within 10 miles
Belle Grove is on the southern fringe of the small village of Westhall. This has a shop cum Post Office and a down to earth pub, The Racehorse**, which is within walking distance (20 minutes), keeps good beer, serves pub grub and is dog-friendly. (** Currently closed but the plan is to run it as a community project in 2019). We provide a map of footpaths around the village which is one of those spread out affairs, the pub 2 mies from the Church! St Andrews, parts of which are Norman, is tucked away in a glade of trees – an architectural gem, definitely worth a visit. www.suffolkchurches.co.uk/Westhall
Only 7.5 miles away through charming country roads, Southwold is a charming & timeless seaside town, deservedly popular with our guests. Sand & shingle beach (Blue Flag) and famous beach huts*. Open greens surrounded by period houses and cottages. Individual shops. Lighthouse. Amber Museum. Real Ale & Distilllery (Adnams) – tours available. Working harbour – fresh North Sea fish. Restaurants. Fabulous re-born and quirky Pier. www.southwoldpier.co.uk
The Electric Picture Palace, is great fun. You need to become a member but they offer seasonal membership for a small fee.
*One of the famous Southwold Beach Huts is available for rental on a day by day basis.
Only 2 miles away, this is the nearest market town and has all facilities. With its range of independent shops (see Foodie Heaven), attractive setting, old buildings, many eateries and antique shops, not to mention friendly inhabitants, Halesworth is one of those unassuming towns that people love to ‘discover’ for themselves. Good selection of antique & vintage shops, a monthly ‘brocante’ and a famous annual antique street market. It was home to the founder of Kew Gardens, Sir William Hooker and the ‘Bloomsbury Set’ came to the locality for their summer holidays. It has a brilliant Arts Centre in The Cut and hosts a hugely successful Arts Festival every October. Every other year it participates in the national Open Heritage Week and has permamant ‘trails’ for those interested in plants (the Hooker Trail) or the Malt & Brewing heritage. Also, see What’s On. Railway buffs may like to know that the moveable railway platforms at the Station enabled traffic to continue to use the road except when a train in the station. It’s the only example in the country.
Nearby is Valley Farm Vineyard which offers self-guided vineyard tours
The famous Holy Trinity Church with its ‘angel’ roof is a ‘must see’. ‘This Cathedral of the Marshes’ overlooks the Blyth estuary and is famously illuminated at night. It features in Simon Jenkins’ top Thousand Churches. Climb up the steep spiral staircase to check out the tiny chapel with wonderful views over the marshes.
Pretty cottages around village green. Dunes, sands and walks. Much favoured by artists since 19th century. Approach by road or be rowed across from Southwold. Two great pubs. Visitor Centre. Walberswick National Nature Reserve – Sandlings heathland, reed beds, inter-tidal mud flats, marsh, woodland and tidal estuary of the River Blyth form an unique grouping of habitats.
Another unspoilt market town: excellent delis, ruins of Norman castle; indoor swimming pool; good for antiques. Nearby is the excellent North Suffolk Aviation Museum at Flixton. At nearby Earsham visit Flint Vineyard for a fascinating tour and their ’15 mile’ lunch.
Fine old market town with 14th century church & a major boating centre for the Broads. Excellent new Lido. Lovely gentle boat trip up the River Waveney to Geldeston Locks. Bargains can be had at the weekly furniture auction.
Walpole Old Chapel (Historic Chapels Trust)
The privately owned fine 18th century Heveningham Hall is not open to the public (except the lovely restored grounds on limited occasions) but it is interesting to drive by and see the extent of the work that has recently gone into re-creating the Capability Brown-designed landscape. The grounds are thrown open for the annual Country Fair and November Fireworks.
Fascinating time-forgotten corner of Suffolk where its famously easy to get lost in the car ! Stunning St Peters Hall as well as Batemans Barn and the mysterious ruins of the Minster.
Halesworth serves several outlying villages which have excellent public houses and food. Many of these have Garden Open Days in the summer. And for those interested in medieval churches, there is a plethora in these parts.
