Suffolk in the the Sunshine
We stayed in Staithes a year ago and whilst we were there I booked the Anchorage for 2023. Since then we’ve moved to Sherburn, but having a cottage an hour up the coast seemed too close, so I switched the booking to Meadow View in Leiston, Suffolk.
The drive down was straightforward enough and included our first crossing of the Humber Bridge. I have actually once cycled halfway across but my fear of heights got the better of me and I turned around and returned to the north side. It was the start of a trip from Hull to Middlesbrough and full of drama, but that’s a story for another day.
The cottage is called Meadow View and it’s perfect for Ralf. The meadow is at the rear of the bungalow and on the first night a tiny Muntjac deer walked by about 7pm. Fortunately, Ralf didn’t spot it, nor did we manage to get a photo.
On Saturday evening we drove a few miles to Sizewell – it was a bit weird to see the power station so close to the beach, but we had a lovely walk with Ralf.
On Sunday we headed to Framlingham Castle in 30°C heat. Too hot for me, too hot for Ralf…
This is a lovely part of Suffolk with picture postcard villages and loads of history. We even managed a sunlit evening walk from Meadow View to Leiston Abbey.
Monday was a day for a drive to Snape Maltings, a heritage site with converted Victorian buildings, and home to independent shops, eateries and galleries, as well as performance spaces The BBC Syphonony Orchestra were there as part of the Aldeburgh Festival.
After some lunch, we headed to nearby Aldeburgh to satisfy Alison’s retail requisites. Ralf and I enjoyed a sunny hour standing outside every clothing shop in the town, people watching and slaking a hot schnauzer’s thirst in a plethora of dog bowls.
We drove down to the sea wall for another dog walk, before heading back to the cottage. It wasn’t as hot as Sunday, but much closer with a few grey skies.
Tuesday – another day, another castle and one of the best. Orford Castle is a stunner, owned by English Heritage and superbly restored. Add in the fact that it’s dog friendly and you’ve got a perfect day out.
We left the car at the castle and walked down through the beautiful village of Orford to the Quay. The ferry to Orford Ness was only running at the weekend so we had to give that a miss. To compensate we headed to The Jolly Sailors pub for lunch – service was slow but the food was fine – dressed crab for me and a pint of smoked prawns for Mrs B (only slightly spoiled by the accompanying Chorleywood white sliced bread, although the glass of Pinot made up for that disappointment).
On Wednesday we drove to Southwold for a walk around the town, fish and chips overlooking the sea and a mooch down the pier.
We toyed with having a game of crazy golf, but Alison deemed the course too basic for her skills – I suspect she’s waiting for the Saudis to take the game over. Instead, we left the town and drove to the National Trust site at Dunwich Heath where Ralf had a run on the off lead Woof walk – very happy he was too.
Like every other day this week, the sun continued beating down on Thursday as we drove to Thorpeness, a designer village with some superb properties, way beyond the reach of mere working class mortals. According to the Suffolk Coast website, “The small village of Thorpeness is dominated by the Mere, which is popular all year round and bears witness to the village’s fantastical past. In 1910 Stuart Ogilvie bought the hamlet and set to transform it into a private fantasy holiday village. Today the village is just how Ogilvie envisaged it with pretty mock Tudor houses and the fairy-tale ‘House in the Clouds’.
Thorpeness is a popular holiday village with a whimsical literary link. The picturesque ‘meare’ or artificial lake is vast- covering over 60,000 acres with its various islands and inlets. The Meare comprises many little islands, all named by J.M Barrie, author of Peter Pan and visitors can take to one of the many little boats available to hire and drift between fairytale settings such as the pirate’s lair and Wendy’s house.
You can’t miss the ‘house in the clouds’, an unusual water tower with a boarded house on top, appearing to float up into the sky. If you’re looking to stay in an iconic Suffolk building, the House in the Clouds is available to hire for holidays!“
We had lunch in The Dolphin Inn, which was excellent and walked back via the part of the shingle beach which remains dog accessible all year round.
We finished the day off with a late evening walk in the woods of the Sizewell estate. Perfect (and, as a bonus, the Muntjac came visiting again as we were getting into the car at the cottage).
Friday was our last full day, as we had to be out by 10am on Saturday. Poor Ralf hadn’t had a proper beach experience all week due to dog restrictions, so a quick Google search took us to Walberswick, just south of Southwold. A handy car park gave us access to the dunes and the beach beyond, but first Alison had to overcome her ophidiophobia to get there.
We wandered along the sandy and pebbly beach, indulging Ralf’s desire for a paddle, until we reached the estuary where we spent an hour sunbathing.
Lunch was in the beer garden of the Bell Inn, where apparently Charles Rennie Macintosh used to pop in on occasions.
It’s amazing how much the rural coastal villages of Suffolk remind us of France in general, and our beloved Vendée in particular; especially this week as there’s barely been a cloud in the sky. We’ve had a great week and been blessed with a perfect cottage and blissful weather. Our next trip away is to Dorset in September – let’s hope we’re just as lucky again.