FAQs | Blackthorpe Barn

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
Jump to specific questions about:

Note: The Sunflowers are now closed. The pumpkins will be opening on 30th September and Blackthorpe Barn and the Café are opening on 18th October.

General FAQs

Is Blackthorpe Barn open every day?
The Barn buildings and Café are only open at certain times in the year; they are not open every day. Please check the Opening Times page, What’s On page and other information pages on this website to see when they are open and when events are running.

Are all events held at Blackthorpe Barn?
Not all events run by Rougham Estate are held at Blackthorpe Barn. For example, the Rougham Sunflowers and Pumpkins are held in a field nearby. Please check the relevant pages for more information: Directions, Opening Times, What’s On, Sunflowers, Pumpkins

How do I get to Blackthorpe Barn; what postcode do I use on SatNav?
To get to the Barn, use this postcode: IP30 9HZ.
Not all events on Rougham Estate happen at Blackthorpe Barn. Please check the specific details for the event you wish to attend.
More information on finding us easily can be found on our Directions page.

How do I know where to go when I arrive at Blackthorpe Barn?
A detailed map of the Blackthorpe Barn buildings and parking can be found on the ground plan page.

Are dogs allowed at Blackthorpe Barn?
Assistance dogs only are allowed in all areas. Small dogs that can be carried are allowed in the shop and dogs are welcome in the courtyard.
Only assistance dogs are allowed in the Crafts areas.
Dogs on leads are allowed in the café on weekdays, but not at the weekend.

Are there any dog walks around the area?
Yes, we offer three dog walks all starting at the barn. We have directions available online for you to download; please see our Walks page.

Is there wheelchair access?
Yes, all parts of the barn are accessible to wheelchairs except some parts of the Christmas tree display area which have a gravel surface.

Do you have toilets?
Yes, we have full toilet facilities including an accessible toilet and two baby changing units.

Do you have baby changing facilities?
Yes, we do. We have one in the accessible toilet and another in one of our ladies’ toilets.

Does the barn have heating?
Yes but it varies in different parts of the complex of buildings. The toilets have underfloor heating, the shop, café and the long barn have gas heating and the thatched barn has radiant electric heaters.

Are you open all year?
No, only for individual events which you can see on our website.

Do you do weddings?
Weddings happen at the barn each year from 1 June until 31 August. Visit the Weddings at Blackthorpe Barn website for more information.

How long does it take to get to the barn from London?
The journey time will vary of course depending on which part of London you are setting off from and the traffic conditions on the day. However, if you are starting from the beginning of the M11, the journey to us on a clear run is about 1 hour 20 minutes.

Is there any public transport to Blackthorpe Barn?
Yes, the only bus service serving Blackthorpe Barn is the 377 Bury St Edmunds – Bradfield St George service, operated by Mulleys Motorways on Mondays – Saturdays. The name of the stop is Blackthorpe, White House. Visit Suffolk On Board for times of services.
For rail use Thurston Station which is on the Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich line. There is a walk of 40 minutes to reach the barn by this method.

How old is the Barn?
The barn is thought to have been built in about 1550 based on the timber joints, however, there is no documentary evidence to corroborate this.

What was the barn used for originally?
It was built as a threshing barn where the grain was beaten from the ears with flails.

How long have you been putting on events at Blackthorpe Barn?
Since 1991.

What is the difference between Rougham Estate and Blackthorpe Barn?
The Rougham Estate is a large estate of land comprising over 3,000 acres of Suffolk countryside, including the land where Blackthorpe Barn is situated. Rougham Estate is co-owned by George Agnew and Rougham Estate Trust, whose work includes land management, wildlife conservation, agriculture and forestry work as well as looking after Rougham Hall and the airfield. Blackthorpe Barn is the indoor events centre on the Rougham Estate. Find out more about the Rougham Estate.

Roots Café

The café is currently being refurbished and will open as the new Roots Café on 18th October.

What time does the café open?
The Barn Café opens from 9.30am to 4pm every day during the Christmas season.

Do you have gluten free food available?
The café caters for vegans and food intolerances, and the menu varies each day. Please ask the staff who are happy to help with what is available on a particular day.

Are dogs allowed in the café area?
Assistance dogs are always allowed in the café. On weekdays, dogs on leads are allowed in the café area, but not at the weekends at Christmas time, when it is too busy.

For more information see the Roots Café page.

Country Christmas Shop

Is the Country Christmas Shop open each day?
The Christmas Shop is open each day during the ‘Christmas at Blackthorpe Barn’ season, from 9.30am to 5pm. In 2022, the shop is opening on 24 October until 22 December.

Do you sell Christmas lights?
Yes, we have a wide range of lights available from our special lighting shop.

Do you sell candles?
Yes, we sell many sorts of candles including scented candles, advent candles, church candles, dinner candles, beeswax candles, Christmas tree candles and many more.

What is your Make section?
Our Make section is the area where you can buy all sorts of things to help you make your own decorations.

What is your Bake section?
This is where we sell Christmassy food and other food- and drink-based items like tea towels, cookie cutters, bottle openers, nutcrackers etc.

Do you sell ribbons?
Yes, we sell a vast range of ribbons each year and this year we have expanded this further by selecting a range of all sorts of special luxury ribbons that can be used in many ways at Christmas to decorate the home, create decorations personalise gifts or clothing.

Do you sell gifts for men?
There are also some special items here for the man in your life. We offer puzzles, woolly hats, multi-tools and Landrover decorations, for example.

Any gifts for furry friends?
Yes, we have a whole section of the shop devoted to dogs and cats. We have bow-ties and bandanas and Christmas decorations.

Do you stock fair trade items?
Yes, throughout the shop you can find fair trade items, such as glass baubles, woolly hats and scarves. We believe very strongly in supporting small communities in the third world that create items suitable for our shop.

