A visit to The Suffolk Coast in winter is a truly unique experience; as the crowds seeking sunny days by the sea have headed home, it becomes a place to get away from it all, experience something new, and recharge the batteries.
Whether you travel from afar or are just a short drive away, make sure these things to do are on your bucket list!
1. Walk the historic scores in Lowestoft
A walk up and down the historic scores is the ideal way to discover Lowestoft's maritime history. A series of narrow lanes created over time by the fishermen and women bringing their catch up from the beach village to the High Street.
Take the steps at a gentle pace or if you're feeling particularly energetic, pop on your running shoes and follow the route of the annual Scores Race; the course takes you from the High Street, along the sea wall and back up and down the scores; including 401 steps!
2. See migrating birds over the Orwell Estuary
Experience one of East Anglia’s finest wildlife spectacles and see thousands of birds flying over the magnificent Orwell estuary, aboard the Thames Sailing Barge Victor. The half day excursion is hosted by an on-board expert who provides a continuous informative commentary to help you get the most out of the bird-watching and environment.
For more information, visit www.sbvictor.co.uk/
3. Go to a winter concert at Snape Maltings
The world-famous concert hall at Snape Maltings plays host to a range of concerts this winter; with everything from classical and choral to percussion and jazz.
The winter programme includes The Nutcracker and I, Gifts of Winter: Christmas with Aldeburgh Voices, Pelléas Ensemble, Cara Dillon: Upon a Winter's Night and The Snowman with live orchestra.
For more information, visit snapemaltings.co.uk
4. Eat steaming hot fish and chips on the beach at Aldeburgh
After a bracing walk along the beach, stopping en route to admire Maggi Hambling's sculpture The Scallop, head into the town to peruse the independent shops, boutiques and cafes before paying a visit to Aldeburgh Fish & Chip Shop. Choose your steaming hot cod and chips to go, and walk through the historic buildings onto the beach, where you can find a spot to listen to the waves crash, watch the boats go by, and tuck in to the 'world's best fish and chips'. For more information, visit www.aldeburghfishandchips.co.uk
You're spoilt for choice when it comes to delicious fish & chip shops on The Suffolk Coast, click here to take a look at our favourites!
5. Amble up the Deben Estuary
One of the most picturesque walks on The Suffolk Coast, start in Woodbridge and follow the River Wall, past the boats and out along the banks of the estuary. Remember to pack the binoculars too and look out for Redshanks, Curlews and Oyster Catchers to name but a few.
Afterwards, head into the town and pay a visit to one of the many cafes and bakeries (our favourites are The Tea Hut and Deben Cafe Bar on HMS Vale) or make a weekend of it, and book a stay at The Crown at Woodbridge; complete with dinner in the award-winning restaurant, followed by cocktails in the stylish bar.
Download the route map here:
6. Stroll along Southwold Pier
Southwold's historic Pier plays home to a cafe and restaurant plus Tim Hunkin's Under the Pier Show; collection of hand-built, utterly silly, totally potty machinery, the Wacky Walk of Mirrors, the Waterclock and The Quantum Tunnelling Telescope; demonstrating the latest advances in particle physics and quantum dynamics focusing on time and space to bring you everything that could possibly happen in the North Sea... including nuclear explosions and singing mermaids!
After a stroll along the pier and out to sea, enjoy locally caught fish and chips or a hearty roast dinner in The Boardwalk Restaurant, pastries, cakes and coffee in The Clockhouse Cafe or a full English breakfast in the Beach Cafe.
For more information, visit www.southwoldpier.co.uk
7. Get muddy in Rendlesham Forest
Young explorers will love hunting for UFOs in Rendlesham Forest; the setting for the well-known UFO incident which occurred on 26th December 1980. It's reported that Servicemen who were stationed at RAF Woodbridge saw lights in the trees and discovered a conical object the size of a car, floating in a forest clearing.
After completing the UFO trail, head to the giant play area; complete with tube slide, obstacle course, zip line and swings. The forest is a favourite of dogs too, with miles of woodland pathway to sniff and run along.
If you prefer to travel at a faster pace, then hop on your bike and whip along the Rendlesham to Shingle Street Explorer cycle route.
8. Watch the Old Glory Molly Men
Molly dancing traditionally only appeared during the depths of winter as a means of earning some money when the land was frozen or waterlogged and could not be worked. East Anglia's 'Morris Dancers', the Molly dancers of Old Glory are all men, whilst the musicians are all women playing a variety of instruments, which may include at least one four-stop melodeon in the "Suffolk key" of C, concertina, recorder, drums, trombone, “tea-chest” bass and rommelpot.
This winter, appearances include:
- The Locks Inn, Geldeston on 3 December at 7pm.
- The Racehorse in Westhall on 10 December at 8pm.
- Sailors Home in Kessingland on 16 December at 8pm.
- The Locks Inn at Geldeston on 21 December (Winter Solstice) at 8pm.
- Various venues in Southwold on 24 December (Christmas Eve) from 7.45pm followed by The Bell at Walberswick at 9.30pm.
- The Ancient Ceremony of the Cutty Wren at on St Stephen's Day, 26 December, at The Bell Inn, Middleton at 8pm.
- The Oddfellows in Pakefield on 7 January at 8pm.
- Rumburgh Church on 9th January from 3pm.
- The Rumburgh Buck on 9 January at 8pm.
- The Sweffling White Horse on 19 January for the Village Wassail at 7.30pm.
- The Triangle Tavern, Lowestoft on 21 January at 8pm.
Visit The Old Glory Molly Men website for more information https://old-glory.org.uk/programme.html
9. Enjoy beach hut life
Embrace life on The Suffolk Coast and hire your own beach hut to warm up in after a bracing walk along Lowestoft beach. The new uber cool Eastern Edge huts are not only accessible, they are the perfect spot by the sea from which to enjoy cold water swimming, dog walks, sea fishing and getting stuck into a good book whilst you watch the waves crash on the shore.
Visit https://www.hirebeachhuts.co.uk/ for more information and to hire a beach hut.
10. Walk the castle walls and take in the views at Framlingham Castle
Boasting a spectacular view of the surrounding mere and Suffolk countryside beyond, a visit to Framlingham Castle in winter is a great day out for all members of the family. Discover the fascinating past of Ed Sheeran's 'Castle on the Hill', and be sure to head up the steep staircase to enjoy the castle walls walk.
Afterwards, explore the unique landscape of the Mere Nature Reserve and take a stroll into the town to warm up with a delicious meal at the award-winning Watson & Walpole.
10. Cold water swimming at Beccles Lido
The warm, balmy days of summer may be long gone, but that won't stop the hardy outdoor swimmers making the most of the panoramic views of the Waveney Valley. The heaters may be switched off, but Beccles Lido is open for winter lane swimming on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until March.
Kept at a temperature between 12-15 degrees celsius, enjoying a dip in this beautiful outdoor pool is a must this winter!
Book your swim at https://www.beccleslido.com/book-swim
Take a look below for more 'must-visit' places to enjoy this winter!