SEE INSIDE - Railway carriages and fairground wagons transformed into unique holiday lets at Coppins Farm
- Credit: Archant
Railway fans can find their own holiday heaven at Coppins Farm in Suffolk.
John McGlashan and partner Sharron Nichols have created unique holiday lets out of railway carriages and fairground wagons at the unusual site, in the village of Alphamstone, near Bures.
The couple decided to set up the holiday lets in 2005 after what Sharron described as a "Eureka moment in the bath!"
The accommodation includes a genuine Victorian Eastern region first class carriage, which sleeps four. The carriage is also under a giant pitched roof for outside seating and dining.
There are also two fairground wagons, one maroon and one green, where holidaymakers can get a taste of the way fairground families lived in years gone by.
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For the showman's wagons. Sharron said: "John put a wanted ad in a vintage plant magazine and had two replies. He bid on both to be on the safe side and much to his surprise got them both."
The railway carriage came from a private steam collector and was a shell. It took a couple of years by a patient and skilled local artisan to convert it.
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Rail enthusiasts come from far and wide to stay and young train fans are often treated to a holiday by their parents. Nature lovers are also attracted to the site.
Looking to the future, the couple are adapting another carriage, which will sleep six.
Sharron added: "We have amazing feedback from visitors who are so refreshed by the peace and simple beauty of the farm and its wild flower meadows. 'It's so quiet' is the usual refrain. The most memorable was 'It's bigger than my flat!'.
The newest addition is Coppins Den, a library-cum-museum housed in a railway carriage, with wi-fi and activities for children and adults.
The Den sprang from an off-the-cuff comment by John while standing inside an ancient railway carriage that stood in the visitors' car park. "I always thought this would make a good farm and natural history museum," he said.
Sharron took up the challenge and started work on the Den at Easter last year, aiming to feed curiosity about nature. A neighbour contributed microscopes and another donated a fox tail and from there the collection has kept growing.
There are three bookcases crammed with books on birds, butterflies, local walks and just about every natural history subject. Visitors are encouraged to add to the display with their own finds, and there are seven jars of metal detecting finds from across the farm, where there was once a Roman Villa.
"There's just something magical about Coppins which would be impossible to describe. It means many things to many people and our return visitors just can't get enough," Sharron said.