After a tough week with the death of a family pet we really needed to get away from it all but without travelling too far. From where we live in Hertfordshire we are blessed with great links both in to London and beyond. We choose a 2 hour car journey to the Suffolk coast and Southwold; you don’t have to travel abroad to get away. Packing up the car with an overnight bag we started the drive. Roads were good and not too busy. It was a good crisp winter day and not being summer meant that a coastal adventure was only the preserve of those hardy walkers and dog lovers. Hint, you can see some great coastline without the crowds if going on a sunny wintery day.
The town itself is perched on a small hill looking down over sandy beaches which stretch off in to the distance. To the north of the town is a small pier. The town has a lighthouse and is also the home to Adnams, a famous English brewery. Parking isn’t difficult with parking just outside the town and all along the front. I am guessing this is much busier in the summer months but we managed to park up no problems. It is a reasonably affluent looking town and has a number of your typical seaside middle-class boutiques, Crew, Jack Wills and Fat Face.
From the town centre the coastline is dotted with colourful beach huts and much of the front south to the River Blythe is walkable and the path is dotted with some small cafes and pubs. Along the narrow road just set back from the the sea are some small houses all unique in style which can be rented through companies such as Secret Suffolk. We actually found all of the places booked up and in the end didn’t stay overnight.
Southwold pier is reflective of the town itself and has some varied cafes present. The chip shop is advertised as gluten free and the cafe a little further down has striking views along the coast and big doorstop sandwiches to keep you busy. The rest of the pier is made up of some small shops and also a very strange amusement building, called Under The Pier Show Arcade, where you can sample some old world entertainment games such as walk the dog, which is a treadmill with a dog at the front that you can hold on to. They have to be seen to be believed. It is free to enter and well worth a quick wander and try out of these madcap games. Apparently at certain times of the season you can see seals bobbing around the pier.
The town itself is a nice wander with some large pubs and hotels serving good pub grub and then along the main road some shops and then possibly the best bakery I have ever been to. Two Magpies bakery looks a local institution and had some great coffee but it was the pastries, we had possibly the biggest tastiest Chocolate and almond croissant ever. Can’t recommend this place enough if you are here and will definitely be back.
Further along the main street you get to the Adnams shop. This isn’t the tour which is in a building on the outskirts of town but here you can sample the beer and there is a massive shop with everything they make. Also found they made some great Gin and also wine. The cafe was shut but that is also. However with lunch done and a reasonable walk along the coast we decided to head home. This is definitely a place we need to come back to and the Suffolk coast is dotted with small towns like this such as Cromer and Aldeburgh. These places are all now on our weekend bucket list.
We headed back through the Suffolk countryside as the sunset visiting some other smaller places such as Framlingham castle, a local winery (probably one for the summer or wine season) and stopping outside the windmill below to grab this stunning sunset shot.