The Old Brooder Bunkhouse
The newly kitted out 'Old' Brooder Bunkhouse with the recently restored Shepherd's Hut provides very comfortable accommodation for those who don’t have a big budget. The 'Old' is a misnomer - it is a stylish, modern new build bunkhouse on an old site! The furnishings are quirky and definitely different - joiner-made oak bunk beds with thick comfortable mattresses (and conventional beds for those who don’t like bunks), church pews for kitchen seats, local elm table and benches, maps and artwork on the walls, Moroccan goatskin lamps, Mexican wall tiles and Spanish floor tiles, 200 year old stained glass in the upstairs loo - and a riot of colour with Indian Kantha bedspreads to liven up each bedroom. It is centrally heated throughout.
Sleeping and showering arrangements
The bunkhouse sleeps 22 guests in four bedrooms (2 x 2, 2 x 8) and a lovingly restored Shepherd's Hut (1 x 2) with four loos and showers including a wet room for the less mobile. Upstairs there is a large sunny attic bedroom with 8 beds and its own loo and shower next door. Downstairs there are two bunk bedrooms sleeping two and one long, thin dormitory-type bedroom sleeping 8 in four bunk beds – with access to three loos and three showers (one being a wet room). Each guest has their own light so they can get up in the middle of the night without waking everyone else, and ample plugs and sockets for charging all your modern gadgets. Ample hot towel rails will ensure you keep your towels dry!
Communal space to dine and socialise
A well-equipped kitchen and dining area with Spanish tiled floor provides simple eating facilities at two rustic tables with benches and pews for up to 22 guests (no more!) with plenty of china, cutlery and glasses for a feast. There is a large electric cooker, microwave and dishwasher. We’re happy to unpack a supermarket delivery to await your arrival or you can pre-book delivered meals that you simply get out of the larder, fridge or freezer, or get in a chef to cook for you – or with you!
An upstairs carpeted sitting room seats 22 – the attic ceilings with nice lighting make for a cosy atmosphere but if you’re very tall you will need to watch your head! There is a TV and WiFi, so bring along your laptop to put on a Netflix film if it's a miserable day, and there is an eclectic selection of books and family games to borrow if you haven’t brought your own.
Garden, farm and beyond – what to do
The bunkhouse is surrounded by a small garden with farmland views beyond. On a sunny morning, enjoy breakfast at the east- and south-facing picnic tables or BBQ and play ping-pong, table football, croquet and badminton or some yoga on a summer’s day. Outside the back door the herb garden provides mint for the Pimms, rosemary for the roast lamb and fennel for the barbecued fish!
Beyond is our 500-acre working farm and with the farm map you can explore the archaeology, the ponds, ancient meadows and young woodland and find a nice spot for a picnic. Our family activity pack provides ideas for enjoying the countryside including seasonal scavenge hunts, tree hugging, leaf sewing, journey sticks, meadows in a matchbox, hedge dating, smelly cocktails and other delights. There is a rough meadow to play a family game of rounders or football (you might have to hire the village cricket pitch for a good game of cricket though!) or have your own mixed sports day. You can hire the village hall at £5/hour if you want to do yoga or dance classes.
Beyond the farm, take yourselves off locally for some action or culture and explore the local historic Wool Towns and pubs via footpaths or on our 20 adult road bikes along the peaceful village roads of the South Suffolk Cycle Route. Kayak and canoe down the River Stour (10 minutes away) or Go Ape in Thetford Forest among the trees for a high wire experience. Great National Trust properties are well within an hour’s drive: 10 minutes away is Lavenham Guildhall, explore the park, gardens and wonderful rotunda at Ickworth House or the amazing Anglo-Saxon ship burial site at Sutton Hoo on the coast, or hire a boat at Flatford Mill.
Who would enjoy the Old Brooder Bunkhouse?
- Adventurous guests who like the fresh air and being outdoors – either here on our beautiful working farm or beyond in rural Suffolk.
- Celebratory gatherings and civilised hens who can celebrate responsibly!
