The Deben Peninsula coastline, in Suffolk, is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and part of Suffolk Heritage Coast. The AONB covers 155 square miles, including undulating farmland, coastal heathlands, and historic towns and villages. Here you will find charming villages and varied landscapes, from rivers and beaches to heathland and forest.
The River Deben lies to the South, with the Alde and Ore Estuary in the North. A visit here is great fun for all the family, with scenic dog walks amongst the varied natural beauty and places to explore. Stop for a pub meal or an ice cream in one of the lovely little towns.
Shingle Street beach is a great place to visit all year round
Villages on the Deben Peninsula
The villages include Sutton, Shingle Street, Shottisham, Hollesley, Boyton, Alderton, Ramsholt and Bawdsey. The largest village is Hollesley, with a pub, church and shop. Here you can find the Suffolk Punch Trust, a charity dedicated to breeding and preserving the Suffolk Punch horses.
Ramsholt has a beautiful view of the River Deben, a pub and a lovely church. From the village of Boyton, either on foot or bicycle, you can take the rowing boat ferry across the Butley River and carry on to the village of Orford. Boyton Marshes featured in the Netflix film The Dig, about nearby archeological site Sutton Hoo. RSPB Boyton and Hollesley Marshes are important for wildlife such as butterflies, dragonflies, birds and owls.
Bawdsey has a small beach, popular for the views across to old Felixstowe. A ferry takes people across the river, just wave the bat for the ferryman. Built in 1873, Bawdsey Manor is now an adventure centre for school residential holidays. In Bawdsey you can visit the world’s first operational Radar Station. Operational radar was born here and contributed very significantly to the successful outcome of the Battle of Britain. Shingle Street is another beach just up the road, untouched by time and wonderfully peaceful with its windswept shingle beach.
Wave the bat to catch the ferry at Bawdsey
The National Trust Sutton Hoo is a popular place to visit. The internationally renowned site of 6th and early 7th century Saxon burials is set on an estate of 255 acres with fantastic views over the River Deben. One of these contained one of only three known Anglo-Saxon ship burials along with a vast array of treasure.
The Suffolk Punch Trust, in Hollesley, is definitely worth a visit. Dedicated to the preservation of the oldest breed of heavy horse in the UK, here you can get up close to see these magnificent horses. This breed is unique to the heritage of East Anglia.
Get up close to the Suffolk Punch horses, they’re gentle giants
The Deben Peninsula has lots of fabulous walks and nature to see, including the estuary, the River Deben, the wildlife-rich wetlands and beaches. The area is also important for nature conservation and heritage with unspoilt natural habitats.
Rendlesham Forest is nearby and offers walking, horse riding and cycling trails for all the family. The perfect place for a picnic with the family or a long dog walk with friends. The 3-mile UFO trail takes you through the forest, heathland and wetlands, and some of the areas connected to the UFO sighting in December 1980.
Food and Drink
If you’re a bit of a foodie you will be spoilt for choice here. The Deben Peninsula is home to many pubs and restaurants serving some of the area’s best local produce. One of the best places to see the sun set is over a pint and a meal at The Ramsholt Arms, situated on the the banks of the River Deben. You might recognise this vista from the pub in the film Yesterday by Danny Boyle. Other pubs to find a great meal are Hollesley’s The Shepherd and Dog, The Sorrel Horse in Shottisham, The Sutton Plough and the Butley Oyster.
If you want to relax with a cuppa and a slice of cake then try cafes at the Boathouse cafe near Bawdsey, for a spectacular view as well. . The Suffolk Punch Trust also has a café offering light bites and lunches.
Where to Stay
See The Suffolk Coast’s guide to where to stay and eat on the Deben Peninsula; For a unique stay, why not try a Martello tower such as this self-catering Martello Tower with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide 360-degree views of the Suffolk coastline.
Stay in a Martello Tower, a most unusual holiday home
Alternatively, Suffolk Secrets offers holiday cottages in Shingle Street, Shottisham and Bawdsey. Choose from cosy character cottages to spacious farmhouses.