Welcome to the latest edition of the Best of Suffolk Tried and Tested blog series. In this edition, Harry, our Guest Experience Manager, his partner Hannah and Hannah’s family enjoyed a weekend next to the coast, when they put 4 The Dunes in Thorpeness to the test.
From an early morning swim in the sea, a spot of paddle boarding, walks to Aldeburgh, fish and chips on the beach, and, of course, a park run for Harry, it was an action-packed weekend, enjoying Thorpeness, the surrounding area and 4 The Dunes.
Perfect for a holiday with your extended family or friends, with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, this sleeps eight property is right next to the beach and boasts views of both the sea and Meare.
Highly commended at the East of England Tourism Awards 2022, our #TriedandTested blog series puts real people in real holiday homes. We document everything, good and bad, and take all photos on our phones. What you see is what you get. Find out how Harry, Hannah and their family got on when they #TriedandTested 4 The Dunes.
4 The Dunes, Thorpeness
On the ground floor, you’ll find a sunny south-facing living room with a wood-burning stove, perfect for those cooler evenings. The kitchen/dining are homes bi-folding doors to the outside patio area, perfect for enjoying alfresco dining in the sea air. The snug offers an additional space for the children or group members to relax in.
Upstairs, you’ll find four well-equipped bedrooms, with three out of the four offering beautiful sea views. All bedrooms come equipped with big comfy beds, crisp white bed linen and fluffy towels. A king-sized bedroom, double and two twin rooms offer plenty of space for a party of eight guests.
There are two bathrooms and a downstairs toilet with shower, meaning there’s plenty of space for guests to get ready for their day. The huge roll-top bath in the ‘blue’ bathroom is perfect for a relaxing in after a day exploring.
Location, Location, Location!
Thorpeness is a coastal village in the heart of the Suffolk coast, situated next to the coastal town of Aldeburgh. Offering many iconic attractions, including the House in the Clouds, and the famous Meare, inspired by the novel of Peter Pan. Rowing on the Meare is a favourite with many visitors and offers a relaxing way to spend a few hours, with swans, ducks and plenty of wildlife to enjoy as you row around the shallow boating lake.
Thorpeness is also home to some lovely eateries. The cafe next to the Meare is popular with visitors, as is The Dolphin Inn and The Kitchen. An antiques emporium, an 18-hole golf course, crazy golf, and tennis can all be enjoyed while on holiday in Thorpeness.
It’s a great base for walkers or cyclists wanting to explore Suffolk, and its beautiful shingle beach is ideal for picnics, swimming and more.
Arriving on what was the hottest day of the year so far, we were all excited for a weekend by the sea. On a busy summer’s day, we were a little concerned about parking, but we needn’t have worried, as 4 The Dunes has the rarity of an off-road allocated parking space. For those with more than one car, we found plenty of available on-road parking at the front of the cottage.
When we walked into 4 The Dunes, we couldn’t believe how well-equipped the property was, with everything we would need seemingly taken care of.
The bottle of wine and delicious biscuits in the welcome pack were perfect for us to enjoy while we planned the weekend activities and had a look at everything the local area had to offer.
Our First Evening
With the sun shining, once we had settled in, we decided to head out for tea. We took the two-mile walk to the neighbouring coastal town of Aldeburgh to enjoy fish and chips on the beach. While the walk can be made along the beach, we decided to use some of the footpaths to save the struggle of the shingle.
Aldeburgh has two fish and chip shops located on the high street, Aldeburgh Fish and Chips and The Golden Galleon. Both are under the same ownership, so there’s no need to worry about which one is better; just join the shorter queue. On a sunny evening, there was quite a queue, but this moved quickly and was well organised. We took our fish and chips to the Aldeburgh end of the beach, and we all agreed that they tasted just as good as the numerous awards have implied.
Early Morning Swim
After a good night’s sleep, we were up early and ready to maximise the day ahead. First, we headed to the beach, literally a stone’s throw away; you could almost count the number of steps on one hand from leaving our front door. The water was calm, perfect for a trip out on the paddle board (the back garden was great for storing them when we weren’t using it).
