“Rural Living Doesn’t Come Much More Stylish Than This” – Elle Magazine
You don’t have to walk to the end of the earth to discover the world’s natural beauty; only as far as the east of England in this case, actually. You’ll find the stunning Wilderness Reserve situated on a 5000-acre estate in Suffolk, offering a collection of spectacular manors, cottages, farmhouses and hideaways ideal for family reunions, a long weekend with friends, or simply some quality time spent with your partner (and the dog too, of course).
Seeking a little inspiration for your next luxury UK break? Discover our available properties on the Wilderness Reserve, unique for its beautiful grounds, host of available resources, abundant things to do and experience, plus a fantastic team of staff on hand to ensure your every need is met.
Time to start rounding up the lucky few that get to join you in the heart of rural Suffolk…
The Secret Garden
If it’s unique accommodation you’re seeking, this stylish property certainly serves up the wow-factor. Complete with three elegant neoclassical glasshouses within the estate’s original flower and vegetable garden, this elegant homestay – aptly named The Secret Garden – offers total privacy, beautiful views, and plenty of light, with contemporary furnishings including sumptuous sofas, chic exposed brickwork, geometric prints, and French limestone fireplaces, completing the overall look.
Crowned ‘Britain’s Coolest Party Pad’ by the Times and the ‘Ultimate Party House’ by the Telegraph, this luxury retreat isn’t short of accolades, and with eight king-size bedrooms and en-suites available, it makes for an ideal stay for large and lively groups.
When you’re not indulging in a hearty meal around the solid wood dining table, blow off some steam in the fun-loving games room, with table tennis and a selection of board games available. Or, grab your coat and wander the pretty, private walled garden before warming up in the exclusive hot tub and sauna. There’s plenty more to keep guests entertained in the local countryside too, so what are you waiting for? It’s time to explore…
- 8 Bedrooms
- Sleeps 16
- Highlight: Floor to ceiling windows bathed in sunlight
The Moat House
This colourful cottage looks as though it’s been plucked straight from the pages of a fairy-tale book. Nestled on a hilltop with panoramic views of the countryside, this lovingly restored Tudor farmhouse undoubtedly retains all of its original charm and character. Set behind a moat, this pretty property – which has been aptly named The Moat House – is accessible only via a private drive and footbridge, providing its guests with total privacy.
The property has contemporary interiors with a comfortable living room, an open-plan kitchen, and six double bedrooms, one of which can be found in the Boathouse, complete with an in-room bathtub – a romantic bolthole ideal for couples looking for an hour or two of R&R.
If you’re a fan of outdoor pursuits, float along the private moat on a rowing boat, or why not plan an action-packed day soaking up all that the Suffolk countryside has to offer? The hot tub makes for an indulgent spot for relaxing as the sun begins to set, too.
- 6 Bedrooms
- Sleeps 12
- Highlight: Total privacy with a castle-worthy moat
Suffolk Farm House
If you consider yourself a nature lover, The Suffolk Farm House is the place to be. The oldest property on the Estate (and formerly the home farm), this pretty in pink property has been beautifully restored, yet still bursts with charm. This stunning cottage could fool anyone into thinking it had fallen from the sky, a colourful masterpiece nestled amid miles of lush quintessential countryside.
The interiors are just as remarkable as the exterior, with classic pink walls throughout, plus Georgian windows, rustic furnishings with fluffy throws, traditional beamed ceilings, and cosy fireplaces perfect for gathering around on a chilly afternoon. The acres of beautiful grounds that surround the cottage are teeming with wildlife, with over 100 bird species including large breeding populations of barn owls and buzzards – many of which you can spot from the private terrace.
Who says you need to catch a flight to experience total luxury?
- 6 Bedrooms
- Sleeps 12
- Highlight: Surrounded by beautiful gardens full of wildlife
The Gardener’s Cottage
If a quaint country retreat doused in style is what you’re seeking for your next staycation, The Gardener’s Cottage is a firm favourite in this rural corner of the UK. The unique four-bedroom cottage retains its original architectural charm with interesting round-headed ogee mouldings and windows, which look out over lush woodland and hedgerows.
