Why I Love Suffolk: Gemma Parker

Gemma Parker of Earsham Street Cafe

Gemma Parker of Earsham Street Cafe - Credit: Contributed

My memories of Suffolk, when I first visited, were of the utter quietness in comparison to where I came from in Sussex where it was busy with people everywhere. In Suffolk you could look out over miles and not see a soul. The most vivid memory back then is of the fields in summer and the unending flatness.

Once you've been to Framlingham Castle you don't forget it. Over the years we've been for lots of walks around the area and our picnic is always eaten sitting with a view of the castle.

I love Covehithe Beach because its so different with its lagoon and woods on the edge of the beach, petrified looking tree trunks (beautiful and sculpture-like)and of course the crumbling cliffs that are gradually retreating. We have been on some lovely summer evening walks along here. The autumnal walks have been chillier with the wind blowing in our facesbut just as good. We've been lucky enough to spot seals on occasions too.

Town or village
There is nowhere quite like Lavenham to walk around. So many beautiful and interesting houses to see, steeped in history. We always discover something new each time we visit.

Place to eat
My favourite restaurant was Darsham Nurseries. I was so sad when it closed after the first lockdown, it was one of the places I was looking forward to going when restrictions lifted. The food was so well thought out, tasty, unusual and attractive. Both the inside and outside spaces were relaxing and quirky -  a great place to spend a couple of hours sharing fab food and chatting. I'm sure I am not the only one who sorely misses it.

Attraction or day out
Having children and finding activities that entertain the whole family to an equal degree is tough. In the past couple of years we have discovered Clip n Climb in Ipswich that certainly offers fun for everyone (as long as you aren't afraid of heights). There's lots of different climbing walls to scale and it caters for all abilities. The only sticking point is having to let go when you get to the top.

The Bungay Street Markets have been around for years and are such an amazing event for the town and the visitors that come to the markets. The café is on Earsham Street where the main action is. My favourite is the garden one in May where the street is transformed into an abundance of plants, trees and flowers that make it look like a long garden in the middle of Bungay. The Christmas market is always the busiest one for us at the café as people want to come in and warm up with a coffee and a bowl of soup before plunging back into the cold to continue shopping. The market has a wonderful festive feel and I think it marks the countdown to Christmas!


I'm not really a shop person, sorry!

I'm not sure that Flint Vineyard is strictly speaking in Suffolk but its only a couple of miles away from us so I feel it is. Their Charmat Rosé wine is fantastic.