Once a 17th-century water mill, Suffolk's The Tuddenham Mill hotel is a marvel of architectural transformation in the English countryside, its 15 urban-chic rooms and Starck-fitted boudoirs unexpectedly blending seamlessly with their rustic surroundings, exposed original wooden beams and all. It all sits on 12 gorgeous acres of wild land, peppered with ponds and streams. The bar, built around the original mill wheel, is especially impressive, and is as much of an attraction as the foodie-favourite restaurant.
Get this when you book through us:
A Mill Bag (a small gift from the kitchen to take home); members staying three nights or more will also get a bottle of champagne
11am; check‑in 3pm; both are flexible for £30, subject to availability.
Double rooms from $106.07 (£83), excluding tax at 20 per cent.
Rates include breakfast.
Praise be: bathroom toiletries are courtesy of Espa, and they're a decent size, too.
At the hotel
Twelve acres of gardens, boules pitch, DVD/CD library, Merida Crossway hybrid bikes and board games to borrow, laundry. In rooms, six‑foot Presotto beds, minibar with free water and juice, free WiFi, Loewe flatscreens with Apple TV (including Netflix), Bose sound system and iPod dock, Espa toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
We love the three large, airy rooms in the main mill: exposed beams, dinner‑plate‑sized shower heads and double‑ended stone baths big enough for a crowd – definitely worth, ahem, splashing out on. The tubs in the Mill Room and Mill Room East have views of the pond through picture windows. Of the Loft Suites we have soft spots for Loft South and Loft West (although shyer types should note the latter's bathroom opens doorlessly into the bedroom).
Indigestion tablets: you won't be able to stop eating the chef's delightful (and generously portioned) food, especially since it's everywhere you look (including dangerously moreish home-made biscuits in your room).
There’s a two‑night minimum stay on Saturday nights; three nights bank holidays.
Dogs are welcome in the Mill Stream and Water Meadow rooms and public areas (except the restaurant) for a charge of £25 a night – give advance notice. A bowl and bag of treats will be waiting for them on arrival. See more pet-friendly hotels in Suffolk.
Extra beds or cots can be provided for under-16s for £30 a night. There’s a children’s menu, and the chef is happy to adapt the main menu (only breakfast is included in the extra-bed rate, though). Highchairs, pencils and crayons are always to hand.
Babies and up – children of all ages welcomed.
The best rooms for families are the Mill Room or one of the four Loft Rooms. All are large and have plenty of space for an extra cot or bed.
There's masses to see and do in the area, including exploring the Fens by boat, riding (from age five up) at Barrow Hall Stables, swinging times at Go Ape in Thetford, or trying quad biking at the nearby WildTracks off-road activity park. The High Lodge (also in Thetford) has an adventure playground that will amuse little Smiths for hours.
Children are allowed in the restaurant at all times, and it opens for the evening at a family friendly 6.30pm. There's a dedicated menu with lots of favourites, including pasta, sausages and mash, fish cakes and home-made ice creams.
No need to pack
Highchairs are provided in the restaurant, and wee ones can practice their art skills with paper, pencils and crayons while you wait for the food to arrive.
There is a DVD player in each room, and a large selection of child-suitable DVDs to borrow.
Alfresco, by the pond; upstairs in the restaurant at a window seat with upstream views; or at the raised and curtained off 'Jockey's table'. Mind your head though! There are two private dining rooms, too; we like the Terrace Room (it has a balcony).
Relaxed: unstructured shift dresses and polo shirts (suitable for disguising a greedily stuffed belly) should strike the right sartorial note.
At Tuddenham Mill's award-winning restaurant – which won a Good Food Guide gong in 2018 – chef patron Lee Bye calls upon his country upbringing to conjure up tempting tasting and à la carte menus, showcasing hearty British fare, inspired by seasonal ingredients. Dishes include trumped up traditional fare such as crispy beef shin with avocado carpaccio, crispy pig’s head with clapshot potato and Lancashire baked apples with mead ice cream. A Continental and full English breakfast are offered, each made using excellent locally sourced produce.
Spectacularly adorned by the beautifully up‑lit original mill wheel, the Mill’s intimate, relaxed bar serves drinks as long as you stay up…
9.15pm in the restaurant. Lunch, 12–2.15pm; then light bites until 6.30pm when the dinner sitting starts.
24 hours: choose from the restaurant menu when the kitchen is open, otherwise it’s light snacks and drinks.
London Stansted is 44 miles from Tuddenham Mill. The hotel also isn't far from the airport in Norwich.
The nearest stations for rail travellers are Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds. Cambridge and Ely both offer swift regular services to London, Stansted, the North and Midlands as well.
The hotel is just off the A11 and A14.
