The Wilderness Reserve
Wilderness Reserve is a collection of self-catered cottages and houses on a 5,000-acre estate. Surrounded by woodland and parkland, it's just a short drive from Suffolk's celebrated heritage coast.
I would definitely recommend staying at Wilderness, as its appeal and approach is unique. The location is perfect for long country walks, fabulous coastal towns and villages, days on the beach, allowing you to be as active or lazy as you want.
The estate can be hired for company retreats, conferences and meetings or family gatherings and celebrations. The properties are beautifully decorated and can be hired individually, self-catered or ask the on-site team to provide your own private chief and tailored programme of activities.
My time at Wilderness was short, but very relaxing and informative. Stepping off the train, I was met by the on-site team and driven the short distance to the estate. The long drive swept through parkland, past the lake and up to Sibton Hall, which is a listed Georgian country house that sleeps 24 guests.
Once inside, take your pick from any number of receptions with classic Georgian proportions, such as the drawing room with its listed Chinese wallpaper, the bright morning room or formal dining room. Think open fires, fine antique furniture and chandeliers alongside discreet technology. Upstairs, it's all about the twelve bedrooms with their Hypnos beds, eclectic furnishings and views through large sash windows. Eleven en-suite marble-floored bathrooms have underfloor heating, luxurious fittings and most have roll-top baths as well as powerful showers with endless piping-hot water.
I was welcomed with tea and homemade cake in the drawing room. This was followed by truffle making in the kitchen with one of the estates private chefs, messy, but good fun.
Quick change for pre-dinner drinks and canapes, before sitting down to a delicious four course dinner and our own handmade truffles. The dining room is a grand affair perfect for celebrations and bringing friends and family together for quality time. After dinner we headed downstairs to the vaulted corridor from where you will find the gym, private cinema and games room, a great space for all the family to enjoy.
The next morning, we were joined by one of the estates rangers for a walk around the grounds, to learn more about the nature that calls Wilderness home. It was fascinating to learn about the great trees on the estate, pond dipping, bird watching and following a couple of otters playing in the lake, great for all ages.
Outside, BBQs can be enjoyed in the private courtyard, explore the estate on Pashley bicycles or hold your own tournament on the estate's tennis court open year-round. Try your hand at paddle boarding, rowing on the serpentine lake, or practice your shot with world-class clay instructors. In warmer months you can swim in the outdoor pool.
Having explored the grounds and the other beautifully decorated cottages to hire, we were treated to a delicious Wilderness Brunch in The Walled Garden. What was once the estate's original flower and vegetable garden has been transformed into an eight-bedroom retreat with en-suite king-size bedrooms featuring roll-top baths and stunning living spaces from the vaulted ceiling central dining hall book-ended by French limestone fireplaces to the cinema and games room.
Each stay would be unique, with family, friends or work colleagues invited to enjoy weeks or weekends breaks in privacy or with staff including chefs, housekeepers and even butlers. I'd go back in an instance! For more details about this unique venue for your next incentive or team builder, or for a bespoke proposal, get in touch on [email protected] or give us a call.