Happy Birthday Cupalicious.
Our trip to Wilderness Reserve, a winter wonderland retreat.
This year for Lisa’s birthday, I wanted to surprise her with something different, after all our Antigua 25th wedding anniversary trip last June could not go ahead due to Covid-19. So, for her birthday which was on Wednesday 27th I didn’t want to give her any material gifts but rather a few days experiencing the unusual and magical.
I came across a place called Wilderness reserve in Suffolk and fell in love with Hex Cottage, "Leap into the world of fairy tales and fables with a stay in this secluded, forester’s cottage in the rural Suffolk countryside. With no electricity, WIFI or modern heating to get in our way, it is a true romantic hideaway where candlelight and open fires await".
This is just one of the many quirky places to stay on the reserve but it was this one I wanted to book for a cold January day and it sounded like heaven!. I have kept it quiet since the 15th July 2020 when I booked it so I am very excited to tell Lisa today but I have been bursting to share.!
Hex Cottage is away from it all. Off the grid, no artificial lighting - just set your clock by the sun and immerse in nature. An amazing escape and a fantastic way to recharge the batteries at this picture-perfect little cottage which is a faithful recreation of a 19th century shepherd’s house.
Sitting within a magical, woodland estate and with over 4,500 acres of private land to its name, the pretty cottage is a captivating sight which is real one of a kind. The thatched roof, red brick exterior and quaint arched windows set the scene, while the luxurious touches inside serve to transport you to a golden period in time. Storm lanterns, carefully placed candles and large, open hearths light the way, alongside an Esse wood-fired range cooker which provides heating and hot water as you need.
The sitting room has a comfy sofa opposite the large, open hearth and boasts an original, brick floor with traditional mottled walls. Antique furniture and latched wooden doors create a quality-feel, while a cosy rug adds to its homely, cottage appeal. The adjoining kitchen area has also been finished to an exceptionally high-standard and has an original bread oven and a vintage dining table to accompany its wood-fired range.
The romantic double bedroom is light and airy and has a canopied king-size bed perfect for those cold winter nights. But for a relaxing evening soak the rustic bathroom is a must with a free-standing roll top bath sitting on an exposed, brick floor. I have brought plenty of Gin for this moment!
With its lush, rural setting, this one-storey cottage is the ideal place for indulging in some quality time with my lovely wife.
We started the day early with breakfast at Bills at Rushden Lakes and at this point Lisa still did not know where she was going and for those that know, Lisa does not do surprises! we then took the 2 and half hours to drive Suffolk while many questions were being asked.
On arrival at the reserve we were created by our host Valentine who looked after my every need during the planning stages, Inside the cottage was a very cosy welcome with all the candles and fireplace already lit for us.
The cottage is located in the woods overlooking its own meadow.
The interior of the cottage was very atmospheric and authentic, genuinely transporting you back centuries as you read by candlelight in front of the open wood fire, fully sustainable as hot water and heating is all provided by the Esse cast iron cooker and stove running on wood. I had pre-booked some flowers and we had petals scattered on the bed!
We got comfortable and relaxed with a drink in front of the fire taking in this new relaxing experience, later in the evening we went for dinner at the White Horse in a village called Sibton, a lovely old-fashioned pub with a roaring fire and excellent food. We then got a taxi back to the cottage for a nightcap by the fire, in other words more Gin!
The Morning After
We woke up to the sound of silence and just took in how peaceful it all was, I lit the fire and started to make breakfast on the Esse.
The smell of bacon and eggs on a cold January morning with a roaring fire was heaven, I then announced to Lisa that we had the morning to relax and go for a walk around the reserve. Lisa loves to walk!
Around lunchtime we took a 30-minute drive to a place called Southwold which is a charming seaside town on the Suffolk Heritage Coast. Now you may have already gathered we both like Gin and lots of it so I had booked for us to do a 2.5 hours Gin making experience at Adnams Distillery at Southwold!
Taking place in the Gin Lab which was located at the heart of this amazing Distillery, this fascinating experience using mini copper still was great fun. We selected our own choice of botanicals and made the gin right from scratch including naming and labelling our own personal bottle.
We then headed back to our cottage with lots more Gin in hand where we had traditional fish and chips for tea washed down with yup you guessed it more Gin and tonic by the fireplace.
A truly great few days of relaxation in a magical place on earth.
Being a videographer I had to have a film of this stunning place, play the video at the top of the page to see the cottage in all it's glory. All I want now is a wedding to film at the reserve.
If you would like more details of Wilderness Reserve