Featuring a homely feel throughout, this property oozes warmth – and not only from its showstopper of a fireplace! The furnishings are colourful, cosy and comfortable, offset by the natural tones and light stone colour of the floor and walls, making it a calming space to enjoy day and night.
Perfect for families with children or those with mobility issues, this spacious ground-floor cottage has something for everyone. During the day, guests can get their hands on activity equipment to take out on the serpentine lake, plus access to shared tennis courts and outdoor pool area – before heading back to the private terrace for a sunset barbecue. Ahh, bliss.
- 4 Bedrooms
- Sleeps 8
- Highlight: Ground floor property for easy access
This luxurious accommodation boasts a wonderful location set within the private Sayers Mansion Estate, overlooking a pretty pond popular with much of the Estate’s wildlife, plus miles of parkland. Once a former cart shed (which you can probably have guessed by its exterior), Wildflower House today features beautiful interiors that feature an effortless blend of traditional and contemporary furnishings. Luxury Hypnos beds, modern levitating fireplaces and freestanding roll-top baths rub shoulders with wooden beamed walls and ceilings, creating the perfect space for a peaceful retreat in the country.
With a spacious open-plan living area, fully equipped kitchen and four king-size bedrooms on offer – two of which complete with sumptuous baths – guests will have plenty of amenities to enjoy this home-away-from-home. Outside, take advantage of warm summer evenings with an alfresco dining area on the terrace (best be sure the cows aren’t peckish!), plus a plethora of daytime activities available within the Estate.
- 4 Bedrooms
- Sleeps 8
- Highlight: Alfresco dining with a view – plus some cattle!
Blending traditional 17th century features with luxe contemporary interiors, this stunning accommodation really does make a statement. The first thing you notice are undoubtedly the floor to ceiling windows that front the house, offering guests a front row seat to the panoramic views that come with this rural location. High ceilings, a spacious conservatory and exposed wooden beams give this space the grandeur it deserves, ideal for families or friends seeking a stylish retreat with an olde-worlde twist.
There are three bedrooms available at The Barnhouse, all of which are classically decorated, offer countryside views and are located on the ground floor of the property. The enchanting living room boasts leather armchairs, soft textured throws and a benched seating area perfectly positioned under the apex window, which makes curling up with a good book or a glass of wine after a day exploring the countryside all too easy. While the open-plan kitchen and dining space features plenty of amenities and a large table, where guests can drink, dine and celebrate with a view.
- 3 Bedrooms
- Sleeps 6
- Highlight: Spectacular conservatory makes for a pleasant suntrap
Things To Do At The Wilderness Reserve
Aside from relaxing with your family or friends in your luxury home from home, there’s an abundance of things to see and do for the whole family in and around the Wilderness Reserve. The scenery is pure countryside, with wardens and ecologists available and happy to teach and share their knowledge with guests. A particular highlight is the morning walk to identify birdsong with an estate ecologist after a hearty breakfast at the cottage; a perfect outing after the dawn chorus has quietened and you can hear the chatter of individual birds.
Food and drink are so important to a memorable holiday, and this is where the estate excels with on-site catering, chef options in your home, outdoor specials including fire feasts, barbecues and picnics that are all taken care of for you. Guests will be spoilt for choice, but rest assured, you will only have to self cater as much as you choose to. The estate staff are well-tuned to providing the sort of experiences you’ll want to take home as fond memories.
We’ve rounded up some of our favourite ideas, but you will have your own ideas too – whatever they may be, the team is happy to help…
Want to explore the rolling parks and verdant woodland during your stay in the countryside? Soak up the scenery on your complimentary Pashley Bicycle, which can be located in the Estate’s Sibton Park courtyard – but hurry, it’s first come first served. It’s a fantastic (and a much faster) way to discover the beauty that lies within this 5,000-acre estate, with plenty of pedal-worthy routes available towards the nearby area of Southwold, too. The best part? Parking up outside a pub for a well-earned drink.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Is there anything more quintessentially British than grabbing your oars and exploring the ornamental lake on a rowing boat for the afternoon? Subject to availability, the Wilderness Reserve Team at Sibton Park have everything you need to take to the waters for an hour or two in true Mark Darcy style.
