10 Things To Do In Southwold
No. 1 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.
No. 2 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!
“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!!
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!
No. 3 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: http://adnams.co.uk/
No. 4 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: http://adnams.co.uk/
No. 5 Harbour & Walberswick Ferry
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. Only open for lunch – do call ahead.
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 is an absolute must and possibly the best pound you’ll spend in Southwold! Take the rowing boat across the river from the harbour and explore Walberswick for an hour or so, nice pubs, pretty village, and great crabbing. http://www.walberswickferry.com/info.html
No. 6 Lighthouse
A rare opportunity to go inside a working lighthouse. This one still provides a beacon for vessels navigating the East Coast and guides boats making for Southwold Harbour. There’s an inexpensive, informative tour and once you have climbed the 92 steps you will be rewarded with an amazing view across the land and sea.
No Need to book in advance you can buy tickets on the day, more info on their website. https://www.trinityhouse.co.uk/
No. 7 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 Sole Bay Inn: lovely traditional seaside pub, excellent ale and decent food
- The Lord Nelson: another traditional pub, dog friendly and has courtyard garden.
- The Sail Loft: slightly out of town centre, close to the beach, new to Southwold in 2016, getting great reviews!
- 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.
No. 8 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
- Oscar & Rose – gorgeous clothes for babies and children
- 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 scummy things)!!
No. 9 Museum
Open from April onwards this tiny museum is packed with fascinating objects, paintings, and photographs that illustrate the history of the local area and wildlife. It’s a family friendly place with displays that will walk you through time from fossils to Vikings to sea battles and the transformation of the fishing port to seaside resort.
Open April – October 2-4pm. Admission: donation.
No. 10 Crabbing
Technically this one is in Walberswick but you can take the little rowing boat ferry across from the Quay (an adventure in itself) and be sure to keep the kids happy for an hour or so. All you need is a weighted line, net, bucket, some bacon and you’re good to go. In high season all these things can be bought from vendors in the car park or the little village shop in Walberswick and it really is great fun seeing who can catch the most. All the crabs go back at the end with a belly full of bacon for their troubles.
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Phone: 01508 518351