Our holidays this summer are a little different to usual seeing as we can’t go abroad, but going on a UK staycation and exploring more of our own country has been a really wonderful adventure. Our roadtrip took us from Kent all the way up the coast through Suffolk and onto Norfolk. I don’t like being stuck in the car for too long when it’s just me and Evie (there’s only so much playing eye spy and listening to the Frozen soundtrack I can handle), so Suffolk was added into our itinerary as a brief stopover on our way up to Norfolk. But we ended up having so many fun adventures here that I hadn’t even anticipated for that I even changed some of our plans to stay in this part of the UK for a bit longer.
The coastline has some stunning child friendly beaches and traditional seaside towns as quintessentially English as can be. There is also the countryside to explore with its many farms, wildlife, nature walks and fields of gold to frolic in, as well as plenty of entertaining attractions for the whole family.
So here are my recommendations on what to do on the Suffolk coast with kids if you only have a couple of days:
Southwold is the most popular and biggest town on this part of the coast and is the ideal place to spend a family day by the sea. The long sandy beach is lined with colourful beach huts and Southwold Pier is packed with fun amusement arcades where you can try your luck on the 2p slot machines and enjoy an ice cream while people watching (or ocean watching) from high up on the pier.
If you’re looking for the best place to eat in Southwold, Sole Bay Fish Company on Southwold’s Harbour, just a short drive from the Pier, serve up delicious fresh fish and seafood that they catch daily on their own boat.
After some grub, take a stroll along the harbour where you can watch lots of families, locals and tourists alike, crabbing and rock pooling along the shore. If you want to take part in this English seaside tradition yourself, bring a bucket, net, string and bait but don’t keep the crabs in the bucket for long so they don’t get too hot and always return them to their natural environment.
The walk from Southwold to Walberswick, or vice versa, through the marshland, takes around 45 minutes (you know it will be double that with kids), but the most fun and quickest way to cross the River Blythe is to hop on the Walberswick ferry. It may be called a ferry but in actual fact it’s a tiny little motor boat fitting around 8 people, and for just £2, you can take an extremely brief ride across the river. And when I say extremely brief, I literally mean a 2 minute boat ride. But to a 3 year old those 2 minutes on the water, hair blowing in the wind, seagulls flying above you, watching as you sail closer to the shore and the people waving at you on the other side, is exhilarating.
Once you’re off the ferry in Walberswick, it’s a pretty little seaside village on the Suffolk coast, the main draw being the long sandy shingle beach which is backed by sand dunes and grassy heathland.
As we were driving back to our accommodation, hot, sweaty and tired after a fun filled day exploring Southwold and Walberswick, I spotted signs for Southwold Maize Maze.I knew this would be brilliant fun and Evie would love it so I booked our tickets online for the next day. I was only expecting to spend a couple of hours there before driving onto Norfolk but we ended up being here the entire day having the most fun.
The maize maze is of course the main attraction with two huge mazes, one for older children and a smaller one for the younger kids. Evie led us around, zigzagging and running through the towering stalks of maize. She was really interested to hear what happens to the crops and how the corn ends up on our plates at home (every time she has corn on the cob at home now she tells me it came from the maze!) so as well as being fun it’s also educational too. She got so excited filling her little booklet with a rainbow of stickers each time she found a colourful spot in the maze and was super proud of herself for getting to the end of the maze and winning a lollipop!
There’s much more than the maze here though: the playground area is huge, with equipment in the shape of tractors and combine harvesters spread out over a huge grassy field – so social distancing is easy here. There are also giant jumping pillows (bring socks as they get a little hot on the feet on a sunny day) which the big kids (aka fully grown adults) can also have some fun on too.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay for a short break on the Suffolk coast, somewhere not far from the beaches but feeling much more rural and hidden away from the busy touristy spots (so the perfect accommodation for social distancing!), Fen Lodge Shepherd’s Huts are the most wonderfully authentic retreat.
Three of the cosiest vintage huts sit in a large garden, surrounded by pretty flowers and wildlife, each tucked away in their own little private bubble. Our off the grid hut had a wood-burning stove for those cooler nights and a camp fire to toast marshmallows on, a kitchenette and gas stove so we could still do all the cooking we liked, plus a separate little hut just a few steps away with an eco shower and toilet. It was the most idyllic countryside getaway, waking up in the morning to the sound of the birds singing and the crickets chirping and going to sleep at night after watching the sunset over the fields and seeing the sky twinkling with stars.
Have you visited beautiful Suffolk? What else is there to do if we want to explore more of the countryside? Let me know in the comments below or at: