i love going to my suffolk cottage, even just for a day, and especially if the weather is being kind. the only thing i dislike is the 2 and half hours drive to get there. so what i have been doing is breaking the journey with a stop for a cup of tea in one of the many lovely towns along the route – i pick a different one every time. this time i stopped in snape maltings – the victorian industrial buildings originally used for storing barley – that are now a concert hall, shops, eating places and arts centre all set in a tranquil setting surrounding by reeds and marshes. I always enjoy seeing the hepworth sculpture set amonst the reeds – it really is a lovely focus point. there is also the lettering arts trust with its beautiful carved stones. i noticed that beggars velvet are stocked there – beautiful gifts all with words and letters. look out for unusual exhibitions in the beautiful dovecote gallery . i have tried all the cafes there and the granary tea shop is the best; i think that the food hall is probably more interesting for gifts.
my favourite place in suffolk is darsham nurseries – its a smaller version of petersham nurseries – with a lovely cafe/restaurant, gift shop and lots of interesting plants to buy. the food uses locally sourced seasonal ingredients- some of them grown at the nursery itself. the beautiful planting and vegetable garden and summer shed are all inspirational. they are now selling my book ‘stolen glimpses’ and a selection of my flower cards. i actually pass it on the way to my cottage, so it makes a good stopping place for a cup of tea and homemade cake plus purchasing a plant for my garden. i have really taken to succulents, and Laura has made the most amazing tray to cover my water butt container filled with succulents – but they are great plants to put indoors, especially in bathrooms and also if you are not always there to water as they seem to be able to go a couple of weeks without watering.