Nestled in between Southwold and Aldeburgh is the quiet, idyllic village of Dunwich. Surrounded by nature reserves and a pebble beach and steeped in an eerie history of being Britain’s lost city. A haven for birdwatchers, walkers and cyclists, as well as those that love a simple stroll with the dog and a hearty lunch in a country pub.
Things to Do
Get lost in the Woods
Dunwich Forest is a nature reserve that is undergoing a transformation from a conifer plantation to a rich mosaic of wood pasture, wet woodland and heathland. The 270 hectare site is also home to Dartmoor ponies, which you might see grazing the open areas. There’s a large free car park, so pack a picnic and set off for a day of adventure in the woods.
Explore the Ruins
Take a five minute stroll from the centre of Dunwich south and you’ll stumble upon the romantic ruins of Greyfriars medieval friary. Particularly picturesque at dusk, grab your camera and brush up on your photography skills for some Instagram ready photos that will please and delight.
Become a History Buff!
Steeped in an eerie history of being Britain’s lost city, Dunwich has quite the checkered past! Learn all about how a thriving medieval port disappeared and became a tiny coastal village in Dunwich Museum, next to The Ship, open March to October.
It hardly seems possible, when faced with the sleepy coastal village of Dunwich that it is today, that Dunwich was once a thriving rival to London, and the capital of East Anglia! A series of great storms and coastal erosion turned it into Britain’s lost city of Atlantis. The unforgiving sea has taken eight churches, five houses of religious orders, two hospitals and three chapels.
It is said that the bells of the lost 12 churches can still be heard from their watery graves, and that to this day sailors and fishermen refuse to go to sea as it’s believed the chimes foretell the arrival of another devastating storm.
For the fan of the macabre, be sure to find ‘The Last Grave’ on your travels to Greyfriars ruins. The plaque marks the spot of the last surviving gravestone from All Saints church, which fell over the eroding cliff between 1904 and 1920, and old bones still occasionally weather out of the cliff face.
Bubbles on the Beach
Pack a picnic, or pop into one of the counties award-winning artisan bakers, delicatessens or grocers for a true taste of Suffolk. Head to the beach with a bottle of something cool and bubbly to wash it all down with. Let the gentle waves lap against your toes and feel your worries disappear.
Get on your Bike!
If cycling is your thing there could be no better pit-stop than Dunwich. Cycle from Southwold, crossing over Bailey’s footbridge to Walberswick, admiring the fishing boats in the harbour and families crabbing. Continue further down the coast and through Dunwich Heath to arrive at Dunwich for some much-needed refreshment at either The Ship or Flora Tea Rooms on the beach.
As a route that is mostly-off road it’s suitable for families or those that prefer quieter roads. The picture above is of a group of families who completed the 7.5 mile bike ride from Southwold to Dunwich and stopped for a hearty lunch at The Ship!
Watch the Birdie
With RSPB Minsmere, one of Europe’s top bird sanctuaries, just two miles away from Dunwich, nature lovers and bird watching enthusiasts are truly in for a treat. Walk or cycle to the site watching out for red deer in the woodland. Minsmere is home to a varied range of bird species, being particularly famous for avocets, bitterns and marsh harriers. The late spring months of May and June will see nightingales and nightjars in the reserve.
With numerous special events over the year including pond dipping and wildlife spotting, families are well catered-for. The Wild Zone is the perfect place for little ones to explore and discover nature as they climb through sand martin tunnels or build a den.
Walk the Dog
With a rural beach that welcomes dogs all year round, Dunwich is the ideal destination for anyone looking to take their dog on holiday to Suffolk. Dunwich woods and Heaths offer miles upon miles of paths and tracks for eager wet noses to explore. Best of Suffolk have dog friendly holiday cottages in Dunwich which mean you and the family four-legged friend can escape off for adventures straight from your doorstep.
Places to Eat in Dunwich
The Ship Inn
Once a haunt for smugglers, this family and dog friendly pub is ideal for anyone looking to stay in Dunwich, or day visitors in need of refreshment. Relaxed and unfussy with seasonal menus, the spacious beer garden is a real sun trap and the sheltered courtyard is ideal for dining al fresco. Daily specials focus on local produce, including freshly caught oysters, lobster and crab.
Flora Tea Rooms (open March-October).
Offering much more than their name suggests, the Flora Tea Rooms can be found right by the beach in Dunwich. Specialising in seafood and with a delectable list of daily specials such as pan fried John Dory, charcoal bamboo prawns and salt and pepper squid, as well as staples like a hearty English breakfast.
The 12 Lost Churches
Located on Cliff House Holiday Park, this bar and restaurant is open to all serving a lighter menu during the daytime and full menu during the evenings, with roasts on a Sunday. Family friendly, with a children’s play area and dogs are welcome too, with water and dog biscuits for your furry friends!