By Friday, February 14, 2020 0 No tags Permalink 7

*This post is a gifted stay in collaboration with the generous folks at The Landmark Trust*.
What better way to celebrate the arrival of a new year than a trip away with friends? We love to find a calm and cosy home from home in January to hunker down in for a couple of days – after all the chaos and fun of December. A place to talk, walk, eat, read, relax and maybe play a few games. This time we were a party of eight, so decided on the New Inn, in Suffolk.It had room for us all and one little one (who you can see peeking around the door below! The house is right at the heart of this quiet village built on the village green in Peasenhall, a pretty place where a stream runs along beside the main road and a treasure trove of small shops are close at hand, full of fresh local produce.Travelling from different corners of Kent and East Sussex and arriving two by two on Friday afternoon at dusk, we stowed away our luggage and supplies gathered around the table and fire and caught up for a few relaxing hours. The late-medieval hall really is the heart of the house, with its epic carpentry, exposed beam roof and enormous windows. Here throughout history, the guests would gather to drink, eat and warm themselves at the central hearth and that is exactly what we did for our stay. This place is steeped in history, the warming beams are timeworn and some of the doorways are carved with beautiful details. The bedrooms either side of the main hall are full of character with uneven floors, exposed timbers and simple traditional touches. I love that there are plenty of lamps in every room, I rarely switch on overhead lights and a cosy mood is easy to set in Landmark places with all the lamps dotted around.This wonderful place sleeps eight with two double rooms and two twins, all furnished in a traditional style with modest decoration and kitchen cupboards filled with The Landmark’s signature crockery and everything you could possibly need for a tech-free week or weekend away from home.I love rummaging in all their kitchen cupboards for vases and candle holders. My four must-haves when travelling for the weekend are – fresh flowers, plenty of tea, a tin of cake. We made a batch of sticky spiced parkin from Rose Elliots Complete Vegan, (a kind gift from one of our companions) and a huge jar of granola! The main bedroom here is amazing, the exposed oak frame takes your breath away with its structure of intricate ceiling beams above the bed, windows let light flow in from above the village green onto the warm wood floor and the pale plasterwork adds a little more light to this atmospheric, understated but grand place to sleep.It is such a magical feeling, staying in historic buildings, steeped in stories that we’ll never hear, tiptoeing across creaky boards at night to settle under traditional blanket and sheet layered beds.   Down in the dining hall/living space, there are two deep sofas, a wood burner and doors that lead all over the place, to bedrooms, to the kitchen, the boot room and two lovely sturdy oak doors (one on either side) that open up to the village green on one side and to our daily visitor in all his splendour above in the back courtyard. Once we were fully rested and settled in, Saturday saw us all bundle up for a refreshing walk in the sea breeze from Dunwich beach through woodland, then on to The Ship at Dunwich. Four of us ventured on a bit further to Walberswick village for a warming cuppa and we spotted our first blossoms of 2020, some very lovely houses and lots of garden inspiration.Then we headed back across the heath and all through the winding wooden boardwalks in the freshwater marshes, past reed beds as far as the eye could see, swaying their fading plumes in the winter sun. Home again with rosy cheeks and aching feet to set the fire, lay the table and sit down to a meal prepared by many happy and relaxed hands. Setting the huge oak table for eight was such a joy, at our house we would have to join three tables together.We enjoyed an evening of slow food courses and were lucky to have our friend Esme treat us to a wonderful Chapel Down wine tasting with the wood stove roaring in the background – thank you Esme!A lazy Sunday morning as folks arrived at the breakfast table steadily in search of coffee and toast, a spot of reading by the fire and then contemplating getting back to reality after being properly refreshed and rested.

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