Culture, history, nature and lots of fabulous food and drink make Suffolk a place chock full of fun things to do. Here’s a small selection of our favourites
This “awe-inspiring Anglo-Saxon burial ground” is arguably one of the finest archeological finds in the UK. Start off with a walk round the main site and then try the 255-acre estate’s nature trails, where you can enjoy a variety of wildlife and beautiful countryside views – particularly overlooking the River Deben.
It’s back in the limelight again at the moment thanks to The Dig, a big-budget film that reimagines the events of the original excavation in 1939. As such, Sutton Hoo’s likely to be a little more popular this year, so if you’d like to visit the exhibition hall – where you’ll see the iconic Sutton Hoo helmet – we advise booking a slot ahead of time.
The coastal village of Orford is a lovely spot to explore and its most dramatic attraction is the castle, which has a small museum and fantastic views of Orford Ness. Once you’re done there, get a boat over to Orford Nature Reserve, a ten-mile stretch of lagoons, waterways and marsh. The WWII bunkers are an eerie reminder of the past, but great fun to explore with the kids.
The reserve is a wonderful place for bird watching too. Visit in the morning or late afternoon and you might just see a regal marsh harrier fly over the wet pasture. You’ll no doubt be a bit peckish after all that, so pop over to the famous Pump Street Bakery for a hot chocolate and some cake – it’s the best around.
The collection of repurposed Victorian buildings that comprise Snape Maltings form a remarkable campus of live music venues, theatres, independent shops, galleries, restaurants and cafés. And it’s all set in a spectacular landscape of “reeds, water and sky” that typifies the Outstanding Area of Natural Beauty that surrounds it on the Suffolk coast.
Live music performances at Snape Maltings are world class, though if you’re only popping in we suggest going for a stroll around the surrounding wetlands – particularly if you’re a bird lover – before enjoying a little lunch at the fabulous Food Hall. The high-end House & Garden shop – which covers sofas to spoons – is worth a peek too. Those cushions are to die for…
Aldeburgh is one of those little seaside towns that feels like stepping back in time. Its characterful architecture and buzzing atmosphere are just the ticket for nostalgia-hungry visitors keen on reliving the summer holidays of their youth. And, of course, no trip would be complete without some fish and chips from one of its two famous shops.
The Golden Galleon and The Aldeburgh Fish and Chip Shop – locals have their firm favourite. Far be it from us to say, which is best – try both and let us know! If you’re palate’s a little more refined, perhaps you might like a few oysters on the beach from one of the fabulous seafood huts that line the seafront. BYO champagne.
Having only started producing wine in 2016, Flint is without doubt one of England’s most exciting vineyards. Here at Wilderness Reserve we particularly enjoy its bacchus-grape wine – the nearest thing we have to a native variety in the UK. We suggest hopping in one of our vintage cars – the Morgan perhaps? – and pootling down for a tour, tasting and lunch.
Things start off with a walkround of the winery and vineyard, where you’ll have the chance to take in the beautiful views of the Waveney Valley. Tours are a very reasonable £20pp and this includes a tasting of all the vineyards expressions. Stick around for lunch and you’ll be eating food sourced from no further than 20 miles around.
We mentioned the Pump Street Bakery earlier, but they also have a chocolate factory on the edge of Rendlesham Forest. Yes, their single-origin, ethically sourced chocolate is made right here in Suffolk – and it’s absolutely delicious. Not many people know they offer fantastic tours of the factory, where you and the kids will have fun learning about how it’s turned from bean to bar.
Naturally there’s a tasting at the end too. We’re particularly big fans of the sourdough and sea salt flavour – sounds odd, but give it a go. The factory is only open to the public on selected Fridays throughout the year. It’s worth noting that it happens to be on the way – or on the way back from – The Unruly Pig, which many consider to be Suffolk’s best restaurant.
If it’s a quintessentially English, bucket-and-spade day out you’re after on a sandy beach you should pop down to the Georgian village of Walberswick. Besides the obvious attraction of its wild beaches, you’ll find yourself in the self-titled “capital of crabbing” – the world championships are hosted here every August – so be sure to bring your net along.
In the colder months, it’s a lovely place to go for a good long stroll along grassy dunes, around marshes and through heathland. Things naturally end up in either The Bell or The Anchor pubs for a hearty lunch. If you run out of things to do there, jump in the oar-powered ferry over the river Blyth and pop to lively Southwold for more rose-tinted seaside adventures.
Allow us to make further suggestions or bookings on your behalf by giving us a call on 01986 802113