Letheringham Water Mill, Easton

Ernie and Stan at Letheringham Mill

What’s Letheringham Water Mill like?

This beautiful site, set up by Jacqui Gooding and her late husband Richard, is truly dog-friendly, rather than just dog-tolerant. Set in the peaceful Suffolk countryside near Wickham Market, its five cottages – which sleep from two to six – are perfect for pet owners. One holidaymaker has apparently returned with their pooch 14 times in two years. That should tell you everything you need to know!

Ernie in the complimentary "dog box" at Letheringham Water Mill

How dog-friendly is Letheringham Water Mill?

Amazing. Dogs stay for free in all of the cottages and they’ll find a wooden crate waiting for them when they check in, packed with blankets, treats, toys, bowls and poo bags. The crate handily doubles as a dog bed, if you’ve forgotten to pack your own. While none of the cottages have enclosed gardens, dogs are welcome to explore the seven acres of grounds off-lead. The river and mill pond act as a natural boundary so you’ll probably see the resident dogs and other visiting pets roaming around. If you’d prefer to keep a closer eye on your dog though, make the most of the baby gates provided, which double up as dog protectors.

Bedroom at The Riverside, Letheringham Mill

Tell me more about Letheringham Water Mill

Relax in one of the five luxurious cottages on site, all of which have been individually designed. We have visited Letheringham Water Mill twice now, staying in The Woodshed (a romantic hideaway for two) and The Riverside (a character-packed property for two to four, pictured above) and were totally blown away by both properties.

While they are both very different – The Woodshed is all on one level, for example, and The Riverside is spread over two-storeys inside the historic water mill building – there are lots of similarities, such as high-spec handmade kitchens, cosy lounges with snuggly throws, luxurious bathrooms and gorgeous complimentary toiletries.

Lounge at The Riverside, Letheringham Mill

I loved all the quirky, decorative touches dotted throughout the cottages too, from the dog crockery and puppy prints to the kitchen clocks complete with wagging tails. The information pack, with lots of walk inspiration and details of local places to eat, drink and visit, is also one of the most comprehensive I’ve ever come across. It’s more like a book!

So how to choose your cottage? Well, The Woodshed is all on one level and has a fantastic decked area right next to the river. But if it’s character you’re after, you can’t beat The Riverside. Where else can you see the inner workings of the water mill encased in glass and drift off to the sound of the River Deben burbling beneath you? It’s really rather special.

Kitchen at The Riverside, Letheringham Mill

What’s the food like at Letheringham Water Mill?

The cottages are provided on a self-catering basis so you’ll need to bring your own food and drink but guests are treated to a lovely welcome pack. On both occasions, ours included all the essentials such as tea, coffee and milk, as well as a packet of shortbread biscuits, sparkling water and a bottle of wine. The well-equipped kitchens make cooking a joy and you’ll also find fresh flowers on the dining room tables.

Pets are allowed in most Suffolk pubs and cafes though, so if you don’t feel like cooking, you certainly won’t starve! The nearest pub is the Easton White Horse, a 10-minute walk away. This lovely country inn serves high-quality pub food and recently featured in The Times. The Farm Cafe in nearby Marlesford is also renowned for its breakfasts and The Dog at Grundisburgh is regularly voted one of the UK’s most dog-friendly.

Are there resident dogs at Letheringham Water Mill?

Yes. Resident Labradoodles Teddy, Amber and Lola will be on-hand to check you in – and when you drive through the mill’s electric gate, there’s a sweet sign reminding you to watch out for the ‘free range dogs’! Burmese cat Eel also lives at the mill – but luckily the boys didn’t spot him!

Ernie and Stan explore the grounds of Letheringham Mill

Where are the best dog walks near Letheringham Water Mill?

As previously mentioned, the mill itself is set in seven acres of grounds, pictured above, that are perfect for dogs to explore without being restricted by a lead. It’s a mix of formal gardens and enclosed fields but there are also sculptures to sniff out and wild woodland copses. Look out for the local wildlife (we saw a Muntjac deer on our last visit) and you may well see horses and cows at the neighbouring dog-friendly attraction Easton Farm Park too.

The roads around nearby Easton are all very quiet but there’s a nice circular walk you can do along the banks of the River Deben. It’s roughly 5.5-miles long – check out the route recommended by the East Anglian Daily Times. You can walk the historic walls of Framlingham Castle, which is very pet-friendly, and the coast is approximately a 20-minute drive away, too. Check out my Ruff Guide to Southwold, Aldeburgh & Dunwich for more inspiration.

"Free range dogs" sign at Letheringham Water Mill

What Ernie and Stan loved about Letheringham Water Mill

Meeting the other canine residents, being off-lead all the time, the doggy welcome pack

What I loved about Letheringham Water Mill

The peaceful location, knowing the boys could safely roam free, the stylish cottages

How to book Letheringham Water Mill

Prices start from £99 a night. A three-night minimum stay applies. For more information about the other cottages available, see the Letheringham Mill website.

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