Days Out Number 1: Southwold

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With the summer coming, we thought it would be a good idea to have a series of posts that show you places to visit within a 90 minute drive of us here at Lee Wick Farm.  Most will be much nearer than that, but Southwold, our first day out, is such a gem on the Suffolk Heritage Coast, we had to include it.

We visited Southwold in April, the weather being a typical mix of showers and sunshine.  It was raining when we arrived just around lunch time, so for our first stop (and to give the weather a chance to clear) we headed to The Harbour Inn, past Southwold harbour for lunch. http://www.harbourinnsouthwold.co.uk/

The pub is past a collection of fisherman’s huts, some of which sell wonderful fresh fish and crab, so do stop and buy some, we regretted doing so.  There is a mark on the front of the pub which shows how high the water level came in the floods of 1953, quite disconcerting as you sit well under that mark to eat, apparently you might need wellies if you visit in the winter months!  The pub is dog friendly and the food is predominantly sea food, which was delicious, we shared a few small dishes; Potted shrimps with granary toast, smoked sprats, tiger prawns and when dining with a potato merchant (Rob) you have to have chips. All were very good.  Like most pubs in the area, they stock Adnam’s beers and wines, so you shouldn’t go wrong with your beverage choice. Outside by the Harbour Inn is the foot ferry that can take you across the river Blyth to Walberswick, another pretty village, they also hold the British Open Crabbing Competition there once a year.

Southwold is very easy to walk around, everything is close by and the town offers lots of small individual gift and clothes shops, art and craft galleries, restaurants, cafe’s and pubs.  In the back streets you’ll find small garden squares and pretty houses, the famous Lighthouse http://www.trinityhouse.co.uk/lighthouses/lighthouse_list/southwold.html?tab=visitor  can be found in the middle of the town, but it’s not open every day so do check the website if you want to visit.  Southwold pier is a short walk from the centre of town, it has sheltered cafe’s inside and out and you must visit ‘The Under the Pier Show’ this is a room filled with inventor Tim Hunkin’s crazy machines, (he created the ‘Secret Life of Machines’ for Channel Four a few years ago). You can investigate an Alien, ‘Frisk Yourself’, visit the ‘Booth of Truth’, or go on a ‘Microbreak’, certainly different from the modern amusement arcade at the front of the pier and great for a laugh. From the pier the beautifully kept beach huts can be seen on the prom, one of these is currently on the market for £100,000 and most go for not less than £50,000!  The beach is sand and shingle and there is also a small pitch and putt area across the road from the pier to work off your fish and chips.  If you want to take a picturesque walk around the town, there are lots of routes here: http://www.walkinginsuffolk.co.uk/southwold.php

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Finally we took a tour of Adnams distillery in the town, you could choose the brewery tour instead, or as well as, but do bear in mind there is a tasting session lasting approximately 30 minutes after each tour in the shop!  The tour itself was very interesting and we were royally entertained by our guide, stories of Adnams when the company was first founded up to present day and the background behind it’s distilling techniques. We sniffed an experiment with vodka, and whisky that won’t be ready for a couple of years in oak aged barrels.  At the tasting after the tour, two different gins, two vodkas, whiskey, Absinthe, Limoncello and a cherry liquer were all imbibed, don’t book an early morning tour! https://distillerytours.adnams.co.uk/

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We headed to The Crown (another Adnams hotel/restaurant/bar) and had a lovely dinner, the food was excellent, but the service a little rushed if being truthful.  The other hotel/restaurant owned by Adnams in the town is The Swan and though that looked equally as nice (if not better) we chose The Crown because it had a more relaxed ambience.

I’d definitely visit Southwold again, it’s such a pretty unspoilt town and can seemingly offer something whatever the weather for young or old alike.