Suffolk Heritage Coast – Part 2 - Orlando / Florida Guide
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So when’s the best time to do this? Summer and autumn normally bring warmer weather, and this is when the heathland comes alive, as its heather flowers and its wildlife are most active. In winter, the coast is much quieter, so you will need to get cosy in a hide to spot the birdlife while protecting yourself from the gusting winds. If you are flying then Stansted and Norwich airports are both good options. There are no direct public transport connections to the coast from either airport, although you can take several train connections. There are, however, plenty of hire car options.
Generally getting around this area is most easily done with a car. Villages such as Dunwich and Southwold are very walkable and compact, while the Suffolk Coast Cycle Route tracks a 142km trail that can be easily done in small sections.
I good place to base yourself is Bridge Barn where a three night stay would be just over £225 in peak season. You could also try the Edwardian style Blyth hotel in Southwold which is family run and cooks using all local ingredients, doubles here are from £85. There are plenty of local places to eat but try this suggestion. Dunwich’s The Ship was once an old smugglers’ haunt but is now popular with locals for its home-cooked food served by the fire. I would try its homemade sticky toffee pudding and selection of ciders from the local brewers Adnams. They also run an equally likeable restaurant The Swan in Southwold, which works with farmers and fishermen to create plenty of seasonal and locally sourced dishes.
If you are staying for a few days then this is how I would spend day one.
Head to coastal Dunwich Heath to wander its network of trails, keeping a keen eye out for birds popping up above the heather line. The Dartford warbler is common here, as are woodlarks, stonechats and nightjars. Red deer and muntjacs can also be spotted trotting across the tracks in the distance. Stop off at Heath’s café for a well-deserved lunch and scones. If you want to avoid crowds then take your food to Westleton Heath which is less well-known. After lunch head to Dunwich to dip into its history as a major port. Dunwich Museum looks modest from the outside, but head inside for stories of smugglers and artefacts recovered from its ‘lost city’, the old town that fell into the sea over the centuries.
There are a few treasures of the old town that have survived which include the nearby Greyfriars, an old friary and its woodland. While at the opposite end of town, the graveyard of St James’ Church is home to the buttress of the old church that used to be there. Now stop at The Ship for a snack and a drink before taking a stroll on the beach. As you do so imagine the town that used to stand here and is now under the waves.
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