I’ve always loved the idea of a cosy retreat during the autumn months – a little house away from everything else, with nothing to fill my time aside from woodland walks and a good book.
This year, I finally got my wish!
A few months ago Elliott’s parents booked a cottage in the Suffolk countryside, just outside the little town of Bungay. They asked us whether we would be interested in joining them, and of course we jumped at the chance.
Some people might baulk at the idea of spending a week away with their partner’s parents. Luckily, I’m not one of them! I love hanging out with Kathy and Deni, and I can never turn down the chance to explore a new place.
So we packed up our bags, bundled Fujin into the car and set off for Suffolk!
Arriving in the countryside was a literal breath of fresh air, and our life in London suddenly seemed very far away. Green fields stretched as far as the eye could see, and the only sounds came from small birds and the occasional goose (which Fujin was obsessed with!)
We reached the cottage just in time to catch the first golden sunset of the holiday, and it was a beauty.
I was greeted with this view every morning as I set off for my regular walk. Don’t you just want to live here?
Our little cottage was surrounded by cabbage fields (at least, I think they were cabbages) which added to the tranquil, quaint vibe of the trip. If our accommodation hadn’t been so modern and sleek, it would have felt as though we’d stepped back in time!
But we weren’t just there to admire green fields and pretty cottages. We all love taking Fujin to the beach, so we made it a priority when planning this trip. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Suffolk coast, and I wasn’t disappointed.
A certain little puppy enjoyed it too!
It made me so happy to watch him race along the sand, ears flapping in the wind. The waves were less intense than the first beach he visited, so he had the best time playing in the water and getting absolutely soaked.
We usually like to finish off a beach trip by eating fish and chips (well, just chips for me!) but it wasn’t quite as simple as that. It seems that the people of Suffolk like their chips fried in beef dripping. Bleh.
Luckily we managed to find a shop that used regular vegetable oil, and I’ve never been so happy to see a bag of chips in my life!
If you read about my trip to Cornwall a few months back, you’ll remember how easy it was for me to find vegan options in the tiny town of Tintagel.
Bungay wasn’t quite as simple (as evidenced by the chips fiasco) but I certainly didn’t starve!
On our first night we visited The Three Cooks, a British-Asian fusion restaurant serving a fairly large variety of vegan dishes. I ordered the red Cambodian curry with rice which was delicious and very filling – definitely a must-try!
Just down the road is The Fleece Inn, boasting a dedicated vegan menu. I chose the homemade onion bhajis with couscous and vegetables – so authentic, and so good.
I really appreciate how easy it is to find delicious, high-quality vegan options in the UK, no matter where I visit. Even this tiny town in the middle of the countryside could accommodate a plant-based diet!
Times really are changing, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
If you’re ever lucky enough to visit Bungay, don’t just stick to the town. When you venture out into the Suffolk countryside, you might just uncover some treasures.
St. Andrew’s Church in Covehithe is one of them.
These ruins are all that’s left of a large 15th century church, which was partly demolished by the townspeople just 200 years after it was built. They simply couldn’t afford the upkeep!
In the 17th century a tall tower was constructed, which you can see behind me. It’s still in use today and makes for a eerily beautiful sight.
Of course, it’s rumoured to be haunted. A faceless apparition is said to wander the churchyard, and even I wouldn’t be brave enough to visit at night. But during the day, it’s stunning.
Speaking of ghosts…
It’s starting to get dark pretty early now, so we developed somewhat of a routine in the evenings.
Netflix recently released The Haunting of Hill House, a new horror show. I love anything spooky, so I couldn’t wait to start watching! We ended up getting through one episode every night, and it was easily one of the best things I’ve watched this year.
I have to admit, it was pretty creepy to watch from an isolated cottage in the middle of the countryside. As you can probably imagine, I loved every second of it.
But really, who needs Netflix shows when you have the real thing? There are countless ghost stories surrounding Suffolk, with many of them actually centred in Bungay.
My favourite is the tale of the Bungay Black Dog, often known as the Black Shuck. According to legend, a large black dog burst through the doors of St Mary’s Church on 4th August 1577 and proceeded to maul and kill a number of townspeople. Ever since, there have been reports of a ghostly black dog haunting the Suffolk Coast. I kept my eyes peeled for him every time I passed the church, but with no luck!
Bungay is also home to the ruins of Bungay Castle, originally built in 1163. It’s rumoured to be haunted by Hugh Bigod, the 1st Earl of Norfolk, and it’s said that the locals avoid the site after dark. So of course, I had to check it out.
We originally attempted to visit at night, but couldn’t find a way in. We made our way back the very next day, and it was absolutely beautiful.
The castle definitely had an eerie vibe, and I made sure to hurry back to Elliott and his parents whenever I noticed that I was alone. Hugh didn’t pay me a visit on this trip, but I remain hopeful!
Last but certainly not least, I stumbled across The Three Tuns. This unassuming little inn is apparently one of the most haunted places in Suffolk, rumoured to be home to over 20 ghosts! I didn’t get the time to take a peek inside, but it’ll definitely be my first stop when I next visit this spooky little town.
On the last full day of the trip I wanted to take a walk through the pretty English countryside, so Elliott mapped out a route and we set off!
It was so peaceful to stroll through the fields, following a winding little river. The sun was shining, birds were chirping and all was right with the world.
But then, disaster struck.
Fujin decided that he wanted to swim, so watched as he jumped into the water. But after a few seconds we realised that the water was far too deep, and he began splashing frantically. He tried to scramble out but the riverbank was steep and curved inwards, so we couldn’t get a grip on him.
I ended up jumping into the river and rescuing him, getting completely soaked and freezing in the process! But Fujin was safe, so I was happy.
The things we do for love…
I’m back home in London now, and already missing the tranquility of the countryside. It took me a while to start exploring England beyond the bright lights of London, and I can’t believe what I was missing.
I admit, I do more than my fair share of complaining about the UK – particularly when it comes to politics! But there are so many aspects of this country that I have fallen completely in love with.
Where else can you can drive just a few hours and feel like you’re in a completely new country, with different accents and traditions? Where else can you find pebbly beaches – so different to what I was used to in New Zealand, but I almost like them more! And most of all, where else can you stumble upon little pockets of the world that are so rich in history? People here don’t bat an eyelid at churches and buildings that are hundreds of years old, but I can’t help but marvel at the fact that they’re still standing after all this time. If walls could talk…
I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into our Suffolk trip, and maybe feel inspired to look a little closer to home when planning your next holiday. I love overseas travel as much as the next person, but there are so many adventures to be had right outside your own front door!
Where will you be exploring next? I’d love to know!