I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the eccentric seaside town of Thorpeness in Suffolk. A brief history lesson: it was built just before the First World War by a chap called Stuart Ogilvie as a sort of posh Butlins. One of Britain’s first holiday villages, basically. Up went various, peculiar mock-Tudor and mock-Jacobean houses for people to rent, and in went a 60-acre boating lake called the Meare, dotted with little islands all given Peter Pan-ish names (Wendy’s house, Pirate’s lair etc), because Stuart was pals with JM Barrie. It’s very shallow – no more than 2ft6 at any point – so that children could happily potter about it in their mutlicoloured rowing boats.
The place is especially famous for its completely ludicrous ‘house in the clouds’, which is actually an old water tower, prettified by Stuart to look like a house. Although confusingly, it is also a five-bedroom house which you can rent.
The point is, my mum used to come to Thorpeness as a child for two weeks every September and has talked wistfully about it ever since – swimming in the sea before breakfast, playing tennis, having sneaky cigarettes on the beach and so on. So my siblings and I booked a surprise weekend here for her birthday, which is where we spent the bank holiday.
In a nutshell, you must all come here. It is HILARIOUS slash wonderful. I mean, really who wants to go and take drugs in Ibiza for the weekend when you can come to Thorpeness and feel like you’re on drugs the whole time anyway. Houses in the sky! Windmills! Fantasy boating lakes! A model, mock-Tudor village! Plus, you can do wholesome things like walk along the beach for fish and chips in Aldeburgh, squabble over whose turn it is to row the boat and then nearly kill your entire family over a game of Scrabble. Proper, bank holiday JOY.
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