Looking for a traditional style seaside holiday, free from the tacky trappings often associated with more modern seaside resorts? Then the north Suffolk seaside town of Southwold is sure to please.
(image courtesy of istock.com artist name coastal runner)
Southwold oozes old-world charm and character, even at the height of the holiday season. In many ways, it seems that time has stood still, in Southwold. There is a whiff of nostalgia about this enclave seaside town, on the Suffolk Heritage Coast, with its residents clinging purposefully to a more refined lifestyle of years gone by. Indeed, anyone who has wandered into the Sailor's Reading Room, a social club for retired seamen (which, incidentally, also houses fascinating local history displays), will appreciate the calm and unhurried pace that characterises Southwold.
Southwold enjoys a peaceful, almost island location. This ancient market town and modern day seaside resort is bordered by the North Sea to the east, and by the town's harbour and River Blyth to the south west, and by Buss Creek to the north. Untroubled by through-traffic, Southwold has one road and one road only that leads in and out of the town. But be warned, it can get busy during summertime.
This is the coastal terra firma of multi-coloured beach huts, of indulging in the simpler seaside pleasures of building sand castles, paddling, boating and crabbing .of tea rooms and taking afternoon tea in one of the pleasant seaside cafés, of languishing in a deckchair watching the sun go down.
But Southwold also has a livelier side that appeals to younger age groups, with action-packed activities such as hiking, cycling and boating as well as many up-beat eateries and gastro pubs and popular watering holes, with a relaxed ambience. After all, Southwold is home to the famous Adnam's beer. What's more, Adnam's brewery is located near the town's lighthouse, so local pubs are unlikely to run out beer in a hurry!
Things to see and do in and around Southwold:
Take a boat trip on the Coastal Voyager for a delightfully different perspective of Southwold.
Follow the footpath from Southwold, alongside the River Blyth, or take the ferry to nearby Walberswick. Try out your celebrity spotting skills. The village of Walberswick boasts a disproportionately long list of famous residents, as well as ex-residents - contemporaries include Emma Freud, Martin Bell, Geoffrey Palmer, Paul Heiney, Libby Purves, to name but a few.
Visit Southwold Museum which is housed in a grade 2 listed building, that was built in the latter part of the seventeenth century. The museum contains some fascinating local history exhibits, including fossil bones.
Southwold's Amber Museum is dedicated to the history of Amber, with specimens of amber from across the world. Some of the amber exhibits even have fossils embedded in them.
Suffolk Wildlife Park (3 miles outside Southwold, at Kessingland, next to the main A12, at Kessingland roundabout) is great fun for all the family, with a model railway, interesting animals and pleasant café.
But, the beauty of Southwold is its enduring charm as an all-year-round seaside resort. Above all, it makes an ideal out-of-season getaway for those who prefer to avoid the summer crowds. Southwold is the perfect place to visit, any month of the year. Simply stroll along the award winning pier or wander along the nearby coastal pathways. Southwold, you see, doesn't shut down at the end of the season, like many other purpose-built tourist resorts. In addition, it offers a wide range of quality B&B accommodation, as well as numerous welcoming tearooms, pubs and restaurants, throughout the year. What more could you ask for?