SFH on tour – Red House Christmas Barn
October 26, 2023

red house christmas barn

SFH on your takes a festive turn as we head to Red House Barn in Saxmundham, home to an expansive Christmas Tree Farm, as well as the most festive of Christmas barns!

The farm is located around 25 miles from the Food Hall and on arrival you could see just how big this farm is, although the farm is home to thousands of Christmas Trees, it is also a traditional farm growing crops year-round. We were here for all things Christmas though.

We were met by Ian, owner of the farm and his son David, who were our tour guides for this very festive tour, albeit, in September. 

I want to say a massive thank you to them both for taking the time out of their day to take me and Emma around, they were gracious hosts (and very funny too). 

Our first stop was near the entrance to the farm, this is where the youngest of the trees were, standing at an almighty 15cm or so tall. There were a couple of fields full of these baby trees, which had been purchased and delivered to the farm at a similar size. 

Interestingly, new technology is in play when it comes to planting trees, previously planting required string, a good eye and measuring tools, fast forward to today and David was explaining how the farm is now using satellite precision. The technology instructs them on the pinpoint position of planting. We all agreed that technology was scary, but very beneficial, if not expensive! The pictures don’t quite do it justice, but they were perfectly straight and the same distance away from each other.

These baby trees have a lot of growing to do, and with that comes a lot of maintenance. It’s one thing you don’t think about when buying a tree, or when visiting, the maintenance. The upkeep of these trees is vast, more so than you expect. The team have to fight off weeds, animals and irregular growth too, and this is a year-round job. Maintenance of the trees includes essentially pruning the lower branches but also making sure they hold their famous shape, there’s also the removal of weeds or anything that can affect the growth of the tree.

The tour continued, but not in size order, we now headed to the biggest of the trees, and there’s a picture of me next to one for comparison. These trees have been growing for years (and I’m talking 20 or more years), as the trees grow around 20cm a year! These huge 25ft plus trees are not what we were going to be stocking, but, they are very popular, as you can imagine, heading to places with plenty of space. David explained to us the issue the bigger trees had with birds, and this is why there were protective tops, which almost looked like decorations, to keep the birds away and thus not ruin the top of the tree.

Also in the forest of the big trees (what I’ve named it) were pumpkins growing! all shapes, sizes, colours and another very cool string to their bow. 

This is where the tour featured the trees we will be receiving at the Food Hall, the Nordmanns in 5ft and 6ft sizes, all of which had their ribbons on (size guides). We walked through the vast fields of trees on this part of the tour and it was truly eye-opening to see the size of the operation they have. Ian and David talked us through the maintenance of the trees and my back was hurting just thinking about it, but without the proper maintenance the trees can quickly deteriorate. Ian then showed us the pots that all of these trees are in, black pots ready to go, he explained that previously the use of red pots (Christmas traditional colour) had meant a huge mess in transitioning them from the black ones they were in, where as keeping them in the black pots but offering a colour bag around them made for a cleaner and smoother experience. 

The trees are all beautiful and you can see the care they take over them, and talking of beautiful trees, Ian and his trees won a huge award in the Christmas Tree Community in 2010…. ‘Best Homegrown Tree in the Country’ where the winner was selected to supply the Prime Minister’s tree at 10 Downing Street.

The family replace the trees they cut down each year, and with laser precision, or should I say satelite.

We finished this part of the tour once I had stopped running around taking photos of our potential trees. Ian was then kind enough to show us on a drive, some of the land they grow standard crops on, to get an idea of the farm as a whole. This leads back to the infamous Christmas Barn.

Honestly, WOW, it’s like someone had thrown a Christmas bauble that had exploded everywhere, it was certainly CHRISTMAS. A fantastic selection of Christmas decorations, from small tree decorations to almost life-size nutcrackers. I highly recommend going to see them for decorations or to get your Christmas fix, there’s definitely something for everyone.

That concluded our tour, and we also found out that you can have your wedding there too, a beautiful location for sure.

Anyway, another big thank you to Ian and David for showing us around.

We are expecting our selection of trees from mid-November, so come and see us and pick your perfect tree.