Sutton Hoo – Woodbridge, off A12 (approx 20 mins drive)
One of the greatest archaeological treasures ever found in Britain – the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon king and his most treasured possessions which had lain undisturbed for 1,300 years. You can walk around the burial mounds and visit the award-winning exhibition with its full-size reconstruction of the burial chamber and displays of original Anglo-Saxon treasure on loan from the British Museum.
For information/events at Sutton Hoo (and other NT sites), from the National Trust.
Thorpeness was created by the Scottish playwright Glencairn Stuart Ogilivie as a place for friends to stay and visit during the summer months. Work began on creating the village in 1910, and its distinct Jacobean and Tudor style homes can be seen to this day.
Thorepeness has its own golf course, country club and boating lake known as The Meare. The Meare is inspired by Peter Pan as the author J.M Barrie was a close personal friend of the Ogilvie family. Every summer rowing boats can be hired for exploring the surrounding area. The beach is an easy walk from the village and many people like to walk or cycle to nearby Aldeburgh along the safe coastal path.
Thorepeness also holds an annual 'Regatta' where visitors can enjoy a picnic, barbeque, live music and fireworks over the Meare in the evening.
Walberswick is an unspoilt village on the Suffolk Heritage Coast, just across the River Blyth from Southwold. There are two excellent Suffolk pubs serving freshly cooked and locally-sourced food, including seasonal fish and seafood.
The village itself is very small, but has an interesting Gift Shop, and a very good Tea Shop – serving morning coffee, light lunches, afternoon teas, and ice-creams (to take away).
What’s so wonderful about Walberswick is it’s unspoilt beach – where you can walk for miles up the coast. There are no Tea Huts or Ice-Cream Kiosks, just sand-dunes and sea!
On the edge of the marshes there are two bridges which take you cross the Creek. Children enjoy whiling away the afternoon sitting on the edge of the bridges and catching crabs using lines baited with fish or streaky-bacon.
From Easter until October there is a Ferry service to Southwold, with a skilled oarsman taking you across the River Blyth to Southwold Harbour in a row-boat – for about 50p each!
The quintessentially English painter John Constable was born in Suffolk and produced much of his work in Dedham Vale and the Stour Valley - on the border of Essex and Suffolk. Within 45 mins to an hours drive of your holiday cottage in Saxmundham is the pretty town of Dedham, and Flatford Mill - where John Constable painted 'The Haywain'.
Today, the mill building is managed by the National Trust as a heritage centre for visitors. You can also hire a rowboat to take a trip down the River Stour from Dedham to Flatford to see the exact location in the painting, before stopping for lunch at the riverside Tearooms.
For information about Flatford, Dedham Vale, and the Constable Exhibition, from the National Trust.
Snape Maltings is now an Arts complex – with Benjamin Britten’s Concert Hall & Music School at its heart.
There are restaurants, cafe/tea rooms and retail outlets selling exclusive homewares and arts & crafts, plus regular Art Exhibitions, permanent galleries, and some interesting artists’ studios/workshops to browse around.
Home to ‘Aldeburgh Music’, there is a regular programme of concerts of Classical music all year round.
A guided tour of the concert hall itself will tell you of its history as a ‘maltings’. In the grounds, you will come across sculptures (by Henry Moore and others), and all around you there are stunning views across the marshes and the River Alde estuary.
Snape Maltings is just 4 miles from your holiday cottage in Saxmundham (about a 10 min drive).
Set on the banks of the River Alde, there are picturesque views over the marshes beyond the reed-beds. The area is popular with birdwatchers and walkers, and a Public Footpath across the bridge leads you to Aldeburgh.
The Maltings is close to the village of Snape, where there are two country pubs serving excellent food from seasonal local produce.
Southwold is an ever-popular seaside town – on the Suffolk Heritage Coast. It’s famous for it’s colourful beach-huts, Pier, lighthouse, harbour and sandy beaches. Other points of interest are the canons on Gun Hill, and the Sailors’ Reading Room – where you can sit and look out to sea.
The town is largely Victorian in character, and has many interesting independent shops to browse around – such as the old fashioned sweet shop in the High Street. The Adnams Brewery offers ‘Tours & Tastings’, and has a large shop selling homewares as well as it’s own beer, larger, wines, champagnes and spirits.
There are numerous cafes and tea shops – for a quick coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea. For local ‘Suffolk’ food, there are several traditional pubs, all serving locally-caught seasonal fish and seafood – such as the Red Lion, The Kings Head, and The Nelson.
Dunwich Heath is part of ‘Suffolk Coasts & Heaths’, designated by the Government as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and includes part of the Heritage Coast.
On top of the cliffs sits the Coastguards Cottages, where you’ll find a Tea Rooms and Visitors Centre. It has it’s own area of unspoilt sandy beach below the cliffs, which can only be safely accessed by the steps down.
Orford is a small fishing village on the Suffolk Heritage Coast. It has a working harbour, and the seasonal fish and seafood landed by the fishing boats at Orford will be cooked & served in local pubs and restaurants in the surrounding area the following day – or the same day – including in the ‘Jolly Sailor’, just along from Orford Quay.
Orford boasts an excellent Fish Restaurant (in the village), to sample some of the fresh locally-caught fish for yourself. And ‘Pinneys’ sell pates and smoked fish from their own smoke-house for you to take home for supper.
On the hill at the far end of the village is a Norman castle to explore. Orford Castle is managed by English Heritage, and there is parking and a Visitors Centre and Gift Shop inside.
Woodbridge is a pretty riverside town on the banks of the River Deben. On the Quay, is the historic ‘Tide Mill’ – the last remaining tidal mill in the county. Having been restored with help from the Lottery Fund, the Tide Mill now has a Visitors’ Centre with fabulous views along the estuary from the top.
The period cottages and Victorian fronted shops in the town make it a pleasant place to stroll around after lunch, in one of the traditional Suffolk pubs.