Sat at the mouth of the River Blyth, with only one road leading out, this quintessential seaside town casts an almost island-like feel, but its thriving market-town atmosphere means there’s something for everyone, even when the skies are grey.
Our family favourites include…
A visit to Southwold is never complete without a trip to the 190m long Victorian pier, where Punch and Judy visit regularly, along with the year-round Under the Pier Show and the iconic Pier Water Clock.
The striking 31m lighthouse exudes the proverbial seaside character. Standing as the only operational lighthouse in Suffolk, visitors can enjoy stunning views of town and sea from the top.
Adnams Brewery Tour
At the heart of Southwold lies the Sole Bay Brewery and Copper House Distillery, where Adnams have been creating their sweet nectar since 1872. It would be hard to find a Suffolk local who doesn’t enjoy the taste of at least one Adnams product, and here you can enjoy both brewery and distillery tours, as well as making your own gin.
Foodies can revel in a variety of eateries, but you can’t go wrong with the local fish & chips. Our personal favourite is the Sole Bay Fish Co at Southwold Harbour, a dog-friendly restaurant, fishmonger and take-away offering the likes of chargrilled lobster and chips, oysters, scallops and crab – and, of course, traditional fish & chips. Meanwhile, in the town itself, you’ll find its sister company, The Little Fish and Chip Shop – take-away only and always worth queueing for.
If fish isn’t your thing, then in our opinion there’s no better restaurant in Southwold than The Swan or The Crown on the High Street, where you’ll find fresh, local food that’s as seasonal as possible, alongside the famous Adnams drinks list.
If you’re missing your sourdough and a decent coffee, the Two Magpies Bakery will satisfy your needs, and more. Eat in or take away, you’ll find plenty to tempt your palate, including morning pastries (we’re big fans of their Portuguese custard tarts!) and savouries.
Southwold is a true coastal town, where local pubs are the sought-after watering holes. Nestled underneath the lighthouse sits the Sole Bay Inn – positioned a stone’s throw from the Adnams Brewery, the beer doesn’t have to travel far. Another great local pub is The Lord Nelson, set just off the coast.
Escape the crowds…
Head down Ferry Road to the car park by the mouth of the river Blyth and you’ll find Southwold Denes, a large expanse of powdery sands surrounded by low marram dunes. Here you can enjoy a picnic or fish & chips, while away the hours crabbing by the harbour wall, or take a sedate trip across the harbour on the Walberswick ferry. (If you’re heading over to Walberswick, we recommend stopping in at Anchor or The Bell Inn.)
Southwold Maize Maze Play Park provides a fantastic area to explore and also enjoy coffee and cakes at Old Hall Café. A perfect chance to put your navigation skills to the test or race your way round in a peddle go kart (check seasonal opening times before you visit).