Hit the Beach
One of the biggest draws to Suffolk is the 50 mile stretch of coastline, much of which is protected as a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). You could easily visit a different beach every day of your holiday and not run out of new places to discover.
Some of the best Suffolk beaches include Lowestoft, which has excellent amenities and a nice clean stretch of sandy shoreline, and Aldeburgh whose beach is a mix of shingle and sand. Southwold has a fantastic pier and is very popular all year round. Make sure you visit The Clockhouse for a proper cup of coffee and some yummy cake, or the Beach Cafe (our personal favourite!) for the best fish and chips. Walberswick and Kessingland are also ideal if you'd prefer to exchange amenities for fewer people.
The area known as The Brecks is on the border between Suffolk and Norfolk. It is a strange and beautiful landscape unlike virtually anywhere else in Britain. The Brecks have one of the driest climates in England and are a haven for a multitude of species of plants and wildlife, some of which are exceedingly rare.
There is nowhere else in the UK with inland sand dunes, and Thompson Commons is one of the few locations where you can see a pingo - a pond formed from ice caps that melted after the Ice Age. The Brecks is so unique and valuable that nearly half of it is protected. Explore on foot, by bicycle or on horseback.
Stoke-by-Nayland and Constable Country
Many Suffolk vistas were immortalised in paint by one of Britain's most revered romantic painters, John Constable, who loved the Stour Valley and Dedham Vale. Some of the scenes which inspired his works remain virtually unchanged from the late 1700s when he grew up in and around East Bergholt, a traditional village on the banks of the River Stour. The countryside is stunning and easily appreciated on one of the area's many footpaths, including the 60 mile Stour Valley Path. Dedham Vale is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and this status protects the area and the wildlife and plants that live there.
Stoke-by-Nayland is an extremely pretty village in the heart of the Dedham Vale AONB. The church, St Mary's, featured in several of Constable's paintings, and the village is a good choice for lunch. The food at the Angel Inn is excellent but if it is a nice day, find a sunny spot to sit outside and appreciate the timber buildings and pretty surroundings of the village. You can buy picnic supplies from Pippin Gift Shop at the Stoke By Nayland Hotel and Spa or the village store on Park Street.
The attractive market town of Sudbury is ripe for exploration. Evidence of the success of past silk and wool industries shows in the beautiful buildings, and a glance in the window of the local estate agents will have you dreaming of a Sudbury home complete with original features and country views! Amble along Market Hill where historic buildings are now independent boutiques, or take a step back in time walking along Friar's Street. If you miss the nod to Thomas Gainsborough in the museum and street named after him, you can't miss the statue of the acclaimed artist in front of St Peter's.
There are lots of lovely cafes to refuel, but a favourite (especially if you like a good all day breakfast) is Twenteaone on North Street. If it's a nice day, try Painters of Sudbury on Gainsborough Street for their private and sunny courtyard.
Suffolk's fortunes were built on the back of the wool trade. Wool is the reason behind its splendid churches, extravagant country houses, and fancy buildings in historic town centres. The most important Wool Towns were Lavenham, Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury, Ipswich, Long Melford, and Hadleigh. Though the booming trade in wool has faded, evidence of the prosperity it brought to Suffolk remains in buildings which are still very much relevant to everyday life.
Lavenham is the archetypal Suffolk Wool Town. Its wooden buildings, many of which date back 500 years, are extremely well preserved, and you can witness the wealth of some of its more prominent past residents in the Church of St Peter and St Paul and in Lavenham Guildhall, which is managed by the National Trust.