And DO check out the masses of information on the local Tourism Group’s award-winning website www.blythvalleyexperience.com
within 15 miles
In medieval times a major thriving port, since claimed by the sea. The sound of Old Dunwich church bells are said to be heard on stormy nights! Walks. Ruins. Great)pub, The Ship Inn. Excellent museum chronicling the erosion over the ages. Fresh fish from the boats and best fish ‘n chips ever.
National Trust Nature Reserve. Great walks and views. Lighthouse keepers cottage turned teashop. Heaths Area of Outstanding Beauty, one of only 41 in the country.
A classic pretty village. Adjoins the Minsmere Bird Sanctuary (one of the RSPB’s premier sites and host to BBC’s Springwatch) – Nature Trails and Hides. Westleton Books is a popular, quirky second-hand bookshop and gallery.
Traditional seaside town put on the map culturally by the Festival of Music & the Arts. Benjamin Britten connections. Historic buildings inc. the 16th century Moot Hall. Fresh fish off shingle beach. Excellent restaurants. Cinema. Maggi Hambling’s Scallop sculpture can be found up the beach and there’s plenty of scope to amble round the many galleries in the town .
Snape Maltings – Performances in the world class concert hall, extensive shopping and good food, as well as wonderful walks through the reeds and marshes with stunning pieces of sculpture (Henry Moore) dotted about.
Pseudo-Tudor ‘planned’ village just north of Aldeburgh, built in the early 1900’s around the Meare – a 60 acre huge artificial lake studded with islands and a paradise for children. Think ‘Swallows & Amazons’. Also the ‘House in the Clouds’ and working windmill.
Once a flourishing fishing port and Britain’s most easterly point (Lowestoft Ness). To be honest, not a madly attractive town centre BUT it has excellent sandy beaches (Blue Flag), a long promenade and an excellent Maritime Museum in Sparrows Nest Park.
Visit the Hall and wonderful gardens – including the Maze – of Somerleyton Hall
Gateway to the Broads and a mecca for boating enthusiasts and naturalists. Considered one of the finest stretches of inland water in England.
Good beach. Acclaimed Africa Alive Wildlife Park. Huge Car Boot sale every Sunday.
Church ‘within’ a church. Clifftop walks where dramatic coastal erosion is only too evident.
Raveningham Hall Gardens & Centre – oriental carpets/hand-crafted kites etc.
The only crossing point of the River between Norwich and Lowestoft.
Attractive town surrounded by pretty countryside and dominated by 12th century castle walls with 13 towers. Concerts and live performances held at the Castle throughout the summer. Hospitality at the 16th century coaching Crown Inn. Antiques. Vineyards nearby.
Here there is an award-winning thatched Tudor pub without a ‘bar’ – beer still served from the barrel in the old kitchen, known locally as The Low House.
45 minutes by car
- county town of Norfolk and one of England’s best preserved medieval cities
- Splendid Cathedral
- Sainsbury Centre for Modern Art (Norman Foster designed)
- The Forum – state of the art new Library & Media centre
- Norman Castle – Keep & Museum
- Historic buildings, parks, churches
- Maze of streets and lanes
- Shopping malls / Good individual shopping
- Famous outdoor market
- Arts and entertainment/Cinemas & Theatres
Amusement arcades & games. Pleasure Beach rides. Family entertainment although a disappointing destination otherwise! Sea Life Centre aquarium. Race-course.
Great shopping! Great walks. Great pub. Not only that but it’s near the excellent Friday Street Car Boot Sale held every Sunday Easter to October.
- County town of Suffolk.
- Historic wet dock – maritime heritage
- Medieval churches
- 16th century Christchurch Mansion
- Tolly Cobbold Brewery.
- Magnificent Parks.
- Arts and entertainment/Cinemas & Theatres
- Orford Castle. Boat trips.
- Famous seafood – ‘The Butlery at Orford’
- Orford Ness – Nature Reserve (longest vegetated shingle spit in Europe) with de-classified military installations
- (development of radar). Accessible by boat from Orford Quay.
- on River Deben Once noted for ship building and sail making
- Now an attractive town – pedestrianised centre & narrow streets
- Good shops – Antiques. Tide Mill on quayside – functioning up to1957.
- Suffolk Punch Horse Museum.
- Nearby is family-orientated Easton Farm Park.
