My Suffolk - Geraldine Milsom

Geraldine Milsom is the mastermind behind the inspired interiors at Milsom Hotels & Restaurants and the subject of this month’s ‘My Suffolk’

Have you always lived in Suffolk?

No I haven’t, I was born in London and at a year old we moved out to Boreham, a small village north of Chelmsford and I went to New Hall School and then drifted happily up the A12, with my parents, first to Kelvedon, then Coggeshall and finally Dedham.

 What makes the county special?

 Suffolk is a great county, beautiful countryside, quirky villages, lovely walks. We of course live (just)  in Essex but always say we live in Suffolk.

Do you enjoy walking/exercise?

Walking and exercise, well yes and no. I suppose yes, I love to walk with friends – so I can chat – and no to exercise which I only do out of necessity, so I make sure I do it with likeminded chatterers.  It’s much more fun that way!

When you walk which are your favourite routes? 

It’s hard to have favourite route, when walking in and around Dedham there are so many and of course lots more in the surrounding villages. 

Apart from your own restaurants do you like to eat out?

We love eating out and do try to get out as much as we can, but with two boys still at school it’s not that easy. When we do, we head for a new hotel or restaurant in London. 

Where do you like to shop? and are there any local independent stores that you'd recommend? 

Well, I shop for a living, buying and decorating the hotels and restaurants and it’s fair to say ‘I love my job’. Many places have hidden treasures, personally I love Woodbridge with all its independent retailers and then there’s Partridges in Hadleigh, I think it’s fair to say who doesn’t?

 Is there one picture that perfectly illustrates Suffolk?  

Yes – well a series really. Richard Hayward a local photographer has taken some incredible pictures ‘Tales from the Riverbank’ which are a series of photographs taken along the River Stour – and they are the most amazing pictures of the Suffolk countryside that I have seen.

Have you any hobbies?

 Well it used to be art exhibitions and galleries but I suppose my hobbies have been swept along with the boys and I now enjoy surfing – the problem is I cant keep up with the three of them , but I still have fun trying.

 Adnams, Aspall or Greene King? 

Aspall’s – without a doubt – in fact Aspall Peronelle Blush – it’s delicious.

Do you support a particular charity? 

Through the Essex Foundation we have our own Milsom Hotels charity fund (the Gerald Milsom Fund) and we try to support small local organisations needing funding. This year we supported an organisation in Harwich with help towards the equipment costs of an ‘edible’ gardening project.

 Do you have an interest in the Arts?  

Suffice to say I am interested in almost anything connected to the Arts – I love seeing new and interesting work, recently I saw some really interesting work by Alison Stockmarr, it’s a creative take on Facebook, her work is made out of reclaimed and overlooked objects and it’s so clever.

 If you had to take newcomers on a tour of Suffolk where would you go? 

For newcomers to Suffolk I would lunch at Le Talbooth on a lovely summers’ day then I’d take a rowing boat along the Stour, pop into the Munnings Museum, take a drive to Woodbridge and then have supper at Kesgrave Hall.

 Why is Suffolk a great place to bring up children? 

Suffolk has something to offer families, it has lots of great schools, lots of open spaces, great sports facilities and fabulous beaches – everything is so easy to get to.