Explore the Suffolk Heritage Coast

It is over forty years since the Suffolk coastline, one of the loveliest stretches in Britain, was made an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The twenty or so miles between Southwold and Orford, like all the best bits of British seaside are something of a time-warp, the perfect place to come and explore.

Just across the River Blyth is Walberswick and in the summer months, for a small fee, you can be rowed across from the Southwold side.

Head further down the coast to the National Trust owned Dunwich Heath, on the way stop off at Blythburgh Church, the Cathedral of the Marsh. Follow the nature trails through a variety of habitats to excellent birdwatching hides at the RSPB's Minsmere Nature Reserve, where visitors can see a sample some of the huge range of birds that pass along the Suffolk coast.

Thorpness was built as a model holiday village for the upper middle classes in the mid 19th century by a Scottish landlord called Glencairn Stuart Ogilvy, don't miss the town's famous House in the Clouds, a cleverly disguised water tower.

Aldeburgh is another small seaside town well worth a visit, with interesting shops, excellent restaurants and cinema. Standing alone on the beach is Maggi Hambling's famous Scallop sculpture.

The Aldeburgh Festival takes place in June at the nearby Snape Maltings which is not only home to the famous concert hall but also a wonderful variety of shops, art galleries and exhibitions.

Another 5 miles down the coast is Orford. Its 12th century castle built by Henry II and its fine medieval church dominate the skyline. Across the river is Orford Ness National Trust Nature Reserve, the largest vegetated shingle spit in Europe. Downstream is Havergate Island, an RSPB Bird Sanctuary famous for the Avocet.

Eating Out

In Walberswick try the Anchor or The Bell.

On the beach at Dunwich the Flora Tea Rooms serve fish and chips. For afternoon tea or a light lunch try the gardens at Bridge Nurseries.

Dunwich is also home to The Ship Inn which is the sister hotel to The Crown in the pretty village of Westleton.

Aldeburgh offers a variety of places including The Lighthouse and the family friendly Regatta.

Probably the most celebrated restaurant in the area is Ruth Watson's Crown and Castle in Orford. Orford is also home to the famous Butley Oysterage serving freshly caught fish and smoked fish from their smokehouse.

Explore Suffolk