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alde garden, The White Horse Inn, Low Rd, Sweffling, Suffolk, IP17 2BB
Alde Garden is a small, tranquil, low-impact campsite in the heart of the Suffolk countryside featuring an eclectic range of quirky & unusual accommodation and a few camping pitches.
Everything is set within a compact & peaceful 1-acre wildlife garden
Alde Garden has a warm, communal feel and a relaxed atmosphere
Our small campsite is home to many friendly ducks & chickens and is perfect for those who want to share the space in a relaxed and respectful way
"the perfect antidote to busy lives" - Alde Garden is the ideal place to unwind and get away from it all"
Because of the nature of the space, Alde Garden is not suitable for those who wish to play ball games or other lively games
Sorry - no groups, no wedding guests and no pets please.
From the Independent article '50 Best Nights Under Canvas'
"Book into this Suffolk site for “utter peace and tranquility in the heart of the countryside,” says Richard. “Choose from bell tents, tipis or woodland hideouts, or grab one of just five traditional tent pitches. The garden is a haven for wildlife. There are bikes to borrow, herbs to pick, ducks and hens to feed and a jungle shower hidden in the trees”
Cool Camping says "If there were an annual award for ‘English campsite with the greatest diversity of accommodation', the owners of Alde Garden would be permanently practising their acceptance speeches and making mental notes not to blub on discovering that they've triumphed over Angelina Jolie again.
Guests to this former pub garden, on the edge of the little village of Sweffling, can choose between a stay in a bell tent, a yurt, a tipi, a gypsy caravan, and a ‘wooden tent on stilts' (inspired by a trip to New Zealand). Alternatively, they can bring along their own tent and camp in the time-honoured fashion. Indeed, youthful owners Marie and Mark encourage non-campers who have booked into the more glampy accommodation to bring along a tent to give traditional camping a try. Battle-hardened tentophiles, meanwhile, can spend their final night in the yurt or the gypsy caravan, say, as a bit of a naughty treat (there's even a cute self-catering cottage for those who need to bait the hook for less enthusiastic campers).
However you decide to stay here, the vibe remains the same. A garden kept deliberately wild (and with its own friendly hedgehog) combined with facilities artfully constructed from reclaimed and recycled materials engender a laid-back atmosphere, where the sixties and the tenties collide to rather pleasing effect.
Take the brilliant jungle shower, for example – made from wood Mark and Marie have picked up. Showerers can hitch up one of the site's bags of solar-heated water to enjoy an (entirely modest) outdoor shower, with the added bonus of a view of next door's free-range pigs. (There are also two spotless conventional showers for those for whom cleanliness is next to indoorsiness.)
The pathways around the 0.89-acre (they've measured it) site; the Donkey Shed shelter – an extension to the gypsy caravan, trebles as a personal kitchen and dining room. There's also a converted wooden barn communal kitchen area complete with straw bale seats – a particular hit with kids, plus a bookcase in the yurt…they've all been lovingly crafted by hand with materials that would otherwise have gone to waste. A friend of the couple has even created the wood-burners from discarded gas bottles. And if you're more into cycling than recycling, you can borrow one from the cluster of bikes, including a tandem, kept on site.
After dark, myriad colourful solar-powered lights and sun jars give the place a magical dingly dell feel, an illusion enhanced by the soft glow from the brick pizza oven (bring your own ingredients and become Italian for the night), and the rosy blush of the communal fire.
There are big plans afoot for 2011. Aside from building the wooden tent on stilts, Mark and Marie are reopening the pub – The White Horse – whose garden forms the campsite. They also plan to build a compost loo and, if there's time, open a little shop selling hand-made recycled crafts.
Visitors should note that there's one space at the very top of the garden that's not open to guests – where there's a teeny tiny tent. ‘That's ours', laughs Mark. ‘We hated the idea of not being able to camp here ourselves so we've got our own tent up for whenever we want to treat ourselves.' A campsite so good the owners camp there themselves? You won't get a better recommendation than that"
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