Whether it’s hitting the beach, reconnecting with nature or soaking up culture and scenery, the Suffolk Coast has plenty to offer. It has its famous hotspots – Southwold, Aldeburgh and so on – and they’re all well worth a visit, but if you want to avoid the crowds there are many other attractions and perhaps less well-known gems, along this short but beautiful stretch of coastline.
We asked the The Team at Suffolk Hideaways to give away a few of their Suffolk secrets…
At one time Dunwich proudly held the title of capital of the East Angles, even rivalling London in size during the 14th Century. The tiny village is the place to go for anyone searching for peace and tranquillity, wildlife and walking. After a day trekking through its scenic beauty stop off at The Ship for delicious fish and chips and a few pints of glorious real ale.
Boasting a long history, Kessingland is a large village just south of Lowestoft. The beautiful beach is much less commercial than others you may find; its quiet atmosphere and serene setting also means there’s an abundance of wildlife.
Suffolk’s most easterly town, a favourite day destination for families from all over the country, and the first place you’ll see the sunrise in the UK. Visit the pretty marina, catch some rays on the beautiful Blue-Flag beach or meander your way along the Victorian promenade to Pakefield, a delightful nearby village where you’ll find clifftop restaurants, charming cafés and wonderful sea views.
Walberswick sits at the mouth of the River Blyth, just a mile from Southwold but much, much quieter. Untamed and wild, Walberswick’s beach has a special charm: a jumbled mix of sand and shingle flanked by grassy sand dunes and almost completely surrounded by marsh and heathland.
Half holiday village, half architectural fantasy, Thorpeness boasts a golf course, a chic art deco hotel and restaurant and other attractions, the whole place centred around the Meare – an artificially created boating lake covering three acres. Tiny islands on the Meare contain locations found in J M Barrie’s Peter Pan, such as the Pirates’ Lair, Wendy’s Home and many others – which children are encouraged to play on.
Suffolk is a low-lying county, crisscrossed by waterways – and as you might expect, by the time the county’s rivers approach the open sea, the estuaries are often unbridgeably wide. But a number of ‘foot ferry’ services were established in ancient times to help people and goods to get about the place – and four remain in service to this day.
The Harwich Foot & Cycle Ferry crosses the Stour and Orwell Estuaries daily between April and October, calling at Shotley and Felixstowe.
Running between Felixstowe and Bawdsey Quay, at the mouth of the River Deben, the Bawdsey Ferry operates daily from early May through to the end of September, and weekends only until end-October. Wave the bat at the end of the jetty to call the ferryman!
The most venerable of the lot, the Butley Ferry started in the 16th Century, making it one of the oldest ferry services. Steeped in history and atmosphere, the ferry – staffed entirely by oar-wielding volunteers who still wear broad-brimmed farm worker’s hats, just as their forebears did – transports cyclists and walkers over Butley Creek, from Easter Saturday until the last Sunday in October.
For a small charge a traditional rowing boat – based on the Suffolk punt design – can ferry adults, children, dogs, bicycles, buggies and pushchairs across the river Blyth to and from the Walberswick and Southwold banks. The ferry operates on various dates within the popular high summer holiday weeks, as well as during the school holidays of Easter and half-terms.
Suffolk Coast Path
Perhaps the best way to experience all or part of what the Suffolk Coast has to offer is on two feet. Stretching from Lowestoft to Felixstowe, the Suffolk Coast Path passes through the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which includes wildlife-rich wetlands, ancient heaths, shingle beaches and historic towns and villages. You can walk through Bawdsey, Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, North Warren, Thorpeness, Minsmere, Dunwich Forest, Southwold and Kessingland. Highlights on the route include the section around Leiston where you will pass the delightful Minsmere Nature Reserve: one of the UK’s premier birdwatching sites.
Fancy a romantic break for two or family holiday in Suffolk? Suffolk Hideaways have a ever-growing selection of cottages throughout this glorious county. Find your perfect home away from home at www.suffolkhideaways.co.uk