Suffolk Yurt Holidays

I like to consider our weekends sleeping in Cleopatra as more glamping than camping but this weekend we had the opportunity to try really high-end glamping courtesy of Suffolk Yurt Holidays in Woodbridge.

We were given a warm welcome by Jane who showed us the communal areas before handing us the key to 'Apple' our yurt for the weekend. There are five yurts all named after trees, each with a spacious private grassy space. Stooping down to enter its tiny wooden door we were enveloped in a luxurious interior that was definitely boutique hotel rather than boot camp. This is surely camping for folks who don't think they'd enjoy camping!

The bed in our yurt was constructed out of an old wooden boat. Crisp white bed sheets were accented with a bold cushion and pastel blanket. A comfortable futon provided ample indoor seating, a wooden trunk was home to hot water bottles and extra pillows, and a chest of drawers provided storage for our clothes. A rail for hanging garments is a lovely touch, comprising just a small tree branch suspended from the ceiling. A basket of logs, fire lighters and kindling was included for use in a log burning stove. Outside under a beautifully crafted gazebo were a table and chairs, plus a barbecue for our own use.

Sunlight streams into the yurt through the generous roof light in the crown, while two flaps in the side wall roll up to let in even more light and a breeze through should you wish. A solar panel tops up a battery that powers three antique lanterns when the sun goes down.

With plenty of evening left we took some beers and a board game to one of the communal tables on the smart decking next to the bar. The bar works on an honesty system with each yurt having a page on a wooden clipboard on which to log anything taken from the drinks fridges. Although we'd brought a case of French beers with us I knew we'd eventually be tempted by the local Adnams beers lined up on one of the shelves. The decking area proved to be the best place on which to enjoy the last of the evening sun whether you sit on a bar stool, at a table or on the colourful deck chairs.

A little later we made use of the communal galley kitchen to prepare our dinner. Like all the facilities, the kitchen is spotlessly clean with a fridge for each of the five yurts, plus your own cutlery and crockery and a host of cooking pot and pans. During the drive down to Suffolk Yurt Holidays I'd joked to Tony that I was going to measure the place on whether it provided a cafetiere and bread knife. There were both of these things!

As it grew dark we retreated into our yurt. The lanterns gave a lovely warm glow and the log fire added to the cosy feel. We took the cushions from the futon and sat next to the log burner. In hindsight, we should have followed the lead of the occupants of the other yurts who had smoke billowing from their chimneys a lot earlier than us. But it only took about an hour for the yurt to warm up. There's a fine balance to be found on the optimal time to light the fire. We lit it at 6pm on the second evening to find the temperature was sauna-like when we headed indoors two hours later, leading me to open one of the side windows to cool us down a little.

We enjoyed our evening, glasses of red wine in hand, soaking up the cosiness evoked by the flames from the fire and the glow from the lanterns. We were so chilled out our heads soon hit the pillows and we slept like logs until morning. The mattress on the bed was so comfortable we pulled back the sheet to discover where it came from. It really was a great night's sleep. Tony slept until 10am, while I was up earlier, having woken for a wee and then unable to get back to sleep because of the sunlight streaming through the roof light. That's entirely my fault though since I keep an eye mask in Cleopatra and I made sure I had it for our second night.

With Tony still snoring I went for a shower. I've never seen an electric shower so smart. The water was lovely and hot and the shower cubicle clean as the day it was installed. I'd have liked to have seen somewhere to stand my shower gel and conditioner bottles but had to make do with placing them on the floor - my soap and sponge filled the small shelf attached to the shower itself. I guess maybe I try to take too many products into the shower!

As I was on my way to the communal kitchen to put the kettle on for coffee Paul was at the bar area and asked if I would like coffee from the bean-to-cup machine. I fetched two mugs from our yurt's cupboard and took them over to the bar. Coffee from freshly ground beans is a lovely way to start the day. I delivered the second mug of coffee to Tony in an attempt to get him up and about.

With Tony showered and dressed too we decided we'd spend the morning walking to Woodbridge. Well thought out directions and map are provided on an A4 sheet, taking you through pleasant countryside with slightly different routes there and back. At just three miles, the walk takes under an hour. Woodbridge is a lovely town with a plethora of inviting bars, cafes and restaurants. The town also boasts plenty of quirky art and gift shops - none of your usual seaside tat. 

