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29 October 2014

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You are in: Suffolk > Nature > Coast > > COAST: Discovering Southwold

Discovering Southwold

Discovering Southwold

COAST: Discovering Southwold

Southwold lies in the heart of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is a quintessentially English town with a rich maritime heritage.

A Walk around Southwold

DISTANCE: 2 miles (approx)

TIME: Allow a couple of hours or more to soak in the views, study the unusual architecture, visit the interesting shops, mull over the pictures in the art galleries, and relax in the many pubs and tea rooms.

MORE INFO: This is a circular route starting and finishing at the pay-and-display car park near Southwold Pier. 

OS Landranger map number 156. OS Explorer map number 231.

TERRAIN: The walk is on pavement and tarmac. At the seafront there are steep slopes down to the promenade, which may be difficult for wheelchairs or buggies. However there are alternative routes which avoid the slopes and nothing of the scenery or sights will be missed by taking these routes.

LOCATION: Southwold is 10 miles from Lowestoft and 35 miles from both Ipswich and Norwich.  It is situated at the end of the A1095, four miles from the A12 at Blythburgh.

TRAVEL INFO: The nearest railway stations are Darsham and Halesworth. There are local bus services to and from Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth, Ipswich, Lowestoft and Norwich.

Discovering Southwold map

Discovering Southwold map

You can read eight features about Southwold by going to the right hand navigation and walking through page by page. You can also print out a copy of the walk to take with you.

last updated: 22/04/2008 at 10:53
created: 05/07/2005

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

full of londoners these days., more the pity. Still a nice place, but has certainly lost its charm compared to what it used to be like. (i live 5 miles away and hardly ever visit anymore).

Prof Tim Hunkin's amusments on the pier. (he of "The Secret Life of Machines" fame) excellent.

Alice Edward
Does no one remember camping on Walberswick beach in the 70s?

Steph Green
I've been going there since I was a baby, I love it there, it's really fun on the beach with a friend. My friend and I go together with my family every year and its great. Take a bodyboard/dingy to go in the sea with. Really lovely town with loads of things to do.

India Gibbons
i find southwold lovely, a great place to visit!

gary and lisa
we love southwold its just so unspoilt ,a lovely part of england ,we never tire of going there.

david from Wales
I am going back to Southwold this summer with my children. It will be my first visit since 1973. I loved the place when i was a kid, and i hope my children enjoy themselves as much as i did.

Jim Leslie
Southwold brings to mind many wonderful memories. during my 1 year of living there above Johns fish shop.I think the only American in Southwold at the time. I wish I had never left.

We spend a lot of time at Kesssingland but enjoy the whole coastline,especially Southwold. I do feel it's a shame whereby folk either state that Southwold is so special that they become defensive of it and are aggressive in their remarks of other parts of the coast or they think Southwold is for the well heeled, elderly or boring folk and are therefore derisory in their comments about neighbouring coastal resorts. Enjoy each for it's own!

Lovely place Southwold. My wife and I tend to visit in the Autumn when we can walk our dogs for miles along the beaches and take our time doing nothing much. A gem of a place.

i have been coming to Southwold with my Family for the past 18 Years & now they have grown up & left home it is mainly my Husband Myself & the dog that visit 3 or 4 times each year, there is nothing quite so satisfying as walking the dog along the beach & then going for a coffee sitting on the pier & then walking back to the harbour to Mrs T's fish & chips they really are the best in the world and i think everyone should be able to try them at least once ( i bet you have them again & again)

CALLEN [The Voice]
Its a difficult choice as its natural to want to share something of beauty but....its media coverage and spreading the word that helps to destroy such a peaceful tranquil area like Southwold. Theres a limit to what influx it can sustain. CALLEN [The Voice]

Mike Carrington
Re Tim KirbyTim, it's only boring if you are the kind of person who can not 'relax' and enjoy a more gentile pace of life. I suppose you like candy floss and discos! Well there are places for your kind......Blackpool or the Costa del Crap!

