For the second part of our Summer 2020 staycation we moved from Norfolk (see earlier blog post) to Suffolk.
The sun came out during the 1 hour drive from Wroxham to Kessingland through the greenest countryside… a really lovely drive with no motorways, just the open road. We arrived at our pre-booked holiday park – The Hollies in Kessingland, near Lowestoft.
We had arranged a 3 bedroom lodge, for an amazingly low rate, for 4 nights to complete our week long UK holiday. It was modern and clean and had everything we needed except Wifi which I planned on purpose. An enforced break from screens for all of us (except for the 4G when really desperate.)
The Hollies is located on a cliff top. There are a handful of lodges like ours, and then a field for caravans, one for campervans, one for tents and one field had around 4 glamping pods which sleep 4 in each. There was also a Yurt but I couldn’t get a peek because it had guests inside. But I LOVE a yurt! There is nothing else at the Hollies, no bar or entertainment, but this was its charm! Just a stunning location to pitch up and enjoy the scenery and the slow pace.
We took a walk down the wooden staircase from the cliff top onto the beach and the views were breathtaking. A very wild, rugged beach with powerful waves, gold sand and tufts of grass. Areas were sectioned off for nesting bird. We took a walk to the left, towards Lowestoft in the distance. It was windy but the kids enjoyed wave jumping for what felt like ages.
We drove to Southwold, one of the prettiest seaside towns I’ve seen. If you’re a pastel coloured beach hut lover like me you will love it. I made enquiries about buying one (its on my vision board from pre-Covid times) and learned they can go for as much as £85,000! So it stays on the board for now. The sand here is smooth and the waves less angry looking, enough for body boarding though, and the pier is cute and quirky with some interesting attractions on it. The first visit to Southwold was on a chilly and windy day…. We wore jumpers and sat beside a wall for shelter… and ended the day with the classic fish and chips among the seagulls.
The next day we visited Walberswick. Recommended to me by 2 friends, as the #crabbingcapital of the UK. We took our crab lines and buckets around 4pm ready to set up for golden hour as the weather had improved. We did catch crabs, and Walberswick won my heart with its village green, amazing pubs (all fully booked) and gorgeous cottages. We later found a surf beach nearby and our love was sealed, sitting watching surfers for the evening with a beer while the kids looked for shells, what could be better.
No visit to Suffolk would be complete without a day at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach. We prebooked tickets (necessary to control numbers with Social distancing) and for the bargain price of £12 each we had 3 hours unlimited access to all rides. We had such a good time that day, we started at some tea rooms for lunch, before hitting the rides.
My son is 6 and it was his first time on semi-scary rides… to see his little face go from fear to excitement to giggling on repeat was so special. We should have been at Disneyworld Orlando that week! But at that moment, this was just as good. We ended the day on the log flume and got a good soaking which was welcome in the heat. Before driving home to our lodge.
The weather was hotting up with a real heatwave on the cards due the day we planned to leave Suffolk. So we booked a night at The Crown in Southwold town centre. It was the first day it was reopening after Covid so we felt lucky to get 2 rooms. We decided to head to Southwold early for a spot on the beach. We made quite the little base for ourselves, I queued up for 40 mins at Southwold’s best bakery – Two Magpies. First it was 10 mins in the queue before I realised everyone had a mask except me (the new rule had only come in the week before) so I had to leave the queue, spend £12 on a face mask in a boutique and rejoin the queue. This is just so me. It was an expensive breakfast! But delicious eating it on the beach with my little fam. We swam, built sandcastles, found shade, swam again, read the paper…. And when we all felt sun whipped we went to Sole Bay, a pub, for a late lunch. Pub food after the boredom of lockdown was such a treat.
It must have been around 37 degrees and our rooms at the Crown were unbearably hot. With the windows open all you could hear was the squawking of seagulls all night. But despite having the worst nights sleep of 2020 it was worth every second for the fact I was not at home in my own bed! In the morning you could tell that the staff were on their first post Covid shift, so nervous, slow, careful… it was fine because we were feeling the same. Once we were full of coffee, coco pops and poached eggs we hit the road to drive home before it got boiling hot again.
My impression of Suffolk was really positive I absolutely loved the seaside towns, the differences with the wild beaches of Kessingland and then the cuteness of Southwold. Great Yarmouth felt like another world in some ways but was the most fun day of the week. We would love to come and visit again.
If you know of other little Suffolk gems that we missed out on, please send them to me!