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9 Must-see Things to Do in Southwold

Nestled within the sprawling, scenic county of Suffolk lays the charismatic seaside town of Southwold. Southwold is famous for its beautiful coast, history, and British charm. It is a popular place for people who want a mix of peaceful countryside and lively beach life. 

Visitors flock here to enjoy its cosy town atmosphere, impressive architecture, and sweeping coastal views, alongside the chance to sip locally brewed beer and savour fresh, locally caught seafood. 

1. Walk Down Southwold Pier 

Emerging from the gentle coastal waves is Southwold Pier, a magnet of attraction for all ages. Here, you can marvel at the ingenious water clock, known for its quirky midday performance that never fails to draw a crowd. 

Unleash your playful side within Southwold Pier’s amusement arcade, indulging in traditional coin pushers and innovative, artist-made games intriguing enough to captivate all generations. 

Don’t forget to refuel at one of the pier’s delightful cafes. Whether it’s the aroma of freshly brewed coffee or the tempting lure of a warm, homemade pastry, it’s the perfect place to pause and absorb the sweeping seaside views stretching out to Southwold’s iconic lighthouse. 

2. Take part in the Adnams Tour 

Suffolk Coast’s answer to the world of craft ale and spirits lies in the historic heart of Southwold – the renowned Adnams Brewery. Proudly crafting its signature brew since 1872, Adnams is now celebrated nationwide. 

Embark on a journey through the brewing process in their interactive tour and take part in the unique opportunity to make your own gin. 

With a rich local heritage and a commitment to sustainability, every sip of Adnams’ beer, wine and spirits is imbued with a sense of tradition and forward-thinking that makes the tour a revealing experience. 

3. Visit Southwold Beach 

Southwold is well known for its picturesque expanse of sandy shoreline. Southwold’s beach is celebrated not just for being a lively centre of fun and activity during the sunny summer months, but it’s also famously known for its excellent standards. In fact, it has been awarded the much-coveted Blue Flag, a special honour given to beaches that stand out for their immaculate and safe water. 

Stroll along the lengthy shoreline, where the palette of colourful beach huts paints a picturesque montage against the pale blue backdrop. Southwold Beach is covered in a blanket of beautiful, light golden sand, perfect for children and adults to build sandcastles. 

Meanwhile, the soothing sound of the waves rhythmically crashing against the shore provides a calming, natural soundtrack that makes spending a day at Southwold Beach a truly unique and memorable experience that you won’t quickly forget. 

4. Rent A Beach Hut 

Embrace the full Southwold coastal experience by renting one of the town’s iconic beach huts for the day. These charming, vibrantly painted structures form a captivating scene along the shore, attracting photographers and artists from far and wide to capture their essence. Renting a beach hut opens the doors to an intimate world of waterfront leisure. 

From casual onlookers to joyful swimmers, observe beach life in the comfort of your private hut. Step outdoors to create unforgettable memories with shared meals and laughter, enhanced by stunning views and the soothing symphony of nature. As the day gives way to sunset, reflect on the memories made, the strengthened bonds, and the stories ready to be told. The Southwold Beach hut experience is about unforgettable moments, unique coastal vibes, and a treasure trove of heartwarming experiences. 

5. Visit Southwold Lighthouse 

Standing tall, Southwold Lighthouse has been an emblem of safety since 1890. Amidst the quaint town rooftops, this beacon’s glow spills over the sea, guiding vessels into Southwold Harbour. In summer, embark on a historic journey up its 113 steps with expert-led tours. 

Each step reveals more of a maritime tale that unfolds over a century of lighthouse evolution, from using an Argand burner in its early days to modern electric lights. At the summit, a stunning panorama awaits; Southwold’s vibrancy meets the boundless coastline, a perfect spectacle for photography buffs. 

This scene from the top is not just a feast for the eyes but a walk-through of history and an ode to the engineering feats of the past. Southwold Lighthouse is more than a beacon; it’s a unique mixture of heritage, community pride, and picturesque views worth every step. 

6. Alfred Corry Lifeboat Museum 

the Alfred Corry Lifeboat Museum illuminates the realm of maritime rescue. It houses the Southwold No. 1 Lifeboat, “Alfred Corry”, which safeguarded the seas between 1893 to 1918. During this period, it was launched 41 times, saving 47 lives. This resilient vessel is the centrepiece of the museum, demonstrating maritime heroism. 

Established under the Alfred Corry Charitable Trust, the museum captures the essence of an era when seafarers depended heavily on lifeboats. The restoration of Alfred Corry, spanning fifteen years, is meticulously chronicled, revealing the boat in all its former glory. You can explore this tale of dedication, craftsmanship, and resilience. 

