Seaside resort scoops major honour
IT may not have the surf of St Ives or the buzzing nightclubs of Brighton and its beach currently resembles a building site.But Southwold, which usually boasts picturesque views and a genteel charm, has won over voters and has now been named one of the top seaside resorts in the country.
IT may not have the surf of St Ives or the buzzing nightclubs of Brighton and its beach currently resembles a building site.
But Southwold, which usually boasts picturesque views and a genteel charm, has won over voters and has now been named one of the top seaside resorts in the country.
The accolade comes at a time when the award-winning beach is being dug up as vital sea defence work is carried out to stop it being washed away in years to come.
Fortunately, the 6,000 readers of the BBC Homes and Antiques magazine who took part in the survey appear to have cast its current state from their minds.
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Instead they have remembered the pier with its pavilion, the brightly-coloured huts lining the beach, the old-fashioned shops and the lighthouse - features which make it one of the county's gems.
But Southwold mayor Michael Ladd said he did not think it was just the manmade features of the town that made it such a hit.
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He said: “I believe Southwold has been included because it caters for such a wide diversity of people and has many beautiful natural attractions as well as fine hotels, restaurants and other businesses.”
And even though it may seem unsightly to some, the sea defence work has not deterred visitors from the town. Instead, Mr Ladd said it had become something of an attraction in itself.
“The sea defence work is vital but it will be stopped from the middle of June to the autumn to allow for the peak summer season in Southwold,” he added.
The resort has made it to the top 20 nationally, sandwiched between Weymouth and Poole. It was the only coastal town in Suffolk and Essex to be on the list and, in 13th place, it also beat its nearest rival on the map, Great Yarmouth.
Mr Ladd added: “It is nice to be included in a top 20 of the country's best resorts and I am a little surprised that Southwold is the only place mentioned in Suffolk and Essex.”
The honour comes just days after the Foundation for Environmental Education awarded the town a prestigious Blue Flag, which are only presented to beaches which offer good access, good facilities, litter-free sand and clean sea water.
“We used to look at ourselves in Southwold as one of the country's best kept secrets but with each award given to the town the attraction of the area is becoming more and more known,” Mr Ladd said.
Magazine editor Bernie Herlihy said: “It is just fantastic that this poll gives recognition to those top British seaside towns, gems that we should be proud to visit this summer.”
TOP 20 SEASIDE RESORTS
3. St Ives
10. Lyme Regis
16. Great Yarmouth
17. Wells Next-the-Sea