Axe Throwing & Archery
If you’re seeking a slightly faster, more exhilarating pace – try your hand at activities including axe and knife throwing, air rifle shooting, archery, or clay pigeon shooting, instead. Situated within the vast grounds, these social sporting activities make great fun for an afternoon of friendly competition with friends and family. Each of the sports is monitored by an expert, of course.
Wilderness Reserve Ranger
The Wilderness Reserve provides spectacular opportunity for those who wish to explore this enchanting corner of the countryside at their own pace – but it also caters to those seeking a more detailed tour. A team of friendly rangers are on hand to teach guests more about the wonderful wildlife that resides here, with everything from two-hour guided sunrise tours at 8am (or even as early as 4am) where you can witness the peaceful chirping of songbirds, to rowing adventures through Sibton Park Lake, where you’ll stop and search for butterflies, insects and bird species. It’s a great activity for children and families with a love of all things nature.
There are plenty of activities that young children will love, too. The Teddy Bear Picnic is a firm favourite here, including a scenic trail walk, healthy snacks and stories, followed by miniature Den making for the kids and their teddies to cosy up in.
Whether you’re travelling at Easter or not, the Wilderness Reserve’s exciting Scavenger Hunt is heaps of fun for little ones. Divide into teams and hurtle around the estate looking for hidden gems, clues and puzzles in a bid to win the prize!
Food & Drink
If you’re into fine dining, The Estate Kitchen is sure to impress. The Wilderness Reserve’s specialist team of in-house chefs have trained in some of the country’s most regarded hotels and restaurants, and offer guests a variety of services from local-sourced home-cooked dishes, to fine dining and tasting menus. Each of the properties has a spacious kitchen suitable for budding chefs to whip up something hearty, or if you’re after something a little more special (or simply want to hang your apron up for a few days!) you can hire a private chef to take care of things for the evening.
If rural living is proving to be a hit, what better way to round up the day than with an alfresco fire feast? Nestled amid secluded woodland, guests can indulge in an enchanting dining experience under the stars. A member of the team will escort hungry diners along a pathway into the woods, where they’ll be met by a delicious feast of locally sourced fish, meat and organic vegetables roasting on a blazing open fire.
This all-encompassing dinner party still brings the style however, with immaculate white linen tables and custom-made cocktail bars, ready to hand you refreshments under a cosy canopy – an authentic evening you won’t forget.
If you’re seeking a more casual sundowner setting, the Estate’s bonfire experience makes for an idyllic end to the day. Ideal for groups, grab a glass of mulled wine (or Pimms, if you’re visiting during summer) from the back of a Land Rover and settle down on the rustic hay barrel-inspired seating area. With marshmallows to hand ready for toasting, this lantern-lit pocket of the woods is a haven for nature-lovers.
Whether it’s a winters evening by a roaring fire or a pleasant spring afternoon, our adult guests can indulge in a spot of wine tasting with an experienced sommelier. You’ll learn about the process of each exquisite wine or champagne from creation to palette, before sampling for yourselves. Perfect for pre-dinner entertainment.
Explore The Local Area
If you want to explore more of the local area during your stay, the Wilderness Reserve is close by to the beautiful coastal towns of Southwold and Aldeburgh.
Complete with quaint beach huts, a working lighthouse, award-winning pier and busy harbour, Southwold makes for a lovely day out for those young and old. Take a tour of the famous Adnams Brewery, watch a Theatre On The Coast show during the summer months, or simply wander the pier at your own leisure.
Aldeburgh is another popular spot in the Suffolk countryside, ideal for visitors wanting to don their wellies and get away from it all. Its bustling high-street is full of boutique shops, independent bookstores and some of the best fish and chip shops around – plus there’s plenty of history to see here, too. A popular landmark is the Jubilee Hall – built in 1877, which still stands nestled on the seafront and plays host to the famous Aldeburgh Literary Festival every March, alongside many other theatre, music, and festival events throughout the year.
If you’re into music, Aldeburgh is also famous for being the hometown of composer Benjamin Britten. Many tributes to his work can be found around town, particularly in the form of the annual classical music festival, which was founded by Britten, his partner Peter Pears and Eric Crozier in 1948.