The Waveney Valley is one of East Anglia’s undiscovered gems. The unspoiled river valley teems with wildlife and has excellent footpaths and cycling routes (there is an Ordnance survey footpath map in each cottage and suggested routes can be found on the Harleston website here).
Food, drink and other shopping
The local market town of Harleston, 2 miles away, provides wonderful shopping of a kind rarely found in England these days. The main street has independent shops offering excellent food and friendly service. Our favourite butcher, D A Browne & Son, has a board behind the counter naming the local farms from which different meat has come. Adnams, the Southwold-based brewer, also has a shop in Harleston with a wide selection of wines to suit every taste and pocket. There is a good-sized Co-Op with plenty of (free) parking in the centre of town too. While in Harleston there are several places to stop for a coffee or snack such as The Apiary and Egg and Easel.
There are several local food producers who win national awards. These include Fen Farm Dairy whose Baron Bigod cheese (brie de meaux style) and traditional butter made from raw milk are so tasty. You can buy these along with raw milk directly from the farm or from Earsham Street Deli in nearby Bungay which also sells other high quality foods.
Near Bungay too, is Flint Vineyard. It produces award-winning white and sparkling wine. It also hosts popular winery tours and ’15 miles lunches’ (all the ingredients produced within 15 miles of the vineyard). These must be booked in advance and are heavily subscribed so do check their website.
Beer lovers are spoiled for choice with excellent breweries nearby. St Peter’s Brewery and Grain Brewery. Both offer brewery tours at certain times and an opportunity to buy directly from the brewery. In Harleston, The Cap offers a great range of locally made beer from its microbrewery owner. If you’d rather have beer deliver to your cottage in time for your arrival, Twisted Hops across the valley from the mill, offers an enormous range of beers from small, specialist breweries all over East Anglia.
Our village pub, The Sir Alfred Munnings, is open for lunch and dinner daily except on Mondays. It’s a five minute walk from Mendham Mill (although it’s one of the few pubs locally which did not allow dogs inside). For fine dining, the renowned Fox & Goose is just 4 miles away in Fressingfield. There is a lovely walk across the water meadows which takes you to The Bell in Wortwell which serves food as well as beer. A slightly longer walk (or short drive) gets to The Black Swan in Homersfield which has a good beer garden. The Cratfield Poacher and The Low House (aka The King’s Head) in Laxfield (famous for not having a bar! It has a traditional ‘tap room’ instead). The Old King’s Head in Brockdish (about three miles away) has a simple menu based around delicious home-made pizzas and pasta and has become well-established as a local favourite. There are plenty of others too and we can advise you where you might enjoy eating. In Harleston, the Magpie, now called JD Young has been refurbished and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Places to Visit
There are a large number of places to visit from Mendham Mill. These are just some of the places visitors have enjoyed:
Southwold and the East coast seaside towns of Warbleswick and Dunwich, just 35 minutes drive away. Southwold, with its pier and beach huts is a quintessentially English seaside town.
Boating on the Broads: either from Beccles, just 25 minutes away or from Wroxham.
Norwich. The Cathedral City is 20 miles north of Mendham Mill (30 minutes drive)
Flatford Mill, Dedham and ‘Constable Country’ is 45 minutes away. Dedham is also home to The Munnings Museum at Castle House which was Sir Alfred Munnings’ home in later life and is now a museum with a large number of his paintings.
Some people prefer just to stay at Mendham Mill itself, fishing, canoeing, swimming or simply enjoying the grounds!