Welcome to the latest edition of the Best of Suffolk Tried and Tested blog series. This time we’re featuring a whole weekend of team building activities in Suffolk!
In this very special 20th edition of the highly-commended, long-running blog series Tried and Tested, the Best of Suffolk team spend a weekend in a fabulous country estate, tackle team building challenges, sporting activities and dine out in style.
Many companies are now arranging team building days or weekends to reward success, re-unite ‘working from home’ teams, and form good working relationships. We showcase what there is on offer for team building weekends in Suffolk and share our experience with you.
Our home for the weekend was the incredible Reydon Grove Estate, nestling in the Suffolk countryside not too far from Southwold. Consisting of three properties in a gorgeous private location, they combine to create accommodation for up to 22 guests.
Not only did the team enjoy a delicious professionally prepared meal delivered direct to the estate door, they also got to eat incredible Italian cuisine from the restaurant run by The Hotel Inspector Ruth Watson herself!
The weekend was not just about food though. With tennis tournaments and games of rounders to add a little sporting edge, plus a film night, a wood-fired pizza making team building challenge and so much more!
Whilst this edition of #TriedandTested might be a little different from the norm, it will showcase what a team building weekend in Suffolk could be like. If you’re a large group looking to get away with activities onsite to entertain, relax and keep your group together, then look no further. Find out all about our group weekend in Suffolk in this unique edition of #TriedandTested
What is a team building retreat?
Team building retreats help a team to bond and begin working together towards a common goal. A retreat is usually off site and will be at a rural location that allows room for a selection of activities including games, icebreakers, and team exercises.
The goal of a team building weekend can be as simple as getting to know the members of your team, or to improve communications and resolve any tension between employees. It can also be used as an opportunity to communicate strategic vision, results, or company culture, or to motivate teams to improve sales or other targets.
Most team building retreats take place over a weekend and happen once or twice a year. Some companies go offsite for a whole week, although this will depend on schedules and budget.
How do you find the perfect team building venue?
Aims – Consider what you’re trying to get out of your team building event, as this will help to define the activities and venue required.
Cost – Some venues will eat into your budget, but there are also some that will give you a high-quality venue without breaking the bank. When planning your budget, consider a venue that is ‘all-in’ and offers the venue and activities as a package.
Number of guests – How many members of the team are participating in the event? Less than 10? Or more than a hundred? This determines the capacity of venue you are looking for.
Location – Do you need to find a venue nearby, or can your employees travel? Consider the logistics involved for each team member and this can help you filter your venue options.
Theme – You may wish to theme your retreat; in which case you should ensure that your venue is suited to the activities involved. Also consider the weather and if your activities need to be indoor or outdoor based.
Facilities – Consider your activity plan and the facilities that you need to accommodate them. Do you need a pool area, or multiple rooms for breakout sessions? Perhaps you need large outdoor spaces for football or rounders, or quiet spaces for yoga or relaxation therapies.
Availability – Last but not least, ensure that the venue is available on your target schedule. If not, can you adjust the date of your team building?
Team Building Activity Ideas
When looking for a team building venue, one of the main things we considered were the activities we wanted to take part in as a team. We came up with the following shortlist:
Tennis court – ideal for team games or breakout sessions.
Large field – ideal for football, rounders, and other outdoor games/activities.
Games room – ideal for starter activities or to relax in the evenings.
Outdoor kitchen/fire pit/pizza oven – make pizzas as a team or cook together.
Office – just in case some work needs to be done!
Hot Tub or Swimming Pool – great for relaxing, or for water-based games or challenges.
Cinema Room – To get together and watch a film after a day of learning and building.
Reydon Grove Estate, Near Southwold
Taking in all of the above, we gathered the team and headed to Reydon Grove Estate, one of our highest accommodating properties. Reydon Grove consists of three properties: Reydon Grove House, The Grain Store and Fig Tree Cottage. Between them they can accommodate 22 guests – 12 in the Georgian country house, two in the single storey Fig Tree Cottage and another six in the Grain Store.
Well-established gardens wrap around the house with a sun terrace perfectly suited to lazy lunches and equipped with an outdoor kitchen pizza oven and BBQ. In addition, there is a tennis court, football goals, monkey bars, swings and a toddler-sized chess set.
Indoors, you’ll find a cinema within the house and separate games room, equipped with table football, pool table, air hockey, two Ford racing machines, retro arcade game, karaoke machine and fruit machine – plus a drinks fridge and cloakroom allowing you to spend all day having fun!
