Stuck for Family Holiday Ideas? Take the Kids to Suffolk
Published: Thursday 24th Jul 2014
Written by: Alice de Courcy-Wheeler
Off the beaten track, Suffolk may not be the obvious choice for a getaway but even a cursory glance reveals that the East Anglian county has so much on offer. Whilst there are lots of places to visit, the key appeal for families with children is the fresh outdoor space and natural beauty. Here are a few ideas to make your Suffolk dream a reality:
Full of Wildlife
Is there anything more fun than being in beautiful locations with your children and learning about wildlife? If this is your idea of a good time then you will be well catered for in Suffolk. First stop on your nature trail should be the RSPB nature reserve at Minsmere, near Southwold. Recently featured on the BBC’s Springwatch programme, the reserve is home to rare species like bitterns and marsh harriers, which can be seen from a network of hides. Not far away is the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary at Stonham Aspal where the kids will be mightily impressed by the 80 or so raptors and the owls’ regular flying displays. Near Bury St Edmunds is the headquarters of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust at Lackford Lakes; it’s a superb location for wildfowl both summer and winter. From woods and fens to marshes and meadows, there are plenty of SWT locations dotted all over the county – almost all free to enter and great for kids to learn about wildlife.
An Abundance of Beaches
There are some fantastic beaches in Suffolk where kiddies can run around, build sandcastles, bury themselves in sand. At Southwold you have a choice; the sand and shingle beaches near the pier are great for bucket and spade-type activities and for setting up camp for the day in front of the town’s iconic beach huts. Down towards the harbour the beaches become windswept with sand dunes, providing great hide-and-seek and exploring fun. Nearby Walberswick has the best sand dunes in the area, while some good crabbing can be had off the river bridges. Covehithe to the north is a gem of a beach, reached by a footpath, the woods run right up to the beach.
If you want to treat the youngsters to a day out at a theme park then Pleasurewood Hills near Lowestoft offers a jam-packed day out. If you fancy the zoo then try nearby Africa Alive, one of the UK’s largest wildlife attractions. Youngsters can learn and play at the Science Project Discovery Centre in Ipswich or let loose at the town’s Area 25, an indoor skate park with facilities for skateboards, BMX, scooter and inline skates. If your children have a head for heights they could try the brilliant Go Ape among the trees of Thetford Forest or if they prefer to stay on the ground, there’s a great trail through the woodland that features a series of man-sized musical instruments. Ther forest has plenty of off-road cycling paths here too.
A Plethora of Farm Parks
As you would expect in a county where farming dominates, Suffolk has some first class farm parks where children can meet and feed animals, as well as enjoy a range of different outdoor activities. Easton Farm Park near Woodbridge features lots of animals, pony rides and indoor and outdoor play areas. The famous Jimmy’s Farm at Wherstead has rare breed pigs, an excellent farm shop and a playground. The 200-acre Suffolk Punch Trust farm, also near Woodbridge, is a chance to get up close to Suffolk’s iconic native breed horse; the beautiful Suffolk Punch.