Exploring the history of Retreat East

By Steph


31st August 2023

The History of Retreat East

Retreat East is more than just a stunning venue – it is steeped in history. 

Nestled in the picturesque village of Hemingstone, Suffolk, Retreat East finds its roots in a storied past. The original farmhouse and grounds date back to the 16th century when it was initially established as a working dairy farm. 

The farm's original name, "Brick Kiln," indicates its association with brickmaking, a prevalent trade in the area during that era. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Suffolk experienced a boom in the brickmaking industry due to the abundance of high-quality clay in the region. Brick Kiln Farm played a crucial role in this industry, serving as a hub for brick production. The farm's proximity to clay pits made it an ideal location for brickmaking operations. As time progressed, the demand for handmade bricks decreased, and the brickmaking activities at Brick Kiln Farm eventually ceased. The farm transitioned back to its agricultural roots, focusing on farming practices such as crop cultivation and livestock rearing.

The next chapter of Retreat East

Twenty years ago, our founder Dominic bought the 35-acre property that had become run down and redundant but he could see the charm of the place and wanted to restore it to its former glory.  

The vision was the easy part he soon discovered. Many years followed of planning applications and appeals, surviving the credit crunch and painstaking reconstruction. 

Since then, Retreat East underwent a remarkable transformation. We set out to create an exquisite destination where modern luxury intertwines seamlessly with the charm of its historic and rural setting. We carefully restored the original buildings, preserving their distinctive character while infusing them with contemporary elegance. 

The serene landscape surrounding Retreat East, dotted with ancient trees and rolling meadows, invites guests to immerse themselves in the natural beauty around them. 

If you want an escape to the country and want to know more about our available accommodation or you are looking for an exciting and unique venue for your upcoming event or wedding, or want to soak up the history of the site on a relaxing spa day, contact us today.