The Cartshed, a magnificent barn sharing the Wilderness estate with other stunningly restored properties out in the wilds of Suffolk, is chilled. How chilled? You should check your pulse, because it pays to know you still have one. The sofas are huge, the windows panoramic, the pool and hot tub inviting.
The name ‘reserve’ brings a lot to mind, but the one thing you can count on is the remote, wild feeling you’ll get as you watch the cows head off for their evening milking. Their soft lowing could be all that breaks the silence, but it adds to the spell you’re under.
The Cartshed is magnificent from head to toes – toasty on the heated floors. After a day’s lazing in luxury, what better end than a long one in the roll top copper bath before climbing into your Hypnos bed?
Out there in the parklands, the local cows tend to their own business, unknowingly serving the perfect backdrop. You could stare all day from the stunning dining terrace, observing the slowed pace of life between each sip of wine.
There’s fun and adventure to be had on the reserve. Make your way to the tennis court for a set or two, picnic by the pond, or find the boats on the lake. The shared Kim Wilkie-designed pool is heated from May to September and a joy from morning till night.
But there’s more to explore. How much more? Try 4,500 acres. That can offer a decent game of hide-and-seek or a stretching pre-prandial ramble. Somewhere out there is the hot tub. At night, light the poolside lamps, crack open the champers, clink your glasses and reflect beneath the stars.
This is a vast, rolling pleasure park with lake for rowing and fishing, and tracks for cycling or hiking your way to secluded picnics. If it were more English it would be called Benjamin Britten.
If you ever struggle to switch off, you should come to The Cartshed. The oak and elm timber frame has been meticulously restored beneath a new roof. Within it, the chief chill zone is the open-plan reception and kitchen. Here, the old cart bays have been replaced by a considerably large L-shaped sofa and iconic Ergofocus wood burner.
The barn doors are no more either. Instead, you’ll stare out through feature floor-to-ceiling glass doors behind unique oak shutters. The doors slide back to let in spectacular views over the pleasure grounds and parkland beyond. Outside on the terrace, the table and chairs provide an irresistible focus for the eye.
Hike, cycle or explore, then come home to warm floors, light the wood burner and get cosy while you talk about today and plan tomorrow.
Fire up back-to-back movies on the 65-inch Sky TV, settle back with snacks and throws, and inch open the doors to grab the night breeze. The cows clump past and the woods look spooky in the moonlight, but you’ve got cheese and wine and an unquenchable family spirit.
There’s some serious kit here for cooking: a Falcon 1092 Deluxe Induction Stove, if you want to know specifics. If you have an inner foodie, this bad boy will bring it out. If you’d rather put your feet up and celebrate, our chef Matthew Appleton can put together anything you fancy. Why not put on black ties and make a meal of it?
Families come together over meals and you’ll want to linger over the wooden farmhouse table with its low lights and hearty atmosphere. Open the wine, light some candles, let the excited chatter begin. On summer nights, slide open the glass and move out to the terrace to stoke the barbie and dine under the glittering canopy.
If you’re dining out, the King’s Head in Yoxford is open all day every day for sea bass or scallops. For a meal with a twist, head out to The Riverside Cinema and Restaurant, where you can while away your pre-movie time with a plate of Dedham Vale beef or Thai shellfish curry.
The Cartshed sleeps eight, but team up with neighbouring Wilderness properties and you can configure accommodation for anything up to 100 guests. Make a mental note for weddings.
Two of the four en-suite bedrooms come with giant freestanding copper bathtubs. Win the battle of the bedrooms and you can light your candles then lounge as long as you like.
Each room comes with king-size Hypnos beds – the Queen’s personal favourite. Relax beneath the timber frames, become revitalised beneath the walk-in showers and enjoy lie-ins with the glass doors open and the rural breeze off the parklands filtering in.
Daily housekeeping keeps everything spick and span.
kate & tom's is rated 4.67 stars by Reviews.co.uk based on 784 merchant reviews