Written by Jessica Hutchinson | Instagram @jessicahutchy
Summer is well and truly here and it’s the perfect time to spend a day out by the water, whether that be at a lido or lake, punting or a picnic. So here are our top picks for an idyllic day by the water’s edge:
Jesus Green Lido, Cambridge
Off Chesterton Rd, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB4 3AX
Tel: 01223 302579 | www.cambridge.gov.uk/jesus-green-outdoor-pool
The lido is a fun place to go to enjoy some swimming on a sunny day. Built in 1923 the Jesus Green Lido sits in the heart of Cambridge by the River Cam. As the joint longest outdoor pool in Britain, its design reflects the experience of swimming in the river whilst being safer than doing so. The lido is open until September and is perfect for cooling down during a really hot day. The pool is not heated so it’s only for the brave on cooler days but the sunbathing areas close by mean that you will soon warm up after your swim.
Beccles Lido, Suffolk
Puddingmoor, Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 9PL
Tel: 01502 713297 | www.beccleslido.com
The Puddingmoor-based lido sits next to the River Waveney and has lots of sunbathing areas, picnic tables and a café serving hot and cold food and drinks, which is ideal for a day out. If you don’t like the cold water this is the place for you as Beccles Lido’s main pool, toddler and paddling pools are all heated to a pleasant 27 degrees. It’s open until 9 September.
Punting on the River Cam, Cambridge
Mill Lane Punting Station, Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RS
Tel: 01223 359750 | www.scudamores.com
A real treat for visitors and residents of Cambridge alike, punting along the River Cam is a fantastic summer activity. Grab a picnic and your camera and enjoy a few hours out on the river with views of the Cambridge College ‘Backs’. Scudamore’s are Cambridge’s original punting company and come highly recommended, offering a VAQAS award tour or boat hire for people to have a go at punting themselves. Stretching from Cambridge to Grantchester, there’s a punting experience for everyone.
The Tide Mill, Woodbridge
Tide Mill Way, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 1BY
Tel: 01394 388202 | www.woodbridgetidemill.org.uk
For 800 years, The Tide Mill has sat on the banks of the River Deben and continues to work today. It’s an interesting attraction for the whole family as you can watch the waterwheel in action and see the millers making flour. Inside the mill are exhibits showing what life was like for the miller and Millie, the Tide Mill Mouse, to keep the younger audiences entertained. Afterwards one can follow the river wall for a walk along the banks of the River Deben or browse the Quayside shops and have a bite to eat in the restaurants and cafes.
Snape Maltings, Suffolk
Snape Maltings, Snape, Suffolk IP17 1SP www.snapemaltings.co.uk
Visitors to Snape Maltings can enjoy the gorgeous natural landscape and local wildlife of the marshes and the tidal River Alde. It has plenty of walks and a cycle path to follow. For the keen birdwatchers, head over at low tide to see the burst of activity from the waders and waterfowl. Snape Maltings is also host to the Concert Hall, in which the Snape Proms are currently taking place this month. There are also regular art exhibitions, workshops, galleries and shops.
Breydon Water, Great Yarmouth
RSPB Berney Marshes, Berney Marshes, Burgh Castle NR31 9PZ
Tel: 01493 700645, www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/b/berneybreydon/
Breydon Water and Berney Marshes is a stunning world heritage site on the Norfolk Broads, which is well worth a visit. It has plenty of footpaths to walk which link Norwich and Great Yarmouth. As it is protected by the RSPB as a local nature reserve, it is perfect for birdwatchers especially at low tide when waders can be seen all over the mudflats. Heritage sites are also numerous along the waterway such as the Berney Arms Windmill, Burgh Castle and Great Yarmouth Row Houses and Greyfriar’s Cloisters.
Dedham Vale, Suffolk/Essex border
Dedham Vale is a site of rural beauty made famous in paintings by Constable and Gainsborough. Situated along the River Stour, this is the perfect place to have a tranquil day out. You can hire a rowing boat or canoe and there are many circular or linear walks in this designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. One of the highlights is a visit to the Flatford Mill, the sight of which leaps straight out of Constable’s famous painting The Hay Wain.
Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB, Cambridgeshire
Fen Drayton Lakes, Holywell Ferry Rd, Cambridge, CB24 4SR
Tel: 01954 233260 | www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/fen-drayton-lakes/
Within recent years Fen Drayton Lakes has emerged from a quarry site into a wildlife haven. The vast expanses of meadows and marshland attract an enormous variety of wildlife including otters and cuckoos. For a birdwatcher, this is a peaceful heaven. With easy access from the cycle path next to the guided busway running through the lakes, it is a lovely area to visit. There are plenty of picnic benches, viewing points and shelters so you can pack a picnic and make a day of it. Visitors can cycle to St Ives and have lunch or tea in one of the many cafes. A firm favourite with families, if you are in the area it is well worth your time.
You’re spoilt for choice for places to picnic near the water in Cambridgeshire but one that should definitely be on your list is the banks of Grantchester. Park up at the village car park and take the short walk through the pretty village to the meadows. On a sunny day you’ll find the banks lined with groups of friends and families enjoying picnics, paddle boarders, punts and canoes floating by and children and dogs splashing in the water. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic but if you’d prefer to be served stop by the Orchard Garden for a traditional cream tea under the apple trees or one of the many pubs such as The Red Lion, Greenman or Rupert Brooke.