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November 1st, 2022

As soon as autumn starts and the days get a bit cooler, I always remember how lucky we are on this mighty island to have seasons. As silly as it sounds. The recurrence of the back-to-school energy is as reassuring as it is melancholic. That first nip in the air automatically makes me think of my two closest and oldest girlfriends, both conveniently named Isabella, which was fantastic news for me when we all started the same primary school at three years old!

The craziness of the summer just gone, where most holidaymakers were trying to get a piece of the cheap European holiday action, had come to a close and everyone was firmly back home. All those years ago, this would have been prime hang-out time for us three girls as we all lived about a mile radius from each other growing up - sharing lifts to school, stationary shopping, after-school teas with potato smiles with baked beans and ketchup (if you know you know).

The summer in London was chaotic and crowded and we were desperate for a weekend away. Cue the staycation. We picked family-run and adults-only Blyth Rise Stays in rural Suffolk, a short car ride from the seafront at Southwold, around three hours from London and set in ten acres filled with countless trees, flora and fauna. We stayed in one of the six luxury lake lodges; an ideal option for a small group, with two beautifully decorated king-sized bedrooms, two bathrooms fitted with heated floors and products sourced from the local area, superb kitchen and a large, cosy lounge. Floor to ceiling French windows in every room made us feel totally at one with nature and allowed the sun to stream into the space.

On arrival, we were still running on London's 'we must fit everything into this weekend’ energy and so headed directly into the nearby town of Laxfield after unpacking all of our goodies we brought down for the weekend, and rejoicing at the treats left for us by the team at Blyth Rise Stays. We donned our wellies to The Kings Head (The Low House), one of the oldest pubs in Britain, just a short walk away. We warmed up by the roaring fire before heading to the Fox and Goose in Fressingfeld for their famous tasting menu paired with unbelievable fine wine for dinner. On our return, as we sat on the private decking and went over each and every amazing morsel that we were served, we were transfixed by the navy-blue night up ahead. With little to no sky pollution in Suffolk, Blyth Rise Stays is a fantastic spot for star-gazing. There is even an onsite telescope for guests to use.

Having no wi-fi or any screens at Blyth Rise Stays was a complete blessing. We woke up slowly and made some fresh coffee, snuggled into the lodge’s recycled wool blankets and cooked a fry-up with produce from the honesty shop, on the BBQ... each lodge has one! There are also countless foodie markets near to Blyth Rise Stays as well as quaint town and villages, ideal for window shopping. After breakfast, we had some major girlie gossip to catch up on and where better to talk and get rid of toxins than the onsite iglu-sauna, set through the trees. Each sauna has space for up to six people and has its own separate changing area, nestled in nature. Also snuggled within the woodland are the six igluhuts which are ideal for a solo retreat, with king-sized beds, stylishly furnished living area, a fully functional kitchen, ensuite bathroom, firepit and BBQ. A tranquil solo retreat at Blyth Rise Stays can be complemented with a massage or a yoga class (weather permitting) with resident instructor, Katie.

Each lodge and igluhut has a selection of classic boardgames and puzzles, the perfect way to wind down after a long coastal walk. We ended our weekend with a trip on the Walbeswick ferry followed by Sunday roast at The Ship at Dunwich with lashings of graving and a mountain range of Yorkshire puddings. Our final evening was us girls planning the next few autumnal months, discussing Halloween costumes, dates we wanted to go on, upcoming birthdays and potential new year’s resolutions. We settled into our terrace that was slightly raised above the lake and lisened to the rustle of leaves on the water and an owl in the distance. We sunk into the al fresco chairs by the large firepit which burned for hours, in our own little castle on the hill. A glass of wine with friends you have known for decades, a firepit, oh, and a gorgeous luxury lodge… is really all you need.

  • Prices from £148 per night for a three-night stay from Friday  – Monday in November, based on two adults sharing a woodland igluhut
  • Prices from £52 per night per person for a three-night stay from Friday – Monday in November, based on four adults sharing a lakeside lodge (two king-sized bedrooms in each lodge).

To book, visit: www.blythrisestays.co.uk.

Lydia Matthews

Lydia Matthews

As our London Correspondent, Lydia explores all that makes the capital come to life from coffee shops to wine bars, cabaret shows, city staycations and all things culture.