The Suffolk Coast
  • Top 10 Free Family Days Out on The Suffolk Coast

Top 10 Free Family Days Out on The Suffolk Coast

The summer holidays are here and you need something up your sleeve for when the kids shout, “We’re bored!”

Here’s our Top 10 Free Family Days Out on the Suffolk Coast…

1. Beaches

Aldeburgh Beach - credit Gill Moon

Whether you’re in search of a great family day out, a birdwatching haven, or trip back in time, the beaches along the Suffolk Coast will provide you with a memorable day out.

The beaches at LowestoftKessinglandSouthwoldWalberswickAldeburghThorpeness and Felixstowe all remind you why it’s so great to spend time by the sea. A real tonic to beat the hustle and bustle of everyday life!

2. Outdoor Play Areas

Rendlesham-Forest-Fun-with-dogs-by-Emily-Fae

Whether it's a traditional Victorian park, a fort in the middle of a forest, or a zip wire along the river, the outdoor play areas on The Suffolk Coast are the perfect place for kids to let off steam and enjoy the great outdoors.

Rendlesham Forest, near Woodbridge, combines traffic-free walking and cycling with enormous wooden outdoor play structures and you can easily spend several hours in this magical forest with its spooky UFO trail. When you arrive in the car park you will see a small playground which is great for younger children; however the really exciting activities are hidden just a short walk away in the woods. Spread out among the trees is a zip wire, swings, climbing walls and a giant wooden aircraft that will entertain toddlers through to teenagers.

Martello Park in Felixstowe is a great place to spend an hour or two. This grassy park offers play, picnic and wildlife areas, whilst Nicholas Everitt Park in Oulton Broad is open all year round, sitting comfortably alongside the Broads National Park. The traditional park hosts a tea room, Lowestoft Museum, bowling, tennis, trampolines and children's play area.

3. Landguard Peninsula

Landguard Peninsula 1 - credit Visit Felixstowe
The Landguard Peninsula is located at the southern point of Felixstowe. Take time to explore the rich military and maritime heritage of Landguard Fort. It's one of England's best-preserved coastal defences and has a history spanning almost 450 years, children will love seeing history come to life with the audio-tour and one of the many events run throughout the year (there is an admission charge for the Fort and neighbouring Felixstowe Museum but the Nature Reserve is a free wide open space).

Whilst there head to the shingle habitat of the Landguard Nature Reserve which surrounds the Fort. It's a fascinating blend of rare plants, migrating birds and military history and the perfect place to let the little ones run off steam.

For a bite to eat, head to the Landguard Visitor Centre and View Point Cafe;  a warm and friendly building with fun hands-on displays, videos and exhibits on the attractions of the Peninsula, public toilets and a 60 seater cafe serving all day breakfasts, snacks, fresh fish and chips and ice cream. 

With a range of special events and activities throughout the year, Landguard offers a great day out for all ages and interests. Admission charges apply to the Fort and Museum but the Nature Reserve is free to explore!

For more information, visit: www.discoverlandguard.org.uk

4. Suffolk Museums

Leiston-no-wm-25 thumbnail
There are more than 50 museums in Suffolk, each one packed with fascinating stories and objects. 
Suffolk’s many small museums are also full of surprises; housed in some exciting places too. In castles and cottages; in moot halls and on wartime airfields; in a Victorian engineering works and at a railway station.

From prehistoric discoveries to amazing archaeological finds; from Saxon burials to fishing and farming in the age of steam; from the drowning of Medieval Dunwich to the development of Radar. There’s buses, bones and lifeboats; medals, models and manuscripts; art, axes and aircraft; wool-work, witch-bottles and wooden toys; something for every member of the family to enjoy.

The majority of Suffolk’s smaller museums are run entirely by volunteers and all of these museums rely on donations from visitors to support the great work they do preserving Suffolk’s heritage.

There really is something for visitors of all ages – and they’re not all indoors. So, come rain or shine, there’s a Suffolk museum waiting to be explored. 

