Thursday September 23rd 2021


October 28th, 2010 by
Categories: Suffolk Towns A-Z

One of the factors that makes the coastal town of Southwold popular with visitors is that it is unspoilt by modern day living. Drive past the sign that says “Welcome to Southwold” and it is as if you are stepping back in time.

From Gun Hill, where there are six eighteen-pound cannon, you can look out over Sole Bay. In 1672 this was the scene of a battle between the British and French fleets and the Dutch fleet.

South Green/Gun Hill, Southwold
Looking across South Green to Gun Hill and the sea.

Period buildings house specialist shops, the white lighthouse looks out to sea from just off the town centre, pubs serve Adnams ale just a stones-throw from the brewery, brightly coloured beach huts line the seafront, their owners sitting in doorways drinking tea from china cups. Hear the sound of leather upon willow as you watch a game of cricket on the town common or buy fish straight from the fisherman’s nets on the dock side.

Even the newly built town pier harks back to a quieter and gentler age with its assortment of peculiar amusements, waterclock and brass plaques along the handrail of the promenande naming the benefactors who made the building possible. It was opened by the Duke of Gloucester and in 2002 won “Pier of the Year”.

Near the pier you will find a small boating lake, a crazy golf course and ample car parking.

Southwold also has a new cinema, but being Southwold, this is no ordinary modern multi-plex. The Electric Picture Palace is situated in Blackmill Road and was opened by Monty Python star and globetrotter and adopted Southwold resident, Michael Palin (Palin spent his summer holidays here as a child). The Electric Picture Palace may be small, it has just 66 seats, but also has Mighty Wurlitzer. Movies are a mix of new releases and classics.

southwold church

In 1659 Southwold suffered a great fire which destroyed much of the town. Even so many buildings of interest still survive including the magnificent St.Edmund’s Church.

Just south of the main town (via Ferry Road) you will find the busy little harbour where you can visit the Lifeboat Museum, buy fresh fish or try your luck at catching a crab.

If you follow the line of the River Blyth inland for about half a mile you will see fishing boats unloading their catches. Small shacks offer the catch for sale, there is a small fresh fish restaurant and then the Harbour Inn. This small pub (recently extended) is always busy at weekends and offers the local Adnams beers and good food. Look on the outside wall for the mark of the tide level in the great flood of the 1950s.

The Harbour Inn, Southwold, Suffolk

Just past the Harbour Inn you can either continue to walk along the river edge until you reach a footbridge, this leads across the river to Walberswick on the other bank (15 miles by road). Alternatively take a right turn just after the pub across a small hump-backed bridge and follow the winding road over the town Common land and golf course back up into the town centre.

Small market is held in the town centre outside the Swan on Monday and Thursdays.

Places to see
The Amber Shop and Museum in the market place.

Southwold Museum, Victoria Street. Housed in a typical Dutch-gabled cottage with many local items of interest.

Southwold Pier. All the fun of the seaside. Until recently Southwold didn’t have a pier, just the remaining stump of one that had been destroyed in a gale many years ago. Then with local funding the pier was re-built (a unique feat in this modern day).

Alfred Cory Museum. The Old Cromer Lifeboat shed was shipped down from North Norfolk to Southwold a few years ago and put on the harbour entrance to house the local Lifeboat Museum.

The Sailor’s Reading Room. On East Cliff and containing items of maritime interest.

Electric Picture Palace. Situated in Blackmill Road this is run by Southwold Film Society.

Where To Eat
The Dutch Barn, Ferry Road. Tel: 01502 723172. Email

The Crown, High Street. Tel: 01502 722275.

The Harbour Inn, Blackshore. Tel: 722381.

King’s Head, 25 High Street. Tel: 01502 724517. Day time snacks, plus full a la carte. Sunday carvery.

The Red Lion, South Green. Tel: 722385. Home-cooked meals, outside seating overlooking the green and sea.

The Swan, Market Place. Tel: 01502 722186. Email

Mark’s Fish and Chips, 32 High Street. Tel: 723585. Eat in or take-away, frying locally caught fish. Simply THE BEST fish and chips in the area.

Where to Stay
mill cottage blythburgh
Mill Cottage, Blythburgh – just one of the properties available from
Heritage Hideaways

Heritage Hideaways can offer high quality holiday properties throughout Norfolk and Suffolk, encompassing many areas ofoutstanding natural beauty of coast and country. Their aim is to provide a personal service to guests and to ensure they have an enjoyable and effortless holiday.

Owners Philip and Marion Anthony, have a thorough knowledge of Norfolk and Suffolk having spent their childhood here, they have now returned to give their children the childhood they so much enjoyed walking the footpaths, playing on the beaches and exploring the history of the region.

Heritage Hideaways, The Wee Blether, 2 Westend Farm Cottages, Wrentham, Suffolk, NR34 7NH
E-mail Tel: 01502 675674; Mobile: 07931 567806
To see a selection of property available visit the website

The Swan
, Market Place. Tel: 01502 722186. Email. 3-Stars, classic 42 bedroomed hotel. Located right in the heart of the town.

Newlands of SouthwoldNewlands is set in delightful surroundings and only a mile from the town centre of Southwold. Newlands is unique to the area, offering first class accommodation, with eight rooms available. In the main house on offer are double/twin rooms, a single room, and combinations to offer a family suite.

To the rear of the main house are four purpose built ground floor suites these rooms are very adaptable and can cater for small families with beds adapting from double to twin, the rooms being large enough to also take single beds if required.

Newlands are particularly proud of the facilities they can offer disabled guests, all ground floor suites are fully wheelchair accessible, including the en-suite bathroom. Each suite has its own patio area set in a quite secluded garden, alternatively sit near the pond and watch the fish glide in and out of the water lilies.

The more energetic can spend time in the heated swimming pool – at Newlands you can swim at Southwold for twelve months of the year!

Halesworth Road, Reydon, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6NS E-mail

Website Tel: 01502 722164. Ask for Penny or David.

Acton Lodge, 18 South Green. Tel: 723217. 4 Diamonds, superior accommodation, good location with sea views.

Amber House, 24 North Parade. Tel: 723303. Email.

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