‘Too many walks, cycle rides, pubs, eating places to cover in one week, so will have to come back.’ Andrew and Gaenor, Wales
One of the very special things about this part of Suffolk is the wealth of activities available for visitors, against a combination of idyllic peaceful countryside and rich cultural offerings.
Drift End Cottage has views towards RSPB Minsmere, which is within walking distance – see separate entry – but the marsh and meadow at the back of the cottage regularly attract barn owls, marsh harriers, geese and many more. Listen out for the bitterns’ boom and the nightingale song too.
So many varied walks from your back door to explore – no need to take the car. Indeed, one of the ‘best walks in Britain’ (The Times) runs past the cottage.
Cycle hire from the Eel’s Foot Inn in Eastbridge. For local cycle routes, see links on right.
This part of the Suffolk Heritage coast has inspired many artists, from Constable and Gainsborough to Maggi Hambling, with its vast skies, seascapes and luminous light. So pack your paints, or visit the many galleries (Southwold, Walberswick, Aldeburgh, Halesworth for example).
Snape Maltings concert hall, overlooking the reed beds towards Iken, is a magical spot in which to enjoy world-class music throughout the year. More intimate chamber and choral music is performed at many of the beautiful churches, from Blythburgh (the cathedral of the marshes) to Orford. Try The Cut at Halesworth for an interesting mix of traditional, folk, jazz and innovative music. And don’t forget Thursday music night at the local inn, the Eel’s Foot.
Lots of farmers’ markets to discover, including nearby Middleton Farmshop, for everything from bread and cakes to fresh meat and fish. Visit Richardson’s Smokehouse at Orford – a Nigel Slater favourite – or sample the Butley Orford Oysterage there. Queue for great fish and chips in Aldeburgh, try the bistro restaurant Mains in Yoxford or the Crown Hotel in Southwold. Excellent pub meals available at the Eel’s Foot Inn in Eastbridge too.
The Anglo-Saxon burial site at Sutton Hoo; the 12th century fortress Framlingham Castle, once the refuge of Mary Tudor; the ‘lost’ town of Dunwich; the largest Martello Tower, at Aldeburgh, built to keep the French navy at bay; the tide mill at Woodbridge; Leiston Abbey, museums galore and many more
– Su recommends a visit to the plant nurseries at The Walled Garden, Saxmundham and Woottens of Wenhaston – interesting in themselves but hard to resist filling a trolley to take home!
Messing about in boats and on beaches, playing golf, scouring antique shops, bargain-hunting in boutiques, wine-tasting at vineyards or sampling Adnams beer in country pubs, forest trails, browsing in independent bookshops (Aldeburgh and Woodbridge)…or simply relax and enjoy the slower pace, the open spaces, the sea air, the vast skies, the flora and fauna, and the peace.