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Stoke by Nayland Stay & Play Review

By: Robert Treanor | Wed 23 Sep 2020

Review by Golfshake Ambassador Rob Treanor

Stoke by Nayland is a family owned resort which features two championship golf courses at the heart of an impressive offering. Facilities at the hotel extend to a well-appointed spa and a range of award-winning restaurants which make it an ideal destination for a break.

The venue has attained Highly Recommended status on Golfshake with a huge 94% of visitors approving a return visit. The club has played host to several top-level events, including the PGA EuroPro Tour, Ladies European Tour Access Series and the European Senior Tour.


Two equally regarded Championship courses offer a varied, mature, and tremendously enjoyable golfing experience. The courses are complemented by a large driving range with twenty covered bays, professional swing suite and putting greens. There are also exciting plans to add a third championship course in the next few years.

We played the Gainsborough Course during our visit and found it a hugely entertaining and rewarding layout. There is great variety in the holes, perhaps the most notable features are a selection of stunning approach shots into greens. The par three 3rd is played downhill to what looks like a tiny green with bunkers left, right and short. The drop off to the rear of the green does nothing to settle the nerves, the only option is to find the playing surface!

The 10th is perhaps the signature hole on the Gainsborough with an epic approach to the green needing to carry a large lake. A decent drive offers the opportunity to take on the second shot over the water to an inviting green which slopes from back to front. A pretty, memorable but potentially hazardous hole, it is sure to feature in the post round analysis in the Sports Bar. 

The 18th provides an equally dramatic vista with the opportunity for drama continuing until the very end of the round. This par three is played over another lake to a green framed by the clubhouse and hotel beyond. A tight iron shot to find the heart of the green will make the finish less nervy in what is a fun finishing hole to a very enjoyable course.


The hotel is well equipped with a spectrum of options to cater for all budgets and group sizes. The 80 spacious rooms enclosed in the main body of the hotel are smart and well appointed with many featuring views over the golf courses and surrounding countryside.

At the top end of the spectrum for larger groups are a series of luxury lodges which accommodate up to ten guests. These self-catering units are nestled in the surrounding countryside giving a wonderful feeling of seclusion and relaxation whilst benefitting from access to the hotel’s facilities. For pure escapism, these offer a superb option.

Food & Drink

The Sports Bar is the obvious choice for post round refreshment. Recently renovated and fitted with two huge screens, it is the perfect venue to watch live sport and dissect the day’s golf. For a little more peace and tranquility the large adjacent outdoor terrace has commanding views over the golf courses and the lake below.

The hotel has a further lounge bar which is sophisticated and intimate, making it ideal for pre-dinner drinks. This area is being refurbished so will shortly look even sharper. A choice of dining options in the Gallery Grill, the refined two AA star Lakes Restaurant, or the informal Sports Bar.

During our visit, the hotel was operating in line with social distancing guidelines. We had a delicious three course dinner served in the expansive banqueting facility which was supported by allocated seating, paper menus and a real feeling of space between tables which felt very safe. The Sports Bar was also open all day for light bites, pub food and drinks. The various terraces with their glorious views of the lake, courses, and area of outstanding natural beauty beyond were also open for use.


The well-appointed spa facilities include a large indoor pool and jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, rain shower and a full suite of treatments from the team of therapists. Stoke by Nayland considers itself a specialist in spa breaks which may suit non golfing members of the group or to unwind pre or post round.

Social distancing rules meant that not all facilities could be operational during our visit. The pool was sectioned off into lanes with one person per area with plenty of space. The jacuzzi was also open as were the relaxation areas which had good distancing between them.

Other Activities

With the impressive range of amenities at the resort, most guests won’t need to look afar for entertainment. However, the local area offers an embarrassment of riches in lovely walks to explore. Pretty nearby villages such as Lavenham and Sudbury offer historic marketplaces and ancient avenues to discover. The nearby town of Colchester has a fantastic Norman Castle and an impressive zoo which is resident to more than 260 different species of animals.


Stoke by Nayland has a very strong set of facilities for both golfers and those looking to relax in the Suffolk countryside. With two excellent golf courses, smart hotel facilities and great dining options, the venue has all the components required for a superb golf break.  

For more information, visit https://www.stokebynayland.com/ or Golfbreaks.

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