The Suffolk Coast is best known for its miles of glorious beaches, quaint countryside villages, and coastal heathland, but that’s not to say we don’t have our fair share of fabulous shopping areas too!
Whether you’re staying here on holiday, a short break or just a whistle stop day trip, you can’t beat a little retail therapy to make your visit complete.
To make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for, we’ve put together our top 10 Suffolk Coast shopping spots…
1. Waveney Valley
The Waveney Valley is home to the market towns of Bungay, Beccles and Halesworth; each packed with independent shops, cafes and galleries - ideal for buying local produce, jewellery and unique gifts, homewares and fashion. This pretty little market town has a lot to offer when it comes to shops.
Located in Earsham near Bungay, Flint Vineyard is an award-winning vineyard producing four wines; Bacchus 2018, Silex Blanc 2018, Pinot Noir Precoce and the Charmat Rose 2018 - ideal as a special gift or as a treat for yourself!
Just a short drive away you will also find Fen Farm Dairy - producer of Baron Bigod Cheese, which was served at the wedding reception of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle! The farm produces and sells a range of mouthwatering raw dairy products including raw-cultured butter, free range eggs, raw cream, buttermilk and milk from their farm shop, and you can fill up a bottle of delicious raw milk from the farm's vending machine!
Aldeburgh is world-renowned thanks to its connection with Benjamin Britten, the founder of the Aldeburgh Festival, which takes place in June every year. Pastel-coloured 19th Century holiday villas line the promenade and to the east, the pebble beach with fisherman’s huts selling the daily catch.
From a shoppers point of view there’s a generous sprinkling of clothes boutiques, antiques and arts, an independent book shop and a huge variety of culinary temptation!
Although Aldeburgh has changed in many ways over the last hundred years, one business has been ever present in the town. O & C Butcher is still in its prime High Street location, and still sells a vast range of clothing and footwear. They mainly specialise in country clothing and stock dozens of leading brands plus accessories, meaning you can buy a complete outfit from the store and look the picture of sartorial elegance. Your four-legged friend isn't left out either as the store sells a range of dog coats and accessories!
Although the Adnams shop in Southwold is the true Flagship, there are now Adnams stores located in many Suffolk towns including Aldeburgh. Offering a top class tasting experience, pop in to purchase the famous Ghost Ship and Copper House Dry Gin and choose from a huge selection of wines, handcrafted spirits and gifty bits.
The fine seaside town of Lowestoft has long been a favourite destination for bucket and spade family holidays and day trips. Today, the award winning Blue Flag beach and promenade is as busy as ever - Running alongside the beachfront is a mix of popular high street chain stores as well as some lovely independent shops too.
Just outside the town, in the coastal village of Pakefield, you will find the Ferini Art Gallery. The Gallery hosts a range of workshops and events, as well as exhibitions of local artists; with many pieces featuring the stunning landscape of The Suffolk Coast.
Felixstowe is a charming seaside town with a vibrant town centre and a wonderful mix of attractions. The bustling shopping centre is home to a great selection of big name stores, plus speciality boutiques, crafts, gifts and independent shops – a great place to pick up something special as a souvenir of your day by the sea.
You’ll find another branch of the Adnams store here which is a must for great wines, spirits, beers, kitchenwares and gifts, but if you’re looking for something in particular, check out the Visit Felixstowe website for an in depth A-Z list of all the great retail outlets and eateries on offer.
Snape is a gem of a village and a 'must-visit' destination for anyone who wants to sample the beauty and atmosphere The Suffolk Coast countryside has become famous for, whatever the season!
The Snape Maltings complex houses art galleries, restaurants, cafés, shops and stunning holiday cottages inside an intricate network of beautiful brick buildings. Unsurprisingly, it’s a favourite place for visitors and locals alike. Shopaholics will be in their element amongst the eclectic mix of wonderful stores here from toy and book shops, boutiques, craft shops, to house and gardens and fresh food pantry. Whilst visiting, make sure you stop by the Lettering Arts Centre; selling a range of beautiful lettered artworks and gifts from statement works of art to small gifts.
There are few seaside towns quite as quintessentially British as Southwold. 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.
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!
Collen & Clare is a beautiful multi-brand store in Southwold offering womenswear, menswear, beauty, lingerie and accessories. Further along the coast you’ll also find their contemporary womenswear and accessories store in Aldeburgh.
How about buying a beautiful gift which will always remind you of Southwold? The Amber Shop in the High Street holds an extensive range of exquisite amber jewellery and is, in fact, the largest amber specialist in the UK. You’ll find carvings and artefacts from around the world here too and story boards to explain the history of amber.
You really can’t leave Southwold without visiting the iconic Pier which hosts a wide range of things to see and do. Take a moment to watch the cheeky water clock as you wander around the cafés, restaurants, shops and an amusement arcade.
The ‘gem’ in Suffolk’s crown, Woodbridge combines excellent shops with superb pubs and restaurants and numerous activities both indoors and out. You’ll find stores covering every type of item from DIY and craft supplies to wool shops, outdoor clothing, boutiques, deli’s cook shops, tailors, and even a violin shop!
If you get a whiff of delicious freshly baked bread during your shopping spree it’s most probably emanating from The Cake Shop. This award-winning family run bakery is now in its third generation and after winning ITV’s “Britain’s Best Bakery” in 2014, it is a must-see if you are visiting the Suffolk Coast!
To make sure you don’t miss out on your shopping experience in Woodbridge, check out the Choose Woodbridge website for a full directory listing of local shops.
If you’re a bit of a ‘foodie’ then The Suffolk Food Hall located in Wherstead near Ipswich will not leave you feeling disappointed… with everything you’d expect from a large farm shop and more.
The 10 year Champion of Champions for Local Food (Countryside Alliance rural ‘Oscars’) you will find a restaurant (booking advisable) which has been judged to be the Best On Farm Restaurant in Britain and separate café with a children’s play area. The Food Hall brings together the best local specialists and has a wide selection of artisan and luxury food and drink including a market hall, scratch baker, traditional butcher, fishmonger, delicatessen, chocolatier and greengrocer.
9. Antiques Markets
The Suffolk Coast is famous for being a treasure house for antiques. Whether you are interested in furniture or decorative items in your home, splendid jewellery, or something very precious and beautiful to keep as an investment - Suffolk is the place to come!
Searching for antiques and vintage items is great for getting a little insight into previous lives and long gone eras. It’s a very satisfying pass time and well worth planning day trips or a holiday exploring the world of Suffolk antiques alone!
There's a range of fairs and markets you can while away a few hours at; be sure to pop along to the Beccles Antiques Street Market, and check out our Antique and Vintage Markets guide which highlights a few across The Suffolk Coast which are well worth a visit…
10. Arts, Crafts and Galleries
If you are a lover of arts and crafts and galleries, The Suffolk Coast scores points with this too. Places such as Southwold, Bungay, Beccles, Halesworth and Aldeburgh are full of art galleries and craft shops for visitors to enjoy.
The Artists Boulevard in Oulton Broad near Lowestoft is certainly worth a look, showcasing local themed art, photography and abstract canvases right through from Easter to October, so too is The Halesworth Gallery which is celebrating 50 years of art this year.
And, for something totally different…
Isolated on the pebbled beach of Aldeburgh, the Aldeburgh Beach Lookout and Art House welcomes a new artist, poet, performer, musician, thinker each week as artist in residence. Each Weekly artist’s residency culminates in an exhibition of brand new work.