48 hours in Southwold
With its sandy beach and beach hut-lined promenade, Southwold offers a wonderful environment for holidays and weekends away, as well as a thriving market town atmosphere. Whether it’s relaxation or exhilaration you’re after from a break away, this picturesque seaside town is the perfect year-round destination for young and old, families and couples
Behind the walls of a beautiful Victorian building in the heart of Southwold sits one of the most modern breweries in the UK. With a history dating back to 1345, you might expect Adnams to be all about tradition, but this trailblazing producer has its gaze firmly on the future with innovative global-inspired brews, ecofriendly kit and an on-site distillery.
When it comes to beer, Adnams undoubtedly has a monopoly over the pretty seaside town – indeed it’s difficult to find a pub in Southwold that isn’t serving flagship ales like Ghost Ship, Southwold Bitter and Broadside – but thankfully the ales are so delicious and varied, it can only be a good thing. Drop in for a brewery tour then have lunch and a pint at one of the town’s lovely pubs. Our favourite has to be The Lord Nelson (know to locals as ‘The Nellie’) for a delcious pint with a sea view.
Officially recognised as an environmentally-friendly beach, Southwold is a top spot for those wanting to take a paddle in the sea and a stroll along the prom. The town is home to two beaches; Southwold Pier Beach to the north and Southwold Denes Beach to the south.
The Pier beach is popular with visitors, offering a traditional seaside experience with beach kiosks serving ice creams, a beach hut lined promenade (some of which are available to hire) and the famous Edwardian pier.
A wilder beach than the neighbouring Pier Beach, the Denes is a sand and shingle beach, backed by dunes and marshland, located to the north of the town towards the Harbour and the mouth of the River Blyth. A great spot for kite flying, this stretch is also popular with windsurfers, surfers, paddle boarders and wild swimmers.
This gorgeous seaside pub with rooms is nautical chic at its best. Built in 1740, this attractive Georgian building takes pride of place on Southwold’s High Street. As soon as you walk in, The Crown has a warmth and an immediate familiarity, you just know many a happy guest has been welcomed here before. The antique oak tables, the traditional pub settles, the old artwork, all highlight the heritage of the Crown.
The hotel itself is just a floor above the public areas but you won’t hear a peep from your room, making it a great spot for a chilled-out getaway. The 14 rooms, coloured in serene greys and blues, are dotted with original touches, like the little wooden sailing boats on the bathroom shelves, nautical-themed paintings and tables, mirrors and lamps all crafted from rustic chunks of wood.
There are two restaurant areas to choose from and if you just fancy a quick drink, then pop into the cosy back bar or take a seat outside where you can watch the world go by. Head chef Rob Mace and the kitchen team have a good relationship with local farmers and fishermen to ensure all our food and produce is as fresh, local and as seasonal as possible.
For such a well-loved holiday destination, Southwold doesn’t have a massive selection of hotels so renting a holiday cottage is a popular choice for lots of holiday makers. Our top pick in Southwold is Welsford cottage, a fabulous home from home available via Kip Hideaways – a membership site that specialises in offering a hand-picked collection of the best under-the-radar, design-led and affordable places to stay in the UK. Read our full review here.
TWO MAGPIES BAKERY
With a window piled high with fresh-from-the-oven treats, this bakery certainly knows how to draw in the crowds. In fact, it’s nigh on impossible to saunter down the high street of this quaint coastal town without stopping in. The menu changes regularly, but it’s their trademark cinnamon swirls, fruity friands and sourdough toasties that are the talk of the town. Two Magpies also cook sourdough pizza on a Saturday night – just be sure to order yours early as unsurprisingly, it sells out quickly!
THE LITTLE FISH AND CHIPS SHOP
Cooking up fish from its two boats (which also supply its sister Sole Bay Fish Company), this little chippy has a rare obsession with quality. “We have a shed just for making chips,” says manager Andy Wix, who made the career move from high-end hospitality after being impressed by the company’s fastidious standards. “We make our own curry sauce and mushy peas from scratch every day. We make our own tartare sauce. Everything is cooked to order, because who wants to eat a battered fish that’s sat around for half an hour? Nobody. Our volume is wild – our shop is tiny but we do over £1,000 per hour just on fish, chips and mushy peas.”
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