Having a Blast on the Suffolk Coast

There are few seaside towns as quintessentially British as Southwold.  With its sandy beach lined by a string of brightly painted beach huts, lighthouse and invitingly cheerful pier jutting out into the sea, it makes a good base to explore this pretty stretch of the Suffolk coast.

We based ourselves at the Randolph Hotel, on the outskirts of Southwold.   Follow the link for the accommodation review.

Suffolk Coast Southwold
Suffolk Coast Southwold

Day 1 - Exploring Southwold

Southwold Pier

George Orwell settled in Southwold in 1921 and stayed for 20 years.  You can see a colourful tribute to him at the edge of the Pier.

Southwold Pier hosts an arcade with a collection of weird and wonderfully eccentric coin operated machines designed by Tim Hunkin.  You can see his innovative water clock on The Pier too.

There are plenty of places to stop for a drink or a snack – but be sure you don’t miss the wonderfully wacky Hall of Mirrors.

Suffolk Southwold Pier

Tips for Future Travellers

The Pier is closed when there are high winds – so if you are unlucky enough to have bad weather during your stay, time your visit accordingly to avoid disappointment.

Suffolk Coast Southwold Pier Hall of Mirrors
Southwold Pier - Hall of Mirrors

Southwold Lighthouse

You can climb up Southwold Lighthouse and explore the views from the top. Tours take approximately 30 minutes and are on the hour and half hour.

Advanced booking is not necessary – buy your tickets on the day (£4.50 for adults) directly from the Visitor Centre. 

Beach Huts

The beach huts lining The Promenade at Southwold are a joy to walk beside.  Each has its own individual personality, reflecting the wishes and dreams of its lucky owners.

If you want to own one yourself, you would have to fork out a hefty £150,000 (11/10/20 – Durrants Estate Agents – “The Folly”).

You can rent one for a much more affordable £24 a day or £120 a week.  A hut would give you a cosy place to watch the comings and goings on the beach.  Grab a blanket to keep you warm if the wind is blowing and enjoy making a cup of tea in your very own kitchenette – nice.  Or go the whole way and grab yourself some tasty fish and chips – always best eaten right beside the seaside.

Southwold Beach Huts Suffolk Coast
Suffolk Southwold Beach Huts
Southwold Beach Huts

Adnam's Brewery

Be sure to allow enough time to call in to Adnam’s Brewery in the centre of town.  You can also book a tour of the distillery – or – if you have enough time – try your hand at making your own gin.

Foodie Firsts

Adnams Copper House Gin is a juniper berry based gin distilled with an unusually delicious blend of six botanicals:  Orris Root, Coriander Seed, Cardamom Pod, Sweet Orange Peel and Hibiscus Flower.  Serve with a slice of orange to enhance the flavour.

Adnam’s claim it is the world’s best gin.  Try it and see for yourself!

Day 2 - Walking to Walberswick and Having a Blast!

Suffolk Southwold Harbour
Southwold Harbour

Walk from Southwold to Walberswick via Marshes

We followed an 11.9 kilometre circular walk trail from Southwold to Walberswick.

You can view the map and full directions on the All Trails App – Click the Link below..  All Trails is great for navigating on your walk.  Based on Google Maps, it guides you expertly through all the twists and turns – highly recommended!

From the sea front in Southwold, walk up through the busy little harbour across the Bailey Bridge footbridge that crosses the River Blyth and then on to the pretty village of Walberswick village.  This walk will take you through the Walberswick Nature Reserve and across the reedbeds that separate the village from the sea.   It is mostly flat, but – like many of the walks in this area – can be wet after rain.

Walberswick has tea rooms, restaurants, two public houses, an art gallery, a village shop, original crafts and gift shops.  You have a good choice of pitstops for lunch – or wait until you are back at the harbour where there are huts selling a variety of fresh fish – and of course – fish and chips.

If you are celebrating a special occasion and fancy doing something a little bit different, why not do as we saw one happy couple doing –  spread out your picnic rug by the harbour and enjoy a seafood lunch right by the waterside.  They even had a selection of cakes on a three tiered china stand and a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket.  No photos – in respect for their privacy – but I will leave you to conjure up the happy scene. Come to think of it – why wait for a special occasion – life is for living after all?!

The Walberswick Ferry also runs in the summer months, so – for the princely sum of £2 per adult – you can choose to have the fun of being rowed across the estuary in a little ferry boat.

Having a Blast with the Coastal Voyager

Suffolk Coastal Voyager
Have a Blast - Southwold Coastal Voyager

Do you sometimes just feel like letting yourself go and having a bit of fun?  If you are in adventurous mood, book a Sea Blast trip with Coastal Voyager based at Southwold’s harbour.

It isn’t a cheap thrill (£29 per adult) – but it is really good fun!  I won’t give you too many spoilers, but suffice it to say that the music choice is as exhilarating as the ride itself.  Be prepared to hold on tight as your boat is put through its paces in the hands of your expert crewmen.  

You can easily time your ride to fit in on the home stretch of your circular walk to Walberswick.  Setting out on the walk at the start of the day and stopping for a leisurely lunch, we made it back in plenty of time for a 3pm Sea Blast.

Tips for Future Travellers

You can’t take anything onto the boat with you – be prepared to travel light and leave your bags in the Coastal Voyager Office.

Glad I Packed

Waterproof jacket, Hiking Boots

Day 3 - Meet the Seals at Horsey Beach

A short hour’s drive across the border from Suffolk into Norfolk gives you the opportunity to visit Horsey Beach and enjoy watching the playful seals that have colonised this area.  

If you have time for a walk, try the National Trust circular walk around Horsey Village.

Leave your car at Horsey Gap.  You never know quite where the seals will place themselves of course – but there are a LOT of seals on this beach, so your chances of seeing large numbers of them are very high.  You might be lucky and find them all at the beach entrance – but allow yourself the time to walk a mile or so along this very beautiful beach to see the best of the seals.  You won’t find any of the usual seaside amusements and attractions here – just miles of soft, unspoiled sand and – usually – not too many visitors.

Suffolk Horsey Beach Seals
Horsey Beach Seals

Flora and Fauna

Find out more about the seals on the link below.

Suffolk Horsey Beach Seals
Seal Colony - Horsey Beach

Tips for Future Travellers

Dogs are allowed on the beach, but obviously, should not be allowed anywhere hear the seals.  In the Winter months when the seal pups are born, the beach is often closed to visitors to protect the seals – check before you visit.

The National Trust Nelson’s Head Pub also has a car park from which you can access Horsey Beach.  You can treat yourself to a great lunch and some good beer here too – Highly Recommended!

Let's Walk the Coastline of Great Britain!

Coastal walking is my favourite sort of walking and if you follow Love to Wander, you will already know that I have set myself the task of walking the coastline of Great Britain – well all the nice parts at least – a chunk at a time.  Take a look at some of the other coastal walking trips we have enjoyed on this interactive map.  Click on the locations to discover detailed walking itineraries.

 If you want to watch the map continue to fill with coastal walks that might inspire you to lace up your own walking boots and take a wander along the beaches and cliffs of our beautiful coastline yourself, do sign up to receive regular updates.