Luxury, bucolic camping paradise in the heart of England's glamping capital. Can you keep this secret?
Suffolk is fast becoming something of the UK's glamping capital. The cluster of luxury glampsites scattered around England's eastern rump leave urban exiles spoilt for choice. And it isn't hard to see why. It’s a rural, relatively unspoiled county, and very handy for the capital. But with such a wealth of posh pitches to choose from, it takes something pretty special to turn the head of blasé Londoners – in fact, something exactly like Secret Meadows.
Sadly ‘secret’ in all but name now (can you imagine having these meadows to yourself?!), Secret Meadows comprises six über-luxurious lodge-style tents spread across the idyllic 115-acre White House Farm. Each has a four-poster king size bed, double cupboard bed and two singles, a fully-equipped kitchen area, with fridge and barbecue, plus a loo and shower. The ‘Gypsy’s Rest’ caravan and Middle-Earth themed ‘Hobbit Box’ are further options, tucked against brambly hedges and trees in the most secluded areas of the site. The former has been lovingly furnished in vintage-style, adorned with cute little windows, a stable door, fitted cupboards and double bed (all hand-crafted). A neighbouring shepherd's hut provides extra living space, with a fully-equipped kitchen, gas-powered refrigerator, wood-burning range cooker/stove, private loo and shower, hot running water, and a quirky built-in double cupboard bed. The Hobbit Box, meanwhile, is precisely what it says on the tin – an old wooden horsebox with a large verandah on the back where a horse ramp used to be, while inside quirky oval windows and sumptuous furnishings give a modern edge to what still feels very much like fairy-tale-style of accommodation. You don’t have to be a Tolkien fan to appreciate its splendour.
We could, of course, go on – to tell you all about their Gold Green Tourism award, the bubbly wood-fired hot tub or the bespoke glamping packages on offer (which include bushcraft courses ranging from whittling your own knife to full-blown survival skills). There's certainly no doubt that Secret Meadows is an extremely slick operation. However, that doesn't really capture the spirit of the place. Secret Meadows oozes effortless rustic charm, and the site is also positively abuzz with wildlife, with everything from dragonflies to barn owls drawn to the vibrant wildflower meadows, indeed it comes as no surprise to learn that you’re actually staying within a designated ‘County Wildlife Site’. With the Suffolk coast just waiting to be explored as well, and the charming town of Woodbridge nearby, Secret Meadows' location is also hard to beat. This is one secret that's well and truly out. Oh well...
Each tent sleeps up to 6 people with a king-size 4-poster bed, special double enclosed wooden cabin bed and 2 singles (beds are already made and linen and towels are provided). All accommodation features a fully-equipped kitchen area with Belfast sink (hot and cold running water), slate worktop and a traditional kitchen dresser. There's a gas-powered refrigerator, BBQ, dining area with candle chandelier and a comfy sofa. Each unit has its own private loo and shower and is set in its own wooded area overlooking one of the many wildflower meadows. One of the tents has electricity and Wi-Fi, while, for others, electric sockets are in a building on-site for mobile phone charging or hair drying.
Families, large groups – yes. Dogs – yes, outside of summer holidays.
The Suffolk coast is but a short drive from the site and boasts a wealth of great days out. The Orford Ness Nature Reserve offers acres of walks to enjoy. Cosmopolitan Aldeburgh is well worth a visit – not least for the marvellous seafood. Speaking of grub, Snape Maltings Farmers' Market is a foodie's dream, with vendors selling some of Eastern England's finest local produce. Just outside Woodbridge, the important Anglo-Saxon burial mounds of Sutton Hoo are essential visiting for any budding Tony Robinsons. Other historical sites of interest include Framlingham Castle in the charming village of the same name. Jamie Oliver's mate Jimmy Doherty has his famous Jimmy's Farm of TV fame just down the road near Wherstead.
