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10 pubs to visit this winter in Suffolk

As the season changes and Mother Nature paints the countryside with her autumnal palette of colours, it's a lovely time of year for a brisk walk to enjoy the crisp air and changing landscape. Better still, to work up an appetite for a visit to a cosy pub for lunch, which must surely follow!

The perfect winter pub should serve Suffolk ales, locally-sourced food and preferably have an open fire or woodburning stove to add warmth and help thaw out chilly toes and fingers.

We have searched the county to bring you ten of the best that meet our criteria for maximum autumn cosiness.

1. The Six Bells, Preston St Mary

This country pub, three miles from medieval Lavenham, ticks all the boxes for cosiness, atmosphere and good food. The fire crackles, the staff are friendly and the seasonal menu changes almost daily, according to whatever produce is available locally. A Six Bells ale is brewed especially for the pub and is on offer alongside local bitters and other beers.

2. The Brewery Tap, Ipswich

“A cool old pub for local ales and food.” The folks at the Brewery Tap brew their own beer and they have their own smokery (when it comes to local produce, it doesn't get much more local than that!). It's a friendly place with a relaxed atmosphere, in the heart of the Ipswich docks area. Holywells Park is not far away, so ideal for a leisurely stroll through the park, followed by lunch.  Abbey Gardens Bury St Edmunds (c) Visit England / Diana JarvisSuffolk Punch horses are gentle giants
Photo (c) Rictor Norton & David Allen

3. The Ship at Dunwich

Wrap up warm and take an invigorating walk along Dunwich beach, then head to The Ship at Dunwich for a meal of Blythburgh pork, freshly caught fish or Suffolk Shipcord cheese tart. The pub is cosy with its roaring fire and is dog-friendly too. As it says on their website: “Muddy paws are welcome at The Ship!”

4. The Angel Inn, Stoke By Nayland

Heavily beamed, the Angel Inn sits in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Arguably some of Suffolk's prettiest countryside, this spot is perfect for a long winter walk to work up the required appetite for lunch. The pub is cosy and comfortable, offering locally sourced and well-prepared food.

5. The Sweffling White Horse

Situated half way between Framlingham and Saxmundham, The Sweffling White Horse was voted the East Anglia CAMRA Pub of the Year in 2015. Its range of local ales and ciders is constantly changing as they discover new brews, and their food offering is small (rather more “a little something to complement your evening” than a full menu) but is locally sourced where possible. The pub is heated by a large woodburning stove and traditional pub games are a speciality.

6. The Kings Head, Laxfield

Traditional and charming, with a beautiful thatched roof, the King's Head has retained lots of its original features and has a traditional tap room in place of a bar. If you order a beer, it gets tapped directly from the barrel. Take a walk in this rural area of Suffolk and then enjoy a leisurely lunch. Ness Point in Lowestoft SuffolkA blazing sun rises at Ness Point in Lowestoft, the UK's most easterly point

7. The Peacock Inn, Chelsworth

Nestled in one of Suffolk's most quintessentially English villages, this 14th century, half-timbered inn offers a fine range of local ales, and a seasonal menu (also a seasonal game menu). There are plenty of walks in the surrounding countryside and if you can, make sure you sit in the front room on chilly days, in front of the roaring fire.

6. GEORGE ORWELL TOOK HIS NAME FROM A SUFFOLK RIVER

In his youth, Eric Arthur Blair spent several summers at his parents’ house in Southwold, Suffolk. From that beautiful coastal town he went on long voyages through the surrounding countryside, now designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The place that he loved the most was the River Orwell, a picturesque waterway where yachts sail and flocks of wading birds line the banks. He loved it so much that when he came to publishing his first book in 1933, the author’s name on its spine read not ‘Eric Arthur Blair,’ but ‘George Orwell.’
George Orwell (c) Wikimedia CommonsGeorge Orwell took his name from the River Orwell in Suffolk
Photo (c) Wikimedia Commons

7. SUFFOLK IS HOME TO ONE OF TWO WORKING TIDEMILLS IN BRITAIN

The Woodbridge Tide Mill on the tranquil River Deben is one of just two working tide mills left in Britain (the other is in Eling, Hampshire). A tide mill has existed on that spot since 1170, meaning that man has been harnessing the power of the waves there for almost 850 years. Today the mill is an engrossing, interactive museum with a working waterwheel that is used to mill flour in live demonstrations once or twice a day during the summer.

8. SUFFOLK HAS THE LONGEST TURF STRAIGHT IN THE WORLD

The Rowley Mile at Newmarket Racecourses boasts the longest turf straight in the horseracing world, stretching for 1 mile 2 furlongs (1.25 miles). The course is one of two in Newmarket, where horseracing has existed since at least 1147. As the home of British horseracing, Newmarket holds racing days throughout the year, including the most glamorous event of the summer: the Moët & Chandon July Festival. As a town, it is as quirky as you would expect from a place that has a population of 3,000 horses and just as many trainers and jockeys – there are even special ‘horse pavements’ for those travelling on four legs!

9. THE UK'S SILK CAPITAL IS IN SUFFOLK

As one of the Suffolk Wool Towns, Sudbury grew wealthy at the close of the Middle Ages thanks to the booming wool trade that swept across the county, and the remnants of this prosperous time can be seen in its grand medieval architecture. However, Sudbury’s present day textile trade is of a much silkier nature: with four working mills manufacturing with 110 metric tonnes of Chinese silk every year, this Suffolk town is officially the silk capital of the UK.
The Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds (c) Karen RoeThe Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds has had several famous guests
Photo (c) Karen Roe

10. VISITORS TO SUFFOLK CAN SLEEP IN CHARLES DICKENS' OLD BED

In Charles Dickens’ novel The Pickwick Papers, he writes: “The coach rattled through the well-paved streets of a handsome little town, of thriving and cleanly appearance, and stopped before a large inn situated in a wide open street, nearly facing the old abbey.” The town he described is Bury St Edmunds, and the inn is the Angel Hotel: a Georgian coaching inn where Charles Dickens himself stayed, once in 1835 while reporting on the elections for The Morning Chronicle, and again in 1859 and 1861 when he gave readings of his novels at the nearby Athanaeum. His favourite room, 215, is now known as the Charles Dickens room, and still contains the original four-poster bed he slept in!

KNOW SOMETHING WE DON'T?

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