10 cosy Suffolk pubs with great beer, delicious food and table service
PUBLISHED: 19:00 25 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:35 30 September 2020
One of the joys of life as we emerge (albeit with curfew and restrictions) from lockdown is the ability to once again enjoy a drink and some well-cooked food in the company of five other friends or family members. Being able to revisit the pub gives us all some much needed ‘normality’ in a year that has been anything but normal.
As September bleeds into October, the days may still be bright but there’s a decided nip in the air once the sun goes down and there’s no better place to retreat to than your local hostelry, with good company, an open fire (if you’re lucky), good food and some fine ales.
Here’s a guide to some wonderfully cosy pubs who offer table service and a place to seek a socially distanced escape from the mental rigors of Covid-Britain.
The White Lion, Lower Ufford
Lower St, Lower Ufford, Woodbridge, IP13 6DW
Tel: 01394 460770
As of the last weekend in September food and seating are moving back indoors at this wonderfully cosy pub. Visitors will be asked to wear a mask when entering and moving around the pub, these can be removed as soon as you are seated. There will be table service so strictly no coming to the bar or standing in the pub.
Seating is limited, so bookings are recommended for eating or just drinks on 01394 460770. Details will be taken as for time and numbers and no groups of more than six will be allowed. This is a wonderful little known haven.
The Ferryboat Inn
Felixstowe Ferry, IP11 9RZ
Tel: 01394 284203
Established in 1465, this safe haven for sailors, fishermen and visitors may have been flooded and dried out more times than anyone can remember but it always offers a warm welcome and a fine selection of cask ales, home cooked food, beer garden and they have a pub extension to allow greater social distancing.
Although booking is essential to eat at an inside table, there is limited seating on the green for food and drink and this can be used on a first come, first served basis. Customers will need to fill in a Test and Trace slip, so have a pen handy.
The Ferryboat Inn was once the home of the harbourmaster and offers a wonderful view of a working fishing community, set at the mouth of the River Deben.
The Queen’s Head
The Street, Lower Layham, Ipswich IP7 5LZ
Tel: 01473 827789
Lovely 16th century pub serving the village of Lower Layham, near Hadleigh, this cosy, pub has a nice homely feel with eating areas contained within the main bar and with a modern extension out the back. It also has a small open fire which adds to the warm, comfortable atmosphere.
Parts of the building are over 700 years old and it has the feel and atmosphere of a pub that has watched the world change and evolve around it while keeping itself timeless. Open in the evenings during weekdays, food is served Wednesday to Sunday evenings and lunchtimes at the weekends. There is always at least four cask ales on offer.
The Cross Keys
Crabbe Street, Aldeburgh, IP15 5BN
Tel: 01728 452637
They say any port in a storm, but The Cross Keys in Aldeburgh has been the preferred safe harbour on a windswept evening for many a year. Boasting an open fire in the centre of the room, it offers a warm, convivial atmosphere even under social distancing regulations.
Face coverings are required when entering and leaving the pub and there is table service but there’s still plenty of chatter, laughter and a friendly atmosphere. The food is wonderful and is sourced from local suppliers. The fish may have even been caught by some of the people drinking in the pub.
The Ramsholt Arms
Dock Rd, Woodbridge IP12 3AB
Tel: 01394 411209
Having played a starring role in the hit Richard Curtis film Yesterday, this isolated bolt-hole with splendid views over the River Deben, is no longer the open secret that it once was but it still offers a wonderful location for a beer, some excellent food and a lazy long lunch or evening meal with friends and family.
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Also, at this time of year it offers some spectacular sunsets as you watch the yachts and dinghies travel up and down the river and you look out over a landscape that hasn’t changed much since the time of King Raedwald as he made his own journey up river to Sutton Hoo.
There are some great dog walks nearby and dogs are welcome at the pub. Also, as the nights draw in, the menu features hearty winter warming dishes, taking advantage of game from the local area.