Food & Drink
There's an onsite farm shop stocking a wide range of locally-sourced delectables. You can also choose from a selection of food packages including a Breakfast Hamper, Slow Food Package and a Barbeque Box. Of course, you can always cook your own in the traditional wood-burning range or BBQ on the Kadai. There's a wealth of great pubs and restaurants in the area. The Galley (01394 380055) in Woodbridge offers a refined a la carte menu, while the excellent, red-brick Turks Head (01394 610 343) is within easy walking distance. A little further afield, The Ship (01728 648219) in Dunwich serves up hearty fayre and local ales (including Harvey's) – all in this atmospheric old smuggler's haunt.
Family camping has never been so comfortable. Nor so imaginative. Whether it's peeping from the oval window in the curvy Hobbit Box or steaming in the wood-fired hot tub, this is a place that will fuel creative little minds.
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Rated ★★★★★ over 18 reviews
I honestly can't gush enough about this place. My mother-in-law, four year old son and I stayed here in the shepherd's hut and gypsy caravan in August last year and absolutely loved it; so much that we've booked again for August this year too! The shepherd's hut is the last in a line of accommodation, so if you're looking for peace and tranquility, it's perfect. Everything you could possibly need for your stay is provided and the beds are lovely and comfortable. We paid a little extra for chickens and my son adored them, feeding and playing with them whenever he could. The honesty pantry is really useful for the bits you might have forgotten or the occasional naughty treat (the cakes and biscuits are fabulous). Secret Meadows is brilliantly located for local towns and villages and is only a short drive to the coast. The welcome pack is 29 pages long - you couldn't possibly be better informed about the attractions and food options locally! We printed the pack and ticked off the places we'd visited - there are so many great options. Woodbridge is the closest town and the Co op is great for stocking up on local produce. Ross is quite possibly the most helpful human being on the planet - he was always available for support and advice. I couldn't recommend this place more - we had an amazing week and are ridiculously excited to return.
This was our second stay at Secret Meadows in the last 3 years. We stayed in the Hobbit Box this time. We chose it as it was on it's own in a meadow. Lovely, quirky accommodation and very well equipped. it had electricity which while not essential was great to have. Bathroom was clean and modern with plenty of hot water. The log burner was lovely and cozy on a rainy evening. We also used the fire pit on a warmer evening. The pantry is well stocked and easy to use. Just jot down on your sheet what you have taken and pay for it all at the end of your stay. We celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary during our stay and we were touched to find a card and some chocolates from Ross, Charlotte and the team. The site is lovely. While we went as a couple, the children who were also staying there appeared to be enjoying themselves and had the freedom to run about. I will and have already recommended Secret Meadows to family and friends. Some who have already asked me for details. We look forward to visiting again in the future.
I lost count of the times my partner used the word “superb” during our 4 night stay at Secret Meadows...whether relating to the site itself, the perfectly appointed accommodation (we had Gypsy’s Rest shepherds hut with gypsy caravan), the amenities, the private bathroom (with hot water and good pressure shower), the comfortable bed (in a box! So restful!!), the luxury bedding, the new style comfortable deck chairs, the outdoor FRIDGE (yes, an excellent gas powered fridge!!) the view, the free range friendly chickens, the onsite shops, the nature trails, the stars, the moon...you get the picture! Everything you need is on-site including a truly impressive selection of foods in the honesty store; both fresh from the local farm shop (still worth a visit for full range or if you’re not quick enough to nab the tasty fare in the fridge in the morning!), fresh breads, fruit, vegetables, savoury snacks, soft drinks, ice creams, sweets and choccies, and high quality dry goods for any cuisine that might take your fancy on any given day. We were seriously impressed at the lack of visible mark up on food items; the intention is to provide what you want/need without having to go shopping in your car! And there was a “cool camping cook book” in our hut for inspiration. We cooked on BBQ provided 3 out of 4 nights, perfectly complemented by our gas hob for any extras. Kitchen has everything you need, although I think someone nabbed the bottle opener (can’t imagine hosts had not included!), including washing up liquid and tea towels etc. All are ecologically sourced which was a nice touch. The wood store holds bags of logs and coal, replacement lanterns, candles etc, and as with food stuffs everything reasonably priced. Also selection of books, puzzles and tourist guides, maps etc. I should mention that having no electricity supply was no bother at all; you can charge phones etc in the wood store (locked with code), and if like me, you need to dry your hair, the Octagon house has sockets and mirror...