My Suffolk - Elizabeth Kemball

Elizabeth Kemball is the Managing Director of Debach Enterprises Ltd and also has interests in other companies in family group Bentwaters Parks Ltd. She’s a senior steward of hospitality, executive board and council member for Suffolk Agricultural Association, enjoys riding, antiques & design and skiing.  This is her Suffolk

What do you love about Suffolk?

I was born and bred here in Suffolk, so it has always been my home – and what is there not to love about home!  If I have to choose one thing it will be the people, old and new, every time.   

Have you got a favourite place in Suffolk to escape to when you need to think?

If I need to have solo thinking time, then it has to be Shingle Street beach, which is very desolate and not often visited by tourists.  The beach is opposite the end of Orford Ness and the shingle banks seem to have always shifted since my last visit.  It always reminds me that life continually changes and we must be willing to move with the tides.  

Where do you walk?

We always walk on the farm at home with the dogs and the children (often on their ponies). Our farm is on the Heritage Coast at Wantisden, so we have endless sandy tracks  to roam around on, as well as all the woodland and local forests, but if my husband and I get a chance to walk alone we always gravitate to a river bank footpath, whether it be at Orford, Boyton or Butley. The last light of the day in these places, whatever time of year, is always magical, if not a bit chilly!  

If you were showing people around Suffolk who had never been before, where would you take them?

I would make it a full day sweeping from west to east.  It would be a very early start on the Newmarket gallops, watching some of the best racehorses in the world stretch their legs and the groups of jockeys and horses meandering through the town before anyone else is about.  We would then wind our way back through the beautiful villages of mid-Suffolk, such as Kersey, aiming for lunch at the Great House Hotel & Restaurant in nearby Lavenham. Then head east and up along our iconic coastal towns and villages, for long walks on the beaches, finally choosing one of the main pubs here to end our day.

If you had to illustrate the county with a single photo, what shot would you take?

I would take a picture of the Grand Parade at the Suffolk Show, with all the best in breed heavy horses, cattle and sheep being proudly exhibited to thousands of people enjoying  their county show.  I truly believe we are blessed in having one of the country’s top agricultural shows and love seeing all that is best on display here.  It is a spectacular sight, which always makes me very proud.  

Where do you like to eat out?

It always feels like a real treat to go out to breakfast, so we often go to the Farmer’s Cafe at Marlesford.  All their ingredients are local and the best.  If it’s a working lunch near to my offices in Ipswich, I would head for the Salthouse Hotel on the quay.  The quayside at Ipswich has been transformed in recent years and always feels like a little oasis in the rush of the town.  Dinner out tends to be at pubs for us more than formal restaurants and its a bit of a triple crown affair, as we love the Crowns at Woodbridge, Ufford and Snape! And for great food or just popping in for a drink with friends you can’t beat the King’s Head in Orford or The Anchor in Woodbridge, if you walked in to either place on your own, you would have made new friends by the end of the night and enjoyed some great hospitality.  

Adnams or Greene King?

I’m not a beer drinker but a wine lover, and both of our local breweries sell some great wines from around the world, so would be unfair of me to choose between them.  If my arm was twisted, I would have to say that the wine tastings hosted by Rob Chase in Southwold on an afternoon when you don’t need to worry about getting home are hard to beat.  I always learn something new.

Does Suffolk still have surprises in store and when were you last surprised?

Its surprises are mostly wrapped up in meeting new people in the county, whether local or recently moved in.  I have recently ventured back onto a horse after not riding for over 20 years and I have loved meeting so many new friendly people through this.  I keep one of my horses at Tunstall Forest Livery, and am constantly surprised by the diverse people who I share my time with there, who I might never have met otherwise.   

Why is Suffolk a great place to bring up children?

It is a melting pot of activities which keep them outside - being children - not trying to turn them into adults too soon!  Whether you love sailing, pony clubs, fishing, all sports or just crabbing at Walberswick, there is always something to keep kids of all ages busy, as well as keeping the mum’s and dad’s fully occupied with them!  We have all this, plus a safe county with great schools – what is there not to love?  

Do you support the arts?

I do love the Aldeburgh Music Festival - and I’m not sure if this counts - but I love hunting down and buying art and antiques from our great local auction houses.  I have loved antiques and learning about them since my year out when I was 18, and am a regular at Abbotts in Campsea-Ashe and Neal’s in Woodbridge for their Fine Arts Sales.  You never stop learning something new, as even items from the 70s are now collectible.  

Are there any charities you support?

I have been part of the Suffolk Agricultural Association since a child, with my grandfather and father also being strong supporters.  I believe their mission to teach children and the wider community about where their food comes from is becoming more and more important, particularly in light of recent food scares in the press.  We are what we eat after all, and agriculture is still a huge part of Suffolk life.  I also support the Suffolk Foundation as they seem to be able to pull together so many local charities so no sector, in the community we all share, is forgotten.