Intending to visit this area for the first time very soon and looking forward to it. Previous comments about being able to just print the walk and the map...Select PRINT, in PAGE RANGE, select PAGES and write '1-2' in box. This way you will not have pages of comments printed.

Tim Kirby
One of the most boring places on earth, thats excluding Tasburgh in Norfolk

Piers Stennett-Howard
After being a resident for 12 of my 15 years, I must confess that Southwold is dull and ruined by tourists. There are no tourist in Winter and millions of them in Summer. The food is digusting and overpriced and I am ashamed to admit this but unless you are 80-800 years old then there is not such a thing know as social life

David Jacobs
Hi Mr Jackson from Oz,A friend of mine has just bought the Old Police Station and we are in the process of renewing and renovating it. It is a residentiol dwelling now and we would relish any information about the place.My email is

Annie Rayner
Having lived both overseas and in Suffolk, Southwold remains the one place that always that stays in the mind, memories of an unchanged place, mouthwatering fish and chips and lovely places to walk and relax

i thought it was boring i went on a school trip the only good thing was the arcade

Stefan Cook
Southwold is unquestionably one of the most magical places on Earth and I'll not hear a word against it. I am 26 years old and have holidayed in Southwold almost every year since the very year of my birth. Admittedly it has changed somewhat even in my relatively short life time and not necessarily in ways that benefit the residents or the atmosphere but I think we should celebrate the fact that it is at least changing remarkably slowly. One thing that does send me into a rage is the ruin of my former favourite - the Sole Bay pub. Tore out the old innards and replaced it with a fancy eatery. What a total disgrace. In spite of this, I maintain that Southwold is an indescribably beautiful place to spend time and relax. I make it down for fabulous fish & chips followed by a pint of Adnams and a spot of crab fishing by the harbour whenever I can. Heaven.

Janet trupp
I spent time in Southwold a couple of years ago while on holidays from OZ, it was just magical. Like goinng back in a time warp to the fifties England with it's charactor & charm. In fact never having visited East Anglia before it was a real delight.

I moved from Kent to Suffolk 8 years ago and take as someone who knows, no-one can beat the Suffolk people for their genuine hospitality and kindness. Southwold is slowly being changed by people from other parts of the country who do not want to 'fit in' to the way of life but change it, which is such a shame. Leave Southwold as it is, a beautiful place to live, visit and be part of. Also please can we have the awful fencing taken down around the old dock site, I understand the need for safety - but can't parents take responsibility for their families safety and not ruin a beautiful site for others!!

john davies
I lived , for many years in Chester Road AND FOUND THE PLACE TOTALLY ADORABLE.

boring and tasteless

We my kids and my friends and their kids love our annual camping holiday at the Harbour camp site, shame the council does't see what an asset the campsite is and give us decent showers! We love the old fashioned feel and the fact you don't need to drive anywhere, unless you choose to, shops can be reached along the beach past all the lovely beach huts and there are lots of walks all around. One of our party likes a nightime swim whatever the weather and we have had some weather the last two summers, we always seem to miss the "we had no rain for 3 weeks" time and get there in time for the thunder, wind and rain.! Still we go back.

Erika Clegg
Grr. Southwold is not stuffy. Yes, there are the retired here, and holidaymakers and second home owners. They all bring things to the town: experience, time, money, enjoyment. However, there is ALSO a thriving and growing business community: not just from Adnams, but also from a huge range of businesses including architects, signmakers, the professions, retailers, hoteliers, design agencies,fishermen,painters, fashion designers, builders etc etc etc. Thanks partly to the internet Southwold and places like it are now becoming able to adapt to the new economy. More and more young families are returning to the area, or even coming for the first time. Southwold is vibrant, booming and a good solid working town.

