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