Planning a mini escape for Valentine’s Day, the kids’ half-term break or spring? Mandy D Charles gets back to nature and discovers a foodie’s paradise on a weekend getaway to the Brecks…
With acres of woodlands and plenty of activities to keep the whole family happy, the Brecks is one of East Anglia’s best kept secrets. One of the most scenic spots in the UK, with 370 square miles of tranquil forest, open heathland and agricultural land spanning across Suffolk and Norfolk, the region is the perfect place to spend some quality family time, or get away for a romantic Valentine’s Day escape. Here’s how to make the most of your stay…
Sample some vino
If you’re on a family break, High Lodge Forest Centre in Brandon is definitely worth a visit, with plenty to keep kids of all ages happy, from sand play for toddlers to giant swings and one of the UK’s biggest outdoor pyramid slides for older children. Pick up trail maps and activity packs from the visitor centre, hire bicycles from Bike Art and ride the exciting off-road family trails that take you into the heart of the forest, speed through on a Segway, or roam through the ancient woodland. Join the Go Ape! tribe and enjoy great views as you follow a high wire trail using zip wires, Tarzan swings and rope ladders way up in the trees. There’s also a Tree Top Junior course for little monkeys over one metre tall.
Treat yourself to a well-deserved lunch at the Courtyard Restaurant at Elveden Estate, just 15 minutes away from High Lodge. Choose from a menu featuring ingredients primarily sourced from the estate and farm. Top tip: the kids will love the Chocolate Rocky Road cheesecake (and so will you). After lunch, try your hand at clay pigeon shooting, or unleash your inner daredevil on a Rocky Road of the 4×4 kind, with an off-road Explore 4X4 driving experience. With some expert tuition, I found the confidence to manoeuvre a two-and-a-half-ton Land Rover over tricky, muddy terrain (and I don’t even drive).
Finally, don’t go home without taking a tour of The English Whisky Company, a beautiful distillery on the River Thet in Roudham, Norfolk, and seeing how their unique tipple is produced. Cheers!
Rooms at Tuddenham Mill start from £145 per night per couple, including breakfast. tuddenhammill.co.uk
Greater Anglia offers train fares between London Liverpool Street and Bury St Edmunds from £23 return. greateranglia.co.uk
To find out more about holidays and things to do in the Brecks, go to visitsuffolk.com