If that’s not enough for your team, the estate also provides exclusive use of one of the famous beach huts at the popular Gun Hill area of Southwold, just 10 minutes away.
There’s plenty of parking available at the estate, in addition to an electric car charging point.
Location, Location, Location!
The success of your corporate team building depends on the location and venue that you choose. By picking a quality venue with suitable amenities and activities it can make the world of difference to your team and ultimately the success of the retreat.
Reydon Grove Estate is surrounded by countryside and provides plenty of space for your team to break out. All this, and yet only a 5 minute drive, or 30 minute walk, to the popular coastal town of Southwold.
Properties Suitable for Team Building Retreats in Suffolk
Suffolk is a great place for team building activities. It is one of the driest counties in the UK, with acres of countryside, stunning scenery and 50 miles of spectacular coastline.
If Reydon Grove Estate doesn’t fit your team size or isn’t available, we have a wide variety of alternative properties that are suitable:
A large holiday home in and idyllic rural location, with tennis court.
A magnificent period country house, set in manicured grounds with indoor pool and games room.
A stunning holiday home on Southwold beach with uninterrupted sea views and a glass-floored viewing platform.
A magnificent Grade II listed country house with ballroom and billiard room!
Two large holiday homes set in an idyllic spot on the outskirts of Aldeburgh.
First Impressions of Reydon Grove
The first contingent from Best of Suffolk checked in to Reydon Grove with ease and arrived excited, eager to look around and explore the stunning estate. Bedrooms had been allocated in advance by Director of Operations, Tim, who had pulled room numbers and names out of a hat in a live video to show it had been picked at random!
The team arrived and were greeted by a fabulous welcome pack consisting of champagne, cake and crisps in the impressive open-plan kitchen/diner.
Team Building Games Room
After the excitement of checking in and enjoying a welcoming glass of bubbly, the team soon headed to the games room at Reydon Grove Estate. Splitting into twos, the team got to grips with pool, table football, air hockey, darts and even motor racing!
In a ’round-robin’ style tournament, it meant everyone get to pair up with everyone, including those who we don’t work with directly, and have a go at every activity.
Team Building Retreats with a Games Room
A stunning barn and single storey stable conversion in rural Suffolk. The games room features a full size pool table, darts, a wide variety of games as well as an Alexa for background music.
A historic and pet friendly farmhouse idyllically positioned in the Suffolk countryside. In the games room you will find a pool table, table football and darts board, along with a array of board games, perfect for games night. In addition this room has an antique bar area to be enjoyed.
After all the fun of the games room, we decided to carry that forward and play a board game in the fabulous open-plan kitchen/diner at Reydon Grove.
The team’s game of choice was ‘Cards Against Humanity’ – not one for the faint hearted, but for a small team who get on very well it was perfect for having a bit of fun!
During our own team building weekend, we were very kindly fed by the team at Country Cuisine, a local professional catering company. Country Cuisine offer a variety of services, from cooking and serving in your holiday home, to delivering pre-prepared cooked meals to an address of your choice, ready for you to plate.
We opted for an Asian style duck salad as well as a chicken Caesar salad. Both were completely delicious!
Covering the whole of Suffolk, Country Cuisine will cater in accordance with your needs, from afternoon teas to three-course meals and everything in-between.
Time for Bed!
After all that delicious food, it was soon time for the team to head to bed ahead of a busy day of team building the next day.
Tim headed for the comfort of The Grain Store, a sleeps 6 unique contemporary conversion of a period detached farm building just a short hop from Reydon Grove House.
Harry headed to Fig Tree Cottage, a luxury single storey sleeps 2 cottage also on the Reydon Grove Estate.
Whilst the rest of the team enjoyed staying overnight in Reydon Grove House itself. Sleeping 14 over six bedrooms, Becky was the luckiest member of the team as she got to stay in the master suite!
Even better, on the private balcony of the master suite, you will also find your very own hot tub.
Large Cottages in Suffolk with Hot Tubs
If you think a hot tub would make a welcome addition to your group getaway or team building weekend, you could also consider;
A charming, tranquil holiday home in rural Suffolk with hot tub.
A unique, contemporary holiday home with parking and hot tub.
Morning walk at Old Hall Café
After a great night’s sleep in the Suffolk countryside, the team woke up to glorious sunshine. Whilst the Reydon Grove estate has an abundance of activities onsite, our team decided to head to the Old Hall Café and Walks, near Southwold. Here, there are walks to enjoy, a maize maze in the summer months, bicycle hire available and a licensed café providing delicious food and drink with picturesque views across the marshes.