For more information see the Blackthorpe Barn Country Christmas Shop page.

Christmas Trees

When do you start selling Christmas trees?
In 2022 we are selling Rougham Estate Christmas trees from 25 November to 22 December, daily from 9.30am to 5pm.

Which Christmas trees keep their needles best?
Fir trees keep their needles best. Look out for Nordmann Fir and Fraser Fir. We sell both of these firs. Norway Spruce trees are very good when fresh but will lose their needles as they dry out.

What is Pick-Your-Own tree?
Pick-Your-Own Christmas tree is the opportunity to visit the plantation where some of the trees are grown and to choose your Nordmann Fir before it is cut. We will get the tree cut and ready for you, for the date you choose to pick it up. More information about Pick-Your-Own tree here.

Do you sell trees with roots?
Yes, we sell pot-grown trees which, as the name suggests, have been grown all their lives in a pot so they retain all their roots. The maximum height that you might be able to achieve is about 4ft. These trees would like to be planted out in the garden or some other space after Christmas as they cannot exist in the pot indefinitely. Please remember however that these are potentially forest trees and will eventually reach a considerable height perhaps 60ft or 20m, so position them in the garden with care.

For more information, see the Christmas Trees page.

Arts and Crafts at Blackthorpe Barn

What is the difference between the Arts and Crafts Fair and the Christmas Shop?
The Country Christmas Shop opens late October and is open daily until the end of December. It sells a wide range of Christmas decorations in all styles and also small gifts and stocking-fillers. The Christmas Shop is separate from the Arts and Crafts event.
The Arts and Crafts event is only open for 6 weekends during November and December. Makers from around the country come to have a stall in the old Barn and they sell directly to visitors to the fair.

On which days are the craft-makers at the barn?
The Arts and Crafts are available on specific Saturdays and Sundays only, between 10am and 5pm. The dates of the six weekends fall in November and December. Please see the Crafts pages for more details.

Why are there no crafts during the week?
The arts and craft stalls are run by the makers themselves at the weekends. When they are at a show like Blackthorpe Barn, they cannot make anything. The weekdays are usually the times when they make what they sell at weekends. This is a key difference between a trader who sells things that she or he has bought in and a maker who physically has to make the items themselves.

Are the same craft stalls at the Barn each weekend?
No, the stalls change considerably from week to week. The exact details of who is with us on which weekend are on the craft pages of this website.

Do you have to pay to get into the Crafts?
Yes, there is a small charge to enter Arts and Crafts. This helps to spread the cost for the upkeep of the medieval barn, which is considerable, across everyone who enjoys it.
The 2022 charges are:
Single Visit: £3 per adult on the door, £2.50 for a pre-booked ticket online
Season Ticket: £15 per adult on the door, £13 pre-bought online – this gives you admission to all twelve days of Crafts.
Children under 16 get free entry.
We ask everyone who visits Arts and Crafts to make a small contribution towards the maintenance of the historic barn to avoid burdening the craft-makers with too much cost, allowing them to make more income from their hard work. Buy your season ticket now, or your single-visit tickets.

How do I apply for a craft stall?
We consider applicants for the coming Christmas season in the springtime. Keep your eye on the application form page and fill it in to express your interest when the next year’s form is released (usually around February). You must send images to be considered. If no images are submitted, your application sadly cannot be considered. The selection committee will let you know if you have been successful.

For more information see the Arts and Crafts page.

Rougham Sunflowers and Pumpkins

When are the sunflowers and pumpkins open?
2021 was the first year that Rougham Estate opened the sunflower/pumpkin field. We are grateful that it was a great success and opened a new field in 2022. It is now in its third year, click here for more information about the Sunflowers 2023
Follow our social media channels (facebook/instagram/twitter) to keep in touch.

Are the sunflowers/pumpkins at the Blackthorpe Barn?
The sunflowers and pumpkins are grown on a field belonging to Rougham Estate, that also owns Blackthorpe Barn. They are not exactly at the Barn location, but in a nearby field.
When the sunflowers/pumpkins are open, the exact location will be shown on the Directions page.

Are the sunflowers and pumpkins run by Blackthorpe Barn?
The Rougham Estate consists of over 3,000 acres of Suffolk countryside and runs the Sunflowers and Pumpkins events in the summer and autumn as well as growing Christmas trees. Blackthorpe Barn is the indoor events location on the Rougham Estate.

More information about the Rougham Estate Sunflowers and Pumpkins

Find out more about the Rougham Estate

Rougham Hall and Walks around Rougham Estate

Is Rougham Hall open to visitors?
Rougham Hall is in Rougham Hall Park, on the Rougham Estate. It was bombed in 1940 and is a ruin.
Please be aware that the ruin of Rougham Hall is NEVER open to the public, except as part of guided tours. Anyone found trespassing at the hall site will have their details taken and be required to leave immediately.
Guided Tours, the only way to visit the ruins, are held at certain times in the year; see the Rougham Hall page for the latest dates and information.

Are there other Walks around Rougham Estate?
There are 3 other dog walks around the Rougham Estate that you can do, when Blackthorpe Barn is open; details on the Dog Walks page.

Wooden Tree Trunk Sculpture in the Meadow Play Area

What is the wooden tree carving in the field near the Barn?
In celebration of 30 years of Crafts at Blackthorpe Barn in 2021, a 400 year old oak from the Rougham Estate (which was dangerous and needed to be felled) was repurposed and carved into a sculpture called Forest Floor.

Find out more about the Wooden Forest Floor Sculpture

When is the Meadow Play Area open?
The Meadow play area is open when either the Café or the Christmas shop is open and is free to use.

Find out more about the Meadow play area