Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about the café, the shop, Crafts and other questions:

Café

Is the café open every day of the year?
No. Each event has its own arrangements for refreshments. ‘Christmas at Blackthorpe Barn’ offers a café every day during the season. The café is also open at weekends at various other times of the year. See the Café page for more information and specific opening times.

What time does the café open?
The Barn Café opens from 10am 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.

For more information see the Blackthorpe Barn Café page.


Country Christmas Shop

Is the Country Christmas Shop open each day?
The Christmas shop is open each day during the season that ‘Christmas at Blackthorpe Barn’ is open, from 10am to 5pm. In 2021, the shop is opening on 25 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 creates 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 2021 we are selling Rougham Estate Christmas trees from 19 November to 22 December from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.

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 loose their needles as they dry out.

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.


Crafts at Blackthorpe Barn

On which days are the craft-makers at the barn?
The Crafts are available on 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 weekdays?
Because the stalls at weekends are run by the makers themselves. 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 it 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 Crafts. This helps to spread the cost for the upkeep of the medieval barn, which is considerable, across everyone who enjoys it.
The charge is £3 per adult (over 16) on the door, £2.50 for a pre-booked ticket online and £12 for a season ticket online only, giving you admission to all twelve days of Crafts. Children under 16 get free entry.
We ask everyone who visits 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 timed arrival tickets.

How do I apply for a craft stall?
Crafts 2021 is now fully booked. We consider applicants for the next year 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 Crafts page.


Rougham Sunflowers and Pumpkins

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.
Find out more about the Rougham Estate.


General FAQs

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.

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 café and crafts areas.

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.

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.

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.

What postcode do I use to find the barn on SatNav?
IP30 9HZ. More information on finding us easily can be found on our Directions page.

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.

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.

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

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