Consider a holiday in Suffolk and you’ll more than likely envision warm, balmy walks through summertime meadows or long relaxing days basking on some of the East of England’s finest beaches.
While Suffolk is a wonderful destination for a summer holiday, it’s a gem to visit in winter too. And with fewer people vying for the same spots. it’s much easier to make the most of everything this beautiful county has to offer.
Whether you’d like to retreat into the countryside with a cottage nestled in a peaceful village or you’d like a seaside getaway – perhaps right on the beach – Suffolk is the ideal location for a winter getaway.
Rich with traditional holiday cottages, as well as stylish modern boltholes, wherever you stay in Suffolk, something to please everyone is never far away. And that can include your dog, who will love the freedom of a wonderful Suffolk winter walk.
If you prefer sandy beaches or a stomp across the stones, the beaches in Suffolk are beautiful and can be combined easily with a wide range of other activities. Well known for their summertime allure, towns such as Aldeburgh, Dunwich and Southwold all offer their visitors much more than a simple trip to the seaside in wintertime too.
As well as the sand, Dunwich Heath hosts a rich variety of rare plants and wildlife, with vibrant yellow gorse flowers starting to brighten up the heathland vista from January onwards, while just a short distance from Southwold’s colourful High Street you’ll find the home of the award-winning Adnams brewery.
Meanwhile, in Aldeburgh, watch the colourful fishing boats bring in their hauls and then head to the High Street for a portion of the town’s famous fish and chips – available all year around.
From here, Europe’s largest vegetated shingle spit – approximately ten miles long – Orford Ness offers fantastic horizons out to sea and links Aldeburgh with Orford. Home to Orford Castle – one of England’s most complete and unusual keeps – visitors here will also enjoy lunch at one of the village’s historic pubs or quaint tea rooms, or fresh from the sea, sample the local haul at the Butley Orford Oysterage.
If history is more up your street, you’ll find it in abundance and, in winter, it’s much easier to access, without the crowds that summer tourism brings. There are just eleven miles between Orford and Framlingham Castle, Ed Sheeran’s Castle on the Hill, which is visible from Best of Suffolk’s Castle House. The remains of 14th-century Leiston Abbey are also less than ten miles away or go even further back in time to visit Sutton Hoo’s seventh century ship burial and what is believed to be King Raedwald’s final resting place.
Further afield, you’ll find the stunning medieval villages of Lavenham and Kersey, and the idyllic backdrops for some of painter John Constable’s best-loved works.
Where architecture is concerned, head inland and Suffolk’s towns are rich with fantastic buildings. Ipswich is one of England’s oldest towns. Its medieval town layout accommodates buildings from a range of different periods, including early timber framed structures, Tudor and Elizabethan buildings, as well as Grade 1 listed modern architecture. The town’s regenerated waterfront boasts an abundance of fantastic eateries, bars and restaurants.
The market town of Bury St Edmunds boasts medieval architecture and beautiful Georgian squares, as well as Suffolk’s only Cathedral and the award-winning Abbey Gardens that surround the ruins of an 11th Century Benedictine Abbey.
And if you’d prefer to don your wellies, Suffolk’s low-lying landscape is great for exploring on foot. Whether you’re a seasoned walker or you’re after a quiet stroll with your dog in the countryside, through ancient woodlands or around coastal villages, as the season draws on, the muted hues of winter are already making way for vibrant colours to herald the year ahead.
When your wintry walk is done, why not visit one of Suffolk’s best-loved pubs? From the Ship at Dunwich or the Westleton Crown near Southwold, to the Fox Inn at Newbourne, a roaring open fire, fabulous food and local beers will always be on offer to warm up a winter stay in Suffolk.
Get the Best of Suffolk for your winter break.