On this occasion we resisted the temptation to enjoy a pint in one of the colourful pubs - something quite difficult to do when they all have Adnams ales on tap! It not being our first trip to Woodbridge we only had a cursory visit to the Tidemill yacht harbour but this is well worth a visit along with a walk along to the model boating lake where you'll find many an enthusiast sailing their tiny vessels.

Another two miles away is Sutton Hoo, the site of a 6th and 7th century burial ground. Rather than walk the extra distance we returned to the yurts to collect Cleopatra and drove there instead. It was while Googling Sutton Hoo to find out a little more for our video blog that I discovered it was owned by the National Trust. Walking around looking at old stuff is more Tony's thing. I don't mind indulging him but I do object to paying for the privilege of being bored. As it turned out much of the site was closed and we paid £3.50 each to look at a mound of earth and the gift shop. I enjoyed one of the circular walks around the grounds, though I was quite miffed at the numerous points around the walk where you could easily enter Sutton Hoo for nothing. As it was, a beautiful pure-grey cat made the whole visit worthwhile.

By now the sun had started to make an appearance and we thought late afternoon would be nicely spent sitting outside the yurt with a few beers. We had time to fit in a little snooze too - the yurt beds are just too comfortable and inviting.

That evening they were cooking pizzas in the wood-fired oven and we decided we'd partake. We watched the dough be rolled out and our choices of topping be added before they were expertly transferred on a paddle into the blazing-hot oven. The resulting pizzas were amazing - you can't possibly achieve a beautifully crispy base any other way than a wood-fired oven. Having been able to see the whole preparation just added to the experience and we thoroughly enjoyed them.

We switched from beer to wine and sat soaking up the last of the day's sun from the decked area beside the bar. All three parties staying that weekend ordered pizzas and we chatted with another couple as they enjoyed their dinner. They didn't manage to eat all of theirs and took a dish from the kitchen to keep their leftovers for later!

Throughout the evening Tony returned to the yurt occasionally to keep the fire going in order that the yurt would be warm when we retired for the night. It was about 8 o'clock that he came back to say the yurt was like a sauna. By the time it was dark and we shut ourselves in it was toastie as can be!

I was reminded I was, in fact, camping when laying on the bed and an earwig dropped on me from the ceiling. It was quickly caught and cremated in the fire which must have served as a lesson to any more since no others did the same, at least not while I was awake, I'm very pleased to report!

I slept much better with my eye mask at hand when the sun rose in the morning. Though the fire would have gone out around midnight the yurt soon warms up as the sun begins to hit the walls. It was a beautifully sunny morning which coincided nicely with the arrival of our breakfast hamper, delivered to our outside table by Paul. Warm croissants and small loaf of just-cooked bread were devoured topped with butter and marmalade. There was a pot of fruit yoghurt each, two bottles of juice and two pieces of fruit. A flask of hot water could be used to make coffee or tea and a bottle of milk finished off the thoughtfully-assembled wicker hamper. We couldn't eat it all, even if we discounted our plan to head for the coast for fish and chips for lunch.

It was with heavy hearts that we departed Suffolk Yurt Holidays both completely won over by the glamping experience. Every little detail had been thought of, from the gorgeously sumptuous furnishings in the yurts, everything you could possibly need in the kitchen, the beautifully maintained communal and private grounds and the spotlessly clean toilet and shower facilities. You really can just turn up and chill.

With all of Sunday still at our disposal we headed the 35 minutes to Southwold, home to dozens of colourful beach huts, a small pier and Adnams brewery. We found on-street parking for Cleopatra that didn't cost us anything and walked along the sea front as far as the river Blythe. You can walk no further without crossing by the 'ferry', a small boat powered by a man or woman with oars. That's more than worth the £1 each way fee just for the experience, but we've done it several times and had no need this time since the best fish and chips along the coast are on the Southwold side of the river. Only it wasn't open yet. Even after a lazy mooch around Southwold's high street it was still too early to buy lunch.

Heading back in the direction of Suffolk Yurt Holidays is Aldeburgh, the place we stayed near on the very first weekend of owning Cleopatra. Parking in the public car park on the north side of town we walked beside the pebble beach to find the fish and chip shops open and both having queues of visitors. With a large haddock and chips each in hand we sat on the sea wall ending a fantastic weekend doing what everyone ought to do at the seaside.

Our stay at Suffolk Yurt Holidays was provided free of charge in return for this impartially written blog post. More glamping holidays are listed at who helped to arrange this visit.

We also filmed a video blog for our YouTube channel


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