Sizewell Park Run
We then headed off to the local Park Run, a free-timed 5k running event just under three miles away on Sizewell beach. A friendly, well-organised event, with a warm welcome and plenty of people to cheer us around the course.
Once we had finished, we headed to the Sizewell Tea Hut, conveniently located next to the car park and grabbed some hot drinks. They also offer breakfast options with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.
Games at the Cottage
After a busy morning, we opted for a relaxed afternoon, trying out some of the games at 4 The Dunes. A basket full of games and puzzles, there was plenty to chose from; we all particularly loved The Logo Game! The snug was the ideal place to play them, and with the TV, it meant we could keep an eye on the Royal Ascot too.
For our evening meal we decided to try out one of the local takeaways. There were plenty of options with Sea Spice Indian and Rising Sun Chinese takeaways in Aldeburgh and further options nearby in Leiston and Saxmundham. The well-equipped kitchen at 4 The Dunes had plenty of crockery and cutlery alongside everything you may need to cook a meal.
The Next Morning
After another early trip to the sea (how could we not when we were so close), we decided to head across the road for a tasty breakfast at The Kitchen. With indoor and outdoor seating, a tasty menu and huge selection of cakes was on offer.
Located adjacent is the Thorpeness Emporium antique shop that we enjoyed browsing while we waited for our breakfast.
Full with a lovely breakfast, we set about exploring Thorpeness for the day. First up was a game of mini golf, a fantastic Thorpeness themed, nine hole course, located at the golf club. It was great to learn about the area while having fun. The House in the Clouds hole was a particular favourite, and not just because I got a hole in one (though most of us managed it at some point on the course).
We then headed to the conveniently located The Dolphin Inn Pub right in the heart of Thorpeness. With a big open lawn with outside seating, this is great for a drink in the sunshine or like us a tasty meal inside. The staff were friendly and food delicious, a great choice for a Sunday roast.
A Row on the Meare
Before reluctantly heading home, we decided on a row around Thorpeness Meare. There was a host of over 100 boats available to hire, including punts, kayaks, sail boats and our personal choice, rowing boats.
Covering over sixty acres the man-made lake has a number of islands to explore all themed to JM Barrie’s Peter Pan with mooring points so we could get off and explore. The lake is no deeper than three feet at any point so a great safe boating environment for children. Despite it’s lack of depth, we were keen not to fall in so thankful to Phil for safely rowing us around the Meare!
If I Had More Time, I Would…
…Have a BBQ
4 The Dunes comes equipped with a BBQ and lovely outdoor seating area perfect for a BBQ in the sun. With so many tasty food options nearby, we opted to try some of the local restaurants but would have loved to enjoy a BBQ in the garden.
…Visit Snape Maltings
Less than a 15 minute drive away, Snape Maltings offers a unique shopping experience with lots of unique shops and boutique gifts. There’s also plenty of food and drink options, art and exhibitions and wildlife walks!
…Enjoy a Tasty Meal and People Watch in the Front Garden
The well-equipped kitchen was perfect for cooking a tasty meal and even better to enjoy it outside in the sunshine. The front courtyard offers a great view of the Meare and is perfect for people watching on a busy afternoon.
What Other Guests Say
Before we left we had a quick look through the guest book, which shows just how much our guests love 4 The Dunes. “We’ve had the most amazing weekend in this beautiful house the house is fantastically equipped, beautifully decorated and perfect for a group of friends!.”
The Verdict: 4 The Dunes
4 The Dunes is the perfect base for a seaside family get-together, celebration or even just a week away. With four comfortable bedrooms, three practical bathrooms and a spacious living and dining space it offers a stylish property in the heart of Thorpeness.
The fantastic location offers the beach in a matter of seconds, with the added bonus of an allocated parking space. There are plenty of good food choices within a short walk, with the kitchen equally as well equipped to prepare your own meals if preferred. The snug and games room is great with a host of games and activities for those rate rainy days, with just as many things to do due to the fantastic attractions nearby.