- An ideal base for exploring numerous local attractions and historic sites, such as Colchester Castle and Zoo, Tudor Lavenham and Constable's Dedham and Flatford Mill.
- Wander around Beth Chatto's famous gardens.
- The excellent antique shops and Kentwell Hall in Long Melford.
The Heritage Coastal towns
Has a small castle with rolling hills outside. Inside it has an electronic guide and often has children’s activities. Stop for coffee or lunch at the café next to the Post Office or at the café on the quay. For more formal meals there is the Crown and Castle Pub and the Butley Orford Oysterage, otherwise the Kings Head serves great food. Delicacies can be bought from the Post Offices stores, from Pinneys or from the seafood stall on the quay. The boat trips from the pier tell of the history of Orford Ness and bring in the lobster pots and if the tide is in, there are plenty of crabs to be caught.
A pebbly beach which starts at the Marina with a path leading through to Thorpeness. Browse the many gift shops, art galleries and clothing stores, which stretch along the High Street. There are cafes and restaurants or have fish and chips on the beach, available from the Golden Galleon. There are fish stalls on the beach and along the promenade there is a boule site. Opposite the Moot House museum is a local boating pool, where children float toy yachts. If it is raining, the cinema often has matinee performances. The Brudenell, Regatta, Lighthouse and White Lion Restaurants are well known for good food.
A holiday village built in 1912, it has a pebbly beach, a boating lake for canoes and rowing boats (with little island hide-aways) and the path back to Aldeburgh. There are local tennis courts and it is easy to while away the time browsing the second-hand emporium built around The Mess café or watching the boats from the Meare café. Pass the House in the Clouds on the way in. The Dolphin Hotel serves more formal meals.
A quintessential seaside resort, famous for it well maintained, colourful beach huts. Start at the pier, where there are gifts shops and The Boardwalk café, before passing through the old fashioned penny arcade. Outside is the sandy beach on one side and a boating lake for pedalos, a crazy golf course and a small children’s park on the other. View the beach huts as you walk on the promenade towards the town. In the town there are old fashioned sweet shops, gift stores, art galleries and plenty of cafes and pubs as well as butchers, bakers, grocery stores and a cheese shop. There is a passenger ferry (a rowing boat!) to cross to Walberswick.
The lighthouse is occasionally open for tours and for beer lovers, the Adnams brewery books tours as well. The brewery has a store and café at the far end of town.
Keep walking to see the Water Tower in the midst of an open field overlooking the sea.
Home of World Championship crabbing, the inlet to the sea is a haven for young and old crabbers alike. A sandy beach is behind the dunes, but many people don’t get that far. A small village centre has two cafes, gift stores and The Bell and The Anchor are two award winning pubs. The passenger ferry crosses to Southwold.
Other places to visit
Well known for its concert halls and Benjamin Britton connection, Snape has independent shops and cafes. It also has wildlife walks and river trips. Aldeburgh music create a diverse programme of music which operates throughout the year.
Castles and Abbeys
As well as Orford there is a big castle at Framlingham .This is a small town with a local pubs and cafes and is noted for its ice-cream shop, just outside the castle. The grounds are good for a picnic.
There is a walking trail around Greyfriars Monastery in Dunwich, which goes past the last remaining tombstone of All Saints Church (which collapsed into the sea.)
Leiston Abbey is a beautiful historic site dating from 1363. The abbey ruins are incorporated into the buildings now used for weddings and other functions.
Bird Reserves and areas of outstanding natural beauty.
At Dunwich and Minsmere, within a few minutes’ walk of the beach, are woodland and heath known for its birdlife and natural beauty. Minsmere has been the venue for BBC Springwatch in 2014 and 2015.For families there is a Discovery Centre, a Wild Zone and guided walks throughout the year. The café serves meals cooked using local Suffolk produce. Dunwich has many walking trails, including a special new children’s trail. The very popular Flora Tearooms feels like stepping back in time and is to be found just off Dunwich beach. The Ship Pub in Dunwich village serves good food.
The famous Viking burial site of Sutton Hoo. There are grounds in which to sit and picnic as well as a café on-site.
Rural and Coastal walks
The path from Thorpeness to Aldeburgh, along the coast is easy to navigate and the riverside walk at Snape has a path to follow. For more open spaces, long walks and natural beauty, head to Dunwich Heath and Minsmere.
Local cycle hire
For cyles delivered directly to your holiday cottage, please click here.
For golfers with handicaps, Aldeburgh and Thorpeness have wonderful courses, but they must be booked in advance. Aldeburgh also has a 9 hole pay and play courses as do Halesworth and Hinton.
Canoeing and tennis. In Thorpeness there are tennis courts and a Meare. Rowing boats and canoes can be hired on the Meare, a shallow boating lake covering 3 acres, with several streams running off the main lake with landings marked with names on a Peter Pan theme. Tiny islands on the Meare contain locations found in J. M. Barrie's novel such as the Pirates Lair, Wendy's home and many others on which children are encouraged to play. See the crocodiles at the boathouse!