In this months post we’re heading to Suffolk, England – one of the most quintessentially ‘English’ counties that you could find.
If you don’t know where it is Suffolk is located to the North East of London and sits between the counties of Essex to the south and Norfolk to the North. It’s beautifully flat, green and rural and has an attractive 79km coastline looking out into the North Sea.
A visit to the county is sort of like steeping back in time. Every village you pass through is a super mixture of quaint historic cottages and houses all with a village green, church and pub in the centre. Although if you’re planning on visiting then having access to a car is an essential to get about to see all of the fantastic places that the county has to offer.
Here are some of our favorites:
The Suffolk Coastline
Stretching from Corton in the north to Landguard Point in the south the miles of Suffolk coastline can make an ideal day out if you’re looking for a day at the coast. If you’re looking for a typical day out at the goold old English seaside, then head to the towns of Aldeburgh or Southwald.
Aldeburgh is the cultural coastal hot spot in the area. Alongside the Aldeburgh festival founded by Benjamin Britten in 1948, there are a a host of musical and dramatic events happening which take place throughout the year that can inspire and delight. If you want a flavour of what to expect then have a look at this video below from the Centenary Trailer made a few years back:
Meanwhile Southwald offers visitors the historic seaside charm that’s been lost in recent years in other resorts. Your classic buckets & spades, ice cream and fishermans huts. There’s a charming little pier with classic amusements arcades for the kids, and further into the town you have to visit theAdnams brewery to stock up on some of their famous drinks.
Alternatively if you’re looking for something a little more chilled out then head to Orford. Set in an an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the coastal village exudes charm and has the most fantastic bakery which won the award of Best Food Producer back in 2012.
A visit to the county wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Sutton Hoo, one of the countries most important archaeological sites. Back in the 1930’s a whole host of treasures from the Anglo-Saxon burial ground were unearthed – including the famous Sutton Hoo helmet.
If you’d like to see a brief overview then there is a video here giving an overview of the history of the site:
Admittedly when you visit there isn’t a whole lot to see. The actual burial mounds are no more than a few grassy hills, but the National Trust has a brilliant exhibition in place and it is well worth taking one of the tours around the site where you can really begin to appreciate the historic importance of the site.
For something a little more exciting for the kids, then head to Framlingham Castle, which for all intensive purposes is a ‘proper’ castle with moat and all. At the 12th Century fortress you can take a walk around the top of the walls which offers a great view out onto the surrounding countryside as you learn more the exciting history of the castle over the years.
Further inland you’ll find the historic hamlet of Flatford. Located on the River Stour it is the setting of the beautiful ‘Haywain’ picture which was painted by John Constable in 1821 and is regarded as one of the most popular pieces of English art.
Although the actual painting is housed in the National Gallery in London, there is still plenty to see here as the quaint cottages and rural landscapes have hardly changed since Constable’s day.
There are a number of small exhibitions and plenty of walks along the River Stour in both directions where you can explore the beautiful countryside that inspired the artist. Otherwise, if you don’t feel like walking you can always hire a row boat and glide along the river in comfort.
If you want to really delve into what England would have looked like hundreds of years ago then you should certainly take a drive over to Lavenham, which is a fine example of a medieval village. Originally gaining it’s wealth off the wool industry each building is a wonderful example of the past. As well as a collection of some beautiful restaurants and traditional tea rooms to dine in, it’s also home to some of the buildings featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, so keep a look out for landmarks!
Whenever you’re travelling to any of the locations do allow some extra time. As many of the roads in the area pass through so many quaint and picture perfect villages, it’s well worth taking the time to stop off at a few, get out and have a look round to see how beautiful some of these places are.