(only needed once...we were camping after all!) Lastly I should say the safari tents and Hobbit House all looked amazing too...we will most certainly be back to try those! On the surrounding area I will say that the Turks Head in Hesketon was a delightful pub and is within walking distance...further afield but worth the trip (if you want one day out!) is the Ramsholt Arms on bank of River Deben; great food with stunning views. Also very much worth a visit is the nearby Debach airfield and WWII museum; so much to see and so meticulously set out, but check which days open! Some of the old boy volunteers up there have some fascinating stories from the war, when it was a joint RAF/American air base. Worth supporting their efforts to preserve history for future generations. Thanks again to Ross and Charlotte, you were fantastic hosts, and we look forward to coming back! Paula & Kit
The most amazing week. The setting was beautiful. The lodge was immaculate. The bathroom was spotless and the shower was lovely and warm. The bedding was beautiful and the towels were warm and fluffy. There were plenty of logs and provisions provided. Ross was a great host and nothing was too much trouble. I literally cannot recommend this place highly enough.
A super special place
This was our second year glamping at Secret Meadows. We love the place so much for its super comfy accommodation and picturesque views. One tip .... don’t take too much food etc as the honesty shop is wonderfully well stocked
A little bit of heaven
We spent the first bank holiday weekend of this month at Secret Meadows, and I'm so glad we did. I won't lie, it's not cheap but if the price is similar to a hotel, so are the furnishings and special touches. A four poster bed in the master bedroom, crisp white linen, organic produce on the welcome tray… But it was under canvas, so it’s still camping, right? It was definitely still camping; the first night was chilly, and we were grateful for the log burner in the living area. Hot and cold running water, an electric shower and our own loo made the camping experience with a recently toilet trained little girl, her muddy kneed sisters and a baby a pleasure. Fundamentally a wildlife reserve, Secret Meadows offers all sorts of cool extras. We booked a three hour bushcraft session with Ross. Despite the tender age of our littles, he was able to engage them in making jewellery out of elder branches and teaching them how to light fires. You can also hire chickens for the duration of your stay. We have chickens at home, so are spoilt with fresh eggs every day anyway, but it’s a charming extra for those that live in cities. You can order breakfast, celebration and barbecue boxes, but these are expensive. We ordered a barbecue box for convenience, but we could’ve chosen exactly what we wanted from the well stocked honesty shop on site. We had a brilliant day crabbing at Walberswick and lunch in a sunny tea room and there is lots to do in the area. We were blessed with amazing weather, but I think it would also be lovely in the rain. The safari tents are large, beautifully furnished and incredibly romantic. Highly recommend!
Superb, everything you could wish for!
The was the first time we had gone glamping or even camping, two middle aged folk who spend most of their time in busy environments Monday to Friday, this was the ideal getaway! It was so peaceful, just the owls at night and the chickens and cows during the day. We had two chickens for our four day break they were delightful ( definitely going to have some when we retire!). The lovely host Ross had told us that one chicken had been mislaid and if we found it could we catch it. The next morning we let the chickens out for their daily roam around and the next time we looked we had three chickens! We were subsequently rewarded with 10 eggs in four days! The walks round the site were delightful, we saw some deer running through one area and lots of flora and fauna to keep us happily taking photos. The tent no.3 was ideally situated and was a sight to behold with full sized furniture. The log burner / oven was amazing and we manage to make a blackberry crumble with the wonderful berries we found round the tents and across the site. There were a few firsts for us townies....log burning stove....toasting marshmallows on the fire pit.........looking after chickens. We just loved everything about it, the attention to detail was super and the honesty pantry was amazing! So many lovely deli delights we had no reason to bring any provisions with us at all, there was something for everyone! We will definately be going back, thank you to everyone at Secret Meadows.
Another perfect stay!!
