When you visit Suffolk, you’ll soon see what the county is renowned for: open countryside, big skies, and a wonderful coastline.
And it’s one of the driest and warmest parts of the UK – always a bonus!
Suffolk is our home county and we’ve lived here all our lives. When we’re not travelling long-distance we like nothing better than to jump in the van and take a day trip somewhere local.
On this page we’re going to introduce you to some of our favourite spots inland and along the beautiful Suffolk Coast, some of which are secluded, out-of-the-way places, with an air of mystery about them.
Suffolk – is it motorhome friendly?
When you visit Suffolk – like any tourist destination – you’ll obviously want to know what are the best places to see and things to do.
But as a motorhome driver you’ll also want to know if it’s easy to park!
Let’s just say that some places cater better than others for us vanlifers. It’s a serious consideration because if you’re driving a really large van, parking is not so easy, and sometimes impossible!
The good news is that the places we like best – and those we’re going to tell you about – are less touristy so you’ll probably be ok. Finding a place to park is all part of the fun, anyway!
Another thing is that some of the places we’ll mention are down single-lane roads. That’s the thing about Suffolk; there are lots of narrow B roads (called byroads) that sometimes turn into little more than dirt tracks with grass growing in the middle.
If that’s something you’re not familiar with it can be a bit disconcerting driving a large motorhome when you see something else coming towards you – and there’s nowhere to pass! Again, it’s all part of the fun.
We’ll also mention some of the campsites we’ve stayed at – and wild camping spots!
Our favourite Suffolk places
We’re going to list our favourite Suffolk places in alphebetical order to make things easier for you to find. Some are inland and others are along the beautiful Suffolk Coast with its big open skies. You’ll be able to zoom in on the map above to find each place.
Otherwise, scroll through the list below. We’ve added more detailed stories to some of the places and will be adding others very soon!
A huge man-made reservoir just a few miles south of Ipswich along the A137 toward Manningtree, perfect for a long walk or cycle (it’s 8 miles all the way round). There’s a cafe, play area and new campsite – though we’ve not tried this one yet.
Up the A12 north toward Woodbridge, then onto the B1083 past Sutton Hoo, in another twenty minutes you’ll reach Bawdsey Quay that looks across the river Deben to Old Felixstowe. We love going here. There are usually a few other vans parked by the riverside and you can jump on the little ferry across to Felixstowe for a drink or meal at the pub.
Read the full story on Bawdsey here – scene of our biggest van life disaster!
This is one of Trudi’s favourite childhood places that is all too quickly disappearing into the North Sea. It’s off the A12, just north of Southwold. You can park your van along the narrow road close to the church ruins then you must walk a little way to the beach, which is usually very quiet. Just how we like it.
Read more about Covehithe and prepare to get away from it all.
Dunwich and Minsmere
We’ve put these together as they’re right next to each other. Dunwich was once a thriving sea port with several thousand inhabitants but has since been lost to the sea. And Minsmere is Suffolk’s most popular RSPB site with many different walks through woodland, healthland or along the marshes and beaches.
A great Suffolk seaside town with fantastic sandy beaches, Landguard Point with museum and fort, Felixstowe Docks – still the largest container port in the UK – and Old Felixstowe with great views out to sea. Good parking facilities for vans and it’s one of the first places we took Cree. And there are some wild camping spots too!
One of Gav’s favourite childhood places with miles and miles of heathland and forest. Accessed off the A1066 close to Thetford Forest Park, there are many different walks through the woods or by the stream and there are about 30 Exmoor ponies roaming freely. Knettishall can get quite busy at weekends and there’s usually an icecream van and coffee vendor. Full story coming soon.
You can’t come to Suffolk and not visit Lavenham to marvel at its crooked houses. This is a very popular tourist destination with people coming from all over the world to admire the medieval architecture. Accessed just off the A134 near Long Melford, Lavenham also has a beautiful church with a second-hand book section and several walks all around the village. Full story coming soon.
This is more of a stop-by destination a few miles off the A12 and we stumbled upon it out of curiosity. There’s nothing else here for visitors apart from the abbey ruins but when we looked into its history we found that the abbey had connections with one of Suffolk’s most gruesome legends!
If you take the A1152 off the A12 just after Woodbridge, you’ll soon see signs for Orford. You’ll drive through Rendlesham Forest and enter the village where there’s a castle and lovely walks along the river banks. But what you really want to do here is book yourself a place on the little boat and head out across the water to one of the most mysterious places in Suffolk.
The first place we took the van together and we return at least once every year for a night or two. Rendlesham Forest has a wonderful campsite right in the centre and it comes with one of the UK’s biggest unsolved mysteries: the Rendlesham Forest UFO incident in 1980. There’s a walk you can take along the UFO trail.
This bleak and desolate stretch of coast possibly hides the secrets of an attempted Nazi invasion in WWII. Reached via twisting country lanes there’s just enough room to park your van and wander onto the shingle beaches to enjoy the peace and quiet. And there’s a good chance you’ll see the seals across the water sunbathing on the sandbanks.
Shotley Marina and Pin Mill
Heading out of Ipswich, under the Orwell Bridge along the B1456, and you’ll reach the end of the road at Shotley Marina. There’s plenty of room for a motorhome and spectacular views across the rivers Orwell and Stour to the docks back at Felixstowe and Harwich, respectively. There are some lovely walks up and down the rivers, great for beachcombing. And if you fancy a longer walk you can make your way to Pin Mill for a delicious lunch at the pub. Full story coming soon.
Southwold is a seaside resort with an olde-worlde feel to it. There’s a really fun pier which houses some of Tim Hunkin’s whacky inventions, a sandy beach, lighthouse and great fish and chips! And you’ll find allocated motorhome parking (well, five spaces at least). That’s better than most towns we know of.
Read Seaside Nostalgia at Southwold and step back in time.
And just a mile south of Southwold is the village of Walberswick – worth visiting for the name alone! It gets very popular in the summer months where families come to catch crabs on the famous crabbing bridge or sunbathe amongst the dunes. Full story to follow.
We’ll keep adding to this list over the coming months so to ensure you don’t miss a thing please subscribe to our newsletter and get your free ebook, ‘Getting Started on the Freedom Trail’.
If you feel inspired to visit some of these places but don’t have your own van yet, have you thought about hiring a camper? Before you do, make sure to check out all you need to know before you rent a van.