On opposite bank is Sutton Hoo (National Trust)
Anglo-Saxon Royal Burial Site (National Trust) where treasures were only unearthed in 1939.
Alan Bloom’s Dell Garden, Adrain Bloom’s Foggy Bottom Garden & Steam Centre
Wyken Hall – Elizabethan manor house, vineyard, gardens. Restaurant in 16th barn.
Banham Zoo. Sunday Car Boot sale.
- 60 minutes Bury St Edmunds (fine Georgian Theatre)
- 60 minutes Snetterton (motor racing circuit)
- 75 minutes Newmarket (Racing, Anglesey Abbey Gardens)
- 90 minutes Ely (Cathedral)
- 90 minutes Cambridge (Colleges)
- 90 minutes Thetford Forest (walking, riding and outdoor pursuits)
- 90 minutes Lavenham & Long Melford (medieval buildings & spectacular streetscapes)
- 90 minutes Dedham & Flatford Mill (Constable country)
- 100 minutes Sandringham & several National Trust Houses
- 100 minutes Norfolk Heritage Coast (Cromer, Blakeney Point)
Art:Art Galleries, Centres for Visual Arts, Artists’ Open Studios
Antiques:Antique centres & shops, antique fairs & flea markets
Amber:Look for some on the beach – best place in Britain to find it
Aviation history:WW2 airfields & memorial museums
Archaeology:Sutton Hoo, Dunwich, Grime’s Graves
Architecture:Rich in Medieval timber-framed buildings
Auctions:Weekly at nearby Beccles and Diss
Beaches:Clean and safe bathing on sand and sand shingle beaches
Bird-watching:RSPB Minsmere Bird Sanctuary, Orford Ness
Boating:As in ‘messing about in’ on the Broads, Thorpeness Meare, Fritton Lake
Books:Second-hand & antiquarian
Car Boot sales:Friday Street Car Boot every Sunday in season + numerous others
Cycling:Good hire facilities in nearby Southwold
Castles:Framlingham, Orford , Norwich, Bungay
Crafts:Potteries, ceramics, textiles, glass
Churches:Did you know that there are over 500 medieval churches in Suffolk alone?
Country pursuits:Agricultural Shows, Game Fairs, Farmers Markets, Riding, Clay shooting etc
Country Estates & Houses:Sandringham, Somerleyton, Holkham Hall, Blickling, Oxburgh Hall etc
Eating Out: From excellent pub meals to fine dining
Family:Pleasurewood Hills, Banham Zoo, Play Barn, Suffolk Wildlife Park, Discovery Centre, Dinosaur ,Adventure Parks, Aquariums, Fritton Countryworld etc
Fishing:Deep sea, trout lakes, coarse fishing (angling licence needed)
Fresh food:PYO, markets, preserves, roadside stalls, farm shops
Flying/gliding:Beccles & Old Buckenham
Gardening:Specialist nurseries, village open gardens, country house gardens
Golf:Excellent local courses with day memberships
Going to the Dogs:Great Yarmouth Stadium
Ghosts:Black Shuck at Blythburgh, the Bungay Bigod Ghost!
Horses:Equestrian centres, riding, horse sanctuaries, specialist museums
History:Museums, medieval buildings & ancient monuments
Kites:Acquire a hand-crafted one and fly by the sea!
Mills:Working Windmills, Tide Mills, Tower Mills
Motor Racing:Sport/banger/karting/ at Snetterton, Foxhall, Yarmouth
Music:Everything from classical to jazz to contemporary
Nightlife:Not a lot – clubbing in Gt Yarmouth/Norwich?
