Deep in the wooded heathlands of Suffolk's Heritage coast, 20 minutes drive from Aldeburgh with its famous festival and concert hall, lies Butley Priory, all that remains of the Augustinian monastery founded in 1171. Set in its own 7 acres, within an area of outstanding natural beauty, the building is a unique example of 14th century architecture, and retains something of the peace and serenity of those far away days.
Accounts relate that the Priory was much loved by Henry VIII's sister Mary Tudor (briefly Queen of France). She was a frequent visitor to Butley between 1515 and 1527 hunting in nearby Rendlesham Forest and picnicking in the Priory gardens. Other Royal visits included Henry III in 1235 and later Edward 1st.
Today's discerning travellers can also sample Butley's hospitality on a 'Bed and Breakfast' basis, as guests of a branch of the Cavendish finally. Dinner can be arranged for parties of 6 or more.
The dining room and drawing room are available independently, providing a unique venue for a variety of events such as concerts, board meetings, workshops and social functions. There is a grand piano for musicians wishing to rehearse.
Deer and wildlife surround the house for nature lovers; bird watchers can appreciate the rare seabird and Avocet population. Forestry adjacent to the house offers unlimited riding or walking and there is local sailing at Orford and Woodbridge.
Butley Priory is a natural magnet for legend and folklore, while the warm and romantic atmosphere is always remarked upon, the mystery of the walled up rooms in the West Wing and the enigma of the silver coffin remain unsolved.
In the bedrooms 20th century comfort is assured, all double rooms having Private bathrooms and including such luxuries as linen sheets, log fires and goose down duvets. A sitting area, tea and coffee making facilities and a television are provided in all main bedrooms.
Meals are served in the magnificent stone vaulted dining room, double doors open onto the South facing garden, an alternative eating place in the summer - smiling gargoyles looking on.
Guests are welcome to explore the garden.
There is a small plunge swimming pool for the hardy or wander around the l2th century monk's ponds. Originally used as a handy supply of fresh carp for the inhabitants, these have been recently stocked with more appetising rainbow Trout. Anglers may try their luck.
Directions From London: Butley is a 2 hour drive
from London on the East Coast of Suffolk. Take the A12 to Woodbridge,
turn off onto the B1084 towards Orford, which brings you into the
village of Butley.
Trains from Londons' Liverpool St to the nearest mainline station at Ipswich take 1 hour. Connections can he made to the local station of Melton, on the Lowestoft line.
From Birmingham: Butley is a 3 1/2 hour drive taking the A14 from Birmingham to Ipswich.
Take the Orford road from Melton (B1084) outside Woodbridge. Follow this road for approximately 6 miles. Just before you get into the Butley village look out for a Forestry Commission sign saying "Rendlesham Forest" on the right. Ignore this and immediately afterwards take the next road to the right signposted "Butley High Corner" and "Butley Low Corner". Continue ½ mile down here and at the very bottom of the hill take driveway to the right marked Private Entrance. The house will become visible on the right. Park in front of the house where indicated.
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