Stretching for 50 miles through an historic coastline and Areas of Natural Beauty, the Suffolk Heritage Coast is renowned for its stunning landscapes, sandy beaches and fishing villages. If you’re visiting our workshop in Aldringham this autumn, you’ll be in for a real treat.
It has been rather busy this summer with staycations, but now the leaves have started to turn, it’s a far quieter time to explore the