Welcome to Ivy Grange Farm Barn
Things to do
There's no shortage of things to do in this part of North Suffolk and you'll find a folder in the Barn with lots of info and contact details. We know that people like to plan ahead however (especially if you are here for a celebration), so here are some of our top tips for things to do. Feel free to contact us for more info before your stay or whilst you are here - we're always happy to advise. You'll find more ideas under The List tab.
Food and Drink!
Suffolk has a great reputation for artisan food and drink. We are well served by local pubs and riverside restaurants. This selection of a few local eateries - for different occasions - should give you a flavour of what's here. For more details, check the List section on the website
The Queen’s Head at Blyford has a reputation for imaginative, well presented food. Whilst there is a large beer garden the pub itself is small and cosy so book if you want to be sure of a table 01502 478404
The Locks Inn at Geldeston is a community owned pub situated on the River Waveney. Great beer, food, entertainment, and a new pontoon for canoes - combine it with a SUP or canoe outing.
For celebrations, check out The Boarding House in Halesworth. The menu and wine list is always interesting with excellent local produce.
The Ship at Dunwich is great for locally sourced seasonal produce and traditional pub interior - there's a lovely open fire in winter and a big terraced garden in the summer 01728 648219
The Harbour Inn by Southwold quay offers good food with a range of different inside and outside dining areas. One of our favourites at any time of the year, it's very popular in the height of summer! 01502 722381
A visit to Walberwick should include a visit to The Bell Inn, a quaint pub with plenty of space for inside eating as well as a large beer garden; a relaxed place to drop in for food or a drink 01502 723109
The Eel's Foot at Eastbridge a great pub if visiting RSPB Minsmere - good food, lovely setting and excellent walking 01728 830154
For a good walk/cafe/plant pitstop, check out Dingle Hill Tea Rooms and nursery. With lots of outdoor seating, it's child-friendly and a beautiful spot to start or finish a walk around Dunwich. 01728 648872
Bike: Sustrans/Cycle Route 1 runs past the front gate. Hire the electric (or conventional) bikes, pick up a cycle/OS map and set off. Ask us about our recommended routes.
Boat: Big Dog Ferry can accommodate 12 people and runs between Beccles Quay and Geldeston's Locks Inn during the summer months; book ahead, especially if you want to take bikes. Look out for otters, kingfishers, herons and more....
Canoe/SUP: there's several local places you can hire a canoe or SUP:
Outney Meadow Campsite in Bungay has Canadian canoes; we recommend this stretch of the river if you are a beginner or have small children on board.
Rowan Craft in Geldeston is great if you are more confident about canoeing and has the benefit of allowing you to paddle to the Locks Inn pub and moor up for some refreshment!
Three Rivers Pitch and Paddle also in Geldeston is proving very popular - canoes, SUPs and more.
If you like your canoeing slightly more adventurous, try Iken Canoes near Aldeburgh - a beautiful spot for exploring by canoe.
Full Moon Walks: each month we lead a community walk, exploring different habitats - coastal estuaries, meadows, forests, shingle beaches or simply quiet footpaths. We vary the walks and the time we set off, according to the time of year - in late spring, we'll head for the places where we know the nightingales like to sing; summer will see us in glow-worm or nightjar habitat; mid winter will see us exploring forests and crunching leaves underfoot. The winter walks are always under inky black skies with a gloriously bright moon, whereas at the height of summer, we'll aim for a dusk walk and aim to watch the moon as she rises over the North Sea. These are relaxed walks with a dozen or so locals which you are welcome to join, just let us know of your interest when booking.
Stargazing: we are blessed with big dark skies and it's lovely to watch the star formations at any time of year and the shooting stars in particular during August. There is a nearby Observatory at Seething which runs public events that include use of the telescope in the Observatory. They encourage children (8+) to come along to events and, if you've never seen Saturn through a telescope, it's a must! Check their programme of events on the website,
Wild Swimming: Rivers: you can swim in the River Waveney at Outney Meadow just on the edge of Bungay, and at the Locks Inn at Geldeston, by the footbridge across the river..
