Have you booked your staycation yet? If not, then you’d better hurry up! The holiday let market here in Suffolk, as well as the rest of the UK, has exploded between lockdowns, and as we come out of these last few long months (April 12th is the day), the rest of the year is only going to get busier. As most of Britain accepts that travel abroad is unlikely to happen this year, the nation is looking for their next break somewhere closer to home. Previously many people would never have dreamed of spending their summer holiday here on our beautiful isle!
I have owned a small cottage in the centre of Woodbridge since 2018, which I have run on the holiday rental platform, Airbnb. Most of my bookings during 2019 were people visiting our town for long weekend breaks, for weddings or visiting relatives. Since July last year when the first lockdown lifted, I’m now getting bookings for much longer stays and during the week. Having a good WiFi connection means guests can work from the cottage, benefiting from a change of scenery without taking time off work. People desperately want to get away, leave the four walls of their home and refresh their minds. I know I do!
There are bigger demands running a holiday let now. I’m more like a concierge service! I have a fully COVID compliant cleaning regime between each arrival and always make the guests feel safe. Mainly though, guests are asking for my top recommendations for places to eat and visit because bookings have to be made in advance.
My Grandparents lived Hasketon, just outside Woodbridge, so I spent my childhood having idyllic summer holidays here. We got sticky fingers picking strawberries in the fields, we cycled the tiny lanes around the villages, and we sailed on the Deben with my Grandpa. When we returned to school and life back in Bedfordshire, it was like Suffolk was a secret place, not many people knew about it. I still believed this when I moved here six years ago.
This is no longer the case. More and more I see our gorgeous towns and villages mentioned in the national papers – last year Woodbridge was named amongst the top 10 best places to live in England, quoted by The Times. We are definitely on the map now and people are excited to discover what all the fuss is about – even more so since The Dig hit our screens!
The visitors are great news for small businesses here, who have suffered huge loss in earnings this year. I know not everyone likes the idea of multitudes of tourists hitting our countryside and our streets, but think of the income it will bring to our local stores and businesses, plus we get to show off our beautiful county – that’s good right?
I am an interiors photographer and have been photographing some delightful holiday lets since lockdown last year. If you want a beach-side residence, take a look at Harbour Lights, Southwold. From the large living room windows, letting in bountiful light, you are literally a hop, skip and a jump from the sand dunes leading down to the beach. https://www.bestofsuffolk.co.uk/properties/harbour-lights/ or on Instagram @harbour_lights_southwold.
If delicious seafood, nostalgic fishing harbours and the best coffee and croissants in the land (Pump Street Bakery) are your thing, then head to The Dunns in Orford. This home belongs to Jodie Pinney, whose family are Pinney’s of Orford, supplying some of the tastiest seafood I’ve every eaten. They also own the wonderful Butley Orford Oysterage, so get your table booked there soon! Jodie says, “I’m so happy to be welcoming guests back after a difficult year. Orford really is the perfect place to enjoy a quieter pace of life with beautiful river walks with the delights of Pinney’s of Orford Smokehouse and Pump Street Bakery on your doorstep.” https://www.bestofsuffolk.co.uk/properties/the-dunns/
Finally, if a buzzy rural town, with cool independent shops and a vibrant foodie scene take your fancy, please let me welcome you to my humble cottage in Kingston Road, Woodbridge https://airbnb.com/h/contemporary-cottage-woodbridge.
Words and pictures of Kingston Road cottage and Harbour Lights by Jemma Watts. Images of The Dunns supplied by Jodie Pinney.