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Walking breaks in Suffolk_Orford

Top 5 walking holidays in Suffolk this autumn

Autumn is a great time to escape to Suffolk, not least because of the abundance of local produce on offer. It's a time when the Suffolk countryside comes into its own, bursting with colour across dramatic landscapes, ready for eager walkers to experience crisp, brisk walks followed by a stint in one of the county's many rural boltholes.

Here we combine some of the most tried and tested routes along some of the 3,500 miles of footpaths in Suffolk with a cosy hideaway to relax in after a long day's walking.

Walks in Southwold on the Suffolk coastWalking on the Suffolk Coast between Southwold and Walberswick

1. The place: ORFORD

About: Orford is a dreamy village within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB. Rows of red brick cottages line the streets towards the quay which faces a mysterious stretch of shingle, better known as Orford Ness; islands and creeks, including RSPB reserve at Havergate Island. Spot avocets, terns and, in late summer, salt marshes are awash with blue and purple flowers of sea lavender. Back in Orford, explore the dramatic Norman Castle, completed in 1173 and the ancient church of St Bartholomew. And a visit to Pump Street Bakery and eating fresh fish at local eatery, is essential.

The Walk: Orford and Havergate Island

Place to Stay: Owned by Ruth Watson, the hotel inspector, The Crown and Castle consider themselves more a restaurant with rooms rather than a hotel, and pride themselves in providing an unstuffy, relaxed atmosphere.

Havergate Island OrfordThe mysterious Havergate Island - Suffolk's only Island

2. The Place: SNAPE AND ALDEBURGH

About: The Sailors’ Path follows a beautiful route between Snape Maltings and Aldeburgh. Named because sailors once trod that very route. The route starts at the impressive Snape Maltings, with its homeware shop, galleries, café, vintage buys and Britten inspired Aldeburgh Music. Head out along the River Alde past reedbeds and wetlands, engaging in a bit of nature spotting along the way. Continue through the Snape Warren Nature Reserve and you’ll end up at Aldeburgh on the Suffolk Coast with its great sense of place, coloured houses and famous fish and chips!

The Walk: The Sailor's Path 

Place to Stay: Select a cosy cottage with Suffolk Hideaways based in the heart of Aldeburgh.

Sailor's Path at Snape Follow the Sailor's Path between Snape and Aldeburgh

3. The Place: SOUTHWOLD

About: Southwold is a quintessential seaside town on the Suffolk Coast, with a lively high-street offering a unique shopping experience and fabulous cafés, bakers, fish bars and delis - purchase easy bites to whizz down to the beach with. It’s one of many seaside town's in Suffolk to have a pier (others are Felixstowe and Lowestoft) and this is an interesting one at that. The ‘Under the Pier Show’ offers an unusual and rather quirky arcade game experience, and along its lengthy promenade, you’ll find it impossible to ignore the delicious smells emanating from many a café and restaurant. The walk will take you past the Pier, the Lighthouse (a feature in CBeebies Grandpa in My Pocket), interesting architecture, marshes and Southwold Harbour where the River Blyth flows out to sea past colourful boats and black painted sheds, ending up at Gunhill Cliff.

The Walk: Southwold

Place to Stay: Spoilt for choice, there are plenty of options for self-catering cottages and holiday homes in the area, including So Southwold and Acanthus Property Letting Services.

Southwold PierSouthwold Pier. Photo (c) Gill Moon

4. The Place: WOOL TOWNS OF SUFFOLK

About: The Stour Valley Path runs between the Suffolk ‘Wool Towns’ of Clare, Long Melford and Cavendish with views of church towers, thatched cottages, stately homes turned visitor attractions including National Trust Melford Hall with its connections to Beatrix Potter and Kentwell Hall with its historical re-enactments and family-friendly days out. 

The Walk: The Stour Valley Path between Clare and Long Melford 

Place to Stay: Located in Long Melford, in the heart of Suffolk, the Long Melford Swan is a Michelin listed boutique and a two rosette restaurant with rooms. The Mill, on the other hand, is a charming, intimate B&B and boutique experience, situated within the grounds of a former working mill and overlooking the stately mansion of Melford Hall.

Long MelfordWalks in the attractive Wool Towns of Suffolk: Long Melford

5. The Place: THE BOX VALLEY IN THE STOUR

About: The Box Valley is perhaps the most picturesque of the tributary streams that flow into the Stour. The three circular walks introduce you to beautiful undulating scenery and a great variety of natural habitat, with many excellent viewpoints across quiet, unspoiled countryside. The villages of Stoke-by-Nayland, Boxford and Polstead are among the most attractive in Suffolk. Stoke-by-Nayland is a good place to start and end these walks and the Stour Valley Path runs through the village.

The Walk: The Box Valley

Place to Stay: Stay in a quintessential Suffolk ‘pink’ such as The Old Drift House. Or, for something with a truly wow factor, The Suffolk Escape is hard to beat.

Stoke by NaylandWalks along the magical Stour Valley

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