Theatre:Loads of choice from seasonal open-air productions of Shakespeare to whodunnits at Southwold Summer Theatre + mainstream at Norwich, Ipswich and Lowestoft
Rail & Steam:Narrow gauge railways, steam locomotive rallies and museums
Real Ale:Adnams, St Peters Ale and many more
Roses:Peter Beales, Mannington Hall Gardens
Ruins:Leiston Abbey, Covehithe church, Framlingham Castle, the Minster
Rural trades & crafts:Agricultural museums, farm tours etc
People-watching:Southwold Pier, street cafes, town strolls
Seafood:Fresh-off-the-boats fish, crabs in season
Swimming:Blue Flag beaches, indoor heated pools
Shopping:Snape Maltings, Southwold, Norwich, Woodbridge etc
Urban Fix:Norwich, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge
Vineyards:Excellent locally made wines from several local vineyards + tours
Walks:Coastal & marsh walks, country rambling, forest trails
Water Sports:Sailing, wind-surfing, water-skiing
Wildlife:Birds of Prey/Owls, RSPB Sanctuary, Nature Reserves
Note: American visitors may be particularly interested in the ‘american connections’ page of www.suffolkcc.gov.uk/tourism
Further detailed information as to many of these places – and others – is supplied in the Information Pack at the cottage which has been compiled for your use.
Events through the Year
This is just a quick synopsis of the main annual events hereabouts but there are many more going on all over, especially in the summer. Please check specific dates which of course change from year to year on line or ask.
January – April:
- Daffodil walks & gardens
- Easter Programme at Snape
- Easter Bunny Trails
- Bluebell walks
- INK Festival, Halesworth
- Halesworth Day of Dance (Molly Dancers)
- Southwold Sausage Walk (sausage dog rally!)
- The Suffolk Show, Ipswich
- Suffolk Game & Country Fair, Glemham Hall
- Norfolk Open Studios
- Southwold Literary Spring Festival
- Local asparagus season
- Garden Antiques Exhibition & Sale, Southwold
- Grand Brocante, Glemham Hall
- Garden Street Market, Bungay
- Spring Garden Market, Halesworth
- The Royal Norfolk Show, Norwich
- Suffolk Open Studios
- Sandringham Country Show & Horse Trials
- Southwold Smack & Classic Boat Rally
- Music by the Sea, Aldeburgh
- Summer Antiques Fair, Southwold
- Suffolk Day
- PYO strawberries
- Regatta, Beccles
- Latitude Festival, Henham Park
- Antique Street Market, Bungay
- Aldeburgh Festival of Music and Arts
- Southwold Summer Theatre
- Heveningham Country Fair
- Westleton Wild Flower Festival
- Framlingham Horse Show
- Antique Street Market, Halesworth (recommended!)
- Southwold Summer Theatre
- Snape Proms
- Lowestoft Carnival
- Maui Waui Festival of Music
- Snape Food Festival
- Halesworth Scarecrow Festival
- Maritime Festival, Gt. Yarmouth
- Southwold Summer Theatre
- Maize Mazes in Southwold & Farnham
- Henham Steam Rally
- Heritage Open Days, Halesworth (every other year)
- Halesworth Arts Festival
- Waveney Food & Drink Festival
- The Great Framlingham Sausage Festival
- Herring Festival, Halesworth (every other year)
- Southwold Literary Festival
- Britten Festival, Snape
- Christmas Market, Southwold
- Christmas Markets, Halesworth
- Grand Christmas Bazaar, Halesworth
- Christmas Street Fairs/Lights in many towns
- Blythburgh Carol Service
The Daily Telegraph voted Suffolk ‘Best Region’ for Food, saying
“Suffolk is a county where, if you only scrape the surface, you will find enough food to fill you to your ears. Villages still have small butcheries; roadside honesty box sales of honey, eggs, vegetables are typical; and fishermen sell their catch from beach huts. The richness of Suffolk is not an accident. Locals are loyal to their independent shops and have fought to keep the superstores out.”
And celebrated restauranteur Thomasina Miers comments that
“Suffolk has a unique vibrant and wonderful food scene” and that “the food scene in Suffolk is remarkably strong“
Yes, there is a fantastic array of local produce hereabouts, which makes food shopping a pleasure not a chore!
As well as a large and useful Co-Operative Food Store, Halesworth (2 miles) has
- 2 excellent Butchers between them selling locally-produced meat, game birds, venison, wild boar & home made pies
- a renowned Organic /Health food shop offering delicious breads & cakes and smoked cold meats
- a Delicatessen specialising in cheeses + bread, as well as locally-produced salami
- 2 greengrocers that stock seasonal local produce as well as the everyday
- a Wednesday outdoor market: stalls sell vegetables, fruit and fresh fish
- Halesworth is also home to Hillfarm Oils the original British producer of cold pressed rapeseed oil.