Opening hours vary and it is always advisable to check individual websites for details when planning a visit.
For more information visit www.suffolkmuseums.org.uk

5. Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Landguard Peninsula 3 - credit Visit Felixstowe
The Suffolk Wildlife Trust has nature reserves all the way along the Suffolk Coast, from Trimley Marshes at Felixstowe to Gunton Meadow at Lowestoft; some of Suffolk's most inspiring wild places. 

With flower-studded marshes, pools teeming with water life and the shimmer of dragonflies during summer, Carlton & Oulton Marshes is the Suffolk Broads at their best. For sheer excitement and awe, birds of prey are hard to beat and marsh harrier, barn owl and hobby are all at home in the skies above. There's a range of children's and family activities on offer throughout the year, including pond dipping, painting and birdbox building plus many more.

It’s a wildlife oasis on the edge of Lowestoft. Hen Reedbeds, near Southwold, is a blend of reedbeds, fens, dykes and pools created in 1999 to provide new breeding habitat for bittern and other wildlife. Bromeswell Green, near Woodbridge, is noted for its wet meadows, saltmarsh and woodland. Wetland plants such as southern marsh orchid, lesser spearwort and fen bedstraw make a wonderful display in the damper areas, while climbing corydalis is more typical of the drier parts. Common lizard can be seen basking on warm sunny days.

You are welcome to explore these or any of the nature reserves anytime, free of charge. For more information, visit www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org

6. Southwold Pier

Southwold Pier
Southwold is a popular destination for the many visitors to The Suffolk Coast and its most prominent attraction, the pier, hosts a wide range of things to see and do.

The innovative water clock was designed by Tim Hunkin and its cheeky design is sure to entertain on the hour. As well as this there are cafés, restaurants, shops and an arcade, certainly enough to keep the whole family busy for the whole day. Tim Hunkin’s intriguing underwater shows are viewed via the quantum-tunnelling periscope at the end of the pier; a fascinating insight into the mix of old and new which make up the pier’s attractions.

For more information, visit www.southwoldpier.co.uk

7. Felixstowe Seafront Gardens

Felixstowe Seafront Gardens 2 - credit Gill Moon
Step back in time with a visit to the newly regenerated Seafront Gardens. Demonstrating the original 1920s design, the Seafront Gardens at Felixstowe have been acknowledged as a Grade II Registered Garden of Special Historical Interest by English Heritage.

The gardens were regenerated in 2015 and now feature a series of interconnected gardens, defined spaces, stone and water features together with ornamental planting which impart an impression of historic character, municipal quality and a great diversity of visual interest.

The perfect place to rest a while…

For more information, visit www.visitfelixstowe.co.uk

8. Cycling

TTDA - Cycling - (c) Tony Pick

The Suffolk Coast is ideal for family cycling trips, and we've a route to suit all! 
A range of guides and routes are on offer including Explorer Guides, Town Route Maps and themed and leisure cycle routes, and if you're visiting on holiday, bicycles are available for hire too (check out Southwold Cycle Hire). 
A full list of cycle routes and maps available for download are available on our Cycling Guide. 

9. Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB

Dunwich Heath and Beach credit Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB M Farrow
Most of the Suffolk Coast sits in The Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), a stunning landscape packed with wildlife and exciting places to explore and discover. 

With 155 square miles of tranquil and unspoilt landscape including wildlife-rich estuaries, ancient heaths, windswept shingle beaches and historic towns and villages - you just know there’ll be something for everyone!

If you love nothing more than a long walk beside the sea, a brisk stroll before lunch, cycling along quiet lanes, sailing iconic estuaries, or spending hours quietly watching some of the UK's rarest wildlife, the beautiful landscape of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has it all.

Walk in the footsteps of the seafarers who traveled from the Suffolk coast to the village of Snape by following the Sailor’s Path, or enjoy two beautiful walks discovering the beauty of Sutton Heath. Alternatively, explore the coastal village of Kessingland with three delightful walks.

The Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB produces a wide range of publications to help you enjoy and explore this unique landscape:


Additional publications are free to download from www.suffolkcoastandheaths.org

10. Suffolk Libraries

TTDA - Suffolk Libraries - Children Reading

With everything from story readings, quizzes, author talks and crafts; there is a wide range of events on offer at libraries throughout The Suffolk Coast. Suffolk Libraries are located in Lowestoft, Oulton Broad, Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth, Framlingham, Woodbridge, Felixstowe and Ipswich.

For more information and event listings, visit www.suffolklibraries.co.uk/events-activities/upcoming




Things to see and do


Moth Crafts

Moth Crafts

Bungay

Moth is a charming shop full to the brim of handmade articles from makers across Suffolk and Norfolk.

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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible


Marina Theatre

Marina Theatre

It plays host to major West End productions, top comedy, orchestral concerts, touring drama and musical productions, opera, ballet, music, dance and celebrity concerts as well as operating a successful cinema operation - boasting the largest screen and cinema auditoria in the town. 

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Wheelchair Accessible


Felixstowe Museum

Felixstowe Museum

Explore the fascinating artefacts and collections of Felixstowe Museum, which brings alive the military and social history of this seaside town.

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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible


Visit Felixstowe

Visit Felixstowe

Everybody loves a great day by the sea, and Felixstowe has great days for everyone.

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Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

The Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a stunning landscape packed full with wildlife and exciting places to explore and discover. There's something for everyone with 155 square miles of tranquil and unspoilt landscape including wildlife-rich estuaries, ancient heaths, windswept shingle beaches and historic towns and villages.

Read more >


Oulton Dayboats

Oulton Dayboats

Self drive boat hire by the hour or day, spend time afloat in the newly created Broads National park here in Suffolk. 



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Sailing Barge Victor

Sailing Barge Victor

Sailing Barge Victor is a perfect marriage of a majestic and traditionally rigged 19th century sailing vessel with comfortable, modern facilities for guests.

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Beaches

Beaches

Whether you’re in search of a great family day out, a birdwatching haven, or trip back in time, the beaches along the Suffolk Coast will provide you with a memorable day out whatever the time of year.

In the winter, Suffolk's beaches take on a whole new persona; with windswept dunes, crashing waves, and bracing winds, they are the perfect place to blow away the cobwebs, stroll hand in hand with your loved one, or enjoy a solitary dog walk.


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Suffolk Summer Theatres

Suffolk Summer Theatres

With a broad mixture of comedies, thrillers and family drama; performing five shows at both St Edmund's Hall, Southwold and the Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh between July to mid-September. "Classic theatre for a modern audience."

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Wheelchair Accessible


Orwell Lady River Cruises

Orwell Lady River Cruises

Ipswich

From April to October each year, Orwell Lady cruises up and down the beautiful and historic River Orwell, offering passengers a choice of trips and experiences whilst taking in the beautiful wooded stretches of the river, local wildlife and points of local and historical interest.

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Africa Alive!

Africa Alive!

Kessingland

At Africa Alive!, explore the sights and sounds of Africa and discover lions, giraffes, meerkats, hunting dogs and many more animals from the African continent.

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Discover Landguard

Discover Landguard

The Landguard Peninsula is located at the southerly most point of the town of Felixstowe. 

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Open Top Touring Ltd

Open Top Touring Ltd

Woodbridge

As well as providing driving routes through the un-spoilt Suffolk Coast, past Suffolk’s historic wool towns and the county’s most beautiful sights, they can arrange luxury accommodation in some of Suffolk best hotels and B&Bs.

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O&C Butcher

O&C Butcher

Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh has changed in many ways over the last hundred years, but one business has been an ever present in the town.

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Iken Canoe

Iken Canoe

Iken Canoe is a small and friendly canoe, kayak and stand up paddleboard hire centre based on the stunning upper reaches of the Alde estuary between Snape and Aldeburgh, close to the Suffolk coast.