For something really special, why not try the Secret Sauna in nearby Bungay? Swelter in the sauna and take a dip in the river Waveney. Open throughout the year - you'll need to book ahead, it's very popular!
Sea: Covehithe Beach (where you can also see at first hand the eroding coastline) with limited summer parking and a half-a-mile walk down to the beach, no facilities. Popular family beaches are at Southwold and Walberswick (which is our favourite place to swim) - the dunes are beautiful and create a sheltered environment. One of the things we love to do in summer is to cycle there for a pre-breeakfast swim followed by croissant and coffee at Black Dog Deli - heaven!
If you prefer your swimming a bit less wild, there is an indoor pool at Bungay and the newly re-opened Lido at Beccles, down by the river, which is hugely popular (heated and open for a long season, sometimes into winter)
This neck of the woods is culturally rich and you may already know of the higher profile events such as Latitude, the Aldeburgh Festival at Snape Matings, The Red House and more. There's a plethora of other happenings which we are happy to recommend:
Thorington Theatre in the Woods is a must if you are here during the late spring/summer months. A beautiful outdoor theatre set amongst pine trees, just 5 miles away. Make sure you book if there's something you're keen to see as tickets sell fast.
The Cut in Halesworth (3 miles away) has theatre, film, arts as well as a good cafe with WiFi.
The INK Festival for new writing takes place in Halesworth each spring. It's made a real name for itself and is great fun to attend whether for a day or the whole weekend. Highly recommended!
Waveney and Blyth Arts stage a sculpture trail in the rolling Suffolk countryside each summer. A lovely way to spend a couple of hours.
Aldeburgh – take your pick from the visual arts, music, film, galleries. Aldeburgh was famously home to Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears and you can visit the Red House (book ahead), find Maggi Hambling’s Scallop sculpture dedicated to the composer further up the beach and amble round the many galleries in the town showing painting and sculpture. Aldeburgh Cinema has been showing films since 1924, has a good programme and is a delight to visit.
Snape Maltings - there’s almost nothing you can’t do at Snape Maltings. Besides performances in the world class concert hall, there’s extensive shopping and good food to be had, as well as wonderful walks along the River Alde with stunning pieces of sculpture dotted around.
The Electric Picture Palace, home to the Southwold Film Society, is great fun. The cinema operates as a Film Society so you need to become a member but they offer seasonal membership for a small fee. They are also licenced to conduct marriages should the fancy take you...
Latitude is just four miles down the road from us, and you can enjoy a beautifully quiet cycle ride through the back roads to get there. If you fancy taking in a day pass whilst you’re here, then check their website. Latitude is generally held over a long weekend in the middle of July and gets booked up quickly!
If pottery if your thing, check out Mark Titchiner's work at his workshop gallery, open weekdays 9-5 and weekends by appointment (01986 785242). Mark holds two special exhibitions a year at his workshops and also runs regular ceramic courses at his Chediston Pottery.
If you’re a fan of WG Sebald’s Rings of Saturn, you’ll love staying here; the area he describes in the novel is sitting on the doorstep, waiting to be explored.
The coastline described by Sebald is brought up to date by Juliet Blackland in her recent book The Easternmost House, describing the collapse of her house into the sea at Easton Bavents, just a stroll up the beach from Southwold.
Melissa Harrison is a novelist and nature writer, based in Suffolk, with All Among the Barley her most recent award-winning book.
If detective mysteries are your thing, you'll enjoy checking out locations in Ruth Rendell's novels, set in the county.
George Ewart Evans’ Ask the Fellows Who Cut the Hay illustrated by David Gentleman is a great social history of a farming way of life now gone. David Gentleman lives in a small village about 6 miles away and has just published a new book In The Country, beautifully illustrated, about this area.