Why I Love Suffolk: Jo Kendrick

Jo Kendrick, founder of The White Candle Company

Jo Kendrick, founder of The White Candle Company - Credit: Contributed

Memory

For me, my first memories of Suffolk must be when I was a teen and a group of a dozen or so of us, used to spend what felt like endless summer days hanging out in Dedham. We were often seen jumping off the bridge into the Stour (I don’t even like the thought of it now), and then, when the day was done, and we’d soaked up all the sun, picnic’d to our hearts' content, we would go off to the pub, smelling of the stagnant river. I don’t think we were that popular with the rest of the clientele!

Landmark

A landmark more for its significance of nearly being home, than for its beauty. The chimneys of The British Sugar Beet Factory always make me smile. We used to spend an inordinate amount of time going up and down the A14 when my daughter was at uni in Nottingham, and I couldn’t wait to see those familiar, and somehow comforting, chimneys billowing out their smoke, day or night. I know some may find them offensive, but to me, the reassurance of that vista, was a welcome sign that home was within sight.

Beach

Felixstowe. Oh how I love it! Such a special place, whatever the season. Before I moved to Suffolk, Felixstowe seemed to have a bit of a stigma surrounding it, but over the years I’ve explored every inch of it and seen its regeneration. It is full of lovely eateries, the best beach and architecture that takes you right through the ages. There’s nothing better than a coffee on the terrace of Fludyers, wrapped up in a cosy throw, perched under the heaters in the colder months, or enjoying the warmth on your face and people watching (one of my favourite past-times), once the summer months are upon us.

Town or village

Most Read

I have to go for my now hometown, of Clare. Suffolk’s smallest town has so much to offer, along with a real sense of community. I moved here with a little trepidation that I would feel an outsider. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It has a lovely selection of independent shops, an amazing new coffee shop and bakery that serves the best sticky, warm cinnamon buns this side of Sweden - if you haven’t tried them, I urge you to do so. The architecture in Clare is second-to-none, with no less than 130 listed buildings. I live in one and also have the pleasure of facing onto the 16th century, beamed beauty, that is Trinders, a shop specialising in 20th century fashion.

In addition, the real gem is Clare Country Park and this is where you’ll find me and my cockapoo most days. Created around the ruins of Clare Castle and incorporating the defunct Clare Railway Station, this is a beautifully maintained park and used to its full potential. With Parkrun on a Saturday morning and regular Nordic Walking classes, along with boot camps and yoga, it is the hub of this fine town and serves the whole community. (The Platform Café does a fine bacon bap too!)

Place to eat

I love the Giggling Squid in Abbeygate Street, Bury. It’s warm and welcoming and the staff are just lovely. It’s also somewhere that suits all dietary preferences, with loads of veggie and vegan options too. We’ve celebrated many happy occasions at this restaurant. My ideal night out would be a meal here, finishing with cocktails in The Angel Bar – the best cocktails ever!

Attraction or day out

As a lover of the coast, my ideal day out always involves a long walk with my dog, finished with a roast. I’m slowly working my way through a book of Suffolk Walks, but my favourite has to be the one around the Shotley Peninsula which takes you inland, but finishes right on the beach. During lockdown, The Bristol Arms was serving homemade ice cream (rhubarb was to die for) and Pimms, packed full of fruit, as a takeaway service. Pimms on the beach watching the sun go down in those depressing times, was pretty special.

Event

We have some fantastic events in Suffolk, especially around Bury St Edmunds, but, biased as I maybe, the best (regular) event, is Lavenham Farmers’ Market, which I’m proud to be part of. This market has a very special feel to it – probably why it’s been crowned Best Farmers’ Market in the UK. For a perfect Sunday morning, mooching around the market and buying your fresh ingredients from the very person that made them, then heading up into the village, grabbing a hot chocolate from The Parlour, and winding in and out the myriad of medieval shops and buildings, really is a perfect way to end your weekend. The other event that I’m so happy to see back after its two year absence, is the Clare Priory Craft Fair. This sees in excess of 150 crafters exhibiting their wares. Suffolk is a very talented country, and people come from miles around to support this event, which is run on a completely voluntary basis.

Shop

This is a no-brainer! The home shop at Snape Maltings is a treasure trove of beautiful objects, situated on the bank of the River Alde, in an area of outstanding natural beauty. I challenge anyone to go there and leave empty handed. The buyers have done an amazing job in curating a stunning space, filled with items to suit every price bracket. Go there at Christmas and it’s transformed into a Winter Wonderland.

Export

Aspall Cider – and more specifically, Aspall Mulled Cyder. Christmas in a cup!