Visit Suffolk in your Motorhome or Campervan

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PAGE UPDATED: 19.02.2022

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.

When you visit Suffolk, you’ll soon see what the county is renowned for: open countryside, big skies, enchanting forests, and a wonderful coastline.

And it’s one of the driest and warmest parts of the UK – always a bonus!

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.

Our VW Cree motorhome at Walberswick, Suffolk

Suffolk – is it motorhome friendly?

When you visit Suffolk – like any tourist destination – you’ll obviously want to know about the best places to see and things to do.

And as a motorhome driver you’ll also want to know if you can park! Let’s just say that some places cater better than others for us van-lifers. It’s a serious consideration because if you’re driving a really large van, parking is not easy in some locations, 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.

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! But folks are pretty friendly here, so you’ll be fine!

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.

If you’d like to read about our favourite locations along the Suffolk Coast go straight here.

Otherwise, scroll through the list below. We’ve added more detailed stories to some of the places and will be adding others very soon!

Alton Water

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 brand new campsite.

Read our take on Alton Water.

Sunset at Bawdsey Quay, looking across the river Deben to Felixstowe Ferry

Bawdsey Quay

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 Felixstowe Ferry. We love going here but it is the scene of one of our biggest van life disasters!

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

Covehithe

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.

the desolate beach of Covehithe, Suffolk
The desolate beach at Covehithe

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, heathland or along the marshes and beaches.

Read more about Dunwich and Minsmere

Felixstowe

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.

There are good parking facilities for vans in most car parks and it’s one of the first places we took our van, Cree.

Read our guide for Felixstowe motorhome visitors

Big skies and high tides at a windswept Landguard Point, Felixstowe

Knettishall Heath

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.

Read about what you can see at Knettishall Heath.

Lavenham

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.

Read about the crooked houses of Lavenham

Leiston Abbey

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!

Read the macabre story about Leiston Abbey in full

Sunset at Leiston Abbey, Suffolk
The ruins of Leiston Abbey

Orford Ness

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.

Read the full story of Orford Ness

Rendlesham Forest

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.

Read more about camping in Rendlesham Forest and the UFO incident

Shingle Street

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.

Read more about Shingle Street

the desolate beach at Shingle Street, Suffolk
Big open skies at Shingle Street, Suffolk

Shotley Peninsula

Heading out of Ipswich, under the Orwell Bridge along the B1456, you’ll venture onto the Shotley peninsula, eventually reaching land’s end 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

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 in the main car park close to the pier.

Read Seaside Nostalgia at Southwold and step back in time.

Walberswick

And just a mile south of Southwold is the village of Walberswick – well 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.

VW T4 motorhome at Alton Water, Suffolk
Our van at Alton Water, Suffolk

We’ll keep adding to this list over the coming months. Be the first to know of new content by subscribing to our free newsletter ‘The Freedom Trail’.

If you feel inspired to visit some of our favourite Suffolk places but don’t have your own van yet, have you thought about hiring a camper? Before you do, make sure you check out all you need to know before you go.

motorhome hire - all you need to know

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