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). 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 – Great shopping! Performances in the world class concert hall, good food, 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.
- 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)
An ABC of Interests
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.
An interesting article about the village of Westhall (where Belle Grove is located) from a local writer…
” Passing along Nollers lane, (who was Noller?) I was reminded of the practice in mediaeval times of putting illustrations of dragons, sea monsters and other mythical creatures on the uncharted areas of maps. Here be dragons indeed,foron the roof of Belle Grove, unusual holiday accommodation, a dragon rests on the chimney of one of the buildings. A few times a year, tours of the house are available through Invitation to View; the scheme offers visits to privately owned houses and other places of interest, many rarely open to the public. (Ed note: not now available re Belle Grove until further notice).
The population of Westhall is estimated at something under 400, its houses mostly huddle together around the old pub, with others scattered across its fields. The pub, The Racehorse, a curious name, has been up for sale for some months. There are reports about the tenancy of the pub in the Ipswich Journal of 1846, and, in 2007 it was the venue for a dwile-flonking tournament and at the centre of argument over the rightful home for the dwile-flonking cup.
Pub signs were rarely named by accident and illustrate everything, from religion to royalty, scandal to sport, and battles to inventions. Their origin goes back to the Romanswhen the ‘Tabernae’ would hang vine leaves outside to show that they sold wine. The naming of inns and pubs became common by the C12thand, with pub names came pub signs, as the majority of the population could not read or write.They are collectively a unique record of Britain’s history and many are also beautifully-crafted works of art on public view.
Leaving the village itself I went in search of the church, a mile away, through winding lanes and down a steep and muddy Church Hill. And, there is St Andrew’s Church, on a bit of a mound, surrounded by snowdrops and winter aconites and ancient trees, secretive and other-worldly in the winter sunlight. An early Norman church, with the tower to the west built several hundred years later; and then a new nave to the north, its chancel a hundred years after that whilst the old church became a south aisle. Standing in the space beneath the tower looking back, the richly decorated doorway would have been the main entrance to the Romanesque church. The church has an abundance of historical treasures to feast one’s eyes upon; not least, a seven sacrament font, the painted rood screen, wall paintings, scratch marks and roof angels.
I found that some signposts to nearby Sotherton were misaligned, In true Suffolk fashion, to confuse and baffle the traveller! With a population of about 70, Sotherton is described as a ‘dispersed’ village, and, that is certainly the case; so dispersed, indeed, I am not sure I ever found it, or that it is there to be found.
Sotherton Hall is a grade II listed Tudor timber framed farmhouse or Hall house with a shaped brick gable end, set by a listed C17th-18thtimber framed and weather boarded barn, in a small park towards the north of the parish. It belonged to the Earls of Stradbroke, as part of the Henham Park estate, until 1951.
Crawling along the B1124 road seeking any indication of the way to Sotherton, I was stunned by the sight of some ten or so fallow deer, emerging from the hedge on the right and leaping across the road through the hedgerow to the left. A well-antlered stag in the middle of his harem of female deer, they were led by a white doe – or was it a unicorn? Was I dreaming? By the time my camera was to hand, they were away across the fields and into a copse, the white doe showing up against the backdrop of wintry trees. A magical end to my odyssey.”
For more, see Within 10 Miles
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. Check specific dates online as these, of course, change from year to year.
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
- First Light Festival, Lowestoft
- 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!
Fresh fish can be bought fresh off the boats at Black Shore, Southwold Harbour and at Aldeburgh.
Fen Farm Dairy is only a few miles away. Here you can purchase raw milk from their on-site vending machine as well as their Award Winning Baron Bigod Cheese (served at Harry & Meghan’s wedding breakfast) and gorgeous butter. (Did you know that one of the storylines in the Archers is based on their ‘journey’ !)
So forget that supermarket delivery and have fun buying local!
Farmer’s Markets, Breweries & Vinyards:
- 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)
- 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.Also see the Waveney Valley Wine Trail and Food Trail
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.
- 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 is becoming a Community Owned pub .
- 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, 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 Marlesfor
A handy link to Suffolk Pubs is here
Arts & Music
LOCAL ARTS SCENE – theatre, cinema, art galleries, exhibitions, festivals, 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.
- Suffolk Open Artist’s Studios in June
- The Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts has concerts throughout the year
- Close by (4 miles) , Latitude in July. Day passes available.
- Aldeburgh was famously home to Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears and you can visit the Red House (you need to book ahead)
- 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 Film Screen (movies + live screenings) is in Halesworth at The Cut Arts Centre every Wednesday
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.
See Information under Events
Swimming & Boating
There are a couple of places mentioned in Roger Deakin’s Waterlog that are good for wild swimming ie in the River Waveney at Outney Meadow just on the edge of Bungay and downstream from the Locks Inn at Geldeston. The Big Dog Ferry will take you to Geldeston from Beccles .Join the locals in jumping from the bridge or clamber down the bank and swim amongst the reeds and ducks with lunch or a drink at the pub afterwards!
For sea swimming, Covehithe is good (where you can see at first hand the eroding coastline), as is Southwold and Walberswick which has a gently shelving beach of mostly sand with shingle. When the tide’s out at Walberswick there’s a large pool (near the mouth of the river) which small children love to splash in. (The dunes help create a sheltered environment too).
The Blyth Estuary is a great place to visit in any season, following the river as it meanders down towards Walberswick and Southwold; in autumn, you might be lucky enough to see a murmuration of starlings (in an area that’s not short of wildlife) and you will generally hear curlews calling and, when the tide is out, thousands of gulls, waders, oyster catchers, avocets and seabirds on the huge mudflats.
Down by the quay, you can stop at the shacks to buy fish straight off the boats or even treat yourself to an excellent lunch at the Sole Bay Fish Co.
Orford Ness is a wild and mysterious place to explore; it’s accessible only by ferry boat, courtesy of the National Trust. Once you’ve visited the Ness, be sure to take in Pinney’s of Orford’s shop for wonderful seafood.
Gardens to visit
Many local gardens participate in the Open Gardens scheme and some villages have specially designated Open Garden Days.
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 – on Open Days explore the walled garden.
Further afield (35-40 minutes) are the sensational Helmingham Hall Gardens
Antique & Vintage
Beccles Antiques Market
Halesworth Antiques inc. Black Dog Antique Centre
Annual Halesworth Antiques Street Market, every August Bank Holiday
Monthly Halesworth brocante
Locally, Halesworth & District Museum is the nearest – and award-winning- museum with loads of interesting exhibits.
If aviation history is your thing see Aviation
For overview of East Anglian. air museums see http://www.airscene.co.uk/aviation_museums/east_anglia.php
Bentwaters Cold War Museum worth a visit too
- Horse riding= lessons & escorted hacking. 2 – 3 miles away at Mells Hill Equestrian Centre or Manor Farm Equestrian Centre.
- 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
- Swimming – indoor pool at Bungay 7 miles – waveney.gov.uk/leisure/bungaypool
- Swimming – 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