on the superfast BT broadband. Stick another song on the Sonos. Escape to the drawing room to raid the bookcase and sneak a few chapters. Or perhaps you’d prefer something more active?
The full-size billiards table sits in a classic wood-panelled space. Load your glasses, pick your cue from the rack and get potting. Head to the barn to play a little ping pong. Or to the heated indoor pool for swimming and splashing followed by lazing and lounging, or sizzling and steaming in the sauna.
You’re well catered for at Suffolk Mansion. Microwave? Check. Ice machine? Check. Dishwasher? Check (two). Coffee? Check – and check out the state-of-the-art Jura Bean to Cup machine for freshly ground coffee in under 60 seconds. Oven? That’s a Lacanche range cooker with four electric ovens, eight gas burners and warming plate.
Eat around the 18-seater dining table beneath the ancient beams, in front of the tartan curtains. Overflow? You’ve room for ten more in the adjoining dining hall, with extra chairs if required. Or head outdoors to load the gas barbie and eat and drink beneath the big Suffolk skies around the terrace table.
Pop out to Hadleigh’s for locally reared ribeye or salmon-and-dill fishcakes, or grab some gastro at The Bildeston Crown. Will it be Red Poll cheeseburger or piri piri spatchcock poussin? Or maybe try the fillet of beef wellington at The Marquis with drinks to follow in the stylish bar.
Dine with glass full and conscience clear at the Vegetarian Red Lion, tuck into the tasting menu at The Brewers Rattlesden, or will it be the ‘Experience Dinner’ of bespoke patisserie at The Great House? Staying in? Grab a tasty takeaway from Indian Villa or Thai 2 Go.
Bedrooms here are as simple, tasteful and elegant as you’d expect, with heavy curtains, atmospheric eaves and homely rugs. With plenty of single options that convert to doubles, this is a house for all occasions.
Bedroom one is a superking with flexibility for a cot and z-bed, while bedroom two is a twin that converts to a double through zip-and-link. Bedroom three is a luxury kingsize. All three share a contemporary bathroom.
En-suite bedroom four sleeps three with a zip-and-link option, while bedrooms five and six are twins sharing a bathroom and sleeping two with the option of a cot and z-bed.
Bedrooms seven and eight are twins with zip-and-link, bedroom nine sleeps three and will take a cot, while bedroom ten is a twin with zip-and-link and eleven a kingsize. Both take a cot and z-bed. Bedrooms seven to 11 share a luxury bathroom.
If you’re having an in-house celebration, spice things up with a butler in the buff from Bufflers. Choose your own drink packages, pick from a selection of games such as Place The Plaster and The Ice Cube Melters, order a cocktail bar and get competitive over cocktail classes.
Get in touch with Red Cactus to organise everything from football golf to electric-shock football, hen or stag life drawing, old-school stag games or Nerf gun wars. Head to Wild Tracks for a day of karting, quad-biking, motocross, and off road 4×4 driving. Or Go Ape at Thetford, the original UK treetops adventure.
Pamper yourself at Riverhills and pick from the day spa, health and fitness club, health and beauty salon, and the hair salon. Splat your pals at Gunsmoke Paintball, with the option of low-impact paintball, with all the excitement and none of the bruises. Or get ready to giggle with some bubble football at Bubble Soccer World.
Shoot some clay at The Big Shoot’s Darsham site, with plenty of shooting stands and game layouts to explore. Or take a tour of Mauldons Brewery, the oldest in Suffolk. Then wrap up your day with an in-house celebration: hire Arabella Reeve for a fully catered occasion, complete with waiting staff and mobile bar hire. They’ll even do the dishes.