Deben Peninsula guide

Nestled between the River Deben and the Alde and Ore Estuary, the tranquil Deben Peninsula is full of surprises!

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

Exploring the unique charm and varied natural beauty of the Deben Peninsula you'll find picturesque villages including Sutton, Shottisham, Hollesley, Boyton, Alderton, Ramsholt and Bawdsey.

Did you know?

An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Deben Peninsula has coast, countryside and forest to enjoy. 

The Deben Peninsula gets its name from the River Deben which winds its way through Woodbridge before entering the sea at Felixstowe. The word Deben is thought to have derived from ‘Deope’ meaning ‘the deep one’.

The landscape quality of the area has been recognised nationally by its designation by the Countryside Commission as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The significance of the Deben Peninsula coastline and estuary is further recognised as forming part of the Suffolk Heritage Coast and the upper reaches of the Deben River designated as Special Landscape Areas.

The area is also important for nature conservation and heritage with un-spoilt natural habitats and national heritage sites including, the Worlds First Operational Radar Station at Bawdsey; National Trust Sutton Hoo home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time, one of only three known Anglo-Saxon ship burials along with a vast array of treasure; and last but not least The Suffolk Punch Trust an educational and environmental charity dedicated to breeding and preserving the Suffolk Punch horse.


Location


Deben Peninsula Highlights

1. See the majestic Suffolk Punch Horses at the Suffolk Punch Trust 

Suffolk Punch Horses Hollesley

The Hollesley Bay Colony Stud at The Suffolk Punch Trust is the world’s oldest and largest Suffolk Punch stud farm. It is the perfect place to meet these magnificent horses, to find out how they shaped the landscape of East Anglia and helped to develop farming throughout the Eastern Counties.


2. Discover the birthplace of Radar at Bawdsey Radar

TTDA - Bawdsey Radar - family in gallery

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.


3. See some of Suffolk's rare wildlife at Bawdsey Hall

TTDA - Bawdsey Hall - Nightjar

Join one of the fascinating workshops at Bawdsey Hall; 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.

 

4. Discover the story of the Anglo-Saxons at the burial ground of kings at National Trust Sutton Hoo 

TTDA - National Trust Sutton Hoo - Helmet

Re-opened Easter 2019 following extensive renovations and development, National Trust Sutton Hoo unveils it's new visitor experiences including a 17 metre observation tower to give views over the entire burial ground and to the River Deben beyond, revealing the fascinating story of this evocative landscape. In addition to the tower, a full size sculpture representing the ship has been created and installed close to the visitor entrance and a new route around the site will allow visitors to walk in the steps of the Anglo-Saxons.


5. Dine out at some of the Deben Peninsula's top eateries

The Sorrel Horse Pub Shottisham Suffolk

Home to an array of pubs and restaurants all serving some of the region's best local produce. Find a table near the fire at The Sorrel Horse; a quintessential English pub with thatched roof serving lunch and evening meals and breakfast/brunch on Sundays too.

Watch the sunset over the River Deben at The Ramsholt Arms; recommended in the Michelin guide voted one of the top 20 places to dine alfresco in the UK by the Sunday Times. It is also the pub featured in Danny Boyle's film 'Yesterday' featuring Himesh Patel, Lily James and of course our very own homegrown Ed Sheeran!


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

Towns & Villages - Bawdsey - quay at sunset

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

Check out the Find My Nearest website for helpful information on parking, public toilets, leisure centres, libraries, train stations, cinemas, theatres and museums.

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


How to Get to the Deben Peninsula - 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 Bus:

Buses travel from Ipswich to several locations on the Deben Peninsula including Hollesley, Alderton, Bawdsey, Sutton and Shottisham passing Melton train station.

For more information visit https://www.suffolkonboard.com/

By Train:

The nearest train station to access the Deben Peninsula is Melton

Direct train services by Greater Anglia travel to Lowestoft and Ipswich with on-going connections to London Liverpool Street and Cambridge.

Greater Anglia operates frequent train services. Tickets and fares information can be found on the Greater Anglia website or app.

By Ferry:

A foot and bicycle ferry runs between Felixstowe Ferry and Bawdsey from April to the end of October, weather permitting. The ferry timings for 2021 are;

  • from Good Friday until 30th April - Weekends only between 10am and 5pm 
  • from 1st May until 30th September – Daily between 10am and 5pm
  • from 1st – 31st October – Weekends only between 10am and 5pm

These may change depending on Covid restrictions in this area. Social distancing measures and face coverings will be mandatory until Covid-19 restrictions change.

You can call Felixstowe Ferry Boatyard for full timings and fares on 01394 282173 Monday to Friday between 0900 and 1630 hrs or when the ferry is operational you can call the Ferryman direct on 07709 411511 for daily updates.

You can view information on the four foot ferries that operate along the Suffolk coast below but please bear in mind this information may be out of date so best to use the leaflet for contact information only from which to get the latest updates:


Car Parks on the Deben Peninsula

The most convenient ways to find parking places in East Suffolk are either via Find My Nearest, and where parking fees apply 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.


Parking for Larger Vehicles and Campervans

Sutton Heath Picnic Area, Sutton Heath, IP12 3TG

Upper Hollesley Common, Upper Hollesley Common, IP12 3HU (caution advised due to low tree canopy) (caution advised due to low tree canopy)

Further details can be found at Larger vehicles and campervans » East Suffolk Council


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.


Covid-19 testing in Suffolk

You can find useful information on Covid-19 testing on the Government website here;

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/get-tested-for-coronavirus/

Local information on how and where to get a PCR test if you have symptoms can be found on Suffolk County Council’s website here;

https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/getting-a-test/covid-19-testing-in-suffolk/

Local information on how and where to get a rapid lateral flow test if you do not have symptoms can be found on Suffolk County Council’s website here;

https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/getting-a-test/covid-19-asymptomatic-testing/