The vast and beautifully serene Wilderness Reserve in Suffolk is a private estate of nearly 5,000 acres, hosting a range of stunning historical properties and charming landscapes waiting to be explored.
If you’re looking for an escape from the city or fancy some fresh country air, Wilderness Reserve, just two hours from London, offers some fantastic options for short rentals or longer stays, within a stone’s throw of the Suffolk seaside.
As we approached the entrance to Wilderness Reserve it was obvious we were about to experience something special. As our car crawled up the drive we couldn’t help but notice the grand Georgian building at the top, surrounded by uninterrupted parkland carefully designed and sculpted by the landscape designer, Kim Wilkie. This was the beautiful building that we would call home for the next couple of nights: Sibton Park.
Sibton Park, a lavish manor house, is the largest of the sensitively restored properties on the estate, boasting 12 en-suite bedrooms, each with elegant and authentic decor, so you truly get a sense of the building’s historic charm while being immersed in five-star luxury.
The rooms are impeccably laid out – many with freestanding baths overlooking the lake and gardens, allowing you to drift off into your very own dreamy version of Pride and Prejudice.
Once we had woken up from our dreams we donned our finest attire and made our way downstairs for a kitchen dinner specially created by the country cook.
Nothing warms the cockles like a home-cooked beef stew, accompanied by a delicious glass of red wine, teamed with a roaring log fire radiating in the background. In fact there are multiple rooms in the house where the smoking fireplaces only seemed to get larger and grander, providing the most perfect backdrop to relax in.
If simply relaxing in the delightful surroundings isn’t enough then why not head down to the games room and take the table tennis or darts challenge or sink into fabulously soft sofas in the stunning cinema room for a film screening of your choice? It is clear that while this home has stayed true to its heritage, it certainly has all the mod cons of a stunning contemporary home.
The following morning, after being treated to a traditional British breakfast using only the finest local produce from the nearby farm and local shops (yes, we did have the Full English), we couldn’t wait to venture outside into grounds of Wilderness Reserve and take in the fresh country air.
There are lots of activities on offer here, from playing tennis to bird trails, tours of the estate, and in summer swimming in the outdoor pool, which has been expertly sculpted deep into the land, revealing itself like an oasis in the desert. We opted for clay pigeon shooting, which made us feel every bit the English lady and gent. That evening we were treated to the most incredible dinner by chef Matthew Appleton in Sibton Park’s formal dining room.
If Sibton Park is too large for your liking there are an array of buildings within the estate of all shapes and sizes, one of our favourites being the Grade II listed Gate Lodge, designed by the neoclassical architect James Wyatt.
The Gate Lodge, complements the traditional English countryside from the outside as the two buildings sit either side of the gate, but as you move inside you can see the property has been cleverly built deep into the ground, creating a modern and spacious living area with two bedrooms. You can also stay in The Clockhouse, a unique cottage with a U-shaped structure and clock tower centrepiece.
If you ever tire from the luxury of it all, you might want to choose one of the rentals that comes without electricity, such as the charming Hex Cottage, which will truly allow you to close yourself off from modern technology.
Wilderness Reserve is home to so many desolate buildings that there are also many more restorations in the planning, including two new cottages – The Farmhouse, originally dating from the 17th Century, and The Granary, a 19th-century barn, which will be completed in June. Both of these promise to offer modern comfort with original beams and period features.
Wilderness Reserve really is the most incredible luxury getaway. If you fancy time away ‘from it all’, unique luxury surroundings and an incredible level of hospitality and service, then look no further.
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