Ben Turner
don't go to southwold when a few miles up the shore is a bird reserve 'Minsmere' I have been there many times myself and know that it is a great place for a walk or for birdwatchers. It leads down onto the beach as well!

Go Darren Wash!! Kensington on Sea! Southwold is overrated and underwhelming

Its not all that, there are much better places in the UK than stuffy Southwold. It's mainly for old people, with beach huts etc. yeuch!

Harvey Manning
I used to live and work in Southwold but its lost a lot of its local atmosphere since I left in 1978. Most of the locals have left and sold out to holiday home owners which spoils the atmosphere of the town. Shops open and close all the time as they cannot survive the winter without customers. When I come back to England I still visit but its not the same place I remember as a kid. Harvey manning Okinawa Japan

Hampstead by the Sea

Putting them straight!
I can't understand the petty-mindedness of those slating Southwold as Kensington and Londoners this and that. Get a grip will you. Southwold wouldn't be the place it is today without the tourist interest. Would your prefer Sizewell to the south or Kessingland to the north? No didn't thinks so! Idiots!

Southwold is a brilliant lovely place it has loads to see from the high street to the lighthouse it has the best employment in Suffolk from the company called Adams which produces one of the finest beer ever. The most brilliant sites are probably the pier and the church (St, Edmunds) and probably the beach aswell, with all the beach huts that make a rainbow (almost) Another thing to see is the lighthouse which is about 500 metres away from the high street, its 101 ft tall and is fascinating at the top.

Robin, Phoenix, Arizona USA
Southwold was my favorite town when I visited Suffolk last summer. It is a beautiful coastal town and is a place I would love to live and make my home. People there were very friendly and made my holiday such a memorable one. I hope to come back!

Barbara Haynes
I have 2 postcards that were sent to someone in 1906 working/living at Offten Castle, nr Ipswich. I am most curious as to whether it still exists and perhaps has been renamed. I was born in Suffolk hence my interest, and now live in Australia. regards Barbara Haynes

It's a shame that the walk didn't take in the harbour as it's well worth a visit.

I have loved Southwold since I first visited it in 1985. On a recent return I was delighted to discover the rennovated pier.

Southwold is very nice, there is a lovely swet shop on St James Green and the brewery is well worth a visit :o)

This site is full of illiterate comments!

im bored and i think that wen i went on a field trip there wen studyin coatal stuff... i was bored then too...

i like suffolk but theres not much to do there for 13 year olds it needs theme parks

i agree with deano southwold is a tad overrated

hi i live in lowestoft and i think that the main part of it is southwold and it is a nice place to stay as if vistor

hi i live in lowestfot and i think that the main part of it is southwold and it is a nice place to stay as if vistor

Rob Brammeld
We included a trip to Southwold in our Suffolk holiday last September. The brewery, lighthouse and fascinating pier in Southwold were high points of what was a very happy family holiday.

I'm the 4th generation and now introducing the 5th generation (my children) to holiday in Southwold. It's great to meet up with other people you knew as a child there too - Southwold is like family, it's something in your blood. Thanks to Miss Fanny Foster (Mayor in the 1950's) it has hardly changed at all since I've know it, except that it is at the peak of a 100 year cycle of fashionableness. No doubt it will be unfashionable again in the 2040's but I'm sure my family will still be visiting!


Laura, Norfolk
A beautiful little place, you can feel the nostalgia as you walk through the high street. Try The Harbour Inn near blackwater for fantastic beer and good old fashioned fish and chips! Another fantastic place to visit would be Dunwich, lots and little country walks to get away from it all!

I love Southwold, i have lots of happy memories! It is such a beautiful little town, the only shame is its being over run by holiday homes and Londoners who have more money than sense! Its a nightmare for the locals who have to spend 1/2 an hour looking for somewhere to park their own car because a tourists have taken up all the spaces!

William Robert JACKSON, Australia
Is the Southwold Police Station of the 1930's still standing? As a lad I was employed with the building of additions to it. Pedal cycled from Carlton Colville each day. Would appreciate replies from anyone who reads this. I am now nearing 88 yrs.

