You could make a list longer than your arm of all the magical ways to spend a weekend break or countryside holiday in Suffolk. We’ve whittled it down to five places you can easily just turn up at and enjoy without emptying your wallet – and walk away with fond memories and fantastic photos. Whether you’re here for just one night or a long getaway, you’re sure to find something you love in Suffolk.
CRABBING, WALKING AND RELAXING IN WALBERSWICK
Whatever the time of year, you’ll find something interesting at Walberswick. Kids (and even grown-ups!) have been known to spend many happy hours baiting their lines with bacon on the bridge by the village’s tiny harbour and watching their buckets slowly fill up with crabs of all sizes. Alternatively, the long coastal path and sandy beach is a haven for families and couples for walks, games, picnics and barbeques in the warmer months.The scenery is second to none, from the epic coastal horizon to the charming village pubs, cottages and ancient wooden fisherman’s huts by the waterside. And, if you’re looking for more, it’s just a quick trip across the River Blyth by footbridge or ferryboat into the charming town of Southwold, home to the well-known Adnams brewery, a fine collection of upmarket shops, pubs and cafes, and possibly Suffolk’s quirkiest pier. Whether renting a holiday cottage in the village or just visiting for a day, this is an oasis of peace by the Suffolk coast with plenty to do.
Walberswick is a good place to visit any time of the year.
EXPLORING THE FORESTS AT RENDLESHAM IN THE BRECKS
You might have heard about the mysterious UFO encounter in Rendlesham Forest on New Year’s Eve 1980, and it’s a place that still holds surprises today. Covering 1,500 hectares within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this large area of well-maintained mixed woodland is a magnet for families, walkers, cyclists and campers all looking for fun and adventure among its numerous tracks, paths, open spaces and shadowy trees.Pull up in the main car park in the centre of the forest, where you’ll find a visitor centre, UFO-themed play park, barbeque areas, snack hut, toilets, bicycle hire centre and signposts to the best cycle tracks, footpaths and of course the UFO trail. Rendlesham offers hours of fun in the great outdoors with something for everyone.
The Brecks has a strange and intriguing landscape and families and friends will love the many waymarked walking and off-road cycling paths through pine forests and open heathlands. Close by is the tiny village of Elveden, home to a country estate offering delicious food, shops and outdoor activities. The deep pine Thetford Forest is home to many rare birds, hare and deer. Here the rivers are open for wild swimming and Go Ape, the adventure centre high in the treetops.
The forests at Brandon were made for exploring
SAMPLE THE SEASIDE AT FELIXSTOWE
The famous port of Felixstowe is one of the largest in the UK, but you might not have realised the town’s extensive seafront is perfect for a great day out. A popular destination since Victorian times, the beautiful sandy coastline stretching for around three miles southwards from Old Felixstowe is home to attractive landscaped gardens, a leisure centre, a pavilion, seafront restaurants and snack bars as well as panoramic views across the English Channel.
Aside from all the fun of the beach, you can spend a long day enjoying the amusements by the pier, strolling through the town’s numerous shops and sampling quality traditional fish and chips wherever you go!
At the southernmost tip of the long beach, Felixstowe’s fascinating Landguard Fort sits between the port and a nature reserve. An impressive labyrinth of passages, guardrooms and gun placements dating from the mid-1800’s, the fort houses a number of interesting exhibits in the numerous rooms around its large central quad and is well worth the small price of entry.
Seaside fun at Felixstowe
IMMERSED IN HISTORY IN BURY ST EDMUNDS
Today, Bury St Edmunds is a historic market town, but its Abbey Gardens give away its huge importance during the medieval era. Entering by the ancient Abbeygate, you are immediately struck by the breath-taking scale of the grounds and surviving ruins of the Abbey of St Edmund – once one of the most impressive religious sites of its day, and celebrating its 1000th anniversary in 2020. Kids will enjoy the modern play area, but there are lots of opportunities for hide-and-seek and exploring everywhere. History-lovers will feel right at home in the streets around the Abbey Gardens and beautifully restored cathedral. Among the numerous heritage buildings, you’ll find the impressive Georgian Angel Hotel, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, 13th-century Guildhall (with stunning rooms and sensory garden), and The Athenaeum. And if walking around all those gives you an appetite, you’ll be happy to know the town centre has just as many restaurants and independent eateries to sample!
Relax in the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds
GET CAUGHT IN THE CULTURE IN IPSWICH
The first things you might explore in Ipswich could be the excellent shops in the Saints area, the waterfront with it’s many independent cafes, bars and resaurants or the grand Christchurch Mansion with the second largest collection of Gainsborough’s and Constables outside of London and all free to enter. However, this historic town also has a cutting-edge cultural scene that has art running through its core.
From the Ipswich Museum, that’s home to a life size mammoth to the Jerwood DanceHouse, home of dance in the East of England. In this town you will find festivals and theatres around every corner with a diversity you would expect of a large city and without the city price tag.
The children will love getting up close to the woolly mammoth in Ipswich Museum