• Bawdsey Boats - (c) Gill Moon Photography
  • Bawdsey Quay - (c) Gill Moon Photography
  • Bawdsey - Crabbing

Bawdsey guide

A tranquil Suffolk coast village with a fascinating past

Check out our handy ‘know before you go’ guide to make your visit a huge success! 

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.

Things to Do in Bawdsey

Towns & Villages - Bawdsey - Mermaids Tale (c) Karen Cooper

1. Take a trip on Bawdsey Ferry

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

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

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!

TTDA - Bawdsey Radar - man and girl

4. Visit St Mary's the Virgin Church

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. Enjoy a game of tennis!

Bawdsey Recreation Ground has 2 tennis courts available for hire, one court is multi-purpose and can be used for basketball, 5-a-side football, netball and tennis. The other is exclusively for tennis. Annual membership is available or you can book and pay per session. Contact 01394 411626 for information on membership and bookings. 

6. Discover Bawdsey's unique and rare 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. 

TTDA - Bawdsey Hall - Bird

7. Tuck into tea and cake and take in the views!

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

Public Conveniences and Car Parking

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.

How to get to Bawdsey - Public Transport

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. www.felixstoweboats.co.uk

By Train: Nearest station is Melton. Direct train services by Greater Anglia travel to travel to Ipswich with on-going connections to London Liverpool Street and Cambridge.

How to get to Bawdsey - By Car

From Norwich take A146 and then head towards Bungay on the B1332. Through Bungay pick up the A144 until you reach the A12. Head south towards Ipswich and turn off at A1152 signposted Melton and then take the B1083 all the way to Bawdsey.

From Ipswich, head north on the A12 and turn off at A1152 signposted Melton and then take the B1083 all the way to Bawdsey.

From Lowestoft, head south on the A12 and turn off at A1152 signposted Melton and then take the B1083 all the way to Bawdsey.

From London, head north on the A12 and turn off at A1152 signposted Melton and then take the B1083 all the way to Bawdsey.

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.