Waveney Valley guide

An unspoilt haven with idyllic villages and unique market towns

Running along the border between Norfolk and Suffolk, the Waveney Valley is an unspoiled haven with idyllic villages and unique market towns including Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth, Loddon, Eye, Diss and Harleston. Escape the frantic pace of everyday life with tranquil surroundings and warm hospitality. 

Did you know?

The wonderful Waveney Valley runs along the border between Norfolk and Suffolk, with the counties separated by two rivers: the Little Ouse and the River Waveney. The ‘ey’ part of Waveney translates as ‘river’ so the River Waveney is in fact a tautology. 

The Homersfield bridge, built in 1869 stretches over the River Waveney at Mendham, it is the oldest concrete bridge in the UK and is a grade II listed structure. Daniel Defoe is quoted as saying “The River Waveney is a considerable river, and of a deep and full channel, navigable for large barges as high as Beccles; it runs for a course of about fifty miles, between the two counties of Suffolk and Norfolk, as a boundary to both; and pushing on, tho' with a gentle stream, towards the sea…”. 

things to do Waveney ValleyPlaces to stay Waveney ValleyPlaces to eat Waveney Valley


There is something for everyone in the Waveney Valley. From shopping and entertainment to history-filled family days out exploring the Waveney Valley’s rich heritage. For walkers there are miles of tracks through stunning countryside, you can enjoy the freedom of cycling through beautiful villages and quiet country lanes, or get out on the water and explore the picturesque river by boat or canoe.

Things to do in the Waveney Valley

1. Get on the River

Towns & Villages - Waveney Valley - boat on broads

Miles of beautiful river under the big East Anglian sky provides spectacular scenery through which to enjoy the water. Much of the gentle River Waveney is accessible for boats and canoes. If you prefer a more leisurely trip on the water, then why not take a relaxing tour by boat. Waveney River Tours offer conducted river tours and boat hire, and Hipperson's Boatyard provide day boats for hire. For a unique and truly magical experience, try a week of swimming and sailing in some of England’s cleanest waters.

2. Arts and Culture

Towns & Villages - Waveney Valley - sculpture trail

Arts and culture in the Waveney Valley are as vibrant as they are varied. Waveney & Blyth Arts connects creative people and places along the Norfolk/Suffolk border and promotes the distinct cultural identity of this beautiful area through exciting arts events and activities. Theatre and cinema lovers will delight at the wide choice of entertainment on offer at an array of stunning historic venues from a 16th century barn, regency assembly room and Victorian water mill. The Fisher Theatre in Bungay, New Cut in Halesworth, Corn Hall Diss and Beccles Public Hall offer lively programmes of high quality entertainment, from comedy, theatre, film and music. There is also a wide selection of galleries providing a range of exhibitions. 

3. History and Heritage

Towns & Villages - Waveney Valley - Bungay castle

There are Norman castles, ancient churches, intriguing local museums and rich wartime heritage hidden in the Waveney Valley. Explore Bungay’s Norman history at Bungay Castle dating from 1165, or take a stroll to the top of Eye Castle.  For a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the people who have lived and worked here, why not visit one of the district museums. Or, learn about the Waveney Valley’s intriguing wartime heritage. World War II saw American servicemen arrive in East Anglia in large numbers in what would become known as the ‘friendly invasion’. 

4. Walking

Towns & Villages - Waveney Valley - walking in Beccles

With miles of tracks through scenic nature reserves, picturesque market towns, and stunning waterways, walking in the Waveney Valley is a joy. Tackle one of long distance routes; the Boudicca Way runs for 36 miles from Diss to Norwich or from Great Yarmouth to Thetford, the Angles Way passes round tower churches, wind and water mills and picturesque villages along its 93 mile route. Click here for downloadable maps of the Waveney Valley!

5. Food & Drink

Towns & Villages - Waveney Valley - Flint Vineyard

The Waveney Valleys is home to some of Suffolk's top food and drink producers. Just outside the town of Bungay you will find Fen Farm Dairy; the home of Baron Bigod Cheese and a delicious range of raw dairy products, including raw cream, buttermilk, free range eggs and raw cultured butter.

Inside the town, there's a selection of cafes, pubs and delis selling a range of fresh and locally grown fruit and vegetables or travel a few miles to Earsham to Flint Vineyard; enjoy a guided tour of the vineyards and state-of-the-art winery and stay for their 15 Mile Lunch, paring the finest local produce with our award-winning wines.

Useful Information

Visitor Information Points (VIP’s), Public Conveniences & Car Parking

The market towns dotted along the Waveney Valley - Eye, Diss, Harleston, Bungay, Beccles, Halesworth and Loddon - all provide car parking and public conveniences, with many hosting Visitor Information Points where you can pick up further information.

For more information on the Waveney Valley, visit www.visitwaveneyvalley.co.uk and The Blyth Valley Experience blythvalleyexperience.com



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 the Waveney Valley – By 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:

A number of bus operators provide services to the local area, please visit www.suffolkonboard.com for the latest travel information and timetables or contact Traveline on 0870 608 2608 or www.traveline.org.uk

National Express operate a daily coach service from London Victoria and most major UK cities, taking you directly through to Lowestoft. For further information visit www.nationalexpress.com or call 08705 80 80 80

By Rail:

Getting to the Waveney Valley by train is easy and convenient. Diss Station sits on the Great Eastern Main Line, with regular trains between Norwich and London. Greater Anglia operates an hourly service between Lowestoft and Ipswich, which is known as the East Suffolk Line includes stops at Darsham, Halesworth, Beccles and Oulton Broad. The Wherry Line connects Lowestoft to Norwich stopping at Haddiscoe, Somerleyton and Oulton Broad. Both these services have good onward connections to London and the Midlands.

Tickets and fares can be found on the Greater Anglia website or app. 

Car Parks in the Waveney Valley

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.

Walking in the Waveney Valley

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.

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.


Things to do in Waveney Valley