Things To Do In Southwold

Things To Do In Southwold

The Beach.

The are many reasons to visit Southwold but the stunning beach has to be the number one. Whether you like big expanses of sand with a gentle dune backdrop or a quirky beach hut lined promenade where you can quickly grab a drink or ice cream for the kids – Southwold has it all. There is parking at both ends of the beach near the Pier and up by the harbour making it accessible and easy for couples and families alike. You can even walk from one end to the other grabbing a cuppa or ice cream en route. During the summer months there is also a Life Guard monitored section to the beach so you can swim under the watchful eye of the guys on patrol.

The Pier

Rebuilt in the 1990s after years of neglect Southwold Pier is Britains only 21st century Pier and stretches out 190 metres into the North Sea. Its an absolute must sea and our highlights on the Pier are:

Under the Pier show
The most unique and eccentric interactive machines in the world, this place would be more at home in a Tim Burton movie! Think homemade weird, wonderful and pretty random arcade games – its an absolute must see!

Water Clock
“A pair of piddlers who perform every half hour” This cheerful clock draws quite a crowd on the hour and half past – it’s entertaining to watch for both young and old!!

Boardwalk Cafe
A super convenient and tasty place to eat if you are on the beach near the pier. Its a fairly simple menu with a few daily specials, the fish and chips is very good as are the fish platters. Kids are well catered for but we advise getting in there early as you can’t book and does get busy at peak times.

Great family arcade with plenty for all ages, no trip to the seaside would be complete without a go on the 2 penny push machines! Also look out for the 1980s retro area on the pier with some old school classic arcade games!

Adnams Tour

Adnams brew and distil a huge array of award-winning beer and spirits and are still based right in the centre of Southwold. As you wander around the streets of the town you can easily assume that behind the Victorian buildings are holiday cottages and homes but if you sneak a peak through the odd window or open door you may see huge vats and other apparatus related to the brewing process.

Brewery tours take around an hour and end with an all-important tasting that lasts a further 30 minutes. Cost is £20 and its worth remembering that you get a 10% discount voucher to spend in the Adnams shop which is well worth it! Tours can be booked online or by phone, loads more details on the brilliant Adnams website:

Make your own Gin (Adnams Southwold)

This is great experience offered by Adnams, we have done this together and it was absolutely brilliant. You get a brief tour of the Adnams distillery, taste a range of the Adnams spirits, before starting a tutored session with one of Adnams Gin Makers. You will choose your own botanicals, be guided through the distillation process and then name and label, your personal bottle.
It costs £95 and lasts around 2 ½ hours, you walk out with a premium personalised bottle of Gin and a 10% discount for the Adnams shop.
More details on the Adnams website:

The Harbour

Just half a mile walk from the centre of Southwold is the harbour which is recorded in the Doomsday Book as the most prosperous fishing port in the 11th century. Fishing boats do still operate from the quayside and you can get up close to the moored boats as you stroll along the water.

We love the Sole Bay Fish Co. which is run out of an old fisherman’s shack on the Quayside (accessible by car also). Inside there is a super fish counter with fresh fish caught on their own boat daily plus a restaurant which is excellent but does get fully booked. There is also a takeaway where you can get traditional fish and chips plus slightly more interesting offerings such as oysters, moules marineres and a pint of Adnams or glass of wine

Also at the harbour is the RNLI lifeboat station and museum in the large car park next to the beach. It’s full of fascinating history about the lifeboat station and the original lifeboat from 1893.

Walberswick Ferry & Crabbing!

Walberswick is a renowned crabbing spot the kids will love. You can park on the Southwold side of the River Blythe at the Lifeboat car park and take the rowing or motor boat across (£2 adults, £1 kids each way) to Walberswick where you can join the gaggle of kids dipping their bacon loaded lines and nets in the water to be rewarded with pinching crabs of varying sizes (that are gently put back when you’re done). The village itself is very pretty and boasts a couple of pubs, shop and deli.

Pubs and Eating

There is definitely no shortage of places to eat and drink in Southwold.
Landlords, chefs and menus do change so check up on Tripadvisor for latest reviews and menus. Our current recommendation are:

  • The Swan Hotel Restaurant & Tap Room: great food, lovely atmosphere, love the décor.
  • The Sole Bay Fish Co. by the harbour – delicious fish and chips, warm fresh bread and excellent fish platters
  • The Sail Loft: slightly out of town centre, close to the beach.
  • The Sole Bay Inn: lovely traditional seaside pub, excellent ale and decent food.
  • The Lord Nelson: another traditional pub, dog friendly and has courtyard garden.
  • Two Magpies Bakery: The most dazzling selection of freshly baked bread, cakes and pastries (plus decent coffee) you can eat in or takeaway to the beach.
  • Top on TripAdvisor: NineDeli, Sutherland House, Coasters. 

Shopping and wandering

If you fancy a break from the sea and sand then you are in for a treat as Southwold has plenty of decent shops to peruse too! Thankfully there is a strong independent presence here with only a handful of chain stores. So whether you are after crafts, clothes, arts, antiques, coffee, artisan food, buckets and spades, gifts, beer, wine and spirits there really is something for everyone. Your best bet is to just wander down the High Street and off the little streets towards the beach, but here is a small selection to give you a taste of what is on offer…

  • CRAFTCO – outlet for East Anglian contemporary arts and crafts
  • Stag Interiors – beautiful interiors, gifts and lighting
  • Collen & Clare: independent boutique selling premium ladies brands
  • Serena Hall Gallery: showcasing not only her own stunning work but also that of other artists who have been inspired by the beauty of the local area.
  • Black Olive Deli – pies pies pies (and olives, salads and other scrummy things)!!
  • Adnams Southwold Store – a fabulous shop not only selling Adnams beers and spirits but a wide range of carefully selected wines, artisan snacks and beautiful ceramics, picnicware etc. 


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