As summer stretches before us and the weather gets warmer, it’s a rare pleasure to be able to dine alfresco. All along the Suffolk Coast there are pubs and restaurants that serve great food – in market towns, in sleepy villages and in bustling seaside resorts.
Take a look at some of our favourite alfresco dining spots on the Suffolk Coast...
The Sweffling White Horse
The Sweffling White Horse is a magnet for real ale lovers, serving beers from a selection of small local brewers. And although they don’t have an extensive menu there’ll be something on the menu to complement the local beer. The small beer garden with a rustic arbor is enchantingly lit by candles and fairylights at night. The beer garden is open from spring equinox to autumn equinox, every Sunday lunchtime and every pub night until 10pm.
Dogs are welcome too and your four-legged friend can join you outside in the garden, or inside if it turns a bit chilly and you want to warm up by the fire.
The Boardwalk on Southwold Pier
The Boardwalk on Southwold Pier serves a varied range of dishes made from locally sourced produce. The menu features confit Gressingham duck leg, pork belly, pigs cheek, chorizo and black bean stew, mussels and halloumi burger to name but a few.
The restaurant has tables inside and out, so you can sip a glass of wine whilst feeling the gentle sea breeze in your hair, watching the stars above and the waves shimmer as the sun sets.
The Ufford Crown
There’s a daily changing menu at The Ufford Crown, near Woodbridge. Created by Head Chef Will Hardiman, it is hearty, wholesome British pub food with a French influence made with fresh, local ingredients. Dishes on the menu include Thai red jumbo shrimp coconut curry, braised Ketley beef and baby onion stew, The Crown jalapeño, bacon jam & Manchego and butternut squash & sage tortellini, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes & salad
The pub and restaurant also boasts terrace a garden at the rear where you can enjoy warm summer evenings and some fine alfresco dining. The picturesque garden is also home to a newly installed children’s play area.
The Ramsholt Arms
The Ramsholt Arms faces south over the River Deben and is the place to enjoy great food and beautiful Suffolk sunsets.
Find a table on the sun-soaked terrace and order from the menu to enjoy fresh, locally caught fish, sharing platters and hearty pub grub including caramelised onion & 3 cheese tart, new potatoes & salad, Ramsholt fish platter (shell-on prawns, smoked salmon, mackerel pâté, pickled herrings), Ramsholt BBQ double cheese burger, bacon jam, pickles, fries & coleslaw and open fish pie – smoked haddock, salmon, cod & crayfish, mash & green beans.
The Ship at Dunwich
The Ship at Dunwich is a popular pub and restaurant in the coastal village of Dunwich, described by Conde Nast Traveller as “The pick is The Ship at Dunwich, a little pub with rooms that dishes up huge portions of fried fish - cod, haddock or plaice - with some of the finest chips in the land. Washed down with a glass of Adnams Southwold Bitter, this comes close to heaven”.
You can dine alfresco in the secluded courtyard or in the enormous garden that’s dotted with fruit trees. Choose from the delicious menu which includes Blythburgh free range baked ham, local free-range eggs, hand-cut chunky chips with homemade pineapple relish, reed cutters platter with a choice of Blythburgh free range baked ham or Suffolk Shipcord or Binham blue cheese with pickles, chutneys, coleslaw, dressed leaves & house bread and The Ship’s local rump burger served in a brioche bun.
The Westleton Crown
For character and rustic charm it has to be The Westleton Crown, a 12th-century coaching inn close to Southwold and Aldeburgh. With bi-folding doors which open out onto the garden, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner alfresco, or even a picnic or packed lunch including freshly prepared sandwiches made to order using home-baked white or brown bread(available upon request).
The main menu includes grilled fillet of seabass, ratatouille, crushed new potatoes, slow-cooked Blythburgh pork belly, Emmerdale farm 28 day hung sirloin steak and Adnams Ghost Ship battered fish and hand-cut chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce to name but a few.
The Unruly Pig
Winner of the Best Suffolk Restaurant Award at the Eat Suffolk Food & Drink Awards, The Unruly Pig is a gastropub in the village of Bromeswell, just a few miles outside of Woodbridge. The kitchen includes an Inka grill; a ‘closed door’ charcoal grill that cooks at 400+ degrees, enhancing both the flavour and succulence of grilled meat and fish - the perfect dishes to enjoy whilst sitting on the outside terrace when dining alfresco.
Dishes include gin cured trout, Unruly burger with Roquefort and onion jam in a brioche, pork ribeye, hake with a sourdough crust, crispy cockles, celeriac and gnocchi, king prawn risotto and sandwiches including the Unruly cheese melt, smoked mackerel, horseradish and rocket, and the Unruly cheese met with smoked pig.
MarkG Seafood Restaurant
The small, sun-soaked garden at MarkG Seafood Restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy the long summer evenings whilst enjoying a meal of freshly caught fish or seafood, accompanied by a glass of wine or a cold pint of beer. Main plates include pan-fried seabass, roast North Sea hake, roast skate, locally smoked haddock along with a selection of hot and cold tapas - perfect for eating on the terrace.
Dating back to the 16th Century, The Parrot is situated in the quiet and pretty village of Aldringham. Soak up the sun and find a bench in the private walled garden and enjoy meals including slow cooked curried goat, 10oz Salter & King rump steak, baked plaice fillet and stuffed romano pepper with charred courgette, roast garlic and tomato emulsion.
The bar serves a range of local ales and wines, alongside their own aperitifs including owner Chris' seasonal gin!
Afterwards you can enjoy a game of boules on one of the pistes in the beer garden!
The Dolphin Inn
In the heart of Thorpeness, The Dolphin Inn is the perfect place to head after a day at the beach or sailing on the Meare. The historic pub has an impressive garden with bountiful hanging baskets and lavender providing summer scents.
The Dolphin prides itself on using fresh local ingredients including meat from the local butcher in Aldeburgh, fish directly from the markets in Lowestoft sourced only from sustainable stocks, bread is from the famous Pump Street Bakery in Orford, vegetables grown locally from a greengrocer in Leiston and milk from a local dairy.
You can sip on a pint of Adnams as you enjoy Grilled Sea Bass Fillet, Grilled Fillet of Cod, Warm Buddha Bowl, Salmon and Green Pea Linguine, Charred Lamb Chops or Salter & King Beef Burger to name but a few.