The museum offers a valuable glimpse into local maritime history, featuring an array of artefacts and records brought vividly to life. From passionate historians to boat-building experts, the Alfred Corry Lifeboat Museum offers a captivating journey into nautical heritage. 

7. Check Out the Highstreet 

Southwold’s High Street is close to the beach and offers a mix of traditional charm and modern shopping options. Framed by pastel-hued buildings and punctuated by blossoming floral arrangements, the High Street is an atmospheric blend of sensory delights. Take a stroll and marvel at the independent retailers steeped in family-run tradition. 

Your journey continues into unique gift shops where an assortment of hand-crafted souvenirs, each telling a story of this seaside town, await discovery. From locally made crafts to maritime-themed souvenirs, you’ll find unique keepsakes to cherish your visit. 

For the fashion-conscious, a selection of high-end boutiques provides access to the latest trends. The stores in Southwold offer a wide range of clothes and accessories. This makes it convenient to discover something unique and fresh for your wardrobe.

The High Street is a lively place with shops, cafes, and beautiful buildings, making it a memorable social hub. A venture along Southwold’s High Street is not just retail therapy but an immersion in the town’s community spirit and coastal charm. 

8. Explore Southwold Harbour 

Nestled a half-hour walk from Southwold’s beach, the bustling Harbour remains a vibrant vestige of the town’s maritime heritage. From traditional fishing boats hauling in their daily catch to the rhythmic bustling of maritime activity, the Harbour teems with authenticity. 

A stroll along the weathered pier immerses you in this unique atmosphere. Watch skilled fishermen at work and witness the seamless harmony between age-old customs and the flow of the sea. 

To enhance this sensory experience, visit the seafood shacks dotting the area. Relish the day’s catch prepared fresh and served with unforgettable open water views. 

9. Visit Southwold’s Sailors’ Reading Room 

The Sailors’ Reading Room dates back to 1864, an intriguing testament to Southwold’s maritime heritage. Established as a grade II listed building to deter seamen from frequenting pubs, it now stands as a fascinating portal to the town’s oceanic past. 

Its interiors act as a veritable shrine to Southwold’s rich maritime history. Feast your eyes on a treasure trove of memorabilia, where each artefact holds a story, painting a vivid picture of Southwold’s seafaring narrative. Detailed model ships depict nuances of historical sea voyages, complete with intriguing snippets of maritime engineering. 

Photos tell stories of the town’s history at sea, taking us on a visual journey through time. The Sailors’ Room offers free admission to learn about Southwold’s history and nautical lore. It’s a must-visit for history lovers and curious travellers. 

Creating Memories in Coastal Southwold 

From its historic pier to the regal lighthouse, Southwold continually charms visitors with its coastal allure and traditional British charm. These nine must-see attractions only scratch the surface of what this seaside gem has to offer. There are layers to its beauty waiting to be peeled back. Each corner turned opens up a splendid mosaic of history, culture, nature, and architecture, all set against the stunning expanse of the sea, making every visit to Southwold a unique and vibrant experience. 

If you’re considering a holiday in Southwold, it won’t be complete without exploring our curated selection of must-visit spots. Every attraction in this seaside town shows you a different part of its history. Several attractions in this seaside town showcase different aspects of its history. 

One attraction is the Adnams tour, where you can learn about the town’s brewing heritage. Another attraction is the Alfred Corry Lifeboat Museum, which allows you to explore its maritime past. Additionally, you can visit the Sailors’ Reading Room in Southwold. Wander along the bustling High Street, mirrored in its clear waters at Southwold Harbour, or lose yourself in the serene beauty of Southwold Beach. 

Best of Suffolk takes pride in offering a range of stunning holiday cottages ideally suited to make your stay comfortable and memorable. Many of our properties are nestled in the heart of Southwold, providing you with prime access to all the attractions this town has to offer. Let us play host during your seaside escape as we place you in the lap of comfort and convenience. 

To visit Southwold is to immerse yourself in an experience that goes beyond the ordinary. It’s not just about the sights you see or the foods you taste. It’s more than just a town; it’s a feeling. A feeling of pure joy that comes from exploring a vibrant community, a sense of peace derived from tranquil coastal settings, a feeling of nostalgia evoked by antique, weathered buildings and a sensation of curiosity ignited by a rich heritage. 

We invite you to enter this world of magic, beauty and serenity. And as you do, you will understand why Southwold’s allure is everlasting.