• Rendlesham Forest - Emily Fae Photography

Freedom Stays

Looking for a cost-effective holiday? Then head to The Suffolk Coast; once you're here, you needn't spend a penny to have a memory-making freedom stay!

Going on holiday abroad can take a great deal of preparation and effort, meaning you sometimes feel like you need another holiday once you have returned! Even days out can be costly and there are always so many little extras that add up. But by embracing the beauty of nature and its many opportunities for free things to do, the whole family can enjoy a relaxing and cost free freedom stay. With so much to see and do on the Suffolk Coast, there’s simply no need to go through the stress of travelling further afield. 

Outdoor adventures

Rendlesham Forest - Kids Running - Emily Fae Photography

A visit to Rendlesham Forest will leave your family spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor activities; set within an area of outstanding natural beauty it has plenty to discover and explore. Take a stroll in the wood and search for sculptures or play the day away on the extensive childrens’ play area, which includes climbing frames, swings and even a zip line. Budding mystery seekers will enjoy the three -mile long UFO trail which takes walkers through forest, heathland and wetland and past areas of interest connected to the UFO sighting in 1980. Bring your own disposable BBQ and some sausages for a rustic meal to end your day, set up on one of the designated concrete BBQ platforms and enjoy the sunset.

Holywells Park in Ipswich has a history dating back to medieval times and now serves as a beautiful county wildlife site and community green space with twenty-eight hectares of picturesque grounds. Holywells is one of few places that has play equipment for both younger children and teenagers. ‘The Discovery’ is a galleon themed state of the art play area, perfect for youngsters and the ‘teen area’ incorporates outdoor gym equipment, table tennis tables and a kick wall. In the summer kids can cool down in the water play area and there’s even a maze. 

Avid nature lovers can while away many an hour at one of the many nature reserves on the coast. Trimley Marshes is one such place, boasting 77 hectares of protected habitat near to Felixstowe this place is heaven for birdwatchers all year round. Utilise one of the many bird hides and sit in wait to catch a glimpse of one of the many, many rare species that frequent the reserve. Bittern, Cormorant and Sandpiper can be seen, as well as the spectacular view of cranes flying against the backdrop of dramatic skies above the Orwell Estuary. Don’t forget your sandwiches, a flask of something hot and a notepad to jot down what you’ve spotted.

Dunwich Heath is home to a whole host of wildlife including deer, adder and woodlark. During the summer, the heath is patchwork of colour with the rich pink and purple hues of heather and the bright yellow, coconut scented gorse all around. A stroll along one of the many winding paths is a treat for the senses and will leave everyone feeling the best balance of tired and relaxed.

The coastal nature reserve at Orford Ness is a stunning area of great historical significance; it’s prominent location making it a hive of military activity from the days of Napoleon to the Second World War. The result is an interesting contrast between the remnants of military structures and the site of a World War One airfield juxtaposed with the mudflats and shingle that is now home to a plethora of wildlife and rare species of birds. It’s a highly atmospheric and unusual setting for a walk and there are several to choose from, ranging from one to three miles long. 

Cycling

Cycling in Tunstall Forest - Ade Gormley

A great way to cover a lot of ground in one day is to take to two wheels and cycle; the relatively flat Suffolk landscapes make it perfect for seeing the world whizz past by bike and it’s also great exercise. As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and with many of Suffolk's coastal towns situated along National Cycling Networks, The Suffolk Coast offers year round cycling in Suffolk.

Cycle Route 1 is the main north/south route through Suffolk, travelling all the way from Stratford St Mary to Beccles, before entering Norfolk, whilst Cycle Route 51 goes west/east, travelling from Cambridge to Felixstowe. 

If you're looking for a route the whole family can enjoy, there are a range of cycling explorer guides available taking you along The Suffolk Coast's country lanes and beaches and through forests and heathland. For more cycling inspiration take a look at our 'Cycling Guide'. 

Beaches

WTS - Suffolk Sands - Felixstowe Beach

The Suffolk Coast offers great variation in its beaches; from soft yellow sands to pebbles and even fossil-laden prehistoric cliffs. Armed with a bucket and spade from home, towels, snacks and a good book, a visit to the beach is a classic outing for all the family. 

Head to Lowestoft’s blue flag rated beach for the most traditional seaside fun; wide stretches of golden sand are ideal for making castles or digging holes and the water is perfect for paddling. Stroll along the seafront to take in the holiday atmosphere and be sure to stop at the fountains on the Royal Plain, where children can safely play at running in and out of the jets of water as they shoot up in an exhilarating display of music and colour. 

Walberswick offers quite a different but equally enjoyable experience; the long sand and shingle beach is backed with grassy dunes, which children of all ages will delight in jumping off again and again. The area is rougher and wilder than Lowestoft, surrounded by mudflats and heathland. Another draw to Walberswick, is the harbour and a chance to try your hand at ‘crabbing’. All you need is a length of string, some raw bacon fat, a bucket and maybe a net and you’ll be set for hours of entertainment as kids big and small compete to catch the largest crustacean. 

The quirky beach at Thorpeness is lined with colourful buildings and interesting mock Tudor houses. The beach itself is steep and shingled and dog friendly so it’s great for a run around with a ball or Frisbee and even better for kite flying on an especially gusty day. 

Plan your day at the beach with our 'Beaches Guide'. 

Museums

TTDA - Landguard Fort - Children running

Sometimes even the most outdoorsy type can enjoy stepping inside and delving into local history, there are plenty of museums that do not charge an entrance fee and are a perfect way to spend time when the inclement weather puts a stop to your outdoor plans. 

The Alfred Corry Lifeboat Museum in Southwold is named after the lifeboat that served the area between 1893 and 1918, saving many lives in that time. The museum is packed with objects and information that bring to life stories belonging to the crew members and local residents whose lives were impacted by the lifeboat. The local volunteers who run the museum are very knowledgeable and are keen to answer any questions. 

Whilst in Southwold, be sure to visit Southwold Railway Steamworks; a one-acre site dedicated to the 3-foot gauge Southwold Railway that connected Southwold to Halesworth from 1879 to 1929. This historic narrow gauge railway between Halesworth & Southwold is being preserved it for future generations to enjoy, collecting and building 3-foot gauge locos and rolling stock and a station and engine shed. You can also enjoy a 7¼ inch miniature steam railway which rides around the landscaped site! Perfect for enthusiasts young and old!

Maritime history can be uncovered in Lowestoft Museum which, as well as housing a great many artefacts pertaining to Lowestoft’s extensive fishing industry also contains fossils from Pakefield dating back to 700,000 years. The museum also displays the largest collection of 18th century Lowestoft porcelain and an array of antique toys. 

Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich is located within Christchurch Park, and is open all year long, with no entrance fee. Inside you can discover the history of the families who lived there throughout the years and can visit the Tudor kitchen, the Georgian saloon and the Victorian wing as well as many other rooms, all containing period furniture and pieces of art. 

Next door to the mansion is the Wolsey Art Gallery which houses a collection of work by Suffolk artists as well as the biggest collection of Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable paintings outside of London. 

For more days out that won't cost a penny check out our 'Top 10 Free Family Days Out!'



Things to see and do

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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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

Visit Felixstowe

Visit Felixstowe

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

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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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Discover Landguard

Discover Landguard

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

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Southwold Railway Steamworks

Southwold Railway Steamworks

This one-acre site is dedicated to the 3-foot gauge Southwold Railway that connected Southwold to Halesworth from 1879 to 1929.The Southwold Railway Trust are dedicated to preserving the memory of this special little railway and re-opening as much of the old route as they can. 

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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

East Suffolk Markets

East Suffolk Markets

The Suffolk Coast is blessed with a huge selection of local food and drink producers, selling jams, honey, Suffolk-cured ham, strawberries, asparagus, breads, cheeses and ales... you name it, we make it!

So wherever you are, whatever the day, you know where to go for a taste of The Suffolk Coast.

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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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The Lettering Arts Centre 

The Lettering Arts Centre

The Lettering Arts Centre is the home of the Lettering Arts Trust, an independent charity which champions Britain's rich heritage in the lettering arts. 

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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

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.

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Visit Deben Peninsula

Visit Deben Peninsula

The Deben Peninsula is located in Suffolk between the Deben River to the South and the Alde & Ore Estuary the North.

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Waveney & Blyth Arts

Waveney & Blyth Arts

Waveney & Blyth Arts connects people and places along the Norfolk/Suffolk border through creativity, and promotes the distinct identity of this beautiful area through exciting arts events and activities.

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Dog friendly

Visit Waveney Valley

Visit Waveney Valley

Running through the border between Norfolk and Suffolk, it's hard not to fall in love with the Waveney Valley. Discover a timeless rural landscape, where the pace of life is slow and the folk are friendly.

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Ipswich Museums

Ipswich Museums

Ipswich Museums incorporates three historical venues in Ipswich; Ipswich Museum - a fascinating Victorian museum; Christchurch Mansion - a magnificent Tudor building; and Ipswich Art Gallery - a unique contemporary gallery.

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Wheelchair Accessible

My Bungay

My Bungay

Bungay Events & Business Association (BEBA) promotes the market town of Bungay, running the thrice yearly street markets and working with other organisations on the annual Bungay Festival and Christmas Lights Switch-On.

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Felixstowe Seafront Gardens

Felixstowe Seafront Gardens

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

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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. If you want to know more about the past and how it has affected the present, just come and take a closer look.

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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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