The Old Coach House
A New Horizon
Looking for a bit of respite and an opportunity to get off the roundabout and find an horizon we spent a couple of evenings scouring the infinite choice served up the Google genie...hmm Norfolk? Been there earlier on in the year, Dorset? Familiar and sound, but time for somewhere new. Drawn to the relative isolation of the converted barn in Suffolk known as the Workshop we drooled over the minimal simplicity of its Scandi inspired interior. Suspended woodburner and distinct lack of clutter. Yep, this was the perfect match so we loaded the car with enough provision to see out Armageddon.
Hoofing up the motorway the addictive flashing red light of the BlackBerry indicated a missed call and message, possibly a missed call from my mother telling me she’s made too much daal and that she’s packed a vat of it for our consumption. Straining to hear the tinny voice I deciphered enough of the message to stir up my inner Hulk. Apparently there had been a mistake with our booking for the Workshop and it was ‘sadly no longer available’. The ensuing conversation with the booking agent went a little like this...
Me: “What, are you telling me that the accommodation we’ve paid for and are driving to now...is already booked?
Him: “Yes, I’m terribly sorry, I’m not sure how it happened.”
Me: “Aren’t you, as a booking agent supposed to manage...bookings...I mean that’s your job isn’t it?”
Me: “Well it sounds like you need to ?!@#$y well sort it out cos we’re turning up at the workshop and whoever’s there now had better be happy to share the double bed...or better still had better not be there when we arrive.”
Him: Abject apology
Me: “You’ve got an hour to sort it out. Call me."
Forty five minutes later his voice had skipped from its apologetic disposition to one which was chirpier and cheerier. He explained that they had managed to upgrade us to one of their favourite properties, the Old Coach House in Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast. An hour later we were crunching our way across the gravel car park of the Old Coach House and we were greetd by a silver haired gent whose face radiated an inner warmth.
“Hullo, I’m Sandy let me show you around.”
Leading us through the hall, our anxiety dissipated into sheer joy, opening the door onto the main living area our senses were filled an abundance of light. The kitchen, dining and slouchy area yawned toward the sky revealing a double heighted galleried landing, criss crossed by exposed beams, once the fabric of passing ships. Full of design integrity and architectural intelligence, a clean white canvas with terracotta floors comfortingly toasty, thanks to the under floor heating with a focal fire place, which was well stocked by the owners. The generous space is well equipped for up to 6 people.
We spent lazy days filling our lungs with sharp fresh coastal air letting our eyes drift across the broad Suffolk sky hovering above the cool simmering sea. Discovering historic coastal spots and ports such as Dunwich where the sea has claimed an underwater village sinking houses, and a church whose bells can be heard on a still night. Wild crumbly cliffs and coral skies splashed with whimsical pinks and drunken clouds soothe the spirit and for a time tranquillity reigned. Aldeburgh’s shingle and soft charm is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Old Coach House, populated by gentle shop fronts occupied by independent shop owners, butchers and bakers whose produce evokes hunger at a single glance.
The Old Coach House is more than a holiday let. It possesses a rich history built by the ambitious Garrett family in 1851, whose daughter Elizabeth became the country’s first qualified female doctor, a committed member of the suffragette movement and the first woman Mayor in England. Its dynamic past is however, clothed in equanimity but maybe that’s just down to the owners, Sandy and Annette's poise. It’s definitely on the repeat list and perhaps our favourite mistake.
The Old Coach House was booked through Best of Suffolk