I’ve just got back from a couple of nights away at a lovely cottage in Mildenhall, Suffolk nearby Thetford, called The Walnuts.
Over the last few years, the distance I can drive, even as a passenger has reduced (see the post Cars Vs Sleeping). It’s usually about an hour as the maximum. However, I also find that it’s very rare for me to be in a car for longer than five minutes, without falling asleep!
I don’t usually go away for long, as my cats get stressed in the cattery, so if I do get a chance to go away, it’s as close to home as possible. It’s a shame as I’ve love to see more of the country, but there are some beautiful places nearby so I’m lucky.
One way I’ve found to slightly increase the distance I can travel is to recline the seat right back, and cover it in pillows. I’m usually asleep before we get on the motorway, and only wake up when we arrive! It helps reduce the pressure on my spine, so I’m not such a mess when I get there.
The Walnuts had a Groupon offer, which I sadly just missed, but when I phoned to book the owner was kind enough to honour it. The deal included a BBQ pack, but there are other options if this doesn’t appeal to you.
In terms of accessibility, there are a number of cottages on site, and all except one have the bedroom/s upstairs. The one that didn’t is called ‘Inglenooks’ and has everything downstairs, so that’s the one I stayed in. One of the good things for me about going away for just two nights, is the battery in my wheelchair lasts that long, so I can leave it in the car. That I don’t have to worry about getting it in the cottage. There is parking directly outside the cottage, which is handy if you can’t walk far.
The cottage wouldn’t be suitable for a full-time wheelchair user, as it doesn’t have level access. Each room has a raised threshold (not a step, but more than enough to stop a chair.) There is enough space for a manual wheelchair to be folded up, or stored in the bedroom, or living room – so if you don’t need to use it all the time, but want it keep it with you that’s an option. The biggest step is the one leading into the private garden. There is no bath, just a shower, and there is a small step into it.
We received a warm welcome when we arrived for one of the owners, and he showed us how everything works including the private hot tub. It was quite chilly when we arrived, as the weather had suddenly turned cold, and so he lit the open fire in the bedroom.
My first impressions were very good. The living room contained a sofa and a table and chairs. The flat screen TV was placed on a lovely book-style table, that opened to find a selection of DVDs and menus. The lamp was quirky and made out of a stack of tea-cups.
The bedroom holds a queen size four poster bed, and another flat-screen TV on the wall. There are nice little touches like fresh flowers on the dresser, and chocolates on the bed. There is a sofa and arm chair next to the open fire, and a book shelf with a small range of books – and it was lovely to sit next to the fire and read.
In the bathroom they had provided towels, robes, shampoo/conditioner, body moisturiser and body wash.
Waiting in the kitchen was a large breakfast hamper containing bread, jams, marmalades and honey. A range of cereals and porridge, salt and black pepper, fruit, tea/coffees and cookies. In the fridge juice, milk, beer, wine, butter, yoghurts and bottles of water. In addition was the BBQ pack, which included a range of meat, portable BBQ, marshmallows and sticks! There is also free wifi, and each TV can play DVDs.
Also in the garden along with the hot tub is a place to sit, and a real BBQ, but our attempt to light it failed!
One of the owners also provides treatments – including relaxing massages, beauty treatments or full-packages, although the room for this is up a steep flight of stairs. She did manage to provide a downstairs room for my treatments, so definitely mention this when you book.
The only negative for me was that the sofa was pretty uncomfortable, which made it hard to relax. Most people I’d imagine would use their cottage as a base to sight-see, but the weather kept us in a lot, and so this was a pain for me. (Quite literally!)
All in all, a lovely stay, and I’d love to come again in the summer months when the garden could be made full use of.
Have you had any nice trips away this year? Tell me about them in the comments below!