Cooking up a storm – in Suffolk

Sally Dowling in Hadleigh on a Cooking ExperienceWhen you get to a certain age your ‘bucket list’ of holiday options can suddenly becomes a bit frenzied – so much to do – and how much time?

Close to the top of my wish list was to go on a cookery course, but somehow I had never got round to it.

But a chance visit to the beautiful Suffolk town of Hadleigh well and truly ticked my box. Better still, I went with my daughter and we enjoyed a memorable ‘Mother & Daughter’ short break.

Hadleigh is home to The Cooking Experience, a well established cookery school and catering business, run by husband and wife team, Mark & Annie David.

Sally Dowling in Hadleigh on a Cooking ExperienceSituated on Hadleigh High Street the school is a mix of family home and professional kitchen. Mark & Annie welcome you with a glass of wine and you soon get to know both them and your fellow pupils. The courses all have a strong element of ‘hands on’ rather than just watch and learn, and all is prepared before you arrive.

The list of dishes you are expected to prepare and cook seems a bit daunting, but Mark is a true professional and delights in showing you short cuts with hints and tips along the way. Before you know it the focaccia bread is rising, pizza topping is made, and ravioli is ready to go.

The Gables B&B in HadleighA short break for a little more wine or cup of tea, and its full steam ahead into an indulgent chocolate mascarpone torte, garlic chicken, savoury choux buns and two different pasta sauces – phew!

You are welcome to eat whatever you make but with a lot of nibbling along the way we were unable to do it all justice.  Never fear – Mark will make up a goody bag for you to take home.

The Gables B&B in HadleighAnnie and Mark have joined forces with Stuart Service, a dynamic young man who owns and runs The Gables just along the High Street in Hadleigh. After a busy day of cooking, and with a sense of complete satisfaction and achievement, you can walk down the road to the Gables where a comfy bed and friendly welcome awaits.

The Gables is set to become one of the areas most popular B&B’s. It opened its doors at Easter 2014, newly refurbished and spotless. There are 4 bedrooms all with smart en suite facilities and gorgeous Molten Brown toiletries. Stuart has thought of everything – he welcomes you with tea and cake, helps with ideas for outings, prepares picnics to order and cooks up a tasty breakfast.

2016 Update

Since my visit the Cookery Experience has expanded and moved into new premises in Ipswich. I would still recommend staying at The Gables and taking the chance to explore the pretty town of Hadleigh. Stuart will be happy to book a taxi if required for the 15 minute journey and costing approx. £20 each way.

Nightly rate at The Gables starts from £95 per night, (midweek) bed & breakfast.

You can also buy gift vouchers online from

To discover more about the thriving town of Hadleigh, visit

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Sally Dowling

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