Back at Secret Meadows for the 2nd year running, this time around we took 2 families of friends with us, 15 of us in total!!. We had 3 luxury lodge tents, including 'Self Heal' which has the wood fired Hot Tub. Ross was as friendly and welcoming as the 1st time we visited. The additions made from last year (shelf in the cabin bed, extra wicker chairs and the additional 'shed' with additional kindling/logs) all enhance the experience. The Hot tub is well worth the extra money, the young children enjoyed it and also the teenagers to, although not both groups together!! A beer and a soak was a great way to end the day! Once again it is all the little touches that make this place stand out, from the welcome back card from Ross and Charlotte to the complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits, they really do cover every eventuality. We had 2 coups of Chickens between us and they produced 18 eggs in the 4 days we were there, the young children loved looking after them. Special thanks to Charlotte for organising my somewhat odd request for a large quantity of meat, much appreciated. With the combination of Kadai and wood burner they were awesome!! Would not hesitate to recommend to anyone, you will not be disappointed
A Very Relaxing Family Holiday
Secret Meadows is a wonderful place to really relax and unwind. A fantastic place to take kids, our two loved it. The tents are beautiful and fitted out with everything you could need. Clearly a lot of thought and care has gone into this place. Ross and his friendly team are on hand should you need anything at all. A lovely location with lots to see and do. The only down side is that we couldn't stay longer.
Relaxing Family Getaway
We had a wonderful long weekend in The Gypsy's Rest. The Shepherds Hut was warm and cosy and very well equipped and The Gypsy caravan was really romantic. The Pantry is so well stocked with any item for any meal and we had great fun cooking on the Barbecue and on the wood fired stove in The Shepherd Hut. Ross was very welcoming and helpful and the small site of 8 Glamping Units is superbly run. We fell in love with the nearby riverside town of Woodbridge. We visited Orford Ness, had a lovely walk on Dunwich Heath and delicious Sunday dinner at The Ship in Dunwich. We would definitely recommend a stay here.
A Wonderful Family Adventure in the Hobbit Box!
We have just got back from a truly wonderful, relaxing time at Secret Meadows! We travelled from London with two small children looking forward to an off-grid, back to nature retreat and we weren't disappointed. We stayed in 'The Hobbit Box', which was a wonderfully cosy and exciting place for the children (and adults!) to stay for the week. There was a really well-equipped kitchen and clean, quaint, living and sleeping areas. As a family with boisterous children, it was great to have a whole meadow to ourselves and the chickens we hired proved to be a great TV replacement! The nature reserve had trails to follow which the children (2 and 4 years) loved exploring at a leisurely pace. The labyrinth was also a big hit, as was our Hobbit Box BBQ. Thank you so much Ross and team for creating this relaxing, friendly site. We hope very much to be back before too long!
As many family's do nowadays, we got married after having our 4 children, we wanted to include them on our honeymoon and we wanted it to be an amazing memory for them not just us. We booked for a 4 night stay at the secret meadows in the luxury lodge tent, "meadow fescue" and was not disappointed, It was simply Amazing!! This glamping site has absolutely everything you could possibly need and if you run out of anything you can always visit the well stocked pantry. From the lovely welcome of the owners to the lovely chat from the cleaner the secret meadow team are wonderful! This site has the luxury of a hotel in the secluded meadow, totally allowing you to disconnect from the world as you wish and reconnect with your loved ones with out the distractions of everyday life. Absolutely recommend and look forward to rebooking! The Evans
Camping at its best
Just back from a fantastic 3 night trip at Secret Meadows. Luxury tent lodge was amazing with lots of thought put into it. King size bed was sooo comfortable, cupboard bed was 'different' in a good way and even the very sturdy bunk beds were good. We were six adults and one toddler and had plenty of room, although helped by some good ourdoors weather! We were greeted by Ross who was friendly, polite and helpful and their widely stocked 'honesty shop' was a real surprise. Fresh eggs from our chickens was icing on the cake. Great for all the family and will definitely be returning.