On top of that, all the surrounding market towns – Bungay, Beccles, Southwold – have great delis and butchers and there is a monthly Produce Market in Halesworth and numerous other Farmer’s Markets and Farm Shops in the vicinity for example, Middleton Farm Shop now bakes its own bread using local flour and the region’s only commercial wood-fired oven. Woodbridge has the now famous Shuck Shellfish Festival in October and Framlingham, the Great Sausage Festival!
There’s also a great choice of local Brewery Tours – Adnams & St Peter’s, not to mention Vineyards – there’s Valley Farm , Giffords Hall, Shawsgate, Fint Vineyards, all within easy distance and where delicious and on-trend English wines can be purchased. Distilleries are now on the radar too such as Adnams Gin and the English Whisky Company.
Several Food Festivals spring up during the year, including but not only:-
- June – Flavours of Suffolk, Henham Park
- September – nationally acclaimed Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival at Snape
- October – Waveney Valley Food & Drink, Bungay
- December – Christmas Produce Market, Halesworth
Fresh fish can be bought straight off the boats at Southwold Harbour. Loads more detailed information is available in the properties.
So forget that supermarket delivery and have fun buying local!
Suffolk is fast gaining a reputation for artisan food and drink . We are well served by local pubs and restaurants and there’s lots of information once you arrive. Below is just a selection of local eateries.
Local Take Aways (Halesworth) include Fish & Chips/Chinese/Thai/Indian/Turkish/Italian but do note: no home deliveries hereabouts!
Although there’s lots of eateries around and about, Halesworth punches above its weight in terms of variety, catering for every need from fine dining to casual snacking.
- www.boardinghousehalesworth.com, Halesworth (2 miles) – Proper chef-run restaurant -using local produce. Attracts excellent reviews and very popular with our guests.
- de Argenteins at lovely old Ancient house, Halesworth. A Gin / Wine Bar with Mediterranean cuisine in small dishes for sharing. Good for vegan & vegetarian. Coffees & lunches every day except Sunday. Evening meals Fri & Sat only.
- Cleones at The Angel. Halesworth. User-friendly Italian Restaurant. (2 miles). Casual dining, reliable food, always buzzy and fun.
- The closest PUB, within walking distance (18 mins), is The Racehorse in Westhall village. Whilst not a gastropub, it does good unpretentious fairly-priced food (dog friendly too). UPDATE: Unhappily this has closed but there are plans to make this a Community Owned pub in 2019.
- The Star Inn at Wenhaston (4 miles) is achieving a ‘starry’ reputation for food and atmosphere and CAMRA approved beer!
- The White Horse, Sibton. Deservedly popular for consistent Award Winning food. (6 – 7 miles)
- Suffolk Stonehouse, Bungay – (6 miles). Reputedly the best pizzas in East Anglia!
- The Castle Inn, Bungay – (6 miles). They had a 4* review by AA Gill no less!
- The Queen’s Head, Bramfield. A past Award Winning pub that has now changed hands so feedback awaited. (5 miles).
- The Queen’s Head, Blyford – more eating place than pub especially for vegetarians and vegans but consistently excellent reports. Pretty place / large beer garden. (3 miles).
- Waveney House Hotel, Beccles – (9 miles). Charmingly situate by the River Waveney this is a lovely spot for a drink or a meal. Good enjoyable food.
- The Anchor, Walberswick. Popular & fashionable cheffy pub dining although popularity can perhaps lead to inconsistency. (7 miles)
- The Crown, Southwold. London crowd/good food. Good for lunches in the bar (our favourite) or proper restaurant (7 miles).
- The Sail Loft – an informal eating place on Harbour Lane, Southwold. On trend decor and modern menu. (7 miles)
- The Harbour Inn Southwold is a lovely place to eat at any time of the year. Large grassed area with picnic tables out at the back; lots of quirky rooms inside.
- The Eel’s Foot at Eastbridge is a good local pub if you are visiting RSPB Minsmere – good walks from there (into Minsmere and across to the beach and heath at Dunwich).