- Carbon-footprint aware guests – we are hugely committed to minimising both our and your carbon footprint during your stay – you can get here (well, most of the way) by train
- Cyclists who want to use our 20+ bikes - or bring their own!
- Wildlife-friendly guests – you can enjoy wildflowers, woodland, birds, newts, moths, dragonflies and ... woodlice during your explorations of the farm, but remember we do farm as well!
- Base-camp guests who need a place to sleep whilst doing something else nearby in the daytime such as kayaking down the River Stour.
- Well-supervised youth or school groups who need inexpensive accommodation where boys and girls can be accommodated separately and leaders have their own rooms – scouts, sports teams and choirs on tour, schools visiting nearby Kentwell Hall, music groups with tutors using the Tudor barn
- Artists, photographers and creative writers who want space to be alone and together – and views, shapes, landscapes, detail, ancient buildings to get inspired by
- Budget-conscious guests who don’t mind having no en suite facilities!
- Overflow guests from the Tudor barn who simply need more space for more guests.
Fees and booking
- The bunkhouse can only be booked for exclusive use ie it is not possible to book individual beds or room except occasionally at short notice. Fees as follows but discounts for small groups as late availability or midweek:
- Jan-Feb - 2 nt w/e from £500 for a small group
- March-December 2-nt w/e £1,600 inc bike hire
- Midweek - poa depending on group size/length of stay etc
- Arrival time is usually 4pm and departure midday but we are happy to vary timings if practical.
- Email us for a quote and booking details – send details of your group (size, type) and the occasion
OPENING FOR GUESTS ... & LATE AVAILABILITY
As everyone else with self-catering accommodation, we were effectively shut down by the government 24th March 2020. We are slowly re-opening as government restrictions are gradually lifted. As of 24th June, two households/bubbles are allowed to self-cater in one property so we are taking bookings for July for comparatively small groups at a pro rata discount so please ask for a quote. As restrictions are further lifted, we can enlarge the group size on a per person basis.
To reassure guests, we are happy to take bookings now on the basis that if we are still shut down when your booking is due to take place, we will offer you a full refund or transfer. Also we will be following a strict risk assessment and cleaning protocol whilst these crazy Covid times are prevalent.
We currently have availability in the Tudor barn as follows:
2020: All of July, August, September except 31st July w/e and 24-27th August. October and November weekends are filling up fast.
We currently have availability in the Old Brooder bunkhouse as follows:
2020: All of July, August and September except 24th & 31st July w/e, 7th August w/e. October weekends are filling up fast.
Please note we're happy to offer discounts for smaller groups midweek.
All In the meantime, thank you for your understanding and stay healthy.
Old Brooder Bunkhouse - facilities at a glance
- 22 made up beds with duvets
- Cooking equipment: Large electric cooker with 5 hotplates, 2 ovens, grill. Microwave.
- Basic BBQ – local charcoal can be provided @ £10/bag, otherwise BYO and kebab sticks
- Dishwasher – tablets provided foc
- Large upright fridge-freezer, second small fridge
- Kitchen equipment: saucepans, casserole pots, lasagne-type dishes, smallish food processor, hand whisk, blender
- Tableware: large serving plates & salad bowls, bread baskets, china, cutlery, beer/water/wine/champagne glasses, cafetiere, tea pots, thermoses, jugs, vases.
- Washing up basics: kitchen cloths/roll, tea towels, oven gloves, washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets
- Cooking basics: salt & pepper, spice rack, limited assortment of tea, instant coffee, plain flour, sugar, cooking oil, herbs
- Non-drip candles provided - please don’t bring your own
- Upstairs sitting room - sofas & armchairs, TV/DVD, assorted books & games
- Showers & loos: Hand & shower gel, loo paper, shower cleaning materials
- Washroom/larder: Storage for coats, boots, drying rack for wet clothes, washing machine – tablets provided, honesty box donation
Entertainment at the bunkhouse
- 20 adult road bikes or BYO
- Table football & table tennis
- Croquet & badminton
- Board games & playing cards