Southwold is not your normal seaside resort. Yes, it has plenty of beach huts, a boating lake, mini-golf and a pier, but there aren’t any amusement arcades or a promenade lined with pubs and cafes. What you have instead is a quaint and historic town, and a pier with rather different attractions (although there is a small amusement arcade as you enter).
The pier has a couple of classy, for a seaside pier, eateries, an attraction in the middle called ‘The Under of the Pier Show’; what this actually comprises are handmade up-to-date arcade attractions – a lot of fun and very popular and a couple of up-to-date artworks. These include a tribute to George Orwell, who lived in the town for some time, and a water clock, initially made to highlight water re-cycling. This is a lot of fun on the hour and the half hour when there is a little display involving shorts dropping and water squirting!
I loved the beach huts in Southwold! With very few exceptions they were well loved and looked after and most of them were named – my favourite was ‘Linga Longa’ 🙂 There were also several, smaller, huts available for hire – and many of them were actually in use the day we were there.
We wandered along the seafront promenade for a while before heading up into town for some fish and chips (well it was National Fish & Chips day after all). We found a wonderful little chippy – The Little Fish and Chip Shop – which was rather different and served wonderful food! I even had a little glass of wine with mine (that’s a first). We managed to get there just in a lull; it was really busy before we got there (we saw everybody walking back down to the seafront with their takeaways) and then it got really busy again once we’d ordered. Highly recommended 🙂
A wander around town followed and then we headed back down to the seafront via The Green (where there was a fair in full swing). From this end of town there is a footpath to the foot ferry over to Walberswick.
At the end of the promenade I got myself a lovely Whippy ice cream (Calv was jealous as he’d succumbed back up in town – mine was much nicer!) We wandered along past more beach huts (so many were being used) and everyone having fun on the beach, which is mostly sandy by the way.
The main pier car park has a few spaces for motorhomes, although you can park along Pier Road for free if you don’t mind a bit of a walk.
On the way home we drove through Dunwich which meant we returned the next day for a proper look.
Dunwich is now a tiny village with a big history. Once the Felixstowe of it’s day it used to extend a further 2000m out to sea, all now lost to the natural coastal erosion experienced over the last several hundred years. The city used to have 4000 inhabitants and 8 churches, as well as 3 competing Friaries. There are now less than 200 inhabitants and 1 church + the remains of 1 of the friaries, Greyfriars. There is also a nice pub, The Ship (with a lovely garden and accommodation, including chalets).
The approach to Dunwich is through Dunwich forest, a beautiful area with many parking and picnic areas, criss-crossed with numerous pathways. On entering the village you pass the ‘new’ church, built on the site of the old ‘Leper’s hospital’. It also has the remains of the final church to be lost from the cliffside which was rescued before it finally fell and rebuilt in the churchyard.
You can walk from Dunwich through the marshes to Walberswick. It is, of course, also possible then to take the foot ferry over to Southwold 🙂
You could definitely spend a whole day here with varying activities. Again, highly recommended.
My next post will be looking at Framlingham and a cycle ride from Aldeburgh to Thorpeness. See you soon.