Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful and very unique Wilderness Reserve in Suffolk.
I left the hustle & bustle of London Liverpool Street Station at 8am and by 10am had arrived in the idyllic village of Darsham where a vintage Rolls Royce was waiting to take me the 5-minute drive to Sibton Park at the heart of Wilderness Reserve. The sun was shining & despite it being the midst of February the countryside looked stunning.
Sibton Park is an elegant Georgian manor house set within 5000 acres of Capability Brown parkland, woodland and lakes.
The Manor House is at the heart of the estate and offers 12 double bedrooms, elegant reception and dining rooms, a private cinema, games room and gym. The house is the perfect setting for a high-end retreat or celebration and not at all stuffy or formal but instead, offers a relaxed and homely feel.
Guests are made to feel like it is a home away from home, all be it a grand one at that! They are currently completing The Orangery, a light & bright event space adjoining the main house with magnificent views out over the lake & parkland beyond. Once complete they will be able to accommodate much larger events with private dining or conferences for up to 170 guests in theatre style.
Within a two minute walk through the flower meadows and gardens there are a further 30 bedrooms split between beautifully restored farmhouses, stable blocks, the walled garden & converted barns.
All of these lodges are stunning each individual in character & style and beautifully appointed. The lodges have been designed to be used either in conjunction with the manor house for larger corporate events or weddings or can be hired individually for a small team retreat or self-catering use.
They are all so beautiful and it is incredibly hard to choose a favourite - perhaps The Cartshed where both sides of the barn can be opened up to allow the summer breeze to blow through or The Walled Garden where the sitting room, kitchen & games room are housed within the old glasshouses looking out into the wall. The perfect location for a car launch perhaps?
With a team of chefs, the estate offers everything from locally sourced home cooked food to fine dining. Suffolk boasts some incredible local produce which features in their menus including organic vegetables, sustainable fish & hand reared meats. All menus can be catered to suit your individual requirements.
It should be noted that at the heart of Wilderness Reserve is their commitment to conservation & preservation. Working with conservationists & ecologists they are ensuring that the estate is preserved both historically in the main houses but also that they take care of the wildlife.
The estate offers a wealth of activities from the more traditional tennis, swimming in the outdoor heated pool located within a cleverly designed sunken garden, fly fishing, clay pigeon shooting, to relaxing in the hot tubs or sauna, paddle boarding in the lake, foraging or exploring the estate & surrounding villages on the Pashley bikes.
Wilderness Reserve has huge plans for expansion over the next 10 years and it certainly provides a unique and different offering for corporate groups wanting a more relaxed and informal retreat option.
Whilst I was initially sceptical about the location north of Ipswich I can assure you the travel by train from Central London is simple and quick & Wilderness Reserve is certainly worth the effort. I look forward to my return visit to see The Orangery complete and the flower meadows in full bloom. It is a very special place.
To find out how AOK Venues can book this incredible venue for your event all you need to do is get in touch.