- Dingle Hill Tea Rooms and nursery at Dunwich. Lots of outdoor seating, child-friendly and a beautiful spot to start or finish a walk around Dingle Marshes and Dunwich.
- The Ship at Dunwich has good locally sourced seasonal produce in a great ‘pub’ interior – lovely open fire in autumn and a terraced garden.
- Upstairs at Baileys, Beccles. Fine dining Spanish style on Friday & Saturday nights only so booking essential. (8 miles)
- ‘A taste of Italy’ at The Olive Tree, Ellingham. (9 miles)
- Elegant quality dining at The Randolph Hotel, Reydon
- There’s plenty of excellent places further afield such as in Aldeburgh (try The Lighthouse or Regatta) and Fressingfield (Fox & Goose). Lots more information in the properties including info on Take-Aways in nearby Bungay & Halesworth.
- Note: a good place to stop on the A12 is the Farmcafe at Marlesford
So Much to Do!
There’s heaps of local information in each property but this list (by no means fully comprehensive) may help advance planning:
LOCAL ARTS SCENE – theatre, cinema, art galleries, festivals, music etc
- Theatre, Cinema, Art Galleries, Exhibitions & Music etc
- New Cut Arts, Halesworth – wide-ranging performance, art exhibitions, concerts & poetry – newcut.org
- Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail August/September
- Halesworth Festival in October – halesworthartsfestival.org.uk
- Fisher Theatre, Bungay – plays, one man shows and music – fishertheatre.org
- Theatre Royal, Norwich – plays, musicals, ballet, opera – theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk
- Marina Theatre, Lowestoft – plays and musicals – marinatheatre.co.uk
- Southwold Summer Theatre. Popular rep. – southwoldtheatre.org
- Halesworth Art Gallery – located in the old Almshouses, the oldest buildings in the town. Free admission. – halesworthgallery.co.uk
- Suffolk Open Artist’s Studios in June – keep an eye on What’s On – suffolkopenstudios.co.uk
- For the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts and concerts throughout the year see – snapemaltingsco.uk/aldeburgh-music
- Prefer jazz? see – southwoldjazzfestival.co.uk
- Small, comfortable & inexpensive – aldeburghcinema.co.uk
- The Electric Picture Place in Southwold is a ‘small but perfectly formed’ 70 seat cinema. Seasonal membership no problem
- The nearest Screen is in Halesworth every Wednesday – see newcut.org
ANTIQUE & VINTAGE SHOPPING
Beccles Antiques Market
Halesworth Antiques inc. Black Dog Antique Centre
Annual Halesworth Antiques Street Market, every August
Monthly Halesworth brocante
What to do with the kids? (Check opening times on web sites). Also see Young Families
- Africa comes to Kessingland – africa-alive.co.uk
- Popular child-friendly zoo – banhamzoo.co.uk
- Perfect for young ones and only a mile or so away – mooplayfarm.co.uk
- More farm animals – eastonfarmpark.co.uk
- Camel rides in Suffolk? – oasiscamelcentre.co.uk
- Thrills and spills at – pleasurewoodhills.com
- Ever popular sea life at Gt Yarmouth – sealifeeurope.com
- Big Dog Ferry has 40 minute leisurely meanders from Beccles to Geldeston Locks. A lovely way to see the River Waveney and its wildlife
- Boating and picnicking at – somerleyton.co.uk/fritton_lake
- Swallows and Amazons at – themeareatthorpeness.com
- Crabbing in Walberswick – www.explorewalberswick.co.uk/crabbing
- Treehouse adventure park at – bewilderwood.com
- ‘It’s time you came-n-saurus’ at dinosaurnature.co.uk
KIDSDAYOUT is also a useful website.
- Horse riding= lessons & escorted hacking. 2 – 3 miles away at Mells Hill Equestrian Centre or Manor Farm Equestrian Centre– no web sites so google for phone nos.