There's a helipad if you have a chopper and need one.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel's grounds are amply equipped to bust boredom – borrow a Merida Crossway hybrid bike to bomb over the greenery on or play a few genteel rounds of boules. There are plenty of routes made for walking, too – pull on your wellies and get rambling, or get your motor running at nearby WildTracks, where you can thrash all manner of vehicles, from quad bikes and karts to tanks, around challenging courses. Bury St Edmundsis not far, and is packed with browsable shops as well as hosting regular markets: there are street markets every Wednesday and Saturday on Cornhill in the town centre; at the Corn Exchange, there’s a craft market on Wednesdays; and the first Sunday of every month sees the town’s Athenaeum fill up with bric-a-brac, antiques and collectibles. Children as young as five can learn how to ride at Barrow Hall Stables in Bury St Edmund's; single sessions are available. Thetford's attractions will keep kids amused for hours, whether you Go Ape in dense Suffolk forest or go wild in High Lodge's playground.
With Tuddenham Mill’s delicious food confronting you at every turn (homemade biscuits in your room; jars of pickle at reception), you’ll hardly go hungry, but for a change of scene, take your pick from Newmarket’s restaurants and cafés, or head into Bury St Edmunds: Maison Bleue’s fine French fare focuses on seafood; later, cosy up in Thumbelina‑scale pub The Nutshellfor an intimate nightcap. Just outside Bury, at stately‑home hotel Ickworth, Frederick's offers family‑friendly fine dining, overlooking lovely Italian gardens.
We’re late leaving the city. Usually it’s a flat battery or an evasive passport. This time, concerned that we might be heading for the coast, Mrs Smith has a bikini wax. I remind her we’re off to Suffolk, not Copacabana. We hurtle down the M11 with all the Stansted traffic. The delight is that we’re at our destination in 30 minutes, rather than the 30 hours it’ll take the rest of them. From a turn?off just after Newmarket, we wend our way along winding country lanes to the village of Tuddenham. There’s not another car in sight and relying only on moonlight, we wonder if we’ve missed a signpost. Then we spot the Mill’s chimney standing to attention.
There’s been a mill here for close on 1,000 years, but this 18th-century abode is thoroughly modern. About as close to Manhattan as you’ll get in Suffolk, it’s akin to a downtown NY hotel – set in 12 acres of gorgeous Brecks-borders land. The reception, with its generous glass double doors, welcomes you into a large lobby with cool greys and flagstone floors. Catching our eyes in the corner is a blazing fire; the ambience is relaxed and inviting and we are entirely ready to collapse onto the clean-lined furniture. This is a proper, manly building. Nothing fluffy in sight (although we have yet to see the emperor-sized beds).
The current property, created by Collins Millwrights of Melton, dates from 1775 and its brickwork possesses the warmth of Cotswold stone with hues of soft pink running through. Aged oak beams float stylishly above minimalist interiors on every floor. Outside, we spy a lone swan gracing the millpond. A member of staff informs us that he lost a wing in a scrap with a fox (although this hasn’t prevented him hooking up with his own Mrs Swan). When we catch sight of him later, the rosy light that tints the encircling trees has also transformed him, so he appears like a ghostly ballerina.
We’re sleeping in the upper eaves of the mill, and it turns out to be a huge, double-height, beamed barn of a bedroom, resplendent in sleek, Italian-designed minimalism. The iron brace holding up the ceiling is also perfect for those inclined towards pull-ups, dispensing with any need for a gym. Mind you, it’s clearly all about relaxation here and a complimentary bottle of Fleurie helps us settle onto the six-foot bed. We can’t help but wonder what the mill-workers that used to toil their lives away here would make of our lazy-lubber weekend.
Knowing that this hotel revolves around its restaurant, and wizard Scots chef Gordon McNeill, we’re thrilled it’s time for dinner. Besides, it’s a car journey to the nearest eatery, and after seeing that most of the other diners aren’t even guests, we’re keen to find out what the fuss is about. Centre stage, behind the bar, is the original waterwheel; it becomes a real showpiece by night when its full glory is illuminated by pulsating up-lights. Even patrons who take a table upstairs can peer down, through a glass floor-panel, at the mighty and beautiful machinery – lovingly restored, yet still resolutely functional.
The kitchen team doesn't disappoint, delivering inventive, courageous, witty and hearty fare – not suited to the squeamish, though: Gordon’s signature dish, ‘A Taste of the Highlands’, features haggis spring roll and shin of beef stovi. It far surpasses the modest ‘Taste’ of its title. Opposite me, a seafood salad is being devoured – Cromer crab, crayfish tails, king scallops, peeled prawns – a reminder that we’re not far from fleets of fishing vessels. The wine list is not only excellent, but also reasonably priced, with carefully chosen producers showing off their gems. Even the glassware is fabulous; bulbous bowls that fill your palm, perfect for each slug of shiraz. Clearly, Tuddenham Mill is a place that’s perfectly suited to foodies who like proper portions and are happy to hole themselves up in this culinary fantasyland.
