A 48 hour guide to the Suffolk towns of Beccles and Bungay
By Kate Chaundy
If you are planning a weekend away, why not try the neighbouring old market Suffolk towns of Beccles and Bungay, a few miles south of Norwich? Approximately six miles apart, both lie in the Waveney valley and there’s plenty to see and do.
Things to do in Beccles and Bungay
The markets are a good place to start. Both have existed for hundreds of years and are bustling days for local traders selling local produce, cheeses and gifts and always in good spirit. Bungay’s market is on a Thursday and Beccles’ on a Friday.
In Bungay’s town centre stands St Mary’s church whose tower can be seen for miles around. This beautiful town is steeped in history and a must-do is to visit the ruins of Bigod’s castle, named after a powerful Normal family who assisted King William with his Conquest in 1066.
Beccles’ pretty centre boasts an unusual octagonal town hall, and for the brave hearted, the nearby Roos Hall is said to be the most haunted house in England.
Boats for hire on the Suffolk Broads
You can’t visit either town without making the most of the glorious Suffolk Broads, part of the Broads National Park, a conservation area. Although the summer season is its busiest, don’t let the colder months put you off. Based in Beccles, local company Hippersons have a fleet of boats and advise you on routes along the broads linked by rivers and waterways. Similarly, the Big Dog Ferry offers a 40-minute boat journey along the River Waveney with plenty of wildlife on view. Alternatively, if you’d rather stick to land, the area offers a variety of walks, in particular the Beccles Marsh Trail, a popular series of walks and cycle routes.
The Swan House in Beccles is situated in the heart of the town and offers luxury bed and breakfast. It’s a great place to plan your exploration of the Suffolk coast whether in front of the open fire or while al-fresco dining in the summer.
If you can get a booking, a popular recommendation from readers is the two bedroomed Plantation Farmhouse B&B, just three miles from Bungay offering a real country feel. Surrounded by fields and woodland, its gardens are a haven for wildlife with birdsong being one of the few sounds you can hear. The Tudor house with large Victorian additions has been completely refurbished and has been named as one of the 12 smartest B&B’s in the UK by Tatler Magazine.
Last year, The Suffolk Stonehouse, with its Georgian cellar, was voted Best Independent Pizza Restaurant. Or why not give the 16th Century Castle Inn on Earsham Street a try? This gastro pub was recommended in the Michelin Guide and specialises in locally-produced produce.
Or head to St Peter’s Brewery just outside the town for a brewery tour and to taste the various drinks brewed on-site – including a Gluten-Free ale!
Restaurants in Beccles
The Bailey’s Deli on Hungate is a firm favourite with both locals and visitors and has a restaurant upstairs specialising in Spanish food. Or try the new bar Graze at the White Horse – perfect if you are a meat fan and there is a real emphasis on using local produce.
For more information and a diary of events, head to www.visitsuffolk.com
Tourist Information Tel: 01502 713196
Follow Kate Chaundy @chaunds