Five Acre Barn

It certainly has been a full on few months/years… But this September, we celebrated the end of an MBA, two years of wedded life and my birthday – all without the clink of a glass. With The Bean not far away from joining us now, a weekend away was very much in need.

Scrolling through the impossibly cool articles on Dezeen, I came across Five Acre Barn, a stunning B&B designed by Blee Halligan and shortlisted for Architects Journal’s Residential Project of the Year, no less – perfect for a bump-laden me and the aesthetically swayed mister.

As luck would have it, Bruce and David had availability for our anniversary weekend, arriving on my birthday, so we booked on the spot (The talk about the bath sold it, but then the breakfast was mentioned and the card details followed promptly).

We arrived and were instantly besotted. Ruby, the wirehaired Visla, had us with her first tail wag. What a welcome. The photos don’t do this place justice; every angle has been painstakingly considered, the attention to detail is immaculate. Even the loo bin got a compliment from us (matt black, so smart).

A hungry pregnant lady is best avoided, so we headed off to the recommended Mains, a lovely quiet restaurant about ten minutes’ away in Yoxford… Great plates of local fish, not one to change the world, but both meals had us feeling virtuous on a Friday night and ready for an early night (what rock stars).

The next morning, our full English breakfasts of locally sourced delights were matched with a lovely chat with David and Bruce, hearing all about the barn’s development and their journey from Peckham to the countryside – along with some excellent family chat thrown in for good measure.

We were looking for places to find home treasures and some obligatory baked goods (pregnancy has its benefits for everyone). The local recommendations were brilliant. We headed to Woodbridge and found Vanil, the most beautiful shop with carefully selected Scandinavian wonderments. Mandy, the owner, must have twigged our love for sustainable brands and pointed us in the direction of a few of her favourites. A monochrome rug, made from woven recycled plastic would be the find of the day (suitable for outdoor use as well? It’s basically practical) – the other goodies will have to wait until our next trip.

Disclosure; turns out pregnancy hormones are scary for all involved. I could feel them surfacing and was trying to do my best to keep a lid on things, but a pushy lady in an interiors shop trying to sell us all the shades of Farrow and Ball pushed too far and felt the wrath. My apologies, I don’t think we’ll be heading back there anytime soon – horrifying for all involved. (In my defence, mauve was never going to be on the cards, even if Farrow and Ball do call it Peignoir. Just, no.)

The mister very kindly then drove us and the raging hormones to Pump Street Bakery in Orford – a place Islington delis will have you thinking is a mythical land, with ridiculously priced bars of chocolate. We can confirm, their almond croissants are “the best in the world, no question”. The cold press juice brought me back from a potentially ridiculous sense of humour failure.

An afternoon back at Five Acre Barn was spent wisely; reading the papers between afternoon naps, listening to Bruce’s George Michael playlist, with Google the cat appreciating the ledge that the bump offered, followed by the most incredible scones made by David for afternoon tea. Perfection.

For dinner we headed to Darsham Nurseries – an unexpected goldmine for our tastebuds. Why more garden centres haven’t taken a leaf out of this book is beyond me – one of the best meals of the year, easily, in dreamy surroundings of misty fields.

Heading back for a huge bubble bath that fits the bump in without getting stuck or looking like a Buddha really is a treat, one that I made the most of. It certainly lived up to expectations and beyond... Not to mention resulting in two solid nights' sleep - a rarity over the last seven months.

We set off home on Sunday morning ready for a day of DIY, rebooted and already planning a return trip.

Leiston isn’t somewhere I would go specifically for a weekend excursion, but when we next head to Suffolk, Five Acre Barn is at the top of the list… Ruby, we’re coming for you.

Take a look for yourself: