Southwold - A Quintessential Seaside Town
Published: Thursday 27th Feb 2014
Written by: Alice de Courcy-Wheeler
Southwold in Suffolk offers visitors a seaside holiday like they used to be – there are no kiss-me-quick hats, candyfloss or dodgem cars here. Instead, you will find a laid-back, welcoming coastal town made up of tastefully decorated cottages, quirky independent shops and enough attractions to keep you returning again and again. Here’s a few things to look forward to:
A Peerless Pier
No British seaside town worth its salt should be without a pier, and Southwold has a very special one indeed. The only British pier to be rebuilt in the 21st century and stretching over 600ft into the sea, the iconic structure is full of attractions from amusements and cafes to shops and even a water clock. All of this is tastefully presented, particularly the weird and wacky ‘Under the Pier Show’, an alternative, tongue-in-cheek games arcade where visitors are invited to try such pursuits as crossing a busy road with a Zimmer frame or ‘Whack a Banker’. The wooden boardwalk is simply a lovely place to stroll along and when you turn back to face the shore you are presented with breathtaking views of Southwold itself.
Down on the Beach
The beach hut is a British institution and in Southwold they have almost been elevated to an art form. The town boasts some of most well-kept beach huts in the country – and some of the most expensive; their bright, candy-coloured exteriors lending an air of cheer to the promenade. Mostly sandy with a clean sea, Southwold’s main beach is a joy for people of all ages. Moving further away from the town the beach becomes more rugged and the sand dunes more prominent - ideal for a game of hide and seek with the children or a windswept stroll.
A Town Full of Attractions
Southwold offers visitors so much to see and do that they can’t even hope to scratch the surface in one trip. There’s the 68-seater Electric Picture Palace cinema opened by Michael Palin in 2002, styled in turn of the century Art Deco. A links golf course winds its way across the south of the town, while Mrs T’s fish and chips down by the harbour are some of the best you will taste anywhere. Southwold is also home to Adnams brewery and passers-by can smell the delicious malt in the air. A pint of Adnams’ famous Southwold Bitter outside the Nelson pub is one of life’s small pleasures.
Rich Maritime History
You only have to look at Southwold’s prominent white lighthouse or take a quick tour of the lifeboat museum to get a feel for its rich maritime history and deep connection with the ways of the sea. Those who want to explore further can visit the old Sailors’ Reading Rooms, preserved as a tribute to seafarers of the past and packed full of sepia pictures of old fishermen and model boats. Down by the harbour fishing boats still in use today can be seen, while a rowing boat ferry service is available to deliver people across the River Blyth to the nearby village of Walberswick.