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If you haven’t been on a UK break to Southwold you’re seriously missing out. Located in Suffolk on the east coast of England, Southwold is a beautiful seaside town where time seems to have stopped. It’s perfect for a romantic getaway, a family holiday or even a solo trip to sit on the beach with a good book and a glass of wine!
Southwold holds many happy memories for me: as a kid I’d spend almost every October half term there on bike rides and in the arcade, and as a teenager weekends there would revolve around chasing boys and wangling invites to beach parties.
Now as an adult (sort of!) I don’t visit very often, but when I do I’m reminded of what a happy and wonderful place it is. Here’s my guide to how to spend a weekend in Southwold.
Take a Walk Along the Beach
There is no better way to start your weekend than a walk along the beach. As much as I LOVE feeling the sand between my toes and the sun on my face in the summer, for me Southwold beach is at it’s best in the autumn and winter when the refreshing sea wind almost knocks you off your feet and you’re unlikely to see another soul around.
Have Some Fun on the Pier
I could never tire of Southwold pier! Walk up to the end for a fabulous view back to the town, browse quaint shops for a souvenir or two, stop for brunch or afternoon tea at The Boardwalk Restaurant and, best of all, experience the Under the Pier Show!
It’s hard to explain exactly what the Under the Pier Show is so you should just go and see for yourself, but think of it as an eccentric arcade where you can experience the world through the eyes of a fly, take a tropical holiday from the comfort of an armchair or practice your zimmer frame skills.
Head Down to the Harbour
At the opposite end of Southwold beach is the harbour. Admire the boats on the water and in the boat yards, have a pint of Adnams in the Harbour Inn and then enjoy some super fresh fish for lunch!
If you’re looking for to enjoy some fish and chips the old fashioned way (wooden fork, sat outside, watching the world go by) then you really can’t beat Mrs T’s. Not only is the taste, quality and freshness unbeatable, but the portion sizes are HUGE!
The only downside is that you will have to queue in high season – over Easter weekend we joined the queue only to hear people discussing the fact that they’d been waiting over an hour. We didn’t have the time to spare on that occasion, but I promise it’s worth the wait.
If, like me, you enjoy a glass of crisp, cold, white wine with your fish, then The Sole Bay Fish Company is your cup of tea. The fish and chips here is also incredible (beautifully golden batter and chips cooked in beef dripping) and on a nice day you can sit in the cutest courtyard whilst you stuff your face.
As well as fish and chips, they also serve a selection of seafood platters including lobster, crab and oyster platters. Order alongside a bottle (or two) of wine and some freshly baked bread (served warm and with all the butter you could ask for) for ultimate lunch time goals.
Ride the Ferry to Walberswick
Once you’ve digested all that fish, you can’t miss out on a relaxing boat ride across the harbour to Walberswick. For the price of just £1, you’ll be rowed across the water with up to 10 other people (including dogs if you’re lucky) for another pint of Adnams at The Bell Inn and some crabbing on the beach before heading back.
Carry On Boating
If the Walberswick ferry has given you a taste of being on the water, you can continue the theme with Coastal Voyager. The offer a range of trips from the Sea Blast (an exhilarating high speed boat ride – make sure the fish and chips have gone down before this one) to the more relaxing Blyth River Cruise or Seal and Wind Farm Trip.
Breakfast on the Beach
My favourite way to have breakfast in Southwold is to buy a bacon and sausage baguette from Mills & Sons butchers, walk a few meters down the road and enjoy it on the beach whilst looking out to sea. Obviously you don’t want a sandy sausage, so best enjoyed sat on the promenade dangling those legs!
The guys at Mills & Sons are seriously generous with their sandwich fillings (honestly there’s pretty much a whole pig worth of bacon and sausage in there) and they have some great condiments… I had chilli jam at Easter with mine.
Climb the Lighthouse
Use that porky fuel from breakfast to power your legs up the lighthouse! I haven’t actually managed to do this in years (too busy eating fish and drinking Adnams) but it’s a great experience and the views are amazing. Tours aren’t on all the time, so you’ll need to look it up in advance to make sure you’re heading over at the right time.
Take a Brewery Tour
Adnams have been brewing beer in Southwold for over 670 years and are therefore a key part of the town’s history, so it would be extremely rude not to visit the brewery whilst you’re there! Learn about the history and the brewing process before tasting a few beers at the end of the tour.
If beer isn’t your thing, book onto a distillery tour instead, or even treat yourself to a gin making day! Their Copper House gin is one of my favourites, and at Easter I tried their Orange and Sea Buckthorne which was EVEN NICER!!
Once you’ve finished your tour/experience (or just anyway because its great) stock up on booze at their shop. They always have some tasters on, and great offers on wine (we always leave with a case). You can also buy online here to save having to carry home your hoard. My tops picks:
- Red: This Beaujolais is lovely and fresh tasting, and it’s really good chilled so great if you fancy a red but are feeling summery
- White: This White Burgundy Mâcon-Chardonnay is unbelievably crisp and delicious!
- Rosé: This Provence Rosé is one of the best Rosé’s I’ve ever tried, it’s so dry and actually drinks more like a white! Oh and it comes in as a magnum… even better!
Have a Posh Picnic on South Green
A British holiday isn’t complete without a picnic! Half way down Southwold high street is the Black Olive Delicatessen, a place which I often feel was specifically designed with my particular picnic needs in mind.
Grab some artisan bread, charcuterie, local cheese, olives (I’m trying so hard to like them!), Ginger Pig sausage rolls, pancetta and parmesan twists and potato salad and enjoy a luxury picnic on the green grass of South Green. You’ll have the Red Lion pub right next to you for beverages and toilets, and a view of the sea as your backdrop. What better way could there possibly be to spend the rest of your afternoon and end a perfect weekend in Southwold?
Have you been to Southwold, and what are your favourite things to do there? Let me know in the comments!