- Tennis – the Pit Stop Cafe & tennis courts at Southwold is the easiest to access + you can hire racquets etc. The Common, Southwold, IP18 6BQ tel 07887 901 027
- Sea sports such as surfing + boat trips
- Golf – visitors welcome at halesworthgc.co.uk or southwoldgolfclub.co.uk or highlodge.co.uk
- Swimming – good pool at Bungay 7 miles – waveney.gov.uk/leisure/bungaypool
- Outdoor heated swimming pool at Beccles 9 miles – beccleslido.com
- Clay pigeon shooting at highlodge.co.uk
- Coarse Fishing – highlodge.co.uk or or go to quietsports.co.uk for details of fishing at nearby Halesworth Lakes
- Fly-Fishing – willowlakessuffolk.co.uk
The area is awash with Museums large and small. Whether your interest is local history, steam engines, marine life, music, local transport, aviation – and more – you’ll find a museum catering for it.
Halesworth & District Museum is the nearest – and award-winning- local Museum with loads of interesting exhibits.
- Aviation Heritage Centre at Flixton (8 miles) aviationmuseum.net
- Halesworth (Holton) airfield museum (USAAF) halesworthairfieldmuseum.org.uk
- 100th Bomber Group at Dickleborough 100bgmus.org.uk
- 448th Bomber Group at Seething seething-airfield.com
Many local gardens participate in the Open Gardens scheme and some villages have specially designated Open Garden Days – lots of information in the property. Somerleyton Hall (30 minutes) has a wonderful maze and then there’s the formal gardens at Raveningham (25 minutes) See the huge gardens at Heveningham Hall from afar (unfortunately there’s no entrance save on special Open Days). Wootens of Wenhaston (10 minutes) is a nationally-known Perennials Nursery and Redisham Hall Nurseries is well worth a visit for keen gardeners or even for the not so keen as it’s in a beautiful setting on the Redisham Hall Estate and on Open Days you can explore the walled garden. Further afield (35-40 minutes) are the sensational Helmingham Hall gardens.
Churches & Architecture:
- St Andrew’s Church at Westhall is definitely worth a visit . In a beautiful setting down a winding country lane, this church of Norman origin has a celebrated roodscreen and font.
- Blythburgh’s “Cathedral of the Marshes” –Holy Trinity is wonderfully illuminated at night.
- The nearby Balancing Barn is viewable from a public footpath
- Halesworth and other local market towns have wonderful examples of medieval buildings
- Somerleyton Hall & Gardens
Farmer’s Markets, Breweries & Vinyards: much more info under Foodie Heaven
- Produce Market, Halesworth – 2nd Saturday morning of the month in town centre
- Farmers Market, Southwold every Friday 9 – 12.30
- Snape Maltings’ Farmers Market, first Saturday in the month (AM only)
Whilst Roger Deakin’s Waterlog covers a much wider area than Suffolk, it has its roots in the county, and there are lots of references to local wild swimming spots. You can also listen to Roger narrating A Cigarette on the Waveney (it’s the name of his canoe rather than an actual cigarette) on BBC iPlayer. Meanwhile, Notes from Walnut Tree Farm is based mainly at Roger’s home in Mellis, south of here.
Richard Mabey, author of Flora Britannica amongst many others, is relatively local and often gives local talks. His first book Food for Free was written whilst living in nearby Bramfield.
George Ewart Evans’ Ask the Fellows Who Cut the Hay is a great social history of a farming way of life now gone. His illustrator David Gentleman lives in a small village about 6 miles away and has just published a beautifully illustrated book about this area In The Country, .
Sports journalist and wildlife writer Simon Barnes lives locally and often gives local wildlife talks.
In Rings of Saturn WG Sebold describes this very area.
Southwold: “don’t miss taking the foot ferry between Southwold & Walberswick”
“our all time favourite is an evening walk along the beach topped off by a hot chocolate muffin & latte on the Pier”
Beccles: “taking the Black Dog Ferry to the Locks Inn and walking back, the most perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon”
Dunwich Heath: “our favourite place for walking “Through the bluebells at Dunwich”
Covehithe: “loved the walk along crumbling cliff edge”
Snape: “favourite walks are to Iken Church from Snape and in Tunstall Forest”
“Africa Alive was brilliant – we’ve been to London & Whipsnade zoos many times, yet this small zoo was better! “ “A big hit with the kids”
Thorpeness Mere: “the children just loved the boats – real Swallows & Amazons stuff!”
“The children loved the slide on the village green at Walberswick!”
