The school holidays are here and you need something up your sleeve for when the kids shout, “We’re bored!”
Here’s our Top 10 Free Family Days Out on the Suffolk Coast…
Whether you’re in search of a great family day out, a birdwatching haven, or trip back in time, the beaches along the Suffolk Coast will provide you with a memorable day out.
2. Outdoor Play Areas
Whether it's a traditional Victorian park, a fort in the middle of a forest, or a zip wire along the river, the outdoor play areas
on The Suffolk Coast are the perfect place for kids to let off steam and enjoy the great outdoors.
Rendlesham Forest, near Woodbridge
, combines traffic-free walking and cycling with enormous wooden outdoor play structures and you can easily spend several hours in this magical forest with its spooky UFO trail. When you arrive in the car park you will see a small playground which is great for younger children; however the really exciting activities are hidden just a short walk away in the woods. Spread out among the trees is a zip wire, swings, climbing walls and a giant wooden aircraft that will entertain toddlers through to teenagers.
Martello Park in Felixstowe
is a great place to spend an hour or two. This grassy park offers play, picnic and wildlife areas, whilst Nicholas Everitt Park in Oulton Broad
is open all year round, sitting comfortably alongside the Broads National Park. The traditional park hosts a tea room, Lowestoft Museum, bowling, tennis, trampolines and children's play area.
3. Landguard Peninsula
The Landguard Peninsula
is located at the southern point of Felixstowe.
Take time to explore the rich military and maritime heritage of Landguard Fort
. It's one of England's best-preserved coastal defences and has a history spanning almost 450 years, children will love seeing history come to life with the audio-tour and one of the many events run throughout the year (there is an admission charge for the Fort and neighbouring Felixstowe Museum
but the Nature Reserve is a free wide open space).
Whilst there head to the shingle habitat of the Landguard Nature Reserve which surrounds the Fort. It's a fascinating blend of rare plants, migrating birds and military history and the perfect place to let the little ones run off steam.
For a bite to eat, head to the Landguard Visitor Centre and View Point Cafe
; a warm and friendly building with fun hands-on displays, videos and exhibits on the attractions of the Peninsula, public toilets and a 60 seater cafe serving all day breakfasts, snacks, fresh fish and chips and ice cream.
With a range of special events and activities throughout the year, Landguard offers a great day out for all ages and interests. Admission charges apply to the Fort and Museum but the Nature Reserve is free to explore!
4. Suffolk Museums
Suffolk’s many small museums are also full of surprises; housed in some exciting places too. In castles and cottages; in moot halls and on wartime airfields; in a Victorian engineering works and at a railway station.
From prehistoric discoveries to amazing archaeological finds; from Saxon burials at Sutton Hoo
to fishing and farming in the age of steam; from the drowning of Medieval Dunwich to the development of Radar at Bawdsey
. There’s buses, bones and lifeboats; medals, models and manuscripts; art, axes and aircraft; wool-work, witch-bottles and wooden toys; something for every member of the family to enjoy.
The majority of Suffolk’s smaller museums are run entirely by volunteers and all of these museums rely on donations from visitors to support the great work they do preserving Suffolk’s heritage.
There really is something for visitors of all ages – and they’re not all indoors. So, come rain or shine, there’s a Suffolk museum waiting to be explored.
Opening hours vary and it is always advisable to check individual websites for details when planning a visit.
5. Suffolk Wildlife Trust
With flower-studded marshes, pools teeming with water life and the shimmer of dragonflies during summer, Carlton & Oulton Marshes is the Suffolk Broads at their best. For sheer excitement and awe, birds of prey are hard to beat and marsh harrier, barn owl and hobby are all at home in the skies above. There's a range of children's and family activities on offer throughout the year, including pond dipping, painting and birdbox building plus many more.
It’s a wildlife oasis on the edge of Lowestoft
. Hen Reedbeds, near Southwold
, is a blend of reedbeds, fens, dykes and pools created in 1999 to provide new breeding habitat for bittern and other wildlife. Bromeswell Green, near Woodbridge
, is noted for its wet meadows, saltmarsh and woodland. Wetland plants such as southern marsh orchid, lesser spearwort and fen bedstraw make a wonderful display in the damper areas, while climbing corydalis is more typical of the drier parts. Common lizard can be seen basking on warm sunny days.
You are welcome to explore these or any of the nature reserves anytime, free of charge. For more information, visit www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org
6. Southwold Pier
is a popular destination for the many visitors to The Suffolk Coast and its most prominent attraction, the pier
, hosts a wide range of things to see and do.
The innovative water clock was designed by Tim Hunkin and its cheeky design is sure to entertain on the hour. As well as this there are cafés, restaurants
, shops and an arcade, certainly enough to keep the whole family busy for the whole day. Tim Hunkin’s intriguing underwater shows are viewed via the quantum-tunnelling periscope at the end of the pier; a fascinating insight into the mix of old and new which make up the pier’s attractions.
7. Felixstowe Seafront Gardens
Step back in time with a visit to the newly regenerated Seafront Gardens
. Demonstrating the original 1920s design, the Seafront Gardens at Felixstowe
have been acknowledged as a Grade II Registered Garden of Special Historical Interest by English Heritage.
The gardens were regenerated in 2015 and now feature a series of interconnected gardens, defined spaces, stone and water features together with ornamental planting which impart an impression of historic character, municipal quality and a great diversity of visual interest.
The perfect place to rest a while…
The Suffolk Coast is ideal for family cycling trips, and we've a route to suit all!
A range of guides and routes are on offer including Explorer Guides, Town Route Maps and themed and leisure cycle routes, and if you're visiting on holiday, bicycles are available for hire too (check out Southwold Cycle Hire
A full list of cycle routes and maps available for download are available on our Cycling Guide.
9. Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB
With 155 square miles of tranquil and unspoilt landscape including wildlife-rich estuaries, ancient heaths, windswept shingle beaches and historic towns and villages - you just know there’ll be something for everyone!
If you love nothing more than a long walk beside the sea, a brisk stroll before lunch, cycling along quiet lanes, sailing iconic estuaries, or spending hours quietly watching some of the UK's rarest wildlife, the beautiful landscape of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has it all.
Walk in the footsteps of the seafarers who traveled from the Suffolk coast to the village of Snape
by following the Sailor’s Path, or enjoy two beautiful walks discovering the beauty of Sutton Heath. Alternatively, explore the coastal village of Kessingland with three delightful walks.
The Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB produces a wide range of publications to help you enjoy and explore this unique landscape:
10. National Trust Dunwich Heath
There’s plenty of fun for all the family at Dunwich Heath. For inspiration check out the ’50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾’! Go wild and discover some fantastic nature with walks, trails and family activities.
Have a go at Geocaching and den building, bug hunting and smuggler's trails. In autumn, see the spectacle of the deer rut, search the hedgerows which are laden with berries, acorns and chestnuts and look out for fungi, including bright red fly agaric toadstools and huge parasol mushrooms.
For more information and events taking place, visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunwich-heath-and-beach