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Kersey: A hidden gem

PUBLISHED: 16:51 26 June 2013 | UPDATED: 15:37 17 July 2013

Cressland holiday cottage in Kersey (available with Suffolk Secrets)

Cressland holiday cottage in Kersey (available with Suffolk Secrets)

Archant

Kersey, with its quaint houses, recognisable splash and unspoilt views, is a great place for a weekend getaway, as Claire Holmes discovers

Kersey is a bit of a hidden gem, as most visitors tend to head straight for the better-known villages of Lavenham or Long Melford and I have to admit that even I have been guilty of overlooking this pretty destination in the past.

My friends and I had been looking forward to this mini holiday for weeks. And we weren’t to be disappointed.

Our home for the weekend was a cottage called Cressland, part of a grade II listed timber framed courtyard house which can sleep seven guests. Located right next to the famous splash, the property was truly gorgeous and had bundles of character with exposed floorboards, original fireplaces and large spacious rooms.

Outside a horse’s tail hangs from one corner, marking the fact the property was once home to a horse doctor, and inside there are interesting features such as a daisy wheel carved into the dining room’s bressemer beam.

The owners of the holiday property have put a lot of time and effort into making sure the house is warm and welcoming for guests and we felt right at home as soon as we entered the building.

Downstairs is a large lounge complete with comfortable sofas and a huge fireplace, a dining room with a brilliantly-sized table and another huge fireplace, a snazzy shower room and a gorgeous kitchen, kitted out with all the tools and utensils you could possibly need.

Each of the bedrooms are named after famous TV programmes or adverts which have been shot in the area and we found names such as Lovejoy, Hallows and Witchfinder General swirled on placards on the doors.

Nothing has been forgotten and we found thoughtful additions in every room. In the bedrooms, for example, there were hot water bottles in our bedside tables and our towels had been folded perfectly and tied with ribbons.

And, to top it off, a large welcome basket, packed full with local eggs, bacon, bread, biscuits and a home-made cake had been kindly left for us.

We spent Friday night enjoying our surroundings. After a tasty dinner made with local produce from Hollow Trees Farm (a well-stocked farm shop located just up the road), we raided the games in the office and played a long game of Monopoly.

The next day we rose early, feeling refreshed after a wonderful night’s sleep in the comfortable beds, and enjoyed a hearty breakfast of local eggs, bacon and fresh bread.

Kersey is known for its beautiful surrounding countryside and it attracts many a walker during the spring and summer months.

After flicking through the masses of visitor information leaflets available to guests in the lounge, we chose to take a circular walk around the village.

Ambling across the unspoilt tracks, we saw some lovely sights and even spotted an owl swooping low over the fields.

Our walk ended after we passed St Mary’s Church at the top of the village. Located on a slight hill, this stunning building, which is made of flint and stone and was originally built in the 14th and 15 century, is visible for miles.

Walking through the town it is apparent that Kersey was once a very wealthy village. It owes much of its heritage to the Suffolk wool trade in the middle ages and it is believed the Kersey cloth originated in the area.

After our walk we jumped in the car and headed to Lavenham for lunch.

It’s only about a 15-minute drive from Kersey to Lavenham and other destinations are also close by – Long Melford is about 25 minutes away, Sudbury is about 20 minutes away and Hadleigh is only 10 minutes away.

Lavenham was bustling when we arrived but we managed to squeeze in Chilli and Chives for a quick lunch. This charming tea room serves a range of hot and cold drinks and light dishes and is ideal for a pitstop in the village.

We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the shops and taking in the historic sights of the village.

The iconic Guildhall in Lavenham is a great place to swot up on local history and there is also a lovely railway walk starting at the new village sign.

Once back at the cottage we had a quick (and unsuccessful) attempt at putting together a jigsaw puzzle we found in the office, and then relaxed with a cup of tea and a slice of delicious cake.

In the evening we ate at The Bell Inn, a pub that is literally just a few steps from the cottage. Although you may not have heard of it, if you’re a keen TV watcher the chances are you will have seen it as it was famously used in one of the well-known ‘Compare the Meerkat’ adverts.

The village of ‘Meerkova’ was actually Kersey and in the advert a meerkat is pictured driving through the ford before talking to the meerkat residents of the village. The pub was the scene for part of the advert and the owners have kept pictures of the furry creatures on the wall.

It is a real traditional establishment and offers just what you would expect – hearty pub dishes which come in very large portion sizes.

After another cosy night’s sleep and hearty breakfast, it was time to bid goodbye to Cressland. All four of us had a brilliant weekend and we were sad to leave the village as we drove home.

Claire and her friends stayed at Cressland in Kersey which is available through Suffolk Secrets: www.suffolk-secrets.co.uk

Tel: 01502 722717, 01728 452425 or 01394 382770.

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