New Lido in Beccles: “Kept the children quiet most of the day!” “Great flume”
Southwold maize maze (seasonal): “is great fun (if exhausting)
“My kids kept busy with the horse riding at Mells and tennis at the courts in Halesworth”
Sutton Hoo: “a lovely, if windswept, half-day for the children”
PLACES TO GO, THINGS TO SEE:
Southwold is “charming and understated” “the Pier is quirky and fun” “You don’t have to travel any further…” “Southwold harbour a delight with sheds selling freshly caught fish”
“Loved walking the ramparts of the castle at Framlingham ”
“Superb open-air production of Othello at castle”
Flixton Aircraft Museum is “a wonderful place” “small but truly excellent”
Aldeburgh: “the seaside town time forgot” “Fresh fish from the Fish Shacks a must for those who like their fish”
“Sutton Hoo is fascinating, especially if you take a guide – and a jacket!”
“Orford is a must-see, with quaint cottages around every corner”
“Absolutely fascinating boat trip out to Orford Ness”
“Snape Maltings is enjoyable and wheelchair friendly” & “the café does a mean goats cheese & red onion panini”
“You don’t need to be a twitcher to enjoy Minsmere”
“It’s a must if you’re interested in birds” “Saw rare stone curlew”
“Tried several golf courses but my favourite was the one at Halesworth”
“A worthwhile trip to Wyken vineyards: and a great lunch too”
“Came away loaded with bottles from Shawsgate Winery !”
“Dunwich Heath well worth a visit, good walks and stunning views”
“We found The Long Shop Museum at Leiston really interesting”
“We loved The Red House” (nr Aldeburgh- Benjamin Britten)
“Such an enjoyable day out at Somerleyton Hall & Gardens”
“Thumbs up for the Beer Tour at St Peter’s Brewery – and the Hall was a good place to quench more thirst afterwards!”
“Much enjoyed the Adnams Brewery Tour in Southwold and tea in the new café”
“The church within a church at Covehithe was very interesting”
“Fascinating walk along crumbling cliffs down to deserted beach”
“Glorious churches – Westhall Church & the painted ceiling at Huntingfield Church are musts but loads of others”
“Loved wandering the ruins of Leiston Abbey while musicians practised”
“Simply loved Focus Organic in Halesworth!”
“I stocked up with their famous smoked ham & bacon” at Emmetts in Peasenhall
“The black treacle bacon from the butchers in Halesworth (Allens) is to die for”
” The Black Olive (deli) in Southwold great for picnic fare”
“Palmers butchers in Halesworth does fab home made pies”
“We bought a hare here and jugged it – hmm, interesting!”
“Had a lovely day at Aldeburgh with its shops, boutiques and restaurants”
“Lawsons in Aldeburgh stocks really good frozen meals”
“Great kitchen impedimenta and all sorts of things at Snape Maltings. It’s worth a whole day out what with shopping, walking the reed beds and eating in nearby pub”
For those celebrating an event such as a birthday or anniversary – or simply a friends/ family get-together, there is great appeal in letting a caterer take the strain.
We are happy to point guests toward larger group catering providers (see below) but sometimes the group size is too small to interest outside caterers. Groups of 4 – 8 will find an intimate and friendly atmosphere in the attractive dining room of on-site Dragon House where we can offer a privately catered dinner. See sample menu to give an idea. Please email for costs.
However, for larger groups, caterers can come to your own holiday property or to Dragon House (which has a table that can sit up to 18).
For this, we can recommend outside caterers to suit different requirements:-
One possibility is Matt Philips’ Fine Dining at Home which offers a fully serviced classic cuisine. See www.mphillipsdining.co.uk
Or you could go in a splendidly Asian direction (Singaporean Street Food or Thai, Vietnamese + Sushi and Dim Sum) with Lilian Hiw Robinson at Lilian’s Kitchen www.lilianskitchen.co.uk
Lilian also offers wonderful bespoke cakes by the way.
For a small fee, we can provide the wherewithal to hold a traditional celebratory tea party – tablecloths, vintage teacups & plates, teapots, silver spoons, cake stands and pretty sandwich plates. We even have some Alice in Wonderland themed elements. Please enquire.