Seven spots to visit on the Suffolk Coast this autumn

Aldeburgh from the sea with storm clouds above it

The Town of Aldeburgh from the sea - Credit: Timothy Bradford

With the seasons changing in Suffolk, the county is looking more beautiful than ever. 

The county's beaches and coast have a particular windswept charm at this time of year.

And with everything from 12th century castles to amusement arcades the Suffolk coastline offers something for everyone. 

Here are seven of the best spots to visit if you fancy a trip to the beach this autumn — in all its bracing glory. 

1. Felixstowe

Felixstowe Ferry across the deben from bawdsey quay

The tiny picturesque fishing port of Felixstowe ferry lies just up the coast from town, sitting next to the Deben estuary. - Credit: Timothy Bradford

Felixstowe is the largest town on this list and is a little slice of retro English seaside heaven.

One can take a stroll down the recently renovated pier, eat fish and chips with an ice cream, or visit one of the many waterfront business offering a wide variety of food and drink. 

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Landguard Fort offers history buffs a portal into the days of steam and sail. 

While the Spa Pavillion is a great place to take in a show.

Felixstowe also boasts an impressive sea garden, running a substantial distance along the town's oceanside and giving excellent views of the beach. 

2. Bawdsey Quay

Bawdsey Manor seen from the beach at the coastal end of bawdsey quay

Bawdsey manor was built in 1886 by William Quilter, and served as a military base in both world wars - Credit: Timothy Bradford

A few miles up from Felixstowe — across the Deben estuary — is the tiny settlement of Bawdsey Quay.

Home to both shingle and sand beaches, this far-flung location is a favourite with campervans and dog walkers. 

As one walks down the shingle beach towards the ocean they will catch sight of the imposing Bawdsey manor.

This late 19th century stately home was used during the Second World War as a base to develop radar.

More can be learned about this story and the rest of the areas wartime history at the Transmitter Block visitors centre, which is open on Sundays and Thursdays.

3. Orford

Stunning views of dawn at Orford, which has been named one of the most beautiful villages in the UK

Stunning views of dawn at Orford, which has been named one of the most beautiful villages in the UK - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Recommended by The Guardian as one of the top 20 places to visit in the UK this autumn, the village of Orford has it all — from a pair of pleasant pubs, to a 21 room hotel and bistro.

The village has several independent shops and is a great start point for any number of country walks.

A towering 12th century castle built by Henry II can be seen, along with the intriguing pagodas over the water on the nature reserve at Orford Ness.

Trips to visit the enigmatic National Trust site are available but must be booked in advanced, further adding to the shingle spits mystique. 

4. Aldeburgh and Thorpeness

Aldeburgh from the sea with storm clouds above it

The Town of Aldeburgh from the sea - Credit: Timothy Bradford

Famed as the home of composer Benjamin Britten, Aldeburgh has something of a cultural feel to it and is only a short trip down the river from the Snape Maltings concert hall. 

The town is home to an annual festival which sees it heaving with tourists in summer, but at this time of year is more peaceful.

The high street is bustling with independent shops and restaurants, offering both traditional and more exotic fare.

Like all of this portion of coast, Aldeburgh is filled with interesting landmarks, including the 16th century Moothall, and unique quatrefoil Martello tower — the largest and most northerly part of a Napoleonic defensive chain that stretches south all the way to Sussex. 

Located a short walk from the town is the village of Thorpeness. 

Built mostly in the early 20th century as a holiday village, the architecture is in the whimsical Tudor revival style.

The village has a couple of places to eat and drink, but is mostly known for its extensive Peter Pan themed boating lake and the house in the clouds — a water tower converted into a home. 

5. Dunwich

Dunwich beach is usually quiet - perfect for families who have a dog

Dunwich beach is usually quiet - perfect for families who have a dog - Credit: Fred Ixer

In the Anglo-Saxon period Dunwich was the capital of the Kingdom of East Anglia, and a city almost the size of 14th century London. 

The medieval city, which archaeologists say had more than 3,000 residents, was overcome by the waves in a series of massive storms in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Now all that remains is a village of less than 200 people — though local legends say you can still hear the church bells of the old town ringing beneath the waves.

Nonetheless, it remains an excellent place to visit with its wide beaches attracting relatively few tourists.

A large free car park welcomes day-trippers and campervans alike, while a beachside cafe is available.

The Ship pub or the Dunwich museum are also located in the village proper.

Further inland is RSPB Minsmere, where birds ranging from moorhens to the rare bitten can be seen. 

6. Sizewell

People swimming in the north sea off a shingle beach

Contrary to what you'd expect, the north sea is actually fairly warm in September and October - Credit: Timothy Bradford

While the hamlet of Sizewell is dominated by the nuclear power-stations, there is actually a lot more to the village than the golf ball shaped dome.

Sizewell offers a tea room, the Vulcan Arms pub, and easy access to the 364-acre Suffolk Wildlife Trust site in the Sizewell Belts.

The hamlet also serves as home to an interesting historical monument to a group of Dutchmen who kayaked across the north sea to reach safety from Nazis.

These men were known as the 'Engelandvaarders' or England voyagers. Of the 30 men who attempted the crossing in a canoe, only eight survived. 

7. Southwold

Seaside cottages and lighthouse at Southwold beach, UK

The promenade at southwold is dominated by brightly painted beach huts - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Home to the Adnams brewery and one of the last two lighthouses along the Suffolk Coast, Southwold, like Aldeburgh, really starts to shine in the off-season.

While the weather is less consistently good, the town plays host to fewer tourists.

Southwold, as a popular tourist destination, brings a wide variety of potential activities to the table.

Powerboat trips into the North Sea are available from the harbour — a short walk down the coast — while the town itself has activities including museums, and brewery/lighthouse tours. 

A theatre, an art gallery and many pubs and restaurants can also be found in the town.

Southwold has long been a popular tourist resort, due to its pier, stretches of beach and quaint homes throughout...

Southwold pier is one of only four in the county - Credit: Archant

On top of that Southwold has a pier. 

The pier offers eateries and shops but the true highlight of it can be found midway along its length.

There the Under The Pier show exhibits unique arcade machines designed by artist Tim Hunkin.

The attraction lets punters get their brain washed, climb the literal housing ladder, or go on an adventure deep under the sea. 

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