The county of Suffolk is teeming with history, character and life. The embodiment of these characteristics lie in the villages and market towns of the Suffolk Coastline.
Just south of Ipswich, England’s oldest continuously settled Saxon town, lies the market town of Woodbridge. Set on the banks of the River Deben and only a couple of miles from what is probably the most important Anglo Saxon site in the UK at Sutton Hoo, Woodbridge was once a considerable trading town, exporting corn, malt and bricks and importing coal and timber.
A tide mill, used for grinding various grains, mainly for flour, remains a popular tourist attraction not only for its historical interest but also for its stunning location, from which visitors can enjoy the river Deben and its multitude of wildlife including a number of different wading birds.
Woodbridge today remains a busy town, boasting a good number of independent shops, pubs and restaurants and fantastic links by train or road to Ipswich and London. Visitors to the area will find a great range of indoor and outdoor activities ranging from pubs, restaurants and shops to fantastic walks along the river Deben and the surrounding marsh and wetlands.
Further inland you will find the attractive market town of Framlingham. Dominated by a Norman castle that was once the seat of the Earls and Dukes of Norfolk, Framlingham is, today, a buzzing mix of history and modern-day culture. In recent years, Country Life magazine declared Framlingham the number one place to live in the country and, with its great range of restaurants, pubs, cafés and shops, that’s really no surprise!
Running alongside the castle, a Mere, managed by Suffolk Wildlife Trust, is incorporated into a circular footpath enabling visitors to appreciate the abundance of wild flowers and wildlife. The Town Trail is also a great way of finding out more about the history of the town and its buildings.
Nearby you will find vineyard, Shawsgate, one of East Anglia’s oldest commercial vineyards and producer of white, red, rosé and sparkling wines. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the vineyard at their leisure at no charge.
Back along to the coast you will find Aldeburgh. Once a thriving fishing village, Aldeburgh is now a busy town brimming with character and a great choice of eateries, boutiques, shops and galleries. A handful of fishing boats still occupy the shingle beach and passers-by may even be lucky enough to buy fish directly from the fishermen as they bring their catch back into shore. Here you can also find The Red House, former home of composer Benjamin Britten and now owned by the Britten-Pears Trust.
It was Britten who, amongst his many achievements, founded the Aldeburgh Music Festival, which takes place at Snape Maltings in the summer. Aldeburgh also hosts the annual Aldeburgh Literary festival, sealing its reputation as a top UK location for arts-hungry visitors.
The market town of Southwold, home to the renowned Adnams brewery, is a picturesque array of pretty chocolate-box houses and cottages set against a backdrop of beach hut-lined beach. The perfect balance between traditional seaside and modern chic, Southwold is a popular holiday destination for young and old, families, couples or groups of friends. With a fantastic, almost overwhelming choice of pubs and restaurants to choose from, and a tempting abundance of boutiques and other shops Southwold offers the perfect long or short break throughout the year.
Whatever you’re looking for from your visit – eating, drinking, shopping, rest or play – you’re guaranteed to find it here on the Suffolk Coast, and all set against the beautiful backdrop which makes this part of the world so very special.
Photo credit: Dave Press and Martin Pettitt