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Dog friendly


Ipswich Town and Waterfront

Ipswich Town and Waterfront

Championing Ipswich as a great place to visit and stay. Promoting local events, places of interests, arts, theatre and culture of the historic town.

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The Cut - Halesworth

The Cut - Halesworth

Halesworth

The Cut Arts Centre offers Halesworth and the surrounding countryside an extensive range of arts, music, theatre, dance, comedy, cinema, workshops and art exhibitions. 

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National Trust Sutton Hoo

National Trust Sutton Hoo

Woodbridge

Discover the story of the Anglo-Saxons at the burial ground of kings

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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible


Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Felixstowe

From tiny meadows to rolling heaths, the nature reserves extend all the way along the Suffolk Coast from Trimley Marshes at Felixstowe to Lound Lakes north of Lowestoft and are some of Suffolk's most inspiring wild places. 

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Collen & Clare

Collen & Clare

The beautiful multi-brand stores in Southwold and Burnham Market offer Womenswear, Menswear, Beauty, Lingerie and Accessories and there is also a contemporary Womenswear and Accessories store in Aldeburgh.

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Free wifi Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible


Southwold Arts Centre

Southwold Arts Centre

The première entertainment venue in the popular Suffolk coastal town of Southwold; presenting a year-round programme of events including music, theatre, film, comedy, craft and antique fairs, art exhibitions, workshops, community events and outdoor events. Southwold Arts Centre also offers a number of spaces for hire; suitable for live events, meetings, family celebrations and exhibition space.

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Free wifi Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible


Southwold Pier

Southwold Pier

Southwold

Southwold is a popular destination for the many visitors to the East Coast and its most prominent attraction, the pier, hosts a wide range of things to see and do.

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Beccles Lido & Big Dog Ferry

Beccles Lido & Big Dog Ferry

Beccles

Come down to Beccles in the Summer Holidays and enjoy the amazing views and facilities of the Lido. 

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Landguard Fort

Landguard Fort

Felixstowe

Discover the rich military and maritime heritage of Landguard Fort, one of England's best preserved coastal defences, with a history spanning almost 450 years. 

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Long Shop Museum

Long Shop Museum

Leiston

Located at the heart of the original Richard Garrett and Sons Town Works, The Long Shop museum tells an inspiring story of enterprise and endeavor through its stunning collections, hands-on displays and the remarkable family behind the factory.

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Wheelchair Accessible


East Anglia Transport Museum

East Anglia Transport Museum

Lowestoft

The only museum in East Anglia where you can ride on working trams, trolley buses and narrow gauge railway!

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Dog friendly


Waveney River Tours

Waveney River Tours

Lowestoft

Conducted river tours and boat hire through the Waveney Valley and the New Broads National Park.

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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible


Deben Boat Trips

Deben Boat Trips

Join the 'Oystercatcher' for a 30 minute river trip. Departing from The Quay, Waldringfield.

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Claremont Pier Leisure and Family Entertainment Centre

Claremont Pier Leisure and Family Entertainment Centre

Claremont Pier Leisure and Family Entertainment Centre is situated in between Lowestoft's Award winning beaches in South Lowestoft. 

It's a hive of activity and entertainment, from traditional fruit machines and video games, to roller skating, fantastic live music, perfect party venue, great fish and chips and fabulous brasserie dining with the best sea views in town!

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Southwold Cycle Hire

Southwold Cycle Hire

Southwold

Unlike a larger town there aren’t any major roads in Southwold, meaning it’s a far safer environment for anyone on two wheels. Plus it only takes a few minutes pedalling in any direction before you are taking in scenic views, whether it’s a breathtaking coastal panorama or Suffolk’s rural landscape.

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Outdoor Play Areas On The Suffolk Coast

Outdoor Play Areas On The Suffolk Coast

Whether it's a traditional Victorian park, a fort in the middle of a forest, or a zip wire along the river, the outdoor play areas on The Suffolk Coast are the perfect place for kids to let off steam and enjoy the great outdoors.

Read more >


Lady Florence River Cruise Restaurant

Lady Florence River Cruise Restaurant

Lady Florence River Cruise and  Restaurant provides a unique and exciting dining experience offering brunch and a la carte lunch or dinner cruises from Orford Quay, Orford, Suffolk. 


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Fiona's Fabrics

Fiona's Fabrics

Woodbridge

Fabulous selection of fabrics, yarns and haberdashery - based in the market town of Woodbridge

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Sailing Barge Cruises

Sailing Barge Cruises

Ipswich

Relaxing Orwell River Cruises on board the vintage sailing barges, Thistle, Hydrogen and Kitty.

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The Amber Museum

The Amber Museum

Southwold

A small museum in the seaside town of Southwold purpose built to explain the origin of amber, its history and its uses throughout the years.

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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible


RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve

RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve

Westleton

Discover nature together on the beautiful Suffolk coast. Wander among the wetlands and woods, potter along the beach, and pause to watch some amazing wildlife. Explore the Wild Zone with the family, then sample some delicious home-cooked, locally-sourced food in the cafe.

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The Red House

The Red House

Aldeburgh

The music of Benjamin Britten is the soundtrack of the Suffolk coast. At The Red House in Aldeburgh you can explore the life and work of this world-famous composer in the place where he lived and worked.

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Free wifi Wheelchair Accessible


Suffolk Libraries

Suffolk Libraries

All of the county's 44 libraries provide a wide range of services including traditional library loans (books, DVDs etc) access to the internet and a range of information materials, free Wi-Fi and activities for people of all ages throughout the year.


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Free wifi


Felixstowe Spa Pavilion Theatre

Felixstowe Spa Pavilion Theatre

A glorious seafront theatre and restaurant complex, with stunning views, an art deco auditorium for up to 900 people and a fabulous Mediterranean-style pizza, pasta & grill menu. Food served all day includes home-made cakes and pastries, lunch and dinner menus, with tapas, sandwiches and takeaway also available. 


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Free wifi Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible


Cycle Breaks

Cycle Breaks

Ipswich

Supported, gentle cycling & walking holidays along the Suffolk Coast as well as in Constable Country & The Wool Towns and Norfolk and quality bike hire too!

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Pakefield Riding School

Pakefield Riding School

One of the oldest and best-known horse riding centres and stables in East Anglia.

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Free wifi Wheelchair Accessible


Wild Days Conservation - Suffolk Coast Holidays

Wild Days Conservation - Suffolk Coast Holidays

A new initiative in 2016 to run wildlife conservation and research holidays on the Suffolk coast, one of Britain's most beautiful places. These are holidays that people will enjoy, even when they're working hard and possibly getting muddy into the bargain!

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Felixstowe Seafront Gardens

Felixstowe Seafront Gardens

The newly restored Felixstowe Seafront Gardens sit on cliffs between the town centre and beach.

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Sizewell B Visitors Centre

Sizewell B Visitors Centre

Sizewell B is the UK’s only Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) and also the most modern nuclear power station in the UK. The visitor centre offers a unique insight into this technology in an interactive exhibition, there is also a classroom facility and the opportunity to pre book a tour of the power station.

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Suffolk Museums

Suffolk Museums

There are more than 50 museums in Suffolk. Each one is unique, and they are all packed with fascinating stories and objects. 

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Angels & Pinnacles (Suffolk churches)

Angels & Pinnacles (Suffolk churches)

Angels and Pinnacles helps you discover Suffolk’s magnificent medieval churches, among the finest in Europe.

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Suffolk Food Hall and Cookhouse Restaurant

Suffolk Food Hall and Cookhouse Restaurant

Ipswich

Suffolk Food Hall has everything you’d expect from a large farm shop and more. It is the 10 year Champion of Champions for Local Food (Countryside Alliance rural oscars) and it’s also an ideal location to the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is a restaurant (booking advisable) which has been judged to be the Best On Farm Restaurant in Britain and separate café with a children’s playarea.