I've been going to Southwold every year since I was born, cos my great-grandmother used to live there and the house is still in the family. Lovely place, lovely locals. It's just a shame that it is being swamped by holiday homes and rich Londoners, who have no thought for the local community or traditions. Half of the old shops that had been there for decades are being replaced with expensive businesses that no-one who lives there can afford, which is very sad.

Martin Davies
A great place to come back to being born there and having lived there for 30 odd years, They local people are great lets hope it will not end up like soem of the other great seaside town. Martin..

how beautiful southwold is that is the first thing i thought of when i visited it.when i walked down the sea front and saw all the families on the beach it brought back happy memories of my childhood, long days playing on the beach making sand castles.the town reminded me of little villages in the cotswolds.we loved it!

It would be great to be able to easily print the whole walk, minus comments, forms etc, & thus save a few trees.

A little overated

fred suffolk
try the harbour and river walk stop and enjoy the local fish and chips from the fishermans huts

Linda, Oxford
Southwold and surrounding area's are just the tops, just had my third visit there.

Ashley Dace
Soulthwold is a wonderful place to walk and take in the beaty of the seaside,There is a wonderful virity of shops and attractions.

Mike Ward
I hope that the BBC will publish on DVDs both the series Coast and the D Dimbleby programme linking scenery & paintings

Lynne, BBC Suffolk website
Hi Andrew. There were specific guidelines I had to follow when setting up this walk to fit in with the other COAST walks around the country. Two of which were: that the walk had to be less than two miles in length, and it had to be accessible for wheelchair users and families with buggies. This is why the beach and dunes don't feature. I tried walking along Ferry Road (instead of along the dunes), but you can't actually see the sea or the beach from the road because of the sea defences. I have suggested the harbour end would make a very good 'add-on' to the basic walk. I also mention the ferry across to Walberswick as another 'extra'. But yes, as a keen walker myself,I agree with you it's such a beautiful area...get a map, get out there and get walking!!

Andrew Harvey
What a travesty! You advertise this as a Southwold walk, but you stick to the town. The best walks around Southwold take you out into the marshes, the commons, the beach - and take all day! Buy an OS map and get out there - this walk is SO TAME!

Mr.Veerasak Wongya.
I enjoyed to walk for 5 miles around Southwold.Very good lovely countryside.I was so impressed to talked with the merchant who selling vegetable and fruit in the town.He smile to me and answered very nice sentence.I paid the money to him and he said that so lovely.I never forget for his friendly to me and very Polite.I love English countryside is Suffolk.English people are so polite and very friendly and smile.I am very happy to come to see so beauiful wild rose bloom is on June,sunshine. It is not so hot weather and sweating for me.I love Southwold which is the first visited for me on June,2005.It is so good for the many English do walking in there and it is windy when is good to walk in the summer time.If I have a chance to come to England again for next year,I will walk in here.I come from Thailand.Now I have stay in the northern part of Thailand.Just only different weather,here is hot and humid.But is very beautiful mountain,

Try Shotley Peninsular.Full of walks and interest

Louise Wilkinson
Dunwich is far more interesting than Southwold, and provides many more pretty walks, with a lot more history as well.

Willy Durinx
Southwold is a wonderful, but don't forget visiting the harbour! And crossing the river Blyth takes you to Walberswick, a little gem.

Chris Brown
We love southwold Jack!!

Hazel Rumball
We all Love Southwold a seaside resort where you can relax do all the fun things, that don't need to cost a penny brilliant

Marion Jepson
Southwold is one of my favourite places, you can almost feel that you are there when you look at the information given. Could you do the same for Aldbrough, Felixstowe etc?

Darren Wash
How about visiting other parts of the suffolk coast apart from Kensington on sea? Is it because southwold is where most of your producers live?

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