Guest Writer Emily Goodwin
Booked a stay by the Suffolk coast during the off-season? Here’s a guide to some of the best-kept secrets of the seaside towns when sunbathing on the beach is not an option.
Even on a gloomy day, The Scallop on Aldeburgh beach is a sight to behold. Designed as a tribute to local composer Benjamin Britten, the shell was commissioned in 2003 of artist Maggi Hambling. Aldeburgh is a goldmine for artists, with the Beach Lookout Art Gallery on the sea front also and Snape Maltings Concert Hall and Gallery a few minutes’ drive down the road.
On the high street you can find Aldeburgh Cinema – one of the oldest cinema houses in the UK. The auditorium was built onto the back of a nineteenth-century high street shop in 1919 and, whilst restoration work has taken place, very little else has changed in this little vintage cinema. Aldeburgh Cinema is a trust, so ticket sales go towards keeping this lovely piece of history alive.
Just a 30-minute walk along the coastline from Aldeburgh is Thorpeness, a picturesque holiday village imagined by Edwardian architect Stuart Oglivie. When he bought it in 1910, he set out to turn it into a fantasy-style hamlet, and today it is as he designed, with mock Tudor houses and the famous ‘House in the Clouds.’ This village is still beautiful out of season. The mere opens again in the springtime and has a literary link: the islands were named by the author of ‘Peter Pan,’ J. M. Barrie. Rowing boats are available to hire from the boat house. If that isn’t your ideal afternoon, however, the mere is still a lovely view from the tearooms, where they sell a selection of hot drinks and freshly baked cakes.
Southwold is one of the biggest tourist spots in the Suffolk region in the summer. In the off-season, however, it is much quieter – which means shorter queues for the fish and chip shops!
It is impossible to visit this seaside town without a trip to Adnams Brewery. Tours are bookable through their website and a worthwhile way to spend a rainy afternoon. You might even get a free tipple or two on your way around …!
Just 11 miles inland from Lowestoft is the quaint market town of Beccles. You could start the day with a trip to the Twyfords café. For you shoppers, Beccles has a selection of independent bookshops, full of stacked shelves and little coves to lose yourself in for an hour or so. If antique shopping is your thing, then Blyburgate Antiques is a treasure trove.
Finally, Beccles sits on the river Waveney, and motorboats can be hired for a couple of hours by those who wish to explore the pretty waterways. For the braver amongst you, the Canoe Man has kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards to hire for those who want a more adventurous experience.
Emily Goodwin, MA in Broadcast and Digital Journalism student
Thank you to Emily for highlighting some of Suffolk's best-kept secrets