We had a short break away recently. I won’t dwell to much on the actual holiday aspect of it, lets just say it was a tad stressful. If you read this blog then you’ll know that we had a fairly unsuccessful holiday in Cornwall last year, and it seems we forgot about that completely when thinking we could go away the three of us again. Lets just say in our mind, we were going to have a chilled few days away before starting IVF. But in Olivia’s mind, well, clearly she didn’t get the memo. But hey, on the plus side, we visited a beautiful part of the UK. We headed to Southwold in Suffolk, which is really lovely.
Before we went, I had an image of a slightly run down seaside town but actually, it’s almost boutique-esque. There’s the classic quirky pier but head along the seafront and into town and you’ll find a great coffee shop, aside from the costa variety (aka my saviour) a delicatessen, a cake shop, butchers and a really good fish and chip shop. The best we’ve had in a long while. Head towards the sea and the houses are positively gorgeous, seated either side of several greens. We did a few things when we were there, the kid found everything boring bar bouncing on the trampoline that was in the house we were renting. Maybe that’s our next holiday *ponders* Anyway, here are the things we did and what I thought of it all.
This is a National Trust beach and heathland and in hindsight (grrrr) given the mood of the kid before we went, it wasn’t the best place to take her. It’s obviously great for heath walking and bird spotting but the beach is all pebbles thus making it not so easy to run in and out of the sea minus shoes or build sandcastles etc. They did have activates for kids to do as always with the National Trust, but they were based around the heath and Olivia just wasn’t up for walking the day we went. In fairness it was a hot day. This is probably somewhere to take kids aged five and over.
We went on Friday and pretty much had the place to ourselves. Straight away we were met with some lions and lionesses just chilling out. We were amazed, the kid, unbelievably not so. I’m not usually a fan of zoos, in fact I’m not at all but the majority of them did seem happy here (although I always want the lions to have bigger enclosures but hey) It was a big site which we walked round most of before getting the train to take us round for a tour. The kid was completely nonplussed and preferred the indoor soft play but that just says a lot about her state of mood. Unless your toddlers are complete animal enthusiasts then I’d say take them here when they’re a bit older and can appreciate what you’re showing them :/ Oh and coffee snobs (aka me), grab yours before you go.
Now, Southwold beach is pretty big and when you arrive in the town, if like us you head towards the first sign that you see for parking and the beach, then the bit you’ll hit is by the pier. It is lovely here, but it’s a mix of pebbles and sand and just isn’t as toddler friendly and this is where we ended up taking the kid for the majority of our stay. Then on speaking to the friend we were renting from, we found out that if you drive through the town itself, and out the other side, you reach the much bigger, fully sandy beach with lovely sand dunes. Doh.
This was a sweet little town was a thirty minute drive from Southwold. It has a few classic seafood shacks along the front that you can buy the catches of the day from, everything chalked up on boards outside. Trying some smoked fish is a must. The high street is much like Southwold with lovely houses, cafes and shops and my husband quotes as having the best ice cream we’d tried. Aldeburgh is definitely worth a visit.
This is where we stayed when we visited and it’s just a ten minute drive into Southwold. It’s a village set on and around the A12, the main road into and out of Suffolk but don’t let that put you off. It’s surrounded by marshland where you can go crabbing in certain places (we didn’t do this) and there’s a huge old church which is worth a quick look. Also worth a visit is White Hart Inn which has an enormous garden looking back on Southwold itself. There’s no kids play area but because the weather was nice Olivia was happy just to run about. We had one OK meal here but our second was lovely (crab salad and ribs) They do some great wines and beers.
Sole Bay Fish Company
This place is fantastically rustic. It’s a little wooden shack and the various catches of the day are set out for you and people rock up to buy, or you can sit inside and eat. Me and the Mr panic ordered because we literally didn’t know what to have, everything sounded delicious. We had grilled big prawns (should’ve just had more of these), some smaller prawns (not needed), dressed crab (yum), some smoked salmon (definitely part of the panic order) and a crisp glass of wine. Oh and some mild whingeing noises in the background.