Wide meadows and skies
The great sweep of the meadow, the woods, the hens, owls hooting at night, a sighting of a (probable) weasel and of course toasting marshmallows over the fire: we have so many memories of a fantastic four days at Secret Meadows. For us, with three children aged 8, 6, and 4, a huge plus was the car-free rule around the tents. This meant the children could run around, make friends, take care of the hens, play in the meadow, all while we (grandparents and mum) organised our sundowners. Of course the children loved pulling the wagons carrying luggage (or sometimes other children) from the car to the tent. And the sunsets were amazing. This was our third glamping holiday. We have glamped in Sussex and Devon, and they were both good, but this was certainly the best. The Secret Meadows tents were extremely well equipped, very smart, and of course the children loved the cupboard bed so there was a queue to sleep there. The toys and games provided in the tent were a very useful bonus. It was a great plus having our own loo and shower - last year none of the children washed for the four days… We were glad that there was a gas ring, we hadn’t realised there would be one, as it certainly took us a while to get the wood-burning stove going. Most of the main cooking was done outside: partly in the firepit, but also in our own portable emergency BBQ. Grandpa McKane never travels without this. The oil lamps and candles were fine, but we were not keen to use many candles because of the children, and we were glad we had bought online a cheap selection of LED lights (including head torches!) so that we could read or knit after the children had finally gone to bed. The honesty shop was brilliant: well stocked with organic and ethical goods, and the bbq box we ordered for the first night was delicious and highly recommended.
Peaceful Idyllic Perfection
Just returned from a 4 night glamping experience at Secret Meadows. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left it was amazing! Ross made us very welcome in Travellers Joy, our luxury lodge tent. It really lives up to its name, even better than the pictures suggest. The small details (complimentary ethical tea, coffee, sugar, handcrafted notices) that cannot be captured in the pictures really make the difference. The chicken and egg option is one well worth taking up for the children. Our chickens were quickly named Cluck and Peck and they really enjoyed looking after them. The whole family enjoyed the eggs they produced. The location of the tents allows privacy whilst still being close enough if you were in a group. The honesty pantry/wood store is a great idea with an excellent range of quality products that are replenished daily. It was refreshing and surprising to see our children have such an enjoyable week without the modern world of technology which is part of their day to day lives and they didn’t miss it one bit. All in all a perfect week, please Ross and Charlotte don’t change a thing!
Beautiful, peaceful and a very relaxing stay at The Hobbit Box. A wonderful place to unwind and explore. The staff are friendly and very welcoming and the facilities are excellent. Can't wait to come back!
Fabulous, off-grid and relaxing
Secret Meadows is a hidden gem in Suffolk. Clamping for all ages doesn’t get much better than this. Waking up to wonderful bird song, listening to the wind blow through the meadows and tress and watching the wood pigeon and bees buzy about their day. All much needed ‘entertainment’ from a hectic city life.
We stayed in shepherd’s retreat and found it to be one of the cleanest lets we’ve stayed in. Lovely bed lined, towels and fully equipped kitchen. Lots of starter firewood and a very simple but novel stove. The pantry is a wonderful addition, particularly as we arrived by bike and weren’t able to carry much in the way of food. It was particularly pleasing to find fresh fruit, veg and meat of excellent quality.
The campsite is only 20 minutes cycle from Woodbridge. I whole-heartedly recommend this stay if you wish to slow down a bit.
No electricity - no problem
We've just had a wonderful 5 days at Secret Meadows in a Luxury Lodge Tent. There may be no electricity, but everything else is there, including a first class shower where the water is heated by gas and lovely toilet facilities. The range provides for both cooking and heating, but a separate gas ring allows you to make your early morning brew. The beds are extremely comfortable and there's plenty of indoor space should the weather be somewhat inclement. At night enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside sitting on the outside decking with the odd owl hooting and peacocks screeching. It really is 'away from it all' but with all the comforts, well almost, of a modern home. We do hope to return. Oh, and don't forget to pay that little extra for a hen coup with two chickens. They are characters and you can't get eggs any fresher!