The following morning, we discover another feather in Tuddenham’s cap is that there’s no chance of bed-head. Why? Goosedown duvet and pillows mean we arise crinkle-free and refreshed. Greeted by duck?quacks, we peek out after our 10-hour slumbers. A huge egg-shaped bath (hatched in South Africa) sits next to the bed, with views over the pond. The Starck-fitted ensuite couldn’t be more designer-savvy, stocked with Jo Malone pampering materials and Missoni dressing gowns.
Just when you thought we’d been spoiled enough, we discover that breakfast is the biggest treat. Mrs Smith and I think it the best we’ve ever had. The ‘Kickstart’ smoothie has more oomph than a Suzuki GSXR. Just as well, since I was going to need every morsel of energy it provided to get me through the enormously portioned ‘Full Mill’.
Tuddenham is nestled neatly between two of the country’s most historic towns: Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds. The toss of a coin took us east to the cathedral town of Bury but rather than view its architectural treasures, we headed straight for the world’s smallest pub – the Nutshell. It was full to the rafters, although not with the expected hordes of tartan-togged American tourists jostling for a photo opportunity, but three local patrons. Despite the dimensions of this shoebox-sized inn we get seating sufficient to enjoy a swift half of ale and an eavesdrop – gleaning tips on how to sleep surreptitiously on a factory production line.
Back at the mill, Sunday lunch trippers are flowing in to relax in the swish interiors and revel in the delights from north of the border. It’s a venue that smacks of ‘special occasion’, a step above your gastropub or country-house hotel. The staff are young, friendly, professional and yet suitably unfussy. Everyone, from the owners down, seems genuinely happy working here, creating a jovial vibe that seeps into every corner. As for guests going home contented, that’s a given – particularly as you can parcel up some of that Tuddenham magic, to go. Keep the culinary dream alive and buy Gordon’s jams, chutneys, relishes in the lobby. Then, to go with the lime-basil-and-mandarin-scented toiletries squirreled away in your suitcase, give your ablutions back home a designer boost: pop a stripy Missoni robe on your room-service bill. This is a hotel that exemplifies those golden hospitality ingredients – quality and attention to detail. So, when it comes to giving satisfaction to sophisticated sensibilities, a run-of-the-mill chic countryside retreat, this is not.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Tuddenham Mill’s Guestbook below.
We loved the amazing food, the spectacular views, the delicious cocktails and the comfy bed. Try the tasting menu with wine flight - AMAZING!
Don't expect lively nights. No nightclubbing here; a perfect tranquil location.
Stayed on 14 Jun 2019
The hotel was so peaceful! And more dog-friendly than we thought. Everyone stopped to say hi to our rather scruffy Staffy, and if he had fun, we all did. Service was friendly and helpful - Ian the night porter was particularly lovely when our toddler was struggling to sleep, and Lynda in housekeeping couldnt have done more.
Nightlife (not that we wanted it with a toddler).
Stayed on 12 Apr 2019
The beautiful location and the tranquil peace and quiet, even though it wasn't far from the main road.
Anything but helpful, friendly staff and a relaxing stay.
Stayed on 24 Mar 2019
The huge bath tub and cosy rooms
Lots of people and a lively evening atmosphere
Stayed on 22 Mar 2019
The Loft Suite. Room to relax and cosy up. Room service was perfect.
Stayed on 4 Mar 2019
Home made bread, brownies and delicious food. A perfect relaxing night away with a fab view from the room.
It to be perfectly peaceful, the mill is right next to the road.
Stayed on 23 Feb 2019
We loved Mill Room East above the great restaurant. Food was excellent although the bar on ground floor a little musty next to mill water wheel.
Stayed on 5 Dec 2018
We've already written to the hotel about some very bad service we received during our dinner reservation. The hotel have since replied admirably.
Stayed on 1 Dec 2018
The room and the view. Food was fantastic.
Stayed on 23 Nov 2018
Great stay in one of their Nooks. Really cosy room and the food and wine lists were excellent.
Stayed on 20 Oct 2018
We booked an overnight stay enroute to Southwold, after an afternoon shopping in Cambridge, we didnt know what to expect from The Mill, we were staying in one of the Nooks with uninterrupted views across the meadows, on entering The Nook soft music and warmth welcomes us into a delightful, well designed compact space, fresh orange juice and fab brownies in the fridge! Recharged, we wandered over to the Mill for cocktails followed by a romantic meal in the delightful restaurant, the food was excellent, as was breakfast next day. Will definitely return.
