• The Four Foot Ferries of The Suffolk Coast

The Four Foot Ferries of The Suffolk Coast

The Suffolk Coast is well known for being a place for walkers and cyclists. Gorgeous heather, dramatic coastal views, pretty villages, and golden fields await the explorer, along with rivers, streams and tributaries. 

They undoubtedly add to the character of the region, but while some are traversable by bridge, or even a long stride, others such as the Alde require a long diversion to the nearest road bridge. At least it would, were it not for the four foot ferries of The Suffolk Coast.

Every year these unsung heroes of The Suffolk Coast enable hundreds of walkers and cyclists to explore the region, and it’s estimated that by taking the four ferries you save over 75 miles of travel on the inland roads.

Find out more information, timetables and contact information with this great guide:


Walberswick Ferry

The River Blyth finishes its long journey to the sea by widening into a sixty metre channel in between Southwold and Walberswick. To cross it by road bridge requires a nine mile diversion, but thanks to a small rowing boat, people, bicycles and dogs can reach the other side in about two minutes for a nominal fee of 90p per person. The crossing was made by rowing boat until 1885 when a floating bridge chain ferry was started, initially hand-cranked before being replaced by a steam ferry. 

Improvements to the harbour in 1942 made operation of the steam ferry too difficult, so the rowing boat made its return to service and thus it has been ever since. The service is run from April to the end of October by a small group of rowers.

Walberswick to Southwold Foot Ferry on The Suffolk Coast

Butley Ferry

Butley Ferry is rowed by volunteers across Butley Creek between Orford and Butley. It’s an optional (but very enjoyable) link on the Suffolk Coast Path, and Regional Cycle Route 41. Operating on weekends and Bank Holidays between Easter and October, it’s said to be the smallest ferry in Europe, so small that it can’t even take tandems!

Bawdsey Ferry

Further south the River Deben separates Bawdsey and Felixstowe Ferry, a small fishing hamlet named for the service that has transported people across the water for centuries. The Bawdsey Ferry also runs from Easter until October and again is an optional part of the Suffolk Coast Path and Regional Cycle Route 41. Unlike its northern counterparts, the Bawdsey Ferry is a powered vessel, and also acts as a water taxi, taking boat owners to their yachts moored further out.

Felixstowe Ferry - Stephen Squirrell

Harwich Harbour Ferry

At the southernmost point of Suffolk the Stour and the Orwell meet, acting as the boundary between Harwich in Essex and Shotley and Felixstowe in Suffolk. Shuttling between these three towns is the Harwich Harbour ferry. The bright yellow boat carries up to 58 passengers and makes its journeys amongst the towering passenger and container ships coming in to the Ports of Felixstowe and Harwich between Easter and the end of September.

Harwich Harbour Ferry

Useful information

The ferry services are located in the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), one of Britain’s finest landscapes. The AONB covers 155 square miles and receives special protection because of its outstanding landscape, heritage and wildlife. Perfect for exploring!

There are plenty of ways to explore on water along the rivers and Suffolk's coast;

Sailing Barge Victor runs from Ipswich Waterfront, along with the Allen Gardiner River Cruise Restaurant and Orwell Lady River Cruises, Big Dog Ferry at Beccles Quay, Iken Canoes near Snape, Waveney River Tours operates from Oulton Broad, along with Oulton Broad Dayboats, Deben Boat Trips from the beautiful Waldringfield Quay and of course the Lady Florence in Orford.

You can find out more about all of these great ways to explore below.




Things to see and do

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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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 pedaling 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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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

Lady Florence River Cruise Restaurant 

Lady Florence River Cruise Restaurant

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

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Dog friendly

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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Allen Gardiner River Cruise Restaurant 

Allen Gardiner River Cruise Restaurant

Ipswich

Allen Gardiner River Cruise Restaurant provides a unique and exciting dining experience offering breakfast and a la carte lunch, sunset supper or candlelit Dinner cruises. 

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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.

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Oulton Broad Dayboats

Oulton Broad 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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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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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

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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Felixstowe  - Tourist Information Point

Felixstowe - Tourist Information Point

Tourist Information including a range of leaflets and guides to help during your visit are available within Felixstowe Library.

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Free wifi Wheelchair Accessible

Beccles Lido & Big Dog Ferry

Beccles Lido & Big Dog Ferry

Beccles

Beccles Lido is now closed for the winter - reopening on Saturday 23rd May 2020.

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