After a team walk along the marshes, an appetite had been well worked-up. This called for one thing…breakfast!
Harry decided to get up and head down to Sizewell for the weekly 5k Parkrun held on the beach there. Great job Harry!
One of the reasons we selected Reydon Grove for our Suffolk team building weekend was that is boasts an office. This meant we could operate the business from our laptops via the speedy wi-fi connection. With phone calls taken through our laptops, our usual full service was in place despite being a fair distance from our HQ in Badingham.
If you need to maintain operations whilst partaking in a team building or group weekend, this is the ideal scenario.
Pizza Team Building Challenge
Soon, it was time for the team to take on their first team building challenge of the day…. lunch! No, it wasn’t that easy. Provided with basic ingredients to make pizza, as well as logs to get the wood-fired pizza oven going, we had to work as a team to deliver lunch by 1:30pm. with 90 minutes on the clock, the challenge was on!
Vicki took charge of the dough, loving to make her own pizzas from scratch at home!
Tamar and Becky took charge of getting the pizza oven lit, as well as cooking the pizzas.
After the team pulled together, it’s not a bad effort at all! Well done team!
Team Building Properties with a Pizza Oven
An elegantly designed holiday home with stunning sea views, parking and pizza oven!
A grand Victorian holiday home in Aldeburgh with parking and pizza oven.
Team Building Sporting Activities
By Saturday afternoon the team were keen to test out the large open space with some friendly (yet competitive!) sporting activities. With two full-size football nets at either end of the open green space at the front of Reydon Grove, we could have easily played some football!
Instead we opted for a few games of rounders. It doesn’t matter how much you like or are “good at” sports, rounders is an inclusive activity which can be used for team building break out sessions.
Another sporting activity which many can take part in, have fun, and use to break up meetings or ideas sessions is boules. The amount of space at Reydon Grove, as well as the equipment provided, meant the team were well catered-for.
Team Building Accommodation in Suffolk with Outdoor Space
Ideal for breakout sessions, a picnic location or for sporting activities such as rounders, football or boules, these wonderful large properties come with plenty of space for your team building weekend in Suffolk.
The Mulberry, Bungay – Sleeps 6
Mousehall Barn, Hadleigh – Sleeps 6
Looms Barn, Hasketon – Sleeps 6
Rush House, Eastbridge – Sleeps 8
Sedge House, Eastbridge – Sleeps 8
Pavilion House, Reydon – Sleeps 8
Skelder, Framlingham – Sleeps 9
Church Farm, Dunwich – Sleeps 9
Ivy House, Halesworth – Sleeps 11
Blyford Manor Farm, Blyford – Sleeps 12
The tennis court at Reydon Grove is particularly impressive, and Harry and Claire enjoyed a rally or two in the sunshine! It would be easy to set up a ’round robin’ group or team activity should you have a larger number of people who wish to take part.
Suffolk Team Building Retreats with Tennis Courts
If you’re looking for a team building retreat in Suffolk which offers tennis onsite, how about;
A large holiday home in and idyllic rural location, with tennis court.
An idyllic converted stable in the heart of the Suffolk countryside with shared use of tennis court and outdoor pool.
Watson & Walpole
After all that running around, we headed out for a meal at Watson and Walpole. The incredible Italian restaurant in Framlingham is run by The Hotel Inspector herself, Ruth Watson.
The restaurant provides authentic food, stylish surroundings, and thoughtful service. Please note that the maximum table size is eight. One thing to bear in mind when looking to book a team meal out is that establishments will have a maximum table size. If you’re a larger group, you might need to consider venues which have a separate private dining room.
Bed and Breakfast
As a final treat of the team building weekend, we came downstairs to the delicious smell of breakfast being prepared for us!
High ‘n’ Dry Housekeeping offer a bespoke, in-house cooking service at the Reydon Grove Estate. We were lucky enough to be treated to a delicious full English breakfast, the perfect thing for a Sunday morning!
The Verdict: Suffolk Team Building Retreats
Suffolk is the ideal county for a teambuilding retreat as it combines large properties, rural space and on site activities that will motivate and relax your team.
If you need some help planning activities, speak to us here at Best of Suffolk. We are all Suffolk locals, so we can provide a complete personal service including help with recommendations on places to go and things to do. We have plenty of ideas of fun things for the whole team, and in some cases can offer discounts on local restaurants and facilities.