Aldringham, Leiston, IP16 4PY
Tel: 01728 830221
The Parrot has lost its punchbowl but it still has the same warm, welcoming atmosphere on the road between Leiston and Aldeburgh. Well stocked with Adnams ales and offering superb food, this 16th century smugglers inn is loaded with atmosphere. Tables are limited so booking is essential but they also offer a take-away service and Sunday lunches remain popular.
With a mention in the Doomsday book The Parrot is the oldest building in the parish of Aldringham-cum-thorpe. Roman pottery has been found on the site of The Parrot and it has had a long history of smuggling which continued until the late 18th Century. The current building was constructed around 1576 when it was originally named ‘The Case Is Altered’. In 1604 the Kemp family acquired the Inn and renamed it The Parrot and Punchbowl.
Park St, Stoke-by-Nayland, CO6 4SE
Tel: 01206 262001
This traditional village inn and privately owned boutique hotel prides itself on a welcoming atmosphere, a fantastic menu and luxurious accommodation.
Located in the idyllic village of Stoke-by-Nayland it offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and a toasty log burner to take away the chill of a winter night. With a glass of wine in hand, it’s a wonderful location for a Sunday lunch in the winter with all of the seasonal trimmings.
They have a number of offers running including Lazy Suffolk Sundays. Visitors can enjoy a countryside walk or a seaside stroll, then kick off your wellies in front of the log burner or soak up the autumn sun in the surrounding gardens, then tuck into a Sunday roast and wash it down with an ale or two. Later, hit the hay in one of the beautiful bedrooms before having a gentle start on Monday morning – as there is a late check-out included in the offer.
The Westleton Crown
The Street, Westleton, Nr Southwold, IP17 3AD
Tel: 01728 648777
Nestled between Southwold, Aldeburgh and Dunwich you’ll find The Westleton Crown, a traditional Suffolk coaching inn dating back to the 12th century with all the charming features you’d expect to find in an establishment so old. Wooden beams, exposed bricks walls and a crackling log fire are enough to send you off into a relaxed state of slumber, whilst the pub offers some yummy food including a two-course Sunday lunch to die for.
The historic inn takes pride of place on the edge of a quintessential Suffolk village green. With the coast nearby, it’s a perfect place to unwind. Newly refurbished the interiors have been inspired by local wildlife and landscape that envelopes the Crown and the village. Heather, gorse, sand, sea and wild fowl and steely skies are captured in the comfortable, stylish bar, restaurant, garden room and restful bedrooms. As space is limited because of social distancing, booking is a must.
The White Horse Inn
Stoke Ash, Near Eye, Suffolk IP23 7ET
Tel: 01379 678 222
Over the years The White Horse has been a farm house, a coaching inn and even a roadside café so it has inevitably been through some changes since it was first built during the reign of Charles I. The beamed interior and fireplace, however, have barely been touched, giving you an interesting look at exactly what thousands of others will have seen over the years.
Serving food from 8am to 9.30pm daily, there will always be some fresh local produce waiting to be cooked for whenever you decide to drop in. Carrying on this local theme into the drinks department, ales on offer include Adnams, Wherry, Abbot and even Calvors - a lager brewed in Coddenham.
In order to compensate for social distancing reducing capacity the White Horse is offering take away food as well as special accommodation deals like the Friday Break-away which offers dinner, bed and breakfast.
St James Street, Dunwich, Saxmundham, IP17 3DT
Tel: 01728 648219
The epitome of the classic smugglers tavern, The Ship is tucked away in the historic village of Dunwich only a stone’s throw from the sea. Inside, the friendly atmosphere, real ales and roaring open fire make The Ship an ideal place to huddle away from the blowing wind and rain.
On the menu you’ll find all of the traditional favourites: from pie of the day and fish and chips, to pork belly and Ploughman’s lunch - there is plenty to please the whole family. And if there’s room, we love to squeeze in the warm strawberry bakewell tart for dessert.
There’s a host of special offers to encourage visitors to remain for a longer stay and there’s plenty to get immersed in. Known as the lost city of England, Dunwich at its mightiest in the 14th Century, matched London for size, being an important international port as well as Suffolk centre for smuggling.
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