Visiting my friend Vicky in Woodbridge (Suffolk) is one of my favourite things to do. It’s also the place I’ve visited the most since moving here (closely followed by Brighton). Boy and I stayed in Woodbridge for five days when we first arrived in the UK; I’ve visited Vicky twice since living here and I’ve cat-sat her adorable kitty Sox twice, so I feel a bit of a kinship with Suffolk.
Vicky and I have been to lots of places all over Suffolk (note: Suffolk is regional and much easier to explore if you have access to a car – not impossible but more comfortable) so I thought I’d list my four favourite places in Suffolk below:
Woodbridge: My favourite place in Suffolk (mainly because it’s where Vicky lives but also because it’s so pretty). Woodbridge is a town of about 11,000 and is located on the banks of the Deben River. There are lots of lovely cafes and stores to explore, and the historic Tide Mill makes for a fascinating hour – all the more so because it’s still operational even though it was built over 800 years ago! My favourite thing to do in Woodbridge is wonder along the main street and the riverbank. Check out www.thesuffolkcoast.co.uk for more.
Framlingham: Vicky, her brother Harry, and I visited Framlingham during a road trip out and about in the Suffolk countryside. Framlingham is an old market town, and the biggest attraction is Framlingham Castle. The Castle was built in the 12th Century by the Earl of Norfolk, and follows a motte and bailey or ringwork format (which, apparently, is a Norman design). You can hire an audio guide and walk the ring wall. I recommend listening to the kids version – much more fun! It costs £9.50 to visit and there is a gift shop and café as well. https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/framlingham-castle/
Southwold: I read recently in a free lifestyle magazine that Southwold is becoming an increasingly popular place for people to own a weekend or getaway property. It’s a peaceful place so I can understand why. One of the attractions of Southwold is the pier. In the UK, they tend to build games arcades on the pier and I couldn’t really understand why; my flatmate said it’s because it rains often so it’s a good ‘Plan B’ if you’re at the beach and get caught out. The pier in Southwold is no exception – except the games arcade is really bizzare! It has an unusual line up of penny games but I think this is probably why (according to the Visit Southwold website) it is the only pier in the country that doesn’t have declining visitor numbers. www.visitsouthwold.co.uk
Orford: Harry, Vicky and I visited Orford as part of our day trip around Suffolk, for another castle stop (that’s definitely something you can’t say in New Zealand!). Orford Castle is really cool; it was built between 1165 and 1173 and is still remarkably in tact. You’re able to explore the basement, the lower and upper halls, and walk all the way up to the roof. I learned from the audio tour that while the castle was a residence – hundreds of years ago – it had central heating; functioning toilets; a chapel and they collected rainwater for use within the castle! I was so impressed with how advanced the engineering of the castle was and I think it’s well worth a visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/orford-castle/
So there you have it! To me, Suffolk is so quintessentially English. At least, it’s what I pictured England to be in my head before I arrived. There are pubs everywhere you look; houses have thatched roofs and cafes legitimately offer cream teas as a thing you can get. In London, cream teas are something you come across at Fortnum’s or The Wolsley and they’re a bit more gimmicky – in Suffolk, you can go to a café and enjoy a cream tea! I’ve not done this…but they look good! I always enjoy my time in Suffolk, it never fails to provide an opportunity to calm down and slow down after being in the London crush all week.
My next post is going to be about a recent trip to Paris – four days of music, sightseeing, wine and cheese!
Bye for now,