Explore the county’s three jewels by the sea.
Suffolk’s Holy Trinity: Reasons to Visit Aldeburgh, Southwold & Walberswick
Suffolk seaside towns Aldeburgh and Southwold, and costal village, Walberswick, are arguably the county’s three jewels by the sea, and many Londoners and other far-flung, and local visitors, day trip here at the weekends to soak up these stunning locations. Though the good news is they’re very rarely crowded. (Don’t tell everyone!) Each one is captivating for different reasons, with pristine beaches and a uniquely iconic town centre at each, you’re guaranteed to experience an air of magic when you visit (if you’ve been before, you’ll know what we mean). .
These are small towns yet big-enough to offer up enough to fill a day or weekend even, but satisfyingly manageable should you only spend a couple of hours walking around. Many people who visit are simply happy with a stroll on the beach, some award-winning fish and chips and a mooch around the streets day-dreaming about what it would be like to live in one of the stunning pastel-coloured homes with views of the expansive sea.
Plus, they’re the kind of places that are actually wonderful to visit at any time of year – what better place to be during the summer than by the sea, and in the winter, these towns brimming with quirky shops, antiques, artisan bakeries and coffee shops, all tend to be much quieter in the winter yet equally as lovely. So here is a round up about each of these beautiful locations – the things we suggest you explore during your visit. If you’re not from the area it’s worth mentioning that you can combine Southwold and Walberswick on the same day.
What is the Pakefield Beach Like?
There’s a panoramic view out to the North Sea from Pakefield Beach, and Pakefield itself is a suburb of Lowestoft yet with its own identity as a peaceful, hidden gem. It’s a sand and pebble beach, with marram grass and sand dunes, with a small selection of fishing boats. It’s also a popular spot for fishing, wind and kite surfing, horse riding and anyone looking for a rural beach experience. There are plenty of amenities further up the beach in Lowestoft.
Aldeburgh, SuffolkLess than an hour from Ivy House
Aldeburgh used to be the home to composer Benjamin Britten, and as a result, it’s become a magnet for artists, sculptors, writers and other composers. It’s hard not to instantly fall in love with Aldeburgh’s charm. It offers culture and elegance yet it also has its feet firmly on the ground with its down-to-earth heart, which can be found on the stunning beach.
Things to do in Aldeburgh…
The High Street: Here you’ll find everything from clothes boutiques, art galleries, a brilliant second-hand book store, gift shops plus a huge variety of temptation for foodies including the O&C Butcher and other delis.
Visit the Scallop on the Beach: Wander North along the beach and visit the four-metre high 'Scallop' – it’s a stunning backdrop for holiday snaps!
The Red House: Visit Benjamin Britten’s house to discover where the musical magic once took place.
High Tide Festival: An art’s festival that takes place every October, featuring theatre and live performances.
Take in a film at Aldeburgh Cinema: An art house cinema full of magic including a number of original art deco lights.
People Watching: Keep an eye open for famous people who call Aldeburgh home, including former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane to Peter Sinfield (rock band King Crimson).
25 minutes from Ivy House
This coastal town on the Suffolk Heritage Coast is actually almost an island and is bounded by the North Sea to the East. It’s known for its iconic beach huts, Southwold Pier and bustling high street. Like Aldeburgh, it’s sophisticated and charming, and with lots of great fish and chip shops, including Sole Bay Fish Co.
The Under the Pier Show: A unique and eccentric collection of interactive machines and games located on the pier – well-worth a visit!
The High St: From vintage and second-hand shopping to clothing boutiques, head to the town centre for a leisurely browse.
Tour of Adnams Brewery: Book tickets for a tour with tastings.
A trip to the lighthouse: Even if Covid restrictions don’t allow entry, it’s worth having a picture outside this beautiful white lighthouse.
Two Magpies Bakery: A great stop for coffee and artisan pastries.
Southwold Golf Club: A 9–hole golf course open to non-members and visitors.
Electric Picture Palace: Yet another special cinema which harks to bygone years, with 70 seats and an organ and showing a wide range of films.
Southwold Model Yacht Regatta: Throughout the season there are races and competitions.
Southwold to Walberswick Ferry: Running from April to October. The ferry owners also offer 1-hour trips along the Blyth estuary on a different boat.
30 minutes from Ivy House
This picturesque village is close to a quiet beach, a couple of good pubs, a coffee stop and some lovely little boutiques. Known as the crabbing capital in the UK, every year Walberswick hosts the annual British open crabbing championships which heralds the heaviest crustacean caught (and more often than not, released back into the sea). With Halloween fast-approaching (at time of writing) we thought we’d add that the village is said to be haunted by the ghost of the notorious murderer Tobias Gill!
Of course, just across the River Blyth from Walberswick, you’ll find Southwold, and actually an excellent way to arrive to Walberswick is to catch the short row-boat ferry from Southwold. Simply leave your car at the car-park in Southwold by the Estuary – which has many free parking spots - and then head over the waters to Walberswick in style. The crossing only takes 5 minutes by row boat. (£2 adults, £1 children aged 6 to 18, £2 for bicycles. Dogs and children under 5 years can travel free of charge.)
Play Pebble Coconut Shy: Give it a whirl on Walberswick’s pristine beach.
Celebrity Spotting: Like neighbouring Southwold and Aldeburgh, celebrities own holiday homes in the village, amongst them are Richard Curtis, Emma Freud and Libby Purves.
Enjoy the dunes and quiet beaches: The beach is wide, wild and pretty wonderful. Popular with surfers and kite surfers and a good place for children to run and swim in the summer months.
Have a go at Crabbing: Walberswick is the capital of crabbing and hosts the World Open Championships every August.
Explore the River Blyth Estuary: simply stroll along the footpath or take a bike to follow the track, and soak up the sights.