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Free wifi Dog friendly


The Riverside

The Riverside

The Riverside Cinema may be over 100 years old but the films and live broadcast events that are on screen are totally up to date. 

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Free wifi Wheelchair Accessible


Ferini Art Gallery

Ferini Art Gallery

The Ferini Art Gallery is set before the beautiful and ever-changing skies an seascapes of Pakefield. It's art mirrors the light and vibrance of the coastline, fishing beach and sandy cliffs.

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Suffolk Craft Society

Suffolk Craft Society

The Suffolk Craft Society was formed in 1970 to promote the value and importance of contemporary crafts and currently supports around 110 individual craftspeople in the creation of their work across a wide range of craft skills. 

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Coastal Voyager

Coastal Voyager

Coastal Voyager is the perfect activity for all ages ranging from families with children to work groups.


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Dog friendly


Lowestoft Ferry

Lowestoft Ferry

The harbour launch "Terrier" provides regular daily trips between the attractions of Lowestoft and Oulton Broad.

Running hourly along the inland waterway known as Lake Lothing the journey provides a new and interesting way to see the town from the water. Accommodating up to 12 passengers, the vessel can be booked for groups. Why not give the traffic a miss, sit back and enjoy the view!


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International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC)

International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC)

IBTC in Lowestoft offers a variety of boatbuilding/maintenance and woodworking courses suitable for those looking for a career in the maritime industry as well as individuals wanting to develop existing or new interests and skills.

With courses from 1 day to almost a year there is something to offer everyone; from owners and enthusiasts to prospective tradespersons.


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Dog friendly


Lowestoft Tourism

Lowestoft Tourism

Come to Lowestoft for a great day out, short break or family holiday. 

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Halesworth and the Blyth Valley

Halesworth and the Blyth Valley

The Blyth Valley runs 17 miles inland from the coast at Southwold to Laxfield via Halesworth and Huntingfield and is a superb destination for walking, cycling & wildlife-watching as well as being known for its welcoming pubs and local produce!

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Southwold Boating Lake and Tearoom

Southwold Boating Lake and Tearoom

Southwold

So much more than glorious cream teas and freshly baked cakes and pastries, tasty breakfasts, lunches and homemade snacks - Southwold Boating Lake and Tearoom is one of the gems of Southwold.

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Dog friendly


Aldeburgh Cinema

Aldeburgh Cinema

Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh Cinema: the very best of world cinema at the heart of the local community since 1919. Providing a programme of film screenings, live shows and special event;  independent, inspirational, meaningful, fun.

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Free wifi


The Suffolk Punch Trust

The Suffolk Punch Trust

Woodbridge

The Suffolk Punch Trust is an educational and environmental charity dedicated to breeding and preserving the Suffolk Punch horse. The Hollesley Bay Colony Stud, is the world’s oldest and largest Suffolk Punch stud farm. It is the perfect place to meet these magnificent horses, to find out how they shaped the landscape of East Anglia and helped to develop farming throughout the Eastern Counties.

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Dog friendly


Snape Maltings

Snape Maltings

Snape

Snape Maltings is a place of energy and inspiration – a visitor destination of outstanding natural beauty and one of the world’s leading centres of music, founded by Suffolk-born composer Benjamin Britten. 

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Free wifi Dog friendly


Inspirations

Inspirations

Located in the heart of Wickham Market on the charming village square lies 'Inspirations' - a brand new shop providing a wide selection of inspiring gift ideas for the family and home

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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible


Woodbridge Tide Mill

Woodbridge Tide Mill

Woodbridge

The Tide Mill has stood on the banks of the River Deben for over 800 years. The earliest record of a tide mill on this site by the River Deben is in 1170.

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Easton Farm Park

Easton Farm Park

Woodbridge

Home to plenty of animals, including a new contingent of ducklings, lambs, foals, chicks, piglets and calves every spring, Easton Farm Park never ceases to be a popular day out for families and school trips.

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Dog friendly