The Suffolk Coast is delightful. It’s all genteel seaside towns, pretty villages and fantastic beaches looking out onto the North Sea. The historic towns both on the coast and inland are all charming. The coast has everything you need for a good old-fashioned beach holiday for the whole family. On our recent visit we explored the two towns of Aldeburgh and Southwold and the village of Walberswick. Let me take you on a photo tour.
The pretty coastal town of Aldeburgh is famous for being home to the composer, Benjamin Britten, who lived and worked here from 1942 until his death. It’s still the location for the annual Aldeburgh Festival of classical music.
We loved all the colourful houses overlooking the beach. They were painted in every shade of blue, pink, peppermint green and purple.
Aldeburgh was a leading port in the 16th century and shipbuilders from the town were responsible for building Sir Francis Drake’s ‘Golden Hind’. We loved looking at all the boats moored up on the beach.
Fishermen still land their catch on the shingle beach and you can pick up some freshly smoked fish from one of the huts here. We found piles of huge pebbles and pens laid out on a table, all ready to be decorated with drawings and signatures.
Drive further up the coast and you’ll come to the lovely village of Walberswick. A picture perfect Suffolk village complete with pastel-painted cottages, village green and a smattering of shops and cafés.
There’s a lovely sand and shingle beach backed by sand dunes that’s perfect for building sandcastles or for going for long walks beside the North Sea.
Walberswick is the sort of place where you’ll find yourself slowing down and living life at a more relaxed pace. Spend a couple of days here and you’ll become obsessed with crabbing, joining the lines of eager children lined up on the bridges or the banks of the river, desperately trying to beat the total of crabs caught in your bucket the previous day. It’s no surprise to discover that Walberswick hosted the British Open Crabbing Championship for thirty years.
We loved going for walks beside the river, looking at the boats in the harbour. You can even spot a seal in the river here if you’re lucky.
You can get to Southwold if you cross the river over the Bailey Bridge and walk along the old railway line. Even better, catch one of the last rowing boat ferries in the UK. For a pound you can cross the river in two minutes on the Walberswick Foot Ferry. The current ferrywoman is the fifth generation of her family to row the boat.
Southwold is the sort of genteel seaside town your grandparents will remember. The award-winning beach is lined with the prettiest pastel-painted beach huts I’ve ever seen.
The beach is the perfect place for flying kites, splashing around in the North Sea or searching for amber among the shingle. The shingle beaches along this stretch of the Suffolk Coast are known as the Amber Coast because they’re such great places to look for the fossilised resin, some of which can be up to 30 to 40 million years old.
After a few hours on the beach, head towards the pier for that all-important fish and chips while you watch the Punch and Judy show.
Southwold Pier is the place to come for cream teas, the old-fashioned penny arcade and the wonderfully eccentric Under the Pier show where you can play some of the world’s most unusual slot machines like Crankenstein the wind up monster and Whack-a-Banker. One of the highlights for children is the mechanical water clock further up the pier. Every half hour the cheeky boys drop their trousers to have a pee.
If you’ve always fancied climbing to the top of a lighthouse, Southwold is the town for you. They do guided tours here of the lighthouse that was featured in the children’s TV show, Grandpa in my Pocket.
For more detailed information about Southwold and Walberswick, read my guides:
Next time we go to Suffolk, I’m looking forward to revisiting the fishing village of Orford, taking my kids to Sutton Hoo and visiting the historic towns of Halesworth and Lavenham.