Head to the Suffolk coast for dramatic grey skies and thundering waves, blow away the cobwebs with invigorating countryside walks or follow inviting paths through frost-sprinkled parkland and historic gardens. Immerse yourself in striking winter scenery; the stark beauty of frost-gilded trees, new vistas of wide landscapes, and dramatic winter sunsets.
National Trust Flatford Mill in Constable Country.
Winter is a great time to go outdoors and see wildlife. Birds arrive for the winter months and woodland residents can be seen more easily in the bare trees, so why not combine your winter walk with some great nature-spotting opportunities?
Lavenham Woodland walk
This easy 2.8 mile walk takes you around the Lavenham Woodland which is part of the old Lavenham to Long Melford Great Eastern Railway line. Starting from the Guildhall in the centre of the village, you will have the opportunity to see the magnificent Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, a nod to how wealthy this wool town was in medieval times. You will then head out into the countryside before returning past more architecturally impressive buildings. Find the map and route details here.
The buildings in Lavenham haven’t changed much since medieval times.
One of the finest Suffolk walks you can take is along the Sailor’s Path, a six-mile gentle leg-stretcher that wends its way through the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Sailor’s Path is one of the Suffolk walks first trod by the briny boots of the seamen who used to ply their trade along this part of the coast. Legend has it that when their boats got stuck in the Snape Maltings mud at low tide, the sailors would have to abandon their craft and head back to their Aldeburgh homes on foot.
Like many Suffolk walks, the Sailor’s Path forms part of the Suffolk Coast Path, a 50 mile route stretching from Felixstowe to Lowestoft. The path follows the meandering course of the River Alde, one of the most beautiful estuaries on the east coast. All the details for walking the Sailor’s Path are here.
Alton Water Lake Trails
Just outside the town of Ipswich on the Shotley Peninsula, this man-made lake can be found. It is a haven for wildlife, walkers, cyclists, and generally all outdoor enthusiasts who love both land and water. The whole family will enjoy time exploring on either the short route or the longer eight-mile trail. Dogs on leads are welcome too.
Choose either a gentle stroll or a more challenging eight-mile walk around the lake.
Nowton Park Bury St Edmunds
On the outskirts of the historic town of Bury St Edmunds is Nowton Park. Here you will find 200 acres of Suffolk countryside with walks of varying lengths around the parkland. Wander through the arboretum and see the henge and various sculptures as you enjoy the undulating parkland. In spring the lime avenue, which was planted around 1880, is one of the finest examples in the UK. In spring you will see a spectacular sight, as it is adorned with over 100,000 daffodils, sitting under the trees.
The Newmarket Rides – Moulton Circuit
The Newmarket Rides are as the name suggests close to Newmarket, the home of horse racing. This is a less discovered area of Suffolk but nonetheless is extremely picturesque and has plenty of history. As you walk the eight-mile route you will come across moated farmsteads, medieval churches and mills, the remains of a motte and bailey, a malt kiln, and a packhorse bridge. The Newmarket Rides offer a good mix of off-road, quiet lane, and on-road routes for walking. You may find cyclists and horse riders too as the network is quite extensive, making it easy to create a much longer route if you wish. You can download the route here.
Our last walks are with the National Trust in Suffolk, where tea rooms and cafes make the perfect pit-stop after your winter ramble to warm up and refuel with a hot drink, comforting warm lunch, or a well-earned sweet treat.
Flatford lies in the heart of the beautiful Dedham Vale along the Suffolk-Essex border. This charming hamlet was the inspiration for some of John Constable’s most famous pictures, for example, the Hay Wain or Boatbuilding near Flatford Mill among many others. Follow in Constable’s footsteps visiting Flatford, East Bergholt, and Dedham. Wandering beside the River Stour or looking at Flatford Mill and Willy Lott’s House you can feel as if you are walking through one of his paintings. It’s even more magical if you’re visiting on a crisp and frosty morning.
Dogs are welcome, but they must be kept on a short lead at all times as there is livestock grazing. If you ever feel threatened in a situation with your dog with livestock close by, it is advised to release the lead and reach safety separately.
Ickworth Estate, nr Bury St Edmunds
An Italianate Palace in the heart of Suffolk with over 1800 acres of beautiful parkland, woodland, Italianate Gardens , and an all-weather trail to enjoy. The Ickworth Estate is the perfect place to get back to nature. The Monument Walk makes a great winter walk. The circular route weaves through the historic estate and offers breathtaking views across the landscape. Explore a mixture of open parkland and woodland glades, and take in the church and obelisk monument. While the river walk has firm footing and is suitable for those using wheelchairs and mobility aids, as well as for buggies and young children. Dogs are welcome on short leads, except for Italianate Garden, and mobility scooters and wheelchairs are available for loan.
Sutton Hoo is the perfect spot for a scenic winter stroll in the picturesque Suffolk countryside with the atmospheric Royal Burial Ground at its heart. There are miles of walking trails to discover the more expansive estate. The Ferry Cliff walk explores woodlands, fields and river on a 3-mile trail route, and you’ll be rewarded with far-reaching views over the River Deben. Take a moment to rest and enjoy the stunning views from the 17m viewing tower across the burial ground. Dogs are welcome on short leads and mobility scooters and wheelchairs are available for loan.
Dunwich Heath and Beach
Enjoy a bracing winter walk along Dunwich Beach, surrounded by the dramatic scenery of the crashing waves and imposing clifftop. Explore the heath on a cool, crisp day and spot winter migrating birds such as hen harriers, merlins, bramblings, redwings, and fieldfares. The site’s waymarked pink and orange routes take in steady 2 and 3-mile routes that traverse heathland and clifftop paths, taking in plenty of coastal views and nature spotting opportunities.
Dogs are welcome off lead under close control across the site during winter, and on a short lead in the tearoom, mobility scooters are available for loan.