Enjoy a picnic in the Abbey Gardens
The award-winning Abbey Gardens are as tranquil as they are beautiful, and offer an historic location for a quiet picnic on a sunny day.
Stroll through the formal gardens and herb garden, along the River Lark and past the well preserved ‘Great Gate’, before choosing from one of many secluded spots to settle down with sandwiches, cakes and of course a flask of tea or coffee.
Take a newspaper or book and you can while away the afternoon in the shade of the noble ruins of an 11th Century Benedictine monastery, watching the world pass by. Stretch your legs by exploring the aviary and fragrant sensory garden and if you have youngsters they can enjoy the children’s play area too. You can even take advantage of two new hard tennis courts available to hire for £5 per hour!
Walk amongst the flowers at Fullers Mill Garden
The enchanting Fullers Mill Gardens occupy seven acres of gorgeous botanical beauty on the banks of the river Lark; a real treat for gardeners and horticulturalists alike.
Delight the senses as you meander through dappled woodland, unusual shrubs, perennials, lilies and marginal plants, all of which have been lovingly tended to by head gardener Annie Dellbridge and her team.
The friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand to chat and answer questions and there are so many little nooks and crannies to explore that you’ll easily spend a whole day here, delighting in the natural beauty of the ponds and streams, wooded areas, walls, walkways and bridges.
Dine al fresco at the Weeping Willow
The Weeping Willow in Barrow dates back to the 16th century and is the epitome of a traditional old English pub, with wooden beams and cosy nooks paired with stylish contemporary décor and work by local artists. They also have a magical garden area with rustic seating for large groups, and plenty of space for children to explore.
Gather together friends and family and book an outdoor table to dine al fresco under the weeping willow that gives the venue its name. The menu includes traditional gastro pub fayre, all lovingly prepared using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Highlights include the Willow Burger with the unusual addition of Welsh rarebit as well as duck breast paired with lavender, peach and burnt onion puree. The dessert menu is also very tempting; with dishes such as white chocolate crémeux with honeycomb, raspberries, smoked white chocolate and strawberry sorbet. There’s also a children’s menu to keep little tummies happy.
Rest and relax at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa
Named as one of the best spas in the East of England, The Spa at Bedford Lodge Hotel boasts facilities including experiential showers, a hydrotherapy pool and even a rooftop hot tub…bliss.
Considered one of the finest luxury spas in Suffolk, The Spa at Bedford Lodge Hotel has some of the finest facilities and treatments available across East Anglia. Recognised by the Good Spa Guide with their highest “5 Bubble” rating, there's also a range of treatments and The Spa Lounge serving delicious meals, snacks and drinks.
The spa is ther perfect place to relax with a friend or partner where you can enjoy views of the famous racing paddocks in Newmarket. The rooftop terrace is especially beautiful on a sunny day when you can sit back, read a book and relax.
Enjoy a family bike ride at National Trust Ickworth Park
Set among 1,800 acres of majestic Suffolk parkland, National Trust Ickworth Park is part of an estate dating back to 1702. The huge site is perfect for families, with varied walks, copious wildlife and hidden twists and turns to explore and discover. Of course the best way to uncover this extensive site is on two wheels, so grab your bikes (or hire them on site) and take to the trails with the whole family.
The monument trail takes you six miles around the plot, passing Albana wood, Parson’s pond and the walled garden, all via woodland and grassland paths. The Ickworth River cycle route is just under three miles long and offers the chance to see a plethora of wildlife. Why not set off early in the morning for the best chance of spotting Roe Deer, Buzzard and Kingfishers in the stillness of sunrise.
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