Old Corn Mill (sleeps 6 plus cots) is one of a cluster of three stylish barn cottages in a tranquil courtyard setting with beautiful views over 80 acres of meadowland, interrupted only by the odd friendly Friesian cow. Brilliant onsite facilities include a large indoor/outdoor (sides slide back) heated pool (available Easter- End of September), a mini astro pitch for tennis or football, and a games room equipped with table tennis, giant draughts and a pool table. Parents can pack light thanks to a comprehensive range of toys and nursery gear, and enjoy a more relaxing stay with optional services like home-made frozen ready meals, catering, babysitting - even daily fresh milk deliveries courtesy of the neighbouring cows!
Despite its idyllic rural setting, the pretty village of Walpole is almost on the doorstep, whilst the bustling market town of Halesworth, with its charming cobblestone streets crammed with independent shops, delis, pubs, bistros and toddler-friendly pedestrianised town centre, is just a two mile walk, cycle or drive away. A little further afield is the world-renowned Suffolk Heritage Coast and its many picturesque coastal towns and villages some of which seem barely touched by modern life, and others crammed with cosmopolitan pubs, bistros, art galleries and shops. In addition, Norfolk and its famous Broads are just 8 miles away.
Old Corn Mill is the largest of the three cottages at Old Hall Farm. Converted from the original corn mill it is now boasts an impressive double-height open-plan kitchen-diner, flooded with light from its beautiful cathedral-style windows. It sleeps 6 (plus cot) in three ensuite bedrooms including a ground floor twin with shower room, a first floor twin with shower and a huge first floor double with gallery bathroom and romantic free-standing tub under the eaves. The fact that the rooms are split over two floors makes it idea for two small families or one family bringing grandparents along. Outside, there is a large shared courtyard and parking area, prettily planted with old animal troughs and feeders, and use of the gas barbecue, plus garden furniture.
There's plenty to do in around Old Hall Farm including a fun nature trail set up by owners the Winter Family and designed to suit all aged. There's a set route to be followed, complete with laminated sheets giving details at each point of what to look out for, and information about the countryside around. There's a wealth of wildlife surrounding the cottages and the nature trail is a brilliant way of enjoying it.
The pretty village of Walpole is on the doorstep whilst the good selection of independent shops and pedestrianised centre in the charming market town of Haleworth are just two miles away. The town has a couple of good takeaways, which are handy if you don't feel like cooking or aren't making use of the homemade ready meals. Also with a short drive are the popular and pretty waterfront towns of Woodbridge, Southwold, Sutton Hoo, Bawdsey, Orford, Aldeburgh and Snape. All have a good selection of boutiques, cafes, bistros and gastro-pubs, along with their scenic attractions. It’s hard to improve on Southwold for a beach day with little ones thanks to its lovely sandy beach old fashioned seaside appeal with its lighthouse, pretty multicoloured beach huts and delightful pier with traditional amusements like Punch and Judy, and Victorian end-of-the-pier shows. There's also a brewery and a host of decent pubs and restaurants.
More recommendations for eating out with little ones in tow include the family friendly Thorpeness Brassiere and the Regatta in Aldeburgh, as well as the brilliant field kitchen at Jimmy's Farm, made famous by the TV show and a great day out for kids in itself thanks to its animals and nature trail - stock up on supplies in the shop too.
Other nearby attractions include the award-winning Easton Farm Park which is perfect for toddlers and offers animal feeding, petting, egg collecting, horse and cart rides and mini train trips. Whilst, the Africa Alive safari park nr Lowestoft has a fabulous re-creation of the African savannah in which animals roam freely as they would in the wild, plus a fun land train trip with commentary on the animals.
If babysitting is an option, the restaurant at the Crown and Castle, owned by food writer and TV presenter Ruth Watson, and The Froize Inn near Woodbridge both regularly receive rave reviews.