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.
The Sutton Hoo site has 200 acres for you to explore, with spectacular views of the River Deben and Woodbridge beyond. Tranmer House, also in the grounds, is now a museum to Edith Pretty who instigated the original archaeological dig in 1939.
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!
Aldeburgh is a pretty seaside town on the Suffolk coast. The famous composer Benjamin Britten lived in the town at 'The Red House' which is now a museum dedicated to his life and work.
The town itself offers an array of different shops from clothing right through to antique shops and various eateries.
Aldeburgh offers some stunning views out to the sea as well as over the River Alde which winds its way through to the picturesque village of Orford.
The town is home to the international Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts. This event takes place each June and is centred not only in the Aldeburgh area but also at Snape Maltings Concert Hall. The event is dedicated to mainly classical music.
Constable Country – Flatford/Dedham, off A12 (approx 45 - 60 mins drive)
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. This area is also now part of the AONB.
The pretty town of Dedham has charming churches, quaint Tea Rooms, a Tudor pub, and the Boathouse. Just a few miles along the River Stour is 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 –via A1094 & B1069, off A12 (approx 10 mins drive)
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, and all around you there are picturesque views across the marshes beyond the reed-beds. From the quay you can take a boat trip to the Alde Estuary and along the River Ore.
Set on the banks of the River Alde, 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.
For information/events at Snape Maltings, including Concerts, Art Exhibitions, and Farmers' Markets.
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.
Southwold Harbour can be reached from the town via the Harbour Road, across Southwold Marshes, or along the beach. From Walberswick, cross the River Blyth by ferryboat (summer only) or using the footbridge. Once there, you can buy the catch of the day from the fishermans' huts, visit the Chandlers, or rest at the Harbour Inn with freshly-cooked fish 'n' chips and Adnams ale.
Framlingham is a quaint English town amidst the Suffolk countryside. It has Anglo-Saxon origins and can be found in the Doomesday Book.
The town is famous for its wonderful 12th century castle and has more recently been put back on the map by Ed Sheerhan who wrote about the castle in his song 'Castle on The Hill'. Framlingham Castle is also where Mary Tudor was proclaimed Queen.
Framlingham has a good variety of local independent shops and eateries arranged around a pretty market square.
Every Tuesday and Saturday it has a local market on the square offering a range of local, organic produce as well as a variety of different and unique stalls to browse through at your leisure.
There are event/activities at the Castle throughout the year. For info from English Heritage.
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.
There is a programme of guided walks and family activities throughout the year. These include regular ‘Walks with the Warden’ guided tours with information on the local wildlife, and ‘Deer Safaris’ – Landrover 4 x 4 Tours to see the rutting Red Deer.
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.
A few miles away is Dunwich Village, the ‘town which fell into the sea’ in the Middle Ages. Once a major Sea Port the size of London, storms and coastal erosion reduced the once large town to a small coastal village. Find out more by visiting the Museum. In the village you'll also find the ruins of Greyfriars Monastery, a cosy pub, and an excellent cafe on the beach - for fish ‘n’ chips or ice-creams.
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.
From the Quay you can take boat trips to the RSPB Nature Reserve at Havergate Island and the National Trust SSSI Nature Reserve (and secret ex-military test site!) at Orford Ness.
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.
Woodbridge has a history of boatbuilding and today is popular with sailors of leisure craft. Use the iron footbridge to cross the railway line and from the quay, with boats moored, take a leisurely stroll along the prom or a more serious walk along the river path towards the estuary, with picturesque views across to Sutton Hoo.
The Period cottages and Victorian fronted shops in the town make Woodbridge pleasant to visit. There is a good range of interesting independent shops to browse, plus traditional Suffolk pubs, excellent restaurants, cosy cafes to choose from. Regular Farmers' Markets are held in the Town Square.
RSPB Minsmere - via B1125/Westleton (approx 10 mins drive)
RSPB Minsmere is a 1,000 hectare nature reserve which has been managed by the RSPB since 1947.
The site is a wonderful combination of reed bed, lowland heath, acid grassland, wet grassland, woodland and shingle vegetation. Minsmere is a wonderful location for bird watching and walking. There are 2 nature trails, 2 to 9-mile walks (including circular routes) and the 8 observation hides offer superb views of many birds, insects, mammals and flowers throughout the year.
The reserve sits in an area of outstanding natural beauty and is home to a wide variety of wildlife and birds, offering the visitor the chance to enjoy the peace and tranquility of this very special part of Suffolk.