Written by Katie of @thesundayfeeling - gifted pr stay
There’s nothing quite like being tucked up by a roaring fire in a cosy country pub to start the festive season. The Weeping Willow, located in the heart of the Suffolk countryside in Barrow, is the perfect spot to do just that. I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit last weekend with my husband and two children to experience the wonderful Festive Stay package.
THE WEEPING WILLOW PUB
It’s always a joy stepping through the doors of the modern country pub with its colourful and inviting interiors. There are various seating areas in the pub which each have a slightly different feel to them. As it got darker I was completely drawn to the cosiest corner with a stunning fireplace, windows framed with fairy light garlands, wooden beams and comfy seating area. Christmas at Chestnut pubs is magical and The Weeping Willow is no exception. It was beautifully decorated for Christmas with twinkling lights, colourful garlands and festive touches inside and out.
As it got darker I was completely drawn to the cosiest corner with a stunning fireplace, windows framed with fairy light garlands, wooden beams and comfy seating area.
THE WILLOW LODGES
Set back in the meadow behind the pub are seven beautiful new eco-lodges. Our stay happened to fall on our son Charlie’s 4th birthday and he was so excited to be spending the night somewhere new. We stayed in the spacious family ‘Hazel’ lodge and stepping through the door we were welcomed by its modern interiors with earthy tones, natural fabrics and splashes of green. The lovely staff member who greeted us popped the heating on, so it was lovely and toasty for our arrival which we were grateful for on a chilly November day.
The Hazel lodge has a king size bed, a separate little room with bunk beds, spacious bathroom and plenty of room for a travel cot which our youngest, Noah, happily slept in. The festive stay package also includes a lovely gift in your room.
The highlight for us all was the stunning views of the Suffolk countryside. Waking up in the morning and watching the sunrise from the large windows was a truly wonderful way to start the day, and the boys were so excited watching the squirrels and robins in the trees outside.
We enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the restaurant to start our Saturday. My husband and I chose the Full East Anglian Breakfast while Charlie went for the toast and jam and Noah enjoyed some porridge and a little bit of everything.
DELICIOUS FESTIVE FOOD
I’m always excited to eat at a Chestnut pub as the food is exceptional. As we settled down for dinner, the three-course festive set menu offered a range of traditional favourites and some different options too. My husband and I went for the roast turkey and pork belly for our mains followed by Christmas pudding and a chocolate tart with ice cream. The boys tucked into fish and chips and tomato pasta from the seasonal a la carte menu and brownie and ice cream for dessert. Absolutely delicious! We all thoroughly enjoyed our meal and afterwards headed to our lovely lodge for a cosy evening.
PLACES TO EXPLORE NEARBY
The Weeping Willow is in a great location with countryside walks on the doorstep as well as being close to some great family activities. There’s a cinema, Bury Bowl, Planet Laser and Curve Motion all within a 15 minute drive of the Weeping Willow. It’s also just a short drive to the charming town of Bury St Edmunds with many independent and high street shops, stunning cathedral and beautiful outside spaces. My boys love the park in the Abbey Gardens so it’s an ideal family day out.
After our stay we decided to drive 15 minutes down the road to Nowton Park which we usually visit a few times a year. It’s lovely experiencing it through the different seasons with blossom and daffodils in spring, wildflower meadows in summer and beautiful golden colours in autumn. There’s endless amounts of space for children to explore and all the facilities you need for a great day out.
You’ll also find National Trust’s Ickworth Estate in Horringer just 15 minutes away from The Weeping Willow. It’s not too far from where we live and one of our absolute favourite weekend spots. Take a stroll through the formal gardens and parkland with beautiful views of the rolling Suffolk landscape, or walk down to the lake and through the woods for a longer walk. There’s loads of space for children to run around or play in the park. Cake from the café to fill hungry tummies afterwards is always a highlight. Throughout December they have a gorgeous festive outdoor trail on, Christmas crafts, a beautifully decorated house and lovely gifts in the shop.
Chestnut’s Festive Stay package is available between 23rd November and 23rd of December and includes a one-night stay, mulled wine and a gift on arrival, 3-course dinner with crackers and breakfast. We had a truly wonderful stay at The Weeping Willow and would highly recommend a visit if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Suffolk this festive season (and throughout the year).
Katie runs a lifestyle page on Instagram which you can follow here.