Wyken Vineyards and The Leaping Hare restaurant, Suffolk : August 2017

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This is a working farm which has successfully diversified and is collectively known as Wyken Vineyards. The Leaping Hare comprises a classy interiors shop, cafe and restaurant, and there is a vineyard and lovely gardens which are open to the public and all are part of the private estate of Wyken Hall.     

Wyken Vineyards is located approx 11 miles from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and it had been highly recommended by a friend as a splendid destination for a day out in the countryside.

Wyken Farmers’ Market which is located in the old stables block was open from 9-1 when I visited last Saturday with a companion. After a look around the stalls, we found the Leaping Hare restaurant for a spot of lunch. As an aside I have to say that the name of this restaurant appeals to me almost as much as ‘The Giggling Squid’ Thai restaurant in Bury St Edmunds. (Unusual names must be a Suffolk thing!)   

It was one of those typically changeable English summer days when there was a heavy rain shower one minute followed by bursts of bright sunshine the next, so we were wearing macs and sunglasses!IMG_0831 (2)

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The Wyken Farmers’ Market features an impressive mix of stalls from local producers
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The Leaping Hare restaurant is located in the 400-year-old barn
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We started our lunch with ice-cold sparkling orange and cranberry drinks
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We both chose the Eggs Benedict dish for our lunch
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Still thirsty and enjoying a leisurely-paced lunch we ordered a pot of tea each 
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My companion chose a slice of light and moist carrot cake instead of a dessert
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I chose a delicious slice of Blueberry Cheesecake for my dessert
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An outdoor seating area was available outside the cafe/restaurant for days when it wasn’t raining!
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I couldn’t resist bringing home a bottle of Good Dog Ale for Steve! An English Pale Ale style beer brewed by Wyken Vineyards

Wyken Vineyards restaurant, The Leaping Hare, is located in the 400-year-old barn. A Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide and now in its 15th year in The Good Food Guide, the restaurant tries to source their ingredients from a five-mile radius, so the beef, lamb, game and eggs are local (and when possible from the Wyken farm and estate) with fruit, herbs and vegetables from the kitchen garden.

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Curious sign on the entrance door into the restaurant!

Wyken Cafe, which serves breakfasts and lunches daily, is also located in the barn and offers a lighter menu choice with the same quality of food and service as the elegant restaurant. Prices were on the high side but the food was exceptionally tasty. We paid £20 a head for our lunch which included two soft drinks each, cake/dessert and service.

There was also a Summer Exhibition in the Leaping Hare Cafe Gallery of limited edition prints of watercolours by Eric Ravillious.

Wyken Shop – The Leaping Hare Country Store wyken store

This very attractive and stylish shop apparently sells wool throws and blankets from Scotland and Ireland, braided rugs from North Carolina, French grape-picking baskets, Panama hats from Ecuador, and much, much more. The Leaping Hare Country Store also included the book room which houses a selection of books from small specialist publishers. I particularly liked the designer pottery, the chic and classic clothes and accessories, and their range of unusual cards and gift wrap. This veritable cornucopia of beautiful and useful household items and consumables was an ideal place to buy presents. I came home with a bottle of Good Dog Ale brewed by Wyken Vineyards for Steve!

The Wyken Farmers’ Market

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At The Wyken Farmers’ Market, there was an impressive selection of stalls from local producers including farmers, bakers, and a distillery. I noticed fish, artisan cheese and fine tea stalls, and an abundance of organic fruit, veg, plants, flowers and herbs for sale.
The Market is open from 9 am to 1 pm every Saturday.
The Vineyard
 
Wyken is a 1200-acre working farm which includes a flock of Shetland sheep, a small herd of Red Poll cattle and in 1988 they established a 7-acre vineyard with some 12,000 vines. It has produced award-winning wines, including the English Wine of the Year, and in 2009 their ‘Wyken Bacchus’ won the East Anglian Wine of the Year,
On average they produce some 12,000 bottles a year, and these are all sold through their Shop and Restaurant. From the Leaping Hare, you can take a walk to the vineyard over Home Meadow and through the beautiful ancient woodland of the estate.
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Wyken Hall Gardens

wykenThese beautiful formal gardens surrounding the Elizabethan manor house are crammed with topiary, herbs, roses, and fruit trees and you may see meandering peacocks, guinea fowl and chickens too!

The gardens are open from 27th March until the end of September, from 2 – 6 pm daily (except Saturday unfortunately, but all the more reason for a return visit!)

 
 

 

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