Sunday 1 March 2015

FUN & FROLICS: Woodfarm Barns - Our First Holiday As A Family Of Four

Thanks to a lovely win from @Visit_Suffolk and @woodfarmbarns on Twitter, we spent 16th-19th February on a lovely family holiday in the delightful Deben Barn Cottage at Woodfarm Barns in Ipswich.

I won a 4 night midweek break for two and you could take a dog or a baby along. I won the holiday in February 2014, at which time I did not know I was pregnant (as most of you know, we had a very big surprise in the form of a baby we did not know was on the way until he was born on 9th July!), so we booked for 16th-19th February 2015 planning on just me & Paul spending the time there to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary (which was on Valentine's Day) and David would be staying with his Grandma (my Mum).

However, with the unexpected arrival of the baby, I didn't feel comfortable leaving our young baby, but also didn't want to take him but leave David behind, so I asked if it would be okay for us to bring David and the owner, Carl Scott, very kindly said we could. He didn't have to, so it was extremely generous of him and we are very grateful. This made Woodfarm Barns our first family holiday together as a family of four.

Getting there was a nightmare with the motorways being clogged up. We estimated we'd get there around 6pm or 7pm at the latest, but we actually didn't arrive until around 10pm, we felt really bad getting there so late, but it was unavoidable as sadly we couldn't just make the rest of the cars disappear! We literally were stuck on the motorway for around 2 hours and managed to go about 1 mile! In the end we got to a services and decided to have a coffee and give Marley some food and hope the motorway cleared up.

A much needed break from the dredging along the motorway at the services.
However, when we came out, things were no better and we spent a further hour or so crawling very slowly along the motorway again. It was such a relief when sat nav was telling us we were 10 minutes away! Carl was there to greet us when we finally arrived, he was very welcoming. He left us a delightful breakfast basket with eggs, bacon, bread, fruit etc. too which was a lovely touch.

Well, the cottage was absolutely delightful and I would recommend it to anyone. It is set in a lovely, scenic location. Deben Barn Cottage where we stayed was just lovely - everything you'd need - a spacious bedroom with a lovely spacious and comfortable bed. A lovely bathroom with shower. A cooker, microwave, toaster and kettle in the kitchen. A lovely fireplace, though we didn't need to use it as the cottage had underfloor heating which warmed the cottage perfectly. A lovely little garden. A TV with built-in DVD player and an iPod docking station. Not to mention that in the shared shed there are literally hundreds of DVDs you can borrow for free as well as bicycles, board games and a huge range of guides to help you find things to do roundabouts. These are things other places would charge a hefty fee for, but are included in the price. There is also an ironing board and iron in the shed too. We took our own travel cot, but there was one supplied had we needed it. I would say it was very homely, a great place to relax away from it all.

Paul, David and Marley standing outside Deben Barn Cottage the morning after we arrived.
The garden :)

The bedroom :)

It was so late getting there on the 16th, that we basically unpacked, got into our pyjamas and went to bed, we all felt so drained. We had an lovely nights sleep and felt much refreshed the next morning.

A selfie in our pyjamas on our first night, worn out from the trip, but happy to be there!
On the 17th, we enjoyed a delightful home cooked breakfast with the goodies left in our welcome basket for us before heading off to Colchester Zoo for the day. Considering the time of year, the weather was quite favourable for us! It was only a 40 minute or so drive away so it seemed like a good idea for a family day out. We saw lots of animals and there was so much to see, we ran out of day before we ran out of animals to see! Here are some photo's of our day out:

On the 18th, we went to Stonham Barns, which is literally a 10 minute walk around the corner (though we drove simply for the convenience of putting all the baby stuff in the boot). There are lots of shops there. We went to Suffolk Owl Sactuary (which also had a Meerkat area) then had dinner at Sweet & Savoury before going for a game of Crazy Golf. Then we got some goodies from the Sweet & Savoury Deli before heading back home. Here's some photo's from our day:

On our last full day there (19th), we had originally planned to go to Huntingdon races (horse racing), but due to bad timing on our part and our old sat nav getting us lost, we got near it too late and gave up and ended driving to Great Yarmouth seaside and spending the evening in the amusements arcade! The day definitely didn't go as planned, but we had a fun day anyway.

We packed our stuff up at the end of the day. The next day we had to check out by 10am, we were said to be going home, it was really lovely and we really enjoyed the break and the chance to (sometimes at least!) relax.

On the way home, we went to the Centre For Computing History in Cambridge, which kept David amused looking at the old stuff and Paul happy reliving his retro computing days! I did see and have a go with the Amstrad CPC 464 they had - I had one of those as a kid (still do have it in the loft!), it was my very first computer! It was fun, interesting and informative in there, but bloody freezing too! Was like being outdoors! A good value day out though, especially for a geek or a fan of retro.

Paul & David racing BigTrak's.
This projected games onto a piece of paper for you to play!

It's always depressing getting home, when you're on the motorway and start seeing the signs for Liverpool, you know you're close to home and you realise the holiday is over :(

To be honest, I'd have never really considered Ipswich an holiday destination, maybe from lack of knowing much about it, or because it's not one of the places you often hear about, but we were very impressed, Woodfarm Barns was a lovely place to stay and there is plenty to do, both walking distance and a short drive away for families and couples alike.

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