Your guide to the best coastal towns and villages in Suffolk
There’s few better ways to spend a day when on holiday than by the sea. If you’re taking a break in Suffolk, you’re truly spoilt for choice.
Suffolk’s 50-mile stretch of heritage coastline offers a surprisingly diverse range of seaside days out, including Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Here’s a few of our favourite coastal towns and villages that you won’t want to miss out on.
The best coastal and seaside towns in Suffolk
Looking to kick through the sweeping sand dunes of a quaint, secluded slice of shore — perhaps with your four-legged friend? Or are you after a traditional coastal family day out with fun-filled piers, independent shops and some paper-wrapped fish and chips?
Aldeburgh — Blue Flag beach, history, indy shops and colourful beach huts galore
Taking its name from the nearby River Alde, Aldeburgh and its Blue Flag beach are the perfect place for a stroll, a picnic and a photo opportunity.
Nestled on the beach between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness is ‘the Scallop’ — a four metre shell sculpture, so placed as a tribute to Benjamin Britten. Britten was a prolific composer and one that spent much of his life in Aldeburgh and nearby Snape.
As well as the view, the town offers idyllic pastel holiday homes and beach huts, as well as a great selection of restaurants and bars to enjoy some refreshment. The Regatta smokes its own fish, but if you’re seeking a more traditional seaside fare, then pay a visit to the famous Aldeburgh fish and chip shop, which has served the community for an incredible 50 years!
For such a small seaside town, there’s an incredible amount to do — certainly enough for a day out. Get an insight into Benjamin Bitten at The Red House, glimpse into local history at The Aldeburgh Museum, catch a show at the Jubilee Hall or even try a tipple at the Fishers Gin Distillery.
Kessingland — a quiet place to enjoy peace, wildlife and history
For that at-one-with-nature feel that just can’t be beaten, Kessingland is a gem that steers away from the bustle of many seaside locations. Quaint and beautiful, it’s ideal if you’re looking for a quiet day to soak up the sea air. What’s more, dogs are allowed on the beach all year round.
Beach walks here will take you through the Benacre Nature Reserve, whose precious woodland, reedbeds and heathland are certainly one to explore for keen twitchers — it’s home to over 100 special species including the Dartford warbler, woodlark and nightjar.
Not only that, but this location is of huge interest to archaeologists, thanks to crumbling cliffs that are renowned for revealing fossils from the Jurassic and Palaeolithic periods. You may catch a glimpse of some former WWII defences, the remains of which can still be seen today.
Kessingland is also home to the award-winning Africa Alive Zoological Reserve. With a range of wild cats, rhinos, giraffes and other stunning species hailing from Africa, as well as animal experiences, it’s certainly worth a visit — particularly if you’ve got the little ones.
Lowestoft — just a great British seaside day out
Just on the doorstep of our Azure Seas holiday park is Lowestoft, a well-known and much-beloved seaside resort for the whole family.
This stunning stretch of coastline is punctuated with quaint beach huts, making it a great picnic and Instagram spot! It’s also an ideal place to walk along the piers (yes, two), or along the beach itself. If you’ve got your furry friends, be aware that there are restrictions in some sections, although Claremont Pier allows dogs all year round.
Did you know that Lowestoft is the first place you can see the sunrise in the UK? Whether you’re soaking up the sea air and frolicking in the sand or after something a bit more action-packed, everyone will enjoy a day spent here.
Catch a performance at the Marina Theatre or deep dive into history at the Maritime Museum and Lowestoft Museum. For something different, explore the street scene setting and old trams and buses of the East Anglia Transport Museum. You can even get a white-knuckle experience on Wipeout, a roller coaster at Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park, or see animals at Africa Alive.
A great spot to catch some fish and chips for tea, you’ll be spoilt for choice with places to eat; or you can walk along the promenade to nearby Pakefield for more cafes, restaurants and a different take on some spectacular sea views.
Bawdsey — outstanding natural beauty and history to boot
Part of the charming Deben Peninsula, Bawdsey is nestled in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty — a trip here will never disappoint as the area is rich with stunning views, things to see and is steeped in history.
Most of the original cottages in this lovely seaside village were part of the Bawdsey Manor Estate, and were inhabited by those under the employ of the landowners.
With exposed Gelasian Red Crag and an area of geological importance, Bawdsey Cliff is designated a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’.
Enjoy a small, secluded beach at low tide, including the chance to take the foot ferry to the tiny fishing village of Felixstowe Ferry (not to be confused with its southern neighbour, Felixstowe!). We’d recommend a quick pit-stop at The Ferry Boat Inn for home cooked pub food, local ales, a roaring fire and its lovely beer garden!
In the early stages of WWII, this area was actually the birthplace of the first radar defence network — you can learn all about this technology and the discoveries made at the Bawdsey Radar museum. You might also spot some wartime defences that have fallen into the sea as a result of coastal erosion.
Southwold — for sandy beach, colourful huts, a pier & lighthouse: a true rural Suffolk coast backdrop
Live the quintessential Suffolk coast lifestyle, even if just for the day. With an operational lighthouse, beautiful beach huts, cliff top cannon, tea rooms, arts and crafts and a fun-filled, award-winning pier, there’s enough to keep you busy for the day, but without the crowds.
Did you know that author George Orwell spent several years of his fledgling career in Southwold? There’s even a mural on the seafront. During his time there, he penned A Clergyman’s Daughter — it’s also believed that the character Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four is based on his neighbour in Southwold!
Once you’ve seen the sights and had your fish supper, if you’ve got time be sure to head up the coast and take a stroll on the almost-certainly deserted Covehithe beach, whose lovely golden sands are backed by crumbling cliffs.
Stay a while in Suffolk…
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list! There’s so many coastal sights in Suffolk.
You can experience them all on a luxury camping or touring getaway at Waxham Sands Holiday Park, located just up the coast near Sea Palling in Norfolk (famous for the resident grey seal colonies).
Can’t bear to think of leaving? We completely get it! Visit time and again by owning a holiday home at Azure Seas, our owners-only park in Suffolk, a great location for all these activities and more — plus you can hop up to the Norfolk Broads too!
There’s also Golden Beach Holiday Park where, like at Azure Seas, you can own a holiday home of your own.
Wherever you’re headed, we can’t wait to welcome you!