24-Hour Room Service: Tuddenham Mill, Near Newmarket, Suffolk

There's an orange swan gliding towards me through the darkness of the millpond. No, hang on: it's pink. I mean, green. Now it's gone purple. And it's being chased by a disco duck...

By day, a psychedelic floorshow involving waterfowl does not seem the most likely turn of events at Tuddenham Mill. There's been a mill on the site since the 11th century and its current incarnation as a stylish restaurant with rooms attached still looks thoroughly in keeping with the green and pleasant surroundings. An old brick chimney rises from the main building; the dinky reception boasts plenty of wood, glass and muted earth tones; plain white swans and perfectly normal-looking ducks potter solemnly about the pond. "This," it says on the mill's website, "is rustic chic." And very nice it is too.

It's at night that things get a little weird. The mill's now stationary water-wheel is displayed in a glassed-in alcove in the middle of the downstairs bar. In the evening it's lit by an array of coloured lights which also shine across the millpond, bathing the birdlife in a slowly changing kaleidoscope of neons. Happily, the swans seem pretty relaxed about the whole thing, a state of mind that fits in neatly with the ethos of Tuddenham Mill in general.

Being pretty relaxed doesn't mean the service is ever less than gracious and efficient, but does mean that soon after arriving you begin pondering a pre-prandial glass of Sauvignon Blanc beneath the ancient wooden beams of the bar. Next stop, the first-floor restaurant, which couldn't be more rustic chic if it tried. Here, uneven floors and brick walls are allied to a menu that does its darnedest to impress.

In fact, during the course of my evening meal I found myself juggling no fewer than three menus, with seasonal salad and daily specials vying for my attention with the restaurant's regular offerings. That's "regular" as in "The Mill's steak haché centred with Suffolk blue cheese, with onion bread, shallot rings, English mustard foam and a cherry tomato relish" (£9), followed by, in my case, "Slow-cooked and roasted duck leg, orange and stem-ginger candied marmalade, seared duck breast with an oriental duck, vegetable and noodle miso soup" (£20). The former turned out to be a tiny cheese-burger which melted in the mouth; the latter could have been over-complicated, but turned out to be a well-balanced ensemble of delicate flavours.

Chef Gordon McNeill is keen to emphasise that his cooking is all about fun. "Your parents were lying when they said stop playing with your food," he says, when I meet him the next day.

Location

Tuddenham Mill, High Street, Tuddenham, Newmarket, Suffolk (01638 713 552; tuddenhammill.co.uk).

Time from nearest station: Ten miles from both Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket.

Comfortable?

The bedrooms are where chic finally kicks rustic into the long grass. When the Mill opened for business in March 2007 there were only three rooms in the main building; a year ago the owners added 12 more, arranged in two purpose-built blocks called "Mill Stream" and "Water Meadow".

Our first-floor Water Meadow room was huge, its L-shaped black sofa and smart grey rug tastefully offset by the cool white walls. Tiny spotlights were strung about from a central ceiling node – as if a drunken chandelier had mated with a spider – and one of these was suspended over a vast resin bath which occupied pride of place in the centre of the room.

A complicated Velux window transformed into a tiny balcony equipped with telescope, and there was also a hi-tech gas fire set into the wall. There's a fairly busy country road running past the Mill, but we couldn't hear a thing from our room – and the bed, dressed in scented white linens, was supremely comfortable.

Freebies: Half bottles of red and white wine, tea and coffee, fruit, bottled water, "Made at the Mill" cookies and sweets were all included, as was an array of Jo Malone toiletries. The complimentary sloe gin at your bedside table may do you lasting damage.

Keeping in touch: Wall-mounted flat-screen TV, DVDs available at reception, iPod-ready Bose alarm clock, free Wi-Fi.

The bottom line

Doubles start at £195, including breakfast. A winter special offer gets you two nights for the price of one during the week if you eat in the restaurant on at least one night.

I'm not paying that: For a different slice of Suffolk, head to the coast. The more-rustic-than-chic Ship Inn at Dunwich (01728 648 219; shipatdunwich.co.uk) is a sister property of Tuddenham Mill and offers doubles from £85, including breakfast.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk