Bawdsey guide

A tranquil Suffolk coast village with a fascinating past

Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Deben Peninsula, Bawdsey was originally an estate village and the majority of the old cottages were built by the Quilter family of Bawdsey Manor in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as model cottages for their workers.

The main street winds its way down to Bawdsey Quay with a tiny, sandy beach revealed at low tide and with access across the mouth of the River Deben to the hamlet of Felixstowe Ferry via the foot ferry.

Did you know?

Bawdsey was recorded as a settlement in the Domesday book and with a recorded population of 57 households in 1086 was in the largest 20% of settlements recorded. 

Nearby Bawdsey Manor was the location of the research and development of the first Radar defence network which was used during the cold war, today there is a radar museum where you can learn more about the birth of this important technology. Bawdsey Manor was also used as a filming location for the TV series Foyle’s War. 

shopping in bawdseythings to do in bawdseyPlaces to stay bawdseyPlaces to eat in bawdsey


Bawdsey Highlights

1. Take a trip on Bawdsey Ferry

Towns & Villages - Bawdsey - mother and daughter

The main street meanders down to the sea half a mile away at Bawdsey Quay, where you can visit the Boathouse Café, catch one of the coast’s famous four foot ferries across to the hamlet of Felixstowe Ferry or follow the coastal path between East Lane and Shingle Street.

2. Discover Bawdsey's fascinating past

TTDA - Bawdsey - Martello tower

Bawdsey's sleepy charm belies the incredible history and heritage associated with the village; along this stretch of coastline stands Bawdsey Manor, the world’s first operational RADAR station, four Martello Towers, machine gun emplacements and other WWII defences, a testament to the vulnerability of this area in the past to invasion. 

3. Visit Bawdsey RADAR

Bawdsey Radar Museum Suffolk Coast

Discover the story of the men and women and the work they did, in top-secret conditions, to develop radar. Operational radar was born here and contributed very significantly to the successful outcome of the Battle of Britain. Bawdsey RADAR is a new interactive visitor centre, packed full of information set in the original Transmitter Block!

4. Visit St Mary's the Virgin Church

Towns & Villages - Bawdsey quay

The oldest building in the village is the parish church of St Mary's the Virgin which stands in a pretty graveyard mid-way down The Street on the right-hand side. It dates from the thirteenth century although it has undergone several re-buildings, the latest occurring in the 1840s after a fire.

5. Discover Bawdsey's unique and rare wildlife

TTD Bawdsey Hall Wildlife

Join one of the fascinating workshops at Bawdsey Hall Wildlife; the private nature reserve is home to meadowland, large ponds and mature woods, offering a variety of different habitats for wildlife. Workshops on offer include wildlife photography days and evenings, owl and badger night photography workshops, owl and badger wildlife watching, one to one and group photography workshops, wildlife tours, hide hire, mothing and bird ringing demonstrations. 

6. Tuck into tea and cake and take in the views

Sunset from Bawdsey Quay in Suffolk

Find a table at the Boathouse cafe near Bawdsey and tuck into homemade cake and a pot of tea whilst spotting Suffolk's rare birdlife. The picturesque wooden building has a veranda with breathtakingly wide river views - a haven for Bawdsey regulars and visitors.

Useful Information

Have a look at this neat little pocket guide to the Deben Peninsula to help plan your trip.



Check out AccessAble's detailed access guides to Suffolk and work out if a place is going to be accessible to you.

The access guides cover multiple locations and venues across Suffolk, including places to stay, attractions, places to eat, stations, shops, trails and more. 

The access guides are 100% facts, figures and photographs, checked by AccessAble's trained surveyors in person, people who know everyone's accessibility needs are different and understand how important it is for information to be detailed and accurate.

How to get to Bawdsey - Public Transport

With Suffolk on Board you can plan journeys using public transport from and to a town or village, named station or stop, or point of interest.

As many destinations along the Suffolk coast are rural there can be limited public transport services on many routes, but there are journey solutions through various local community transport services that will get you to where you want to go/your final destination. These tend to need to be booked in advance but you can find out more and plan your journey at Suffolk on Board

By Ferry: 

A foot and bicycle ferry runs between Felixstowe Ferry and Bawdsey from the 1st May to 30th September, weather permitting. Please visit the website for full timings and fares. 01394 282173/07709 411511. or download the leaflet:

By Train: 

Nearest station is Melton which is 30 minutes drive away by car. Direct train services by Greater Anglia travel to travel to Ipswich with on-going connections to London Liverpool Street and Cambridge.

Car Parks in Bawdsey

To find parking places in East Suffolk and where parking fees apply, visit the council’s RingGo parking service .

The free RingGo app allows drivers to locate a parking place before starting their journey, receive navigation to it, see how busy car parks are within an area, pay for your parking session and extend it if you need to. Signing up to RingGo is as easy as entering your car’s registration and your payment details.  Find out more about registering and using the service on the RingGo how it works page

Bawdsey Quay Picnic Site, Ferry Road, Suffolk, Bawdsey IP12 3AX

There are a small number of parking spaces opposite the church in the village by the recreation ground and parking along The Street.

Walking in Bawdsey

Walking in East Suffolk has just become easier. In partnership with East Suffolk Council, walking app Go Jauntly has launched a collection of East Suffolk walks. 

Go Jauntly is a free community-based app to promote walking, wayfinding and nature connection. You can find local walks created by people who know and love them, discover the greenest walking routes from A to B, create your own jaunts and enjoy outdoor adventures with friends and family. 

Go Jauntly is available to download, for free, on the App Store and the Play Store.

Local Travel Information & News

For the latest travel information listen to or visit BBC Radio Suffolk 

For local news, visit the East Anglian Daily Times of Eastern Daily Press websites.