(AD – I was gifted a night’s stay in exchange for this post*.)
Have you ever done something a little secretive, something just for you? Maybe you’ve taken yourself to the cinema in the middle of the day or gone out for dinner requesting a, “Table for one, please”. If you really treasure time alone and are thinking you’d like more than a few short hours, why not run away midweek for a night (or two)?
In September, I was kindly given the opportunity to spend a night at Alde Garden, a campsite billed as, ‘the perfect antidote to busy lives‘. A collection of yurts, caravans, bell tents, tent pitches and a cute little cottage, all in a wild secret garden. In other words, the perfect place to escape for a quiet retreat.
A MIDWEEK SLOW LIVING RETREAT
Set in the Suffolk countryside (just an 8 minute drive from our home!), Alde Garden campsite lives in the grounds of the Sweffling White Horse pub. It’s a small pub with no formal bar, plenty of local beers and a small menu serving up the best of Suffolk food producers. Open Friday – Sunday, you can ring a doorbell at the back of the pub any time for a pint!
We chose a night midweek especially so as to experience a slightly quieter time of the week. Whilst I went for a night with Adam, going alone would be the dream to be honest (sorry, Ads). Completely silent, excusing the local wildlife (chickens and ducks to be exact), I could have sat on the deck of our yurt with a book the whole day.
Silence is kind of my thing but if you fancy a bit of human interaction, the communal kitchen has a lovely big table, plenty of books and guides to the local area, as well as some basic food supplies if needed (honesty box supplied). It’s easy to meet other campsite guests here and around the campfire in the evenings too.
SLOW & SUSTAINABLE
As I’m slowly learning about living more in harmony with our natural environment, it was a lovely bonus that Marie & Mark, the campsite & pub owners, are so passionate about sustainability. The site is geared up to be as environmentally friendly as possible, with solar powered showers as well as a jungle shower (heat up your water by leaving a shower bag in the sun, then shower amongst the trees); a herb garden within the wilds of the wildlife-loving garden; a compost loo and even free-range eggs available in the communal kitchen.
The campsite is geared up for slow living. A pizza oven and campfire as well as the aforementioned kitchen give you your own cooking options if you’d rather stay in the campsite grounds to eat. But there are also plenty of options of places to go and things to do. Sweffling is only a short drive to the Suffolk coastal hotspots of Aldeburgh and Southwold; plus the market town of Framlingham (where I went to school) and there are so many markets, indie stores, festivals and events always going on. Check out See Suffolk for inspiration.
THINGS TO DO ON A MINI RETREAT
- How many half-read books do you currently have by your bed? If you’re anything like me, it’s at least four. Pack them up and luxuriate in having hours of solitude to really get stuck in.
- On that note, I’m all for self-development books which get you diving into your soul, but they can rev your brain up instead of slowing it down. And for that reason, I suggest taking along some fiction to really spark your imagination and to relax into a whole other world.
- However, if soul-diving is what you’d like to spend your time on (go, you!), make sure to bring your journal and a book/course to dig into. We used Hannah Bullivant’s brilliant January book to talk through our hopes for the future and having that time, uninterrupted, was amazing.
- Work on a project. Are you a writer, photographer, artist, knitter, maker? Bring your equipment with you and let your creativity flow.
- Walk. Cycle. Swim. Yoga. With your time being your own, there are no excuses not to move your body a bit.
- Sleep. I don’t know anyone who has enough sleep so take naps and snuggle up early.
It was such a treat to be gifted our stay – discovering somewhere so beautiful and so close to home has made me even more appreciative of living where we do. I love the idea of taking a night or two away to reground and reconnect and when you can do it surrounded by nature in a beautiful garden that practically forces you to slow down, why wouldn’t you?
*Of course, all opinions my own 🙂 And my taking six months to write this post – also my own…