Stayed on 20 Oct 2018
We loved: the friendly and attentive staff. The food and drink was unbelievably good over three dinners and breakfasts. They really showcased the local producers. It was close for day trips to the Suffolk Coast, Bury St Edmond and Cambridge. Comfy bed. Dog-friendly and we dined in at a very pleasant table in the bar when our needy Labrador refused to settle in the room.
Local nightclubs after dinner.
Stayed on 16 Sep 2018
The food and service – both excellent.
A buffet breakfast – it's all brought out to you. You can have what you like, but you might feel a bit more awkward having literally everything available… Pin-drop quiet if you're in one of the mill rooms (rather than the little huts at the back in the garden) – the mill itself is right on the road, and the rooms are right above the restaurant and terrace (and Mill Room West is next to a room for larger groups). It can get a little noisy as a result.
Stayed on 14 Sep 2018
We loved the peace and quiet. It was so relaxing that 18 hours at Tuddenham Mill felt like three days away. The staff were very friendly, and the receptionist was so lovely. The little extra touches in the room were fab.
Don't expect anything too lively - rest and recuperation are the order of the day, but is done perfectly.
Stayed on 8 Jul 2018
We stayed in the spacious Mill Room West, which was beautifully decorated, with lovely high ceilings, exposed beams and a massive free standing bath. There is a small meadow in the grounds, which was lovely for an early evening stroll. We ate at the restaurant both nights and the food was excellent.
The hotel is on a busy road so there is some noise and first impressions maybe arent quite as grand as some other Mr Mrs Smith hotels we have stayed at. The bathroom in our room didnt have a door, which meant there wasnt much privacy when you needed the toilet. The Mr & Mrs Smith website mentions in house spa treatments. This is no longer on offer as they are transforming the treatment room into another bedroom – but we did head into Bury St Edmunds to get a massage. The wine menu by the glass was a little uninspiring but the full wine menu was much better.
Stayed on 8 Jun 2018
Friendly staff. Beautiful room. Delicious food.
Stayed on 13 May 2018
The hotel was really lovely, and the room was beautfiful.
The service was so friendly and the staff were all lovely, but I was still a bit disappointed with the delivery – the hotel tried to charge us twice for the room, we didnt get our Mr & Mrs Smith gift on check-out and two things in our breakfast order were wrong.
Stayed on 12 May 2018
Complimentary coffee etc upon arrival, friendly and helpful staff, excellent food and pleasant atmosphere throughout. Enjoyed the peace and quiet in our Nook. Everywhere was extremely clean and well appointed. Had a very pleasant day exploring Bury St Edmunds and admiring their interesting old architecture but did not stay long enough at the Mill to recommend anywhere specific.
Lively night life – thank goodness.
Stayed on 25 Mar 2018
Our room (Mill Room East) – beautiful exposed beams, huge bed, even bigger bath and a lovely view over the mill pond. There was sloe gin and homemade flapjacks in our room (replenished each day) and fresh juice and milk in the fridge. The dinner was delicious, we opted for the tasting menu on the second night, but both menus were fantastic. It was also lovely to sip a cocktail in the bar beforehand. All the staff were extremely friendly and the breakfast the next day was equally delicious (try the homemade granola and local yoghurt). We both had a massage in the nook, which was very relaxing and enjoyed a walk and cycle (bikes provided by the Mill) nearby. It was a thoroughly relaxing weekend, which was just what we needed.
Nightlife (but that's not what you would go here for!)
Stayed on 16 Feb 2018
The attention to detail – the accommodation was wonderful, the staff were very friendly and efficient. The location was perfect and the meal that we had in the evening was delicious. We are highly likely to stay there again.
Stayed on 13 Feb 2018
Food was lovely, the nook we stayed in was just amazing. I cannot wait to come back.
Nothing, it was honestly perfection.
Stayed on 7 Feb 2018
The gorgeous food, the really comfortable new sofa in the Loft Room, the cleanliness and the peace and quiet. The service from reception staff to cleaners to bar and restaurant staff was excellent. That's why I keep going back year after year! Cambridge is the best shopping centre and easy to park in the city and it is only 30 minutes drive away. Lots of country villages with pubs. Bury St. Edmunds is also worth a visit.
Stayed on 24 Jan 2018
The friendly, attentive staff, the cosy nook and most of all the hot tub. The Bull Inn at Barton Mils was a local and delicious pub.
Stayed on 30 Nov 2017
Everything was just 'tip top'. nothing was too much trouble for the staff and the food was exceptional. We were alsoupgraded to Loft Room East.