Jun 19 Essex and Suffolk

Whilst we awaited further action on our sinking floor, we abandoned the family again and set off to Essex and Suffolk. As it was a while ago now, I have selected a few pictures and will keep the commentary brief.

I grew up in Suffolk, in the small village of Risby, near Bury St Edmunds. We had occasional trips to the coast and visiting relatives in neighbouring Essex, so the countryside was still familiar to me. I have not stayed in the region for a huge number of years so it was a lovely treat for me to visit a few old haunts, and some new places.

First stopping point was Colchester. This is the oldest garrison town in UK, dating back to Roman times. We stayed on a small farm campsite and got the bus into Colchester. We did not pay the £20 required to enter the castle but, the walk through the grounds to the river below was very pleasant. I walked to the old Priory whilst Clyde reposed amongst the tourists in the castle grounds.

Colchester Castle
Entrance to Colchester Castle
Ruined Priory
Arches still standing
More of the Priory
Old Roman wall behind Colchester Castle
Gardens behind Colchester Castle

On the way to Colchester we spent a few hours in Coggeshall, as there is a lovely old National Trust house to visit. Paycocke’s House is on the High Street and has a delightful old English garden. The little town is very quaint and I was delighted to find some books I had been looking out for, in the local charity shop.

Back of Paycockes House
Paycockes House at Coggeshall
Gardens at Coggeshall NT house – Paycockes

Whilst in the area, we had a day out on Mersea Island. It was a most attractive area accessed across a causeway and overlooking the Blackwater and Colne estuaries. We stopped on the sea front and had coffee at a small cafe after a lovely walk through a nature reserve across the shingle. There are lots of houseboats here and fishing boats plying their trade.

Beach at West Mersea
Mersea Island views
One of many house boats at West Mersea

After a lovely relaxing few days in Essex, we moved up coast to Suffolk and our first port of call was Aldeburgh.

Aldeburgh is a very popular town on the coast but we were able to park the van on the seafront for a very reasonable charge. We walked along the front and enjoyed the very fresh air! Wrapped up against the chill of a June day, we paid a king’s ransom for some fresh mackerel pate at one of the seafront fish stalls. It was worth it as it was delicious.

Aldeburgh was the home of Benjamin Britten and is the centre of the International Aldeburgh Festival of Arts. There are plenty of lovely old buildings and shops to amble around.

On the beach at Aldeburgh
Old town hall
Old fishing boats on Aldeburgh beach

After Aldeburgh, we found our way to Kessingland where we had booked a proper campsite. It was a good move as the weather changed, the sun shone, and the site was lovely. We spent a day local and walked down to the beach for a cuppa overlooking the sea, then had a day out at Southwold. The bus there went from outside the campsite, so not worth taking the van. We had a lovely day there; it is so typically English, with beach huts, a pier and a town centre with little shops and a lighthouse.

Southwold promenade views
Southwold beach huts
Southwold pier
Pier at Southwold

What a fabulous few days and there were more to come……..