by John | Aug 31, 2013 |

Beaches on the Suffolk Coast - Central and Northern Suffolk

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The Suffolk Coast is a diverse and breath-taking stretch of coastline, comprising sand and shingle beaches. It runs from the beach gardens of Felixstowe, through the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that encompasses both wild and manicured beaches, sand dunes and beach huts, piers and promenades, to the Sunrise Coast of Lowestoft and Southwold. Further North you will find even more stretches of golden, blue-flag beaches, backed by grassy cliffs, all the way up to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.

The English love of the beach dates back to the 19th century, when people began to seek the healthy benefits of sea air. Nowadays, whether it be for crabbing, wind surfing, sun bathing, dog walking, or swimming, Suffolk’s coastline continues to attract innumerable visitors every year seeking the beautiful views and pretty seaside towns.

With award-winning fish and chips, clean water and traditional seaside amusements, towns such as Southwold and Aldeburgh make for a lovely day out, whilst the wild beaches of Orford and Covehithe, quiet gems on the Suffolk coast, are perfect for dog walking.

And the still crisp air in Winter means that the beach isn’t just a place to visit in the summer sun. There’s nothing more refreshing than a stroll along Dunwich’s shingle or Kessingland’s marshland, wrapped up in your winter woolies.

Here we give you a run-through of some of the wonderful beaches Suffolk has to offer in central and northern parts of the coastline.
For the full article, which covers the whole of Suffolk's coastline, including south Norfolk, see here.

There’s something for everyone!


Central Suffolk

Aldeburgh

 
The beach at Aldeburgh runs from the Martello Tower northwards to the controversial scallop sculpture (by Maggie Hambling). The shingle beach is dotted with fishing boats, and lined with colourful sea front houses, giving the seaside town a delightful, shabby-chic aesthetic.

To see Aldeburgh at its most energetic, head to the annual carnival, which is held on the bank holiday weekend in August. It sees dozens of homemade floats take to the high street, followed by a lantern procession later in the evening and a firework display on the beach at night.

When the mist sets in through the quieter Autumnal and Winter months, Aldeburgh retains a ghostly charm. Dogs are allowed on the beach outside of the summer months; there is a mile of wonderful, dog-friendly beach just to the north of the town, which is well signposted.

There is a series of cafes and restaurants in Aldeburgh, as well as a boating pond, and famous fish and chip takeaways!


Distance: Orford 11.4 miles; Woodbridge 17.9; Framlingham 13.9

How to get there:

IP15 5BD

Aldeburgh is signposted down the A1094, off the A12 North of Norwich.
See here for more information.

Looking to stay in Aldeburgh? Sea Horse Cottage, and 5 Coastguard Cottages are just two of many lovely self-catered holiday properties available in the seaside town. See here for more!


Thorpeness

A little further north (about  1½ miles) up the coast from Aldeburgh is the steeply shelving shingle of Thorpeness beach.

Thorpeness is quieter than its popular neighbour, Aldeburgh, and the two are an easy cycle ride or seaside walk from one another.

If you keep heading north, you will find Sizewell beach, which has no restrictions on dogs all year round.

Things to do nearby: Head to The Meare, take out a paddle boat or kayak, and go for a row on the calm waters.


Distance: 2.1 miles to Aldeburgh; 12 miles to Orford; 17 miles to Woodbridge

If you're keen to stay in the delightful village of Thorpeness, see The Boat House, a fantastic sleeps 6 family property right on the beach, or The Courthouse, a majestic, stylish, sleeps 8 property set within Ogilvie Hall!


Dunwich

Once a large city and trading port, home to 4000 residents, Dunwich is now a peaceful sand and shingle beach, dotted with fishermen huts and backed by marshland. (Read more about the Lost City of Dunwich here). It is bordered by the River Blyth to the south and by Southwold to the north.

This is a long, quiet beach, perfect for stretching your legs. The café serves good fish and chips, which can be worked off later on the coastal walk. The nearby Dingle marhses are home to varied wildlife.

There are no restrictions on dog walking

Distance: 8.7 miles Southwold; 11.4 miles Aldeburgh; 16.7 miles Bungay; 18.1 miles Orford

How to get there:

IP17 3DE


Take the A12 north from Ipswich towards Lowestoft. Turn off after Saxmundham and shortly (1/2 mile) after Yoxford. following signs to Westleton and then Dunwich.

For more information, see here.


North Suffolk


Walberswick

On the orange-tinted, slightly coarse sands of Walberswick, crabbing is a must.

The long sand and shingle beach is backed by grassy dunes, and surrounded by marsh and heathland. Every August, it hosts the British Open Crabbing Championship; a family event that raises funds for various charities and good causes, both local and national.

When you’re getting peckish, set down your bucket and spade and head into the Georgian village of Walberswick for a pub lunch or a cream tea.

Walberswick is wider, wilder and less streamlined than the neighbouring town of Southwold, which is visible to the north. Southwold can be reached by walking along the river bank and across the Bailey bridge.

 Alternatively, a foot ferry operates during the summer months for you and your bikes.

Distance: 8.3 miles Southwold; 15.2 miles Aldeburgh; 17.2 miles Bungay

Webster Cottage is a lovely, sleeps 6 (+2) self-catered property in Walberswick. For more properties in the Southwold area, see here.



Southwold

Southwold consists of two beaches:

The Pier Beach is a Blue Flag beach, with clean water and sands. It comprises a mixture of sand and shingle, and is backed by a neat promenade, complete with colourful beach huts and wooden chalets. The beach here holds both a Quality Coast Award, and is Marine Conservation Society Recommended.


Lifeguards monitor the waters, making this a safe place to swim. There is also a traditional pier complete with amusements, a restaurant and an excellent café. Further inland you will find aboating pond and putting green. 

As well as for fishing, people come to the Pier to make use of the water sports facilities, which include windsurfing and jet skiing.

Suzie's Beach Cafe provides cake and ice creams right on the beach front.

The beach is cleaned regularly and dogs are banned from certain areas during the summer season.

 
Southwold has remained pleasingly resistant to modernity. There are numerous pubs within the town, as well as several great shops along the high street. The large, white lighthouse stands proudly above the promenade, and adds to the lovely traditional feel of the unspoilt, coastal town.  

Things to do nearby:

  • Take the Adnams Brewery Tour.  Southwold is home to the famous Adnams Brewery. Meet the brewery team and see it all for yourself. The tour explaind the beer-making process, and shows you parts of the brewery that are not normally open to the public. Free alcohol involved!

  •  The Coastal Voyager offers a range of trips including short local fun rides, trips to the seal and wind farm at Scroby Sands, and a one way ticket to Dunwich beach. 'Sea Blast' is particularly popular: the 400hp boat is put through its formidable paces in a 30 min tour of Solebay.

The further south you head, the quieter the beach gets. Soon, the concrete promenade and beach huts are replaced by grassy dunes. This part of the beach is much wider, and generally much quieter.






It’s still a nice spot for swimming, but note that there are no life guards further down the beach.

The most southern beach is known as The Denes; a quieter, more secluded shingle stretch next to the River Blyth. It’s good for walking, with grassy dunes and views across the estuary and, like its northern neighbour, received a Quality Coast Award

Visitors use the beach for Surfing, Windsurfing and Fishing. There is a coast path with walks north to Southwold and beyond or south along the banks of the river.

There are also no restrictions on dogs here!

Distance: 9.1 miles Halesworth; 11 miles to Ellough; 14.4 miles Beccles; 17.6 miles Bungay; 17.9 miles Aldeburgh.

How to get there:

For the North beach:

IP18 6BN

Signposted off the A12 between Ipswich and Lowestoft.
For more information, see here.

For the Denes/southern beaches:

IP18 6HQ

Accessed from the A12 North of Ipswich and Saxmundham and south of Lowestoft. Turn off along the A1095. Signposted Southwold. Once in Southwold. go through the town and the road leads out to Southwold Denes.
For more information, see here.

For a list of self-catered holiday properties in the area, see here. Forest Lodge is a sleeps 8, late Edwardian home overlooking Southwold common and just a short stroll from the sandy beach.

See also our articles on southern Suffolk, the Suffolk - Norfolk border, and south Norfolk.


For the full article, Beaches on the Suffolk Coast, see here.


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