When it comes to seaside towns, in Suffolk we have some of the best in the country. And while seaside towns make for a great summertime getaway, they also offer year-round attractions for many visitors.
Seaside towns in Suffolk, and across the UK, have enjoyed visits from tourists, keen for some coastal air and relaxation, for many years. In fact, it was in Victorian times that beach holidays first took off, especially after the Bank Holiday Act of 1871, which made taking time off to travel to the coast a much more viable option.
Pay a visit to Suffolk’s larger seaside towns, such as Aldeburgh, Felixstowe and Southwold, and you’ll still be able to find tourist attractions that were enjoyed over a century ago. There’s much more on offer in our coastal resorts than ever before, though, and when you’re staying in Suffolk in late winter and early spring, you’ll be able to take advantage of many of the attractions without the summer bustle.
There are hidden gems nestled between the better-known tourist attractions too, and here we dig out a few of Suffolk’s secrets for you to find.
From Felixstowe and Bawdsey to Orford and Aldeburgh
The largest of our coastal towns in Suffolk, Felixstowe is home to the UK’s busiest container port. That doesn’t mean it’s busy along its beaches and, with four miles of sand and shingle shoreline – from Felixstowe Ferry to the Landguard Peninsular – there’s plenty of space for everyone.
Felixstowe’s tourist attractions don’t stop at the beach and the town has an array of activities to suit everyone. From the arcades along the sea front and in the newly renovated pier, children’s activities at Manning’s, Ocean Boulevard and in the Leisure Centre, there’s also great historical interest at the 18th Century Landguard Fort and a wonderful nature reserve that offers sanctuary for rare plants and migrating birds.
From Felixstowe Ferry – a great spot for netting a few crabs or picking up some locally caught fish – go by boat across to Bawdsey, where there’s a nice stretch of sandy beach, as well as the Boathouse Café, where you can enjoy ‘fresh from the sea’ fish and chips.
A few miles further north, Orford is home to one of England’s most complete and unusual castle keeps. This historic seaside village also boasts a wealth of eateries, so why not take the opportunity to enjoy lunch at one of the village’s historic pubs or quaint tea rooms, or fish cooked fresh from the sea at the Butley Orford Oysterage.
Famous for its fish and chips, and for Maggi Hamblings’ Scallop on the beach sculpture, Aldeburgh has something for everyone. The town’s pretty high street is home to a mix of well-known brands and independent shops, including antiques, craft, clothing and homeware, plus cafes, pubs and restaurants.
With a vibrant and thriving arts scene, you’ll find several galleries around the town with exhibitions and festivals often featuring. And as well as some excellent local walking routes – a favourite with dog walkers – there are two golf clubs, all weather tennis courts plus, of course, the possibility of sailing at the yacht club.
Get the Best of Suffolk when you combine Aldeburgh and neighbouring village, Thorpeness, where you can spend a not-so-lazy afternoon rowing on the Meare.
From Southwold to Dunwich, Walberswick and Covehithe
There’s just one road in and out of Southwold and it’s a road well-travelled. That’s because this is a Suffolk seaside town not to miss. With beautifully sandy beaches, a working lighthouse, an award-winning pier and a cliff top cannon, the sea front is a great lure.
Look into the town itself and you’ll find even more to excite you. Whether you love shopping or you’re a foodie, the high street is brimming with options. And travel just a little further down the road to enjoy a tour of the Adnams Brewery, where you can sample some of Suffolk’s best beer.
When you want to go crabbing, you want to go to Walberswick and, just across the River Blythe, it’s an easy walk away from Southwold Harbour. Crabbing here is so good that, for many years, Walberswick was the home of the British Open Crabbing Championships. The picturesque village has several tea rooms, restaurants and pubs, as well as shops and an art gallery.
From Walberswick, take the Coastal Path Walk, which runs parallel to the shoreline for around three miles to Dunwich. Once a much larger town with a thriving port, Dunwich is now well known as a haven for nature lovers – for those visiting the National Trust’s Dunwich Heath and those heading for a great family day out at RSPB Minsmere.
Discover the Best of Suffolk’s seaside retreats when you head north from Southwold to Covehithe. A much quieter coastal destination, Covehithe is one of our best kept secrets and one to visit soon before the village erodes into the sea. Only accessible by foot or by bike, from the beautiful sandy beach you can enjoy views of Southwold and its pier or visit Covehithe Broad just a short walk away.
Get the Best of Suffolk’s seaside towns – quintessentially English seaside holidays all year around.