Pub: Walk to Sibton White Horse , Huntingfield Arms or the Laxfield Low House, and many other delightful country inns near by, an easy drive like the Fox and Goose at Fressingfield, St Peter's Brewery, do check websites for details of opening hours etc. Stop off at local churches like Huntingfield to see the famous painted ceiling!
Shop: Close by to Laxfield Coop and independent foodie shops in Halesworth, petrol station at the Coop too, both a ten minute drive. Framlingham has a market on Saturday, and many independent shops.
Beach: Southwold and Aldeburgh are within an easy half an hour drive, in between are coastal villages like Dunwich and Thorpeness.. plenty on offer for children and adults alike!
Other Local Attractions:
School Cottage, Heveningham is ideally located near the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB, with its three long distance footpaths. This area of outstanding natural beauty, known as the Heritage Coast, includes ancient woodland, heathland, river estuaries, saltmarsh, mudflats, reed beds, shingle beaches and low eroding cliffs along 60 miles of coastland. It is within a short drive of Suffolk Wildlife Trust Hen Reedbeds and RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve; Southwold, with its iconic beach huts; the lost village of Dunwich; Walberswick, with its artsy community and the beautiful beach at Covehithe. Within easy reach are Snape Maltings and concert hall, along with Aldeburgh, former home of Benjamin Britten and famed for its Maggi Hambling scallop sculpture on the beach. Orford, with its archetypal castle, and Orford Ness nature reserve with its secret past are a little further, as is the photogenic Shingle Street. The whole area is rich in culture and charm, with many unspoilt villages, quirky pubs and historic buildings. Suffolk sourced food and drink (Butley Creek oysters, Blythburgh pork and Adnams ales for example) are highly regarded.
Small Co-op and post office/shop in Laxfield (3 miles) & large Co-op in Halesworth (5 miles)
Waitrose in Saxmundham (about 15 minutes’ drive)
General store and post office in Peasenhall (3 miles)
Craft butcher Salter & King in Peasenhall with excellent locally sourced meat & local butchers in Halesworth (Allen’s) and Bramfield (Clarke’s)
Earsham Street Fish Company, Bungay – good selection of super-fresh fish
Samantha’s fish stall and Sole Bay Fish Company on Blackshore (Southwold Harbour)
Fresh fish from huts on the beach at Aldeburgh (limited selection)
Focus Organic Halesworth – run by Sarah’s relatives. Organic produce, toiletries, cleaning products, gifts, cards and coffee shop
Black Dog Delis Halesworth and Walberswick – artisan bread and cakes, savouries and local produce, excellent coffee, lovely breakfasts/light lunches
Two Magpies Bakery Darsham (on A12), Southwold and Aldeburgh – shops/cafés with artisan bread and cakes
Friday Street Farm Shop IP17 1JX – just off A12 towards Snape. Recently re-furbished with excellent veg, fruit, meat counter and chilled cheese room
Emmerdale Farm Shop IP17 3BP – off A12 near Yoxford with large meat section
The Boarding House in Halesworth Market Place is very good for lunch and evening meals
The Black Dog Deli in Halesworth Thoroughfare is excellent for breakfast and lunch
There are other cafes in Halesworth, notably Focus Organic and a wide selection of restaurants in Aldeburgh – The Lighthouse and L’Escargot sur Mer being two to recommend in particular
Old Hall near Southwold, has a café and lovely estuary walks, as well as a maize maze in summer
The Canteen Café in Southwold has excellent daytime food
Pubs: (best to book before you go)
The Huntingfield Arms at Huntingfield - in the next village, very friendly 01986 798320.
The Kings Head at Laxfield, known as the Low House – very atmospheric
The White Horse at Sibton - close by and good food
The Queen’s Head at Bramfield – good food
The Queen’s Head at Blyford – pretty with good ales and food
The Star at Wenhaston – free house, quirky and characterful
The Angel at Halesworth – old coaching inn with Italian food
The Bell at Walberswick – good pub grub, Adnams ales and friendly atmosphere
The Anchor at Walbersick – excellent food, smarter than The Bell
The Lord Nelson at Southwold – unpretentious, pub grub
The Ship at Dunwich – close to the beach
The Eel’s Foot Inn at Eastbridge –friendly atmosphere, close to Minsmere bird reserve
The Crown at Westleton – good food
The Bell at Saxmundham – good food, reasonably priced
Fish & Chips:
The best fish and chips are to be found at Aldeburgh (end of the High Street)
Sole Bay Fish and Chips in Southwold is also very good
Seashell Fish and Chips in Halesworth is pretty good and much closer
School Cottage is about 20 minutes’ drive from the closest beaches at Walberswick and Dunwich.
