Southwold guide

There are few seaside towns quite so quintessentially British as Southwold

Check out our handy ‘know before you go’ guide  and the 'Keep Southwold Safe' guide to make your visit a huge success! 

With its sandy beach and beach hut-lined promenade, Southwold offers a wonderful environment for holidays and weekends away, as well as a thriving market town atmosphere.

Situated just off the A12 between Aldeburgh and Lowestoft, Southwold is the perfect destination for young and old, families and couples. Whether it’s relaxation or exhilaration you’re after from your break away, this picturesque seaside town is the perfect year-round destination. 

Did you know?

Few people realise that the many plentiful greens in Southwold exist due to a terrible fire that raged through the town in 1659. Instead of rebuilding some of the structures that were lost, the town reclaimed these spaces as a series of spacious village greens. 

The prominent lighthouse in the town stands at 31 metres tall and is a grade II listed building, it is still a working lighthouse and guides vessels as they navigate the East Coast. 

Southwold Pier stretches 190 metres into the sea and is a thriving tourist destination, it hosts an arcade with a collection of weird and wonderful automata designed by Tim Hunkin. 

George Orwell, author of dystopian novels Animal Farm and 1984 came to live in Southwold in 1921, he stayed for 20 years, enjoying the local countryside and penning many of his books during this time. 


things to do in southwoldwhere to stay in southwoldwhere to eat in southwold


Location


Southwold Highlights

1. Visit the world famous Adnams Brewery

towns & Villages - Southwold - Adnams tour

Southwold is home to the Adnams Brewery, winner of The Good Pub Guide 2011’s ‘Brewery of the Year’. The brewery itself is very much the focal point of the town with its brewing rooms set just behind the High Street and adjacent to the town’s lighthouse.

Brewery tours are on offer throughout the year, and there is no shortage of pubs and restaurants at which to sample the variety of Adnams beers on offer. More recently they have added a distillery, which as well as the wine shop, guarantees your favourite ‘tipple’ will be available.


 2. Head out to sea on the Pier

Towns & VIllages - Southwold - Pier

Yet another focal point of the town’s landscape, Southwold Pier was refurbished in 2005, the pretty pier offers a range of shops, eating places and amusements, from traditional two penny pushers to Tim Hunkin’s eccentric inventions.

Don’t miss out on the famous Water Clock which causes a snigger every 30 minutes!


3. Shopping

Towns & Villages - Southwold - Collen & Clare

You’ll lose yourself for hours wandering around the array of shops in Southwold. Choose from designer labels at Collen & Clare, kitchenwares, wines, spirits and ales at the Adnams Store, plus traditional sweet shops and quirky gift stores. 

There are high street names too as the town hosts Fat Face, Joules and Jack Wills. 


4. Take a tour of the Lighthouse

Towns & Villages - Southwold - Lighthouse

The lighthouse at Southwold has been an important landmark for years, a coastal mark for passing shipping that guides vessels info Southwold Harbour. The tour lasts 20 minutes. Opening is subject to weather conditions and Trinity House's operational requirements.


 5. Theatre on the Coast 

Towns & Villages - Southwold - Mtp presents theatre on the Coast

Presenting theatre, music and events nationwide but also in Southwold and Aldeburgh, mtp is an award-winning professional theatre company established in 1999 and based in Suffolk since 2010. 

Launched in 2019, the annual summer season of theatre hosted by Matthew Townshend Productions takes place at Southwold Arts Centre from July – August. 


6. Theatre in the forest

Thorington Theatre in the Forest -  Near Southwold - Suffolk Coast

A new sustainably built outdoor theatre in beautiful Suffolk woodland, 6 miles from Southwold. This summer Thorington Theatre will host 40 shows and there is something for everyone - from Shakespearian classics to Wind in the Willows, from operas to stand-up comedy!

Check out the box office for the full line up!


Southwold Beach Guide

TTDA - Southwold Beach - view of beach and sea

Officially recognised as an environmentally-friendly beach, Southwold is a top spot for those wanting to take a paddle in the sea and a stroll along the prom. The town is home to two beaches; Southwold Pier Beach to the north and Southwold Denes Beach to the south - offering both a traditional seaside and a wild beach experience.

To find out more and plan your visit, check out our Southwold Beach Guide.


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 Southwold to help plan your trip.



Public Conveniences and Baby Changing Facilities

Church Green, Cumberland Road, IP18 6JW

Ferry Road, IP18 6HQ

Southwold Harbour, Ferry Road, IP18 6ND - Disabled toilet

Southwold Pier, North Parade, IP18 6BN - Disabled toilet and baby changing facilities


Visitor Information Points (VIPs) are located at:

Southwold Library, North Green, Southwold, IP18 6AT 

Southwold Boating Lake and Tearoom, North Parade, Southwold IP18 6BN

Southwold Arts Centre, St Edmund's Hall, Cumberland Road, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6JP


How to Get to Southwold - 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:

Local bus services from Lowestoft and surrounding areas, Beccles, Halesworth, Bungay and Norwich.

For timetables and further information go to https://www.suffolkonboard.com/

By Train:

The nearest rail stations are located at Darsham and Halesworth, with travel to Ipswich and on-going connections to Norwich, Lowestoft, Cambridge and London Liverpool Street.

Greater Anglia operates frequent train services across The Suffolk Coast, more information and tickets are available at www.greateranglia.co.uk

By Ferry: 

Travel from Southwold to Walberswick on the foot ferry which crosses the River Blyth. For ferry times and information download the leaflet: 


Car Parks in Southwold

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.


Ferry Road, IP18 6NG - 60 spaces - Free

Harbour Quay, IP18 6ND - 300 spaces - Pay & Display

Southwold Pier, IP18 6BN - 345 spaces - Pay & Display


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/


WHERE TO STAY IN AND AROUND Southwold

Things to do in Southwold