Pakenham is the Land that Time Forgot, England as it once was, with a watermill, a windmill, and an active theatre group and village hall. It’s the kind of place where you chat to the postie and buy your eggs from a roadside honesty box. Greene Farmhouse sits within it, a huge slice of inspired luxury in a rustic Suffolk idyll within easy reach of London.
A polished period property on a vast estate where beef-suckler herds graze, Greene Farmhouse sleeps 14 in seven refined, regal doubles. But that’s the subplot. The main narrative is the fun you’ll have watching blockbusters beneath the beams in the cinema room, playing tennis, and passing log-fired evenings under the pergola.
Stream the Wi-Fi, catch a match or a movie on TVs everywhere. Escape with a book to The Retreat, piled high with logs, or The Vinehouse. Break out to The Greenhouse, with its own wet room. Make use of the gym equipment. Bathe in freestanding baths. Sleep in Hollywood luxury. Try to count the reception rooms. Try again.
Live outdoors beneath the big Suffolk sky and the sparrowhawks and siskins. Hang out under The Vinehouse pergola on a south-facing sandstone terrace with loungers and dining table. Pick from gas or coal barbecues and burn some bangers. Or repair to The cloistered, covered Retreat with a book and load the fire from the log pile.
Explore the parklands and paths, or potter down to the lake for a picnic, with its jetty and rowing boat. Get all zen in the orangery-style garden room with its feature wall of greenery. Bring your rackets for the astroturf tennis court. Take on the family at table football in the games room and raid the drinks fridge for post-match beers.
No shortage of rooms here to be as sociable or solitary as the mood takes. You’d need a recount to be sure about the reception rooms and you’ve even got covered spaces in the garden in which to break out, get booky, or just be you. Back in the mothership, you can pick from the drawing room, snug, alcove, cinema room and Pit Stop.
Get together in the airy drawing room beneath the oak beams, get the fire going and kick back on the comfortable sofas. Pick your plonk from one of two wine fridges or just pop a pod in the Nespresso. Or escape to the snug with its big sofas, sofa bed and armchairs, pluck a board game from the chest or get a movie going on the 55” TV.
Catch up on email on the desk in the alcove. Then spend your evening in the cinema room, with its wall-to-wall sofas, big beams, beanbags and iconic movie posters. Binge blockbusters all night on the 75” smart TV linked to an Origin acoustics surround-sound system and Bluetooth DVD player.
Pull in at the Pit Stop for table football and gym equipment. Change the scenery in The Greenhouse, an orangery-style room with underfloor heating, smart TV and big sliding doors to the south-facing patio. Freshen up in the wet room. Spend your nights with the log mountain at The Retreat. Chew the fat, pour the wine, burn some wood.
Heat your food in the double electric ovens and warm your toes on the underfloor heating. Cool your drinks in the American-style fridge and the two wine fridges. Catch a quick Nespresso on the bar stools. Load up the two dishwashers to deal with the dirties. Or get our chefs to do it, right after they’ve made you a magnificent meal.
Just downhill from the drawing room, the dining room’s good for 14 beneath the beams with the electric wood burner going full tilt. You’ve got just another 4 chairs if you need them. Or eat out in The Retreat with meat from the gas or coal barbies. Let your dinner get down by retiring to the reading nook to bag a book and gaze at the gardens.
Put the pans down for the night and head out to The Pakenham Fox, a village pub with award-winning ales and an enticing beer terrace. The Bull in Troston promises proper grub from a gastro pub, with on-site microbrewery thrown in. Or work your way through the tasting menu at the Brewer’s Arms in Rattlesden.
Dive into luxury local fare served with a French accent at Maison Bleue in Bury St Edmunds, including pan-fried Cornish sand sole and Sutton Hoo free-range chicken. Sample a Michelin-starred supper at Pea Porridge. Or tuck into roast loin of lamb or fillet of venison at Theobald’s.
You won’t thank us when you return home to a bed that feels like rocks. In the meantime, luxuriate among Hypnos cashmere mattresses and goose-feather bedding in seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms with more than a hint of Hollywood about them. All rooms come with smart TVs. The room names here are inspired by the fields on the estate, you’ll have to see if you can find them all during your stay.
On the first floor, all four rooms offer smart TVs and stunning en-suite bath or shower rooms. Warm your toes on the underfloor heating and wrap up in the fluffy towels. Purnell (bedroom one) and The Laies both offer a superking bed and en-suite rainfall shower, while Swiften is a superking with en-suite wet room, and Carr a luxury double.
On the second floor, Martins offers a superking bed, underfloor heating and bathroom with rainfall shower. Conyers is also a superking. The wet room comes with underfloor heating and a walk-in shower. Finally, Rushie provides two singles and access to the other two rooms.
For kids who love expansive space and exploring, Greene Farmhouse is a gift. But they also love toys, especially those with bucketloads of bling and wow. Let’s kick off with the two-acre garden. Walk the estate trails, pack a picnic for the lake, launch the rowing boat from the jetty, bring your horse (we have stables).
Stay outside for The Retreat. Follow the cloistered walkway from the house and hang out in the heat from the open fire, roasting marshies and telling tall tales until bedtime. Chill by day in the sun on The Vinehouse patio. And bring your rackets to thrash mum and dad on the astroturf all-year tennis court.
Got stuff you can’t miss on TV? We have plenty. There’s a smart TV in every bedroom, plus the garden room, snug and games room. There’s a games room? Oh yes, with gym equipment for older kids and table football for kids young and old. Or how about the 75” smart TV in the dedicated cinema room with surround-sound? Grab a beanbag.
Wrap up an exhausting day with burgers on the coal or gas barbecues, then it’s off to bed to be hypnotised into sleep by the Hypnos cashmere mattresses and goose-feather bedding, and be wowed by the magical underfloor heating. Sleep in singles in Rushie, a family-friendly bedroom that links to the other two top-floor rooms.