Jun 19 More Suffolk

Whilst staying at Kessingland, we made sure we had seen plenty of coast. The Suffolk coast is truly lovely with lots of history and wild unspoilt beaches. I think it is overlooked by many as it is not dramatic and it is a bit off the beaten track.


The village of Dunwich was swallowed up by the sea in the early part of the 12th century. Until then, it was one of the largest ports in England with a population of 4000. Since Roman times, the sea has taken 2km of coastline and reduced it to a population of 100. 12 churches were submerged and legend has it that you can sometimes hear the church bells ringing (nonsense, of course!) There is a very interesting museum explaining the history of the area and showing artifacts from Roman times. We also visited the current church which was built in the grounds of the old Leper Hospital.

Dunes at Dunwich
Remains of the 12th century church of St James. Became the chapel that served the Leper Hospital built on this site


Walberswick was also a busy port in Medieval times, known for its boat building industry. It still has a harbour along the river up to Blythburgh. There is a pretty village green and protected sand dunes leading to the beach. This whole area is a AONB with salt water marshes and reed beds supporting numerous species of birds, and otters.

Walberswick harbour
Walberswick harbour
Salt marshes

Snape Maltings

Snape Maltings is known for its music events championed by Benjamin Britten. The Maltings house a theatre, shops and galleries. They are surrounded by a huge expanse of reed beds and access to a beautiful unspoilt coastal walk. I was also impressed by the sculptures, one by Henry Moore.

Snape Maltings
Walkway across the reed beds
River at Snape
Coastal countryside
Boats alongside the maltings
Sculpture alongside the reed beds
Henry Moore sculpture


Thorpeness was our next stopping point. It is known for its lakes which were dug out by hand in 1911 to create a Peter Pan type of place. The spoil was used to make islands which were planted with trees and shrubs. It now looks completely natural and you can hire boats to go exploring. I can remember doing just that, as a teenager, with friends.

Thorpeness lake