12 free days out to enjoy on the Suffolk coast this summer holiday

Sandcastle building at Southwold

Sandcastle building at Southwold - Credit: Archant

What are we doing today? The summer holidays are here and to help parents in Suffolk we are offering a guide to 12 days out on the Suffolk coast that won’t cost a penny.

Royal Plain Fountains, Lowestoft

Royal Plain Fountains, Lowestoft - Credit: Archant

Whether you live on the coast, are here visiting or fancy a drive out to the beach, these are great family days that will entertain everyone.

1.Outdoor play areas

Landguard Fort

Landguard Fort - Credit: Archant

Summer is all about fun, and what better way to do that than at a play area?

Whether it’s a traditional Victorian park, a fort in the middle of a forest, or a zip wire along the river, the outdoor play areas on The Suffolk Coast are the perfect place for kids to let off steam and enjoy the great outdoors.


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Martello Park in Felixstowe is a great place to spend an hour or two. This grassy park offers play, picnic and wildlife areas.

Alternatively, Nicholas Everitt Park in Oulton Broad is open all year round, sitting comfortably alongside the Broads National Park. The traditional park hosts a tea room, Lowestoft Museum, bowling, tennis, trampolines and children’s play area.

Punch and Judy

Punch and Judy - Credit: Archant

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Meanwhile, Rendlesham Forest, near Woodbridge, combines traffic-free walking and cycling with enormous wooden outdoor play structures and you can easily spend several hours in this magical forest with its spooky UFO trail. When you arrive in the car park you will see a small metal playground which is great for younger children; however the really exciting activities are hidden just a short walk away in the woods. Spread out among the trees is a zip wire, swings, climbing walls and a giant wooden ship that will entertain toddlers through to teenagers.

2. Royal Plain Founations, Lowestoft

Too hot? Why not cool off in the The Royal Plain fountains on Lowestoft seafront.

Beach hut heaven

Beach hut heaven - Credit: Archant

Consisting of 74 individual water jets that form a range of displays throughout the day, the attraction is popular with children on a warm summer’s day who can safely play in and out of the water discovering where the next jet of water will come from.

A musical display takes place every 30 minutes (10am – 10.30pm) with the fountains moving to the sound of the music. These displays really come into their own as night falls and the fountain lights come into effect providing a stunning visual display.

They are a must see for any visitor to the town.

The fountains are in operation from April 1 – October 31.

Fun on Felixstowe beach

Fun on Felixstowe beach - Credit: Archant

3. Wildlife Gardens

The Suffolk Wildlife Trust has nature reserves all the way along the Suffolk Coast, from Trimley Marshes at Felixstowe to Gunton Meadow at Lowestoft; some of Suffolk’s most inspiring wild places.

what will you discover on your day out? Shimmering dragonflies at Carlton & Oulton Marshes on the Suffolk Broads? Or will you spot birds of prey? The marsh harrier, barn owl and hobby are all at home in the skies above. There’s a range of children’s and family activities on offer throughout the year, including pond dipping, painting and birdbox building plus many more.

Meanwhile, Reedbeds, near Southwold, is a blend of reedbeds, fens, dykes and pools created in 1999 to provide new breeding habitat for bittern and other wildlife. Bromeswell Green, near Woodbridge, is noted for its wet meadows, saltmarsh and woodland. Wetland plants such as southern marsh orchid, lesser spearwort and fen bedstraw make a wonderful display in the damper areas, while climbing corydalis is more typical of the drier parts. Common lizard can be seen basking on warm sunny days.

You are welcome to explore these or any of the nature reserves anytime, free of charge. For more information, visit their website4. Suffolk Museums

Rainy days are harder to fill than sun-filled afternoons, with limited options and even fewer free options.

But, we have a secret to sahre with you!

There are more than 50 museums in Suffolk, each one packed with fascinating stories and objects - and many are free!

Suffolk’s many small museums are also full of surprises; housed in some exciting places too. In castles and cottages; in moot halls and on wartime airfields; in a Victorian engineering works and at a railway station.

From prehistoric discoveries to amazing archaeological finds; from Saxon burials to fishing and farming in the age of steam; from the drowning of Medieval Dunwich to the development of Radar. There’s buses, bones and lifeboats; medals, models and manuscripts; art, axes and aircraft; wool-work, witch-bottles and wooden toys; something for every member of the family to enjoy.

The majority of Suffolk’s smaller museums are run entirely by volunteers and all of these museums rely on donations from visitors to support the great work they do preserving Suffolk’s heritage. Please give generously! Some museums do charge for admission, full details can be found on the website.

There really is something for visitors of all ages.

Opening hours vary and it is always advisable to check individual websites for details when planning a visit.

For more information, see here5. Suffolk Coast & Heath AONB

The Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a stunning landscape packed with wildlife and exciting places to explore and discover.

With 155 square miles of tranquil and unspoilt landscape including wildlife-rich estuaries, ancient heaths, windswept shingle beaches and historic towns and villages - you just know there’ll be something for everyone!

If you love nothing more than a long walk beside the sea, a brisk stroll before lunch, cycling along quiet lanes, sailing iconic estuaries, or spending hours quietly watching some of the UK’s rarest wildlife, the beautiful landscape of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has it all.

Walk in the footsteps of the seafarers who travelled from the Suffolk coast to the village of Snape by following the Sailor’s Path, or enjoy two beautiful walks discovering the beauty of Sutton Heath. Alternatively, explore the coastal village of Kessingland with three delightful walks.

Additional publications are free to download here6. Myriad at Snape Maltings

A new sculpture, Myriad by artist David Rickard and architect Germano Di Chello, has been installed on the Henry Moore Lawn at Snape Maltings and is open for visitors!

Myriad holds an array of mirrors high above visitors’ heads, bringing views over the surrounding landscape down to earth and offering a new way of viewing the stunning landscape of the Alde estuary. Below several of the high level mirrors are further reflector panels positioned to create a series of large periscopes, capturing a wide and ever-changing series of vistas from the spectacular surroundings and creating a dynamic multi-perspective collage that constantly shifts in relation to visitors’ movement around and within the sculpture.

There’s something for everyone at Snape Maltings, and a wide range of events are run throughout the year including farmers markets, vintage markets, festivals and children’s activities.

For more information, visit their website7. Felixtowe Gardens

Step back in time with a visit to the newly regenerated Seafront Gardens. Demonstrating the original 1920s design, the Seafront Gardens at Felixstowe have been acknowledged as a Grade II Registered Garden of Special Historical Interest by English Heritage.

The gardens were regenerated in 2015 and now feature a series of interconnected gardens, defined spaces, stone and water features together with ornamental planting which impart an impression of historic character, municipal quality and a great diversity of visual interest.

The perfect place to rest a while…

For more information, visit the Felixstowe tourism page8.Southwold Pier

Southwold is a popular destination for the many visitors to the Suffolk Coast and its most prominent attraction, the pier, hosts a wide range of things to see and do.

The innovative water clock was designed by Tim Hunkin and its cheeky design is sure to entertain on the hour. As well as this there are cafés, restaurants, shops and an arcade, certainly enough to keep the whole family busy for the whole day. Tim Hunkin’s intriguing underwater shows are viewed via the quantum-tunnelling periscope at the end of the pier; a fascinating insight into the mix of old and new which make up the pier’s attractions.

For more information, visit the Southwold Pier website9.Languard Peninsula

The Landguard Peninsula is located at the southern point of Felixstowe. Take time to explore the rich military and maritime heritage of Landguard Fort. It’s one of England’s best-preserved coastal defences and has a history spanning almost 450 years, children will love seeing history come to life with the audio-tour and one of the many events run throughout the year.

Whilst there, make a stop by Felixstowe Museum; home to fascinating artefacts and collections that bring alive the military and social history of Felixstowe before heading to the shingle habitat of the Landguard Nature Reserve which surrounds the Fort and Museum. It’s a fascinating blend of rare plants, migrating birds and military history and the perfect place to let the little ones run off steam.

For a bite to eat, head to the Landguard Visitor Centre and View Point Cafe; a warm and friendly building with fun hands-on displays, videos and exhibits on the attractions of the Peninsula, public toilets and a 60 seater cafe serving all day breakfasts, snacks, fresh fish and chips and ice cream.

With a range of special events and activities throughout the year, Landguard offers a great day out for all ages and interests. Admission charges apply to the Fort and Museum but the Nature Reserve is free to explore!

For more information, visit their website

10.Beaches

Whether you’re in search of a great family day out, a birdwatching haven, or trip back in time, the beaches along the Suffolk Coast will provide you with a memorable day out.

You could try your hand at surfing with a family surf lesson from Southwold Surf School, take to the skies and the waters kitesurfing at numerous spots along the coast, or watch the world go by with your very own little piece of the Suffolk coast by hiring a beach hut in Felixstowe, Southwold or Lowestoft.

The beaches at Lowestoft, Kessingland, Southwold, Walberswick, Aldeburgh, Thorpeness and Felixstowe all remind you why it’s so great to spend time by the sea. A real tonic to beat the hustle and bustle of everyday life!

11. Exhibitions

Young train enthusiasts can visit the Southwold’s Model Railway Exhibition, on August 6 and 7 absolutely free.

Whether you’re a fine scale modeller or have a child who loves toy trains, Southwold’s Model Railway exhibition has something for all model train enthusiasts. This is the largest and only two-day exhibition of model trains and railways in all of East Anglia.

Throughout the weekend there will be demonstrations of modelling techniques, trade stands and even a live steam train. The event, which will be held at the Saint Felix School, is free for kids under 11.

12 Fishing Fun

Got a rod lurking in the garden shed? Get some bait and head to the coast for some sea fishing - calm and relaxing, a great skill to pass onto your offspring.

Orford Ness is perhaps one of the most famous fishing spots on the coast of East Anglia. This is a wild and remote shingle spit that reaches far out to sea - the largest in Europe in fact. Every year large cod are caught and there is a good chance of running into bass, rays, dog fish, sole and whiting.

Or try Walberswick beach, the stretch of shoreline from Walberswick to Dunwich offers some fantastic fishing. Here you have the chance to catch a wide variety of species including big summer bass if you are lucky. The beach can be accessed directly from the Walberswick beach car park.

Aldeburgh beach can also offer excellent fishing when conditions are right. Walk south from Aldeburgh for some way until you come across a series of groynes reaching out to sea. This area is a great spot for bass, flounders, sole, dabs, cod, whiting and eels.

For more ways to enjoy the Suffolk Coast this summer, see The Suffolk Coast website

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