Walberswick – lovely sandy and pebble beach. Great for families as the beach shelves gently which makes for safe swimming. Busy in the summer and car park charges before 5pm. After this, free parking and the beach is quieter. There is a famous rowing boat ferry from Walberswick harbour to Southwold which operates from Easter to October half term. A lovely day trip is to park in Walberswick, get the ferry over to Southwold, walk along the beach to the town and pier, and then back either via the ferry or a longer route up Southwold harbour (could get fish from Samantha’s and a pint at the Harbour Inn!) over the Bailey Bridge and back down to Walberswick for another pint (and maybe some food) at The Bell!
Dunwich – pebble beach, car park busy in the summer. Quaint and interesting museum.
National Trust Dunwich Heath has lovely walks (heather at its best August/September), views over Minsmere RSPB Reserve where you can see starling murmurations or rutting deer (Autumn and Winter) and visit a great NT tea shop with award winning scones!
Southwold – very popular and busy in the summer, but well worth a visit. World-famous beach huts (greetings cards/Waitrose adverts) which sell for six figures! Adnams brewery tours are fun and the Adnams shop has some very fine beers and award-winning gin. Exhilarating sea trips in the Coastal Voyager power boat as well as more gentle River Blyth cruises.
Covehithe and Benacre – our favourite stretch of coast, although it’s constantly changing due to the pace of the coastal erosion. It’s quieter as there’s just under a mile’s walk along a public footpath to get to the beach. Lovely swimming and seals can be seen here, as well as nesting avocets in the spring. Walk from Benacre beach (starting at Covehithe church, ignoring No Access signs and walking along the top of the cliff, taking extreme care because of severe cliff erosion) to the Benacre bird hide, then back along the shore to Covehithe beach and up the footpath to the church. Check the Lowestoft tide table before attempting this walk. Ensure tide is going out and will be doing so for the next two hours before you set off (especially as you may want to browse for sea glass!). Parking only on the road and it can get very busy at peak season and weekends.
If you want to venture further afield, the magnificent beaches of North Norfolk are about 2 hours’ drive away – Holkham Beach being the most well-known and used in many films.
The Suffolk Coast Path, the Sandlings Walk, and the Stour and Orwell Walk are the three long-distance paths in the area. Local OS walking maps are in the dresser drawer in the sitting room.
There are walks directly from the cottage or nearer the coast (there’s an OS map on the wall in the dining room). A good local walk is from the cottage across the fields to Sibton, ending up at the White Horse Inn for a good lunch. Another lovely walk is along the ‘Low Road’ (left out of the cottage, right at the end of The Street, then first left at the signpost grass triangle), then taking the footpath on the right shortly after the Cratfield signpost. This takes you along a stream, over some fields, across the road, along another field edge to the village of Laxfield where you can refresh yourselves at the Low House pub (see below) before the return journey. Both walks are approx. 6 miles round trips.
Places To Visit:
Minsmere Nature Reserve – this is about 20 minutes’ drive from the cottage. It’s a great day out if you are interested in birds with some excellent bird hides and lovely walks between them. Don’t forget your binoculars! Birds regularly seen at the reserve: marsh harrier, avocet, bittern, great egret, many species of waders and duck. We have been treated to a sighting of an otter at the Island Mere Hide, a bearded tit and a bittern in full view from the same hide, but on separate occasions.
Snape Maltings (about 25 mins away) – famous concert hall and nice shops.
Suffolk Punch Trust (IP12 3JR) near Woodbridge to see these beautiful heavy horses.
Sutton Hoo (National Trust) has been recently refurbished and houses the world famous Viking Ship burial.
Aldeburgh – famous for Benjamin Britten (and fish ‘n’ chips!). A visit to The Red House where Britten lived with his partner, Peter Piers, is worth a visit.
Orford – nice oysterage for a meal, great bakery and chocolate shop (Pump Street Bakery), a castle and lovely boat trips from the quay in the summer months.
Woodbridge – lovely Tide Mill Museum and town with excellent independent shops.
Norwich – interesting city with gorgeous cathedral and The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts gallery on the University of East Anglia campus.