In the land of birdlife, reedbeds and pebbled beaches that is the Suffolk coast sits Butley Abbey Farmhouse. Sleeping 24, surrounded by woods and fields and just two hours from London, it’s a blissful retreat in an increasingly messy life. One with a fine Georgian façade and impeccable English manners.
Escape to rambling gardens, gin-fuelled games of tennis and the summery clack of croquet on the lawn. Explore the meadow and woods beyond. Wander the Butley Creek estuary. Refuel with a dirty chicken burger at the ancient Oyster Inn. Come back to homely roaring fires and a choice or three reception rooms.
Butley Abbey does hard tech well, but it’s also gloriously soft. Sofas in the sitting room, drawing room and snug are soft and squishy. Bed linen is crisp and deep. And there are verdant views to be had from almost every window. Discover the forests. Bring your dog and walk the beaches. Collapse with a book. Cook on the Aga. Feed your soul.
Crunch your car tyres on the gravel and you’ll know you’ve arrived at the quintessential English country home. Pick a parking spot and drink in the views of a pristine paradise.
The two-acre grounds at Butley Abbey Farmhouse are a vision of Englishness – of landscaped lawns perfect for croquet or cricket. Of meadow and woodland. And of afternoon tea on the sun terrace. Or maybe in the thatched summerhouse. How civilised.
There’s time for a little hit-and-giggle tennis on the immaculate all-weather court before your teatime barbecue beneath the big Suffolk skies. Life could be worse.
Big groups of family and friends need flexible options and the living spaces at Butley Abbey Farm provide just that. Choose from three reception rooms, so you can be as sociable or solitary as the mood takes. Get the party mood going in the sitting room or retire with a book to the library.
Whichever room you choose, don’t forget the logs. There are open fires in all three, waiting to toast your toes and spark a little warm conversation. All rooms come dressed in soft, comfortable luxury, with sashed floor-to-ceiling windows, homely rugs and views across the parklands.
Get everyone together in the sitting room on the squishy sofas. Stream your favourite shows on the 42” smart TV, load the fire with logs and lap up the lights that floods in from the dual-aspect windows. Keep the kids keen with the BT superfast wifi.
The drawing room’s the spot for indoor/outdoor flow. Keep the double doors open to the garden and keep warm with the open fire. Quiet escapologists will love the library with its smart TV and homely fire. Wander over to the window to digest the landscape. If it clings to your feet, you’ve a pantry for muddy boots.
Butler? You’ll feel like you need one just to pass the butter. This is a cruise ship of a dining table that seats 24 and hired help can probably be arranged. Slide out through the doorway to the terrace. Stay there if you like your meals served with a large helping of sky and sunshine.
How do you like your kitchens? Fully fitted with every modern convenience? Step this way, towards the AGA, two electric ovens, large ceramic hob, pantry, island worktop and large American-style fridge freezer. Allergic to washing up? How does two dishwashers sound? For informal dining, a small table off the kitchen can seat ten.
Of course, we’d be only too happy to cook for a celebratory meal or a fully catered break. We’ll get our whites on while you crack open a classic white. Eating out? Head to Orford for the Pump Street Bakery and Chocolate Shop, and the famous ‘Pinneys of Orford’ fresh and smoked fish shop.
The Jolly Sailor is good for a pint and beer-garden food, while the Kings Head offers craft beers and seasonal meals. The Butley-Orford Oysterage, now 60 years old, has lots of lovely fish dishes, and for the finest dining there is the Crown & Castle Hotel.
Butley Abbey Farmhouse sleeps just the 24. It’s like a de-luxe hotel, but one where all the guests come approved by you. In summary, you have seven kingsize or superking beds, two doubles and six single zip-and-links. All bed linen is provided and you can pick from nine WCs.
The Skylark is a superking that shares a bathroom with kingsize Avocet. The Curlew offers a superking and shares the Housemaid’s Cupboard shower room along the landing with the Cambridge, a superking. The Nursery is an en-suite superking and the School Room an en-suite superking with four-poster.
The Swift, Julia’s, Edward’s and Jamie’s are kingsize rooms that share three bath/shower rooms on the top floor. The Sandpiper is a superking and the Governess’s room is a kingsize. Both also share the sumptuous top-floor facilities.
How do you keep kids happy on a UK holiday? Mix and match a healthy dose of fresh air with a rambling old farmhouse in a couple of acres of its own grounds. Butley Abbey Farmhouse does all that pretty well, and more.
In a 12-bedroom house, expect games of hide and seek to run and run. If they spill into the two-acre garden, so much the better. A dose of vitamin D never hurt anyone. Or go beyond to find miles of excellent walking and biking through fields and forest. Just 5 miles away lies the Suffolk Punch Trust, meet the horses and the farm animals, take a tractor ride around the 250 year old farm, and run wild in the play area.
Come home to top up your tanks from the drinks fridge. Then it’s out again to learn the ancient art of croquet on the lawn. Or bring your racket and balls for games of tennis year round on the all-weather court.
Take plenty of shots for Insta and load them quickly with the superfast wifi. Ask Alexa what to do next. Magic up some music on the Bluetooth. Stream your favourite shows on the two 42” smart TVs. Or stay up way past bedtime for Monopoly, Scrabble or cards.