The Suffolk Coast: the best out of the way places

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Suffolk is our home county and although it doesn’t have the majesty of mountains it does have big skies, beautiful countryside, and a mesmerising coastline.

On this page we’ll share with you some of the best places to visit along the Suffolk Coast. And if you’re looking for seclusion, we’ll tell you about some out-of-the-way places right close to the sea.

Get ready to lose yourself in the big skies of the Suffolk Coast…

VW T4 motorhome at Walberswick, Suffolk

Motorhoming around the Suffolk Coast

There certainly is plenty to see and enjoy in Suffolk and, on our more local days out in the van, we like to think that we’re giving the old girl a rest from climbing hills. The landscape here is much flatter than what we put her through on our longer road trips and pilgrimages.

But despite many people’s misconceptions, the land in Suffolk isn’t entirely flat like it is, say, in the Fens. There are some steepish climbs we wouldn’t fancy doing on a bike and in an old van like ours, it will require some gear changing.

The only issue off the main routes are the tiny byroads that sometimes have no passing places. This might mean having to reverse a few yards. Usually though, the car coming towards you will do the reversing (unless you meet someone who’s looking for a confrontation!)

Most people in cars do the decent thing and pull over, knowing that it’s much easier for them to manoeuvre than it is a 20 foot motorhome.

Our favourite places around the Suffolk Coast

So, let’s look at some of our favourite places around the Suffolk Coast…

We’ll start off with one of our favourite haunts and what happens to be one of the more touristy locations, Felixstowe.

There is so much to see and do here and miles to walk, from Landguard Point and Felixstowe Docks, right along the seafront promenade and through to Old Felixstowe and the river Deben. We never get bored of visiting the town centre either, with one of the best secondhand bookshops you could ever find.

We’ll often park the van up and walk for several miles and we have wild camped a few times in the van without any bother.

And once a year, we give ourselves a Christmas treat and stay at the Orwell Hotel.

For a detailed look go to ‘Felixstowe – a motorhome visitors guide’.

VW T4 motorhome at Felixstowe Docks
Felixstowe Docks, one of the largest container ports in the world

When you’re in Felixstowe looking out across the river Orwell at Landguard Point, you’ll see Harwich in Essex straight ahead, then, a little to the right Shotley peninsula. This is well worth exploring if you’d like to get away from the busyness of Felixstowe.

And slightly inland, at Alton Water (also on the Shotley peninsula) you’ll find an eight-mile circumference, man-made reservoir which makes for a lovely walk or cycle around.

Wild camping at Bawdsey

From Felixstowe Ferry end, across the river Deben you can see Bawdsey Quay. It’s only two minutes across on the little ferryboat. But in the van, back along the A14 then up the A12, it’ll take you the best part of an hour.

Bawdsey Manor is close by. On its grounds is a museum which opens a couple of days a week telling you about the ‘global story of radar’. It’s where radar all began. We visited in 2022 and enjoyed an informative afternoon. Highly recommended!

We have wild-camped here at Bawdsey beside the river a few times but many spaces have now been blocked.

big Suffolk skies at Bawdsey
Big Suffolk skies at Bawdsey

Cold War and UFOs

A little bit further up the Suffolk Coast and you come to Orford Ness, a place you must visit!

You can get a boat out to the Ness – basically a ten-mile spit of shingle. And visit some of the buildings left standing from the Cold War. This has been featured in a TV programme and you really do get an ‘other-worldly’ feel here.

There are stories suggesting that the nearby Rendlesham Forest UFO incident in 1980 was something to do with nuclear testing taking place on Orford Ness. We suppose the truth will remain secret for a long time to come.

Have a look at this fascinating video…

The city that succumbed to the sea

The north sea is relentless, stealing land – and people’s property – every year.

Dunwich is one such place. Once a major shipping port, it’s now known locally as the lost city of England. Church bells can be heard coming from the waves, or so the legend goes. There’s also an interesting friary to visit.

Just five miles up the coast you’ll reach Southwold and Walberswick, places full of childhood memories for us Hobos. Both get busy in the summer but are well worth a visit, the latter proving a popular place for crabbing.

Covehithe church
Covehithe, where a smaller church has been built inside the larger old ruins

Desolation and Nazi invasion

For a more quiet place head up to Covehithe, one of Trudi’s childhood haunts, where you’ll see fascinating old church ruins. This is as far as you’ll get the van; the beach and cliffs can only be reached on foot.

It’s a great out of the way place for a beach barbeque, or for some fossil hunting. But watch out for the incoming tide!

And then there is the desolation of Shingle Street. Did the Nazi’s really attempt an invasion here back in 1940? The rumours abound to this day.

Click the links above and you’ll find much more detailed info about our favourite places along the Suffolk Coast.

Feeling inspired to take a road trip around Suffolk? See our top tips on what you need to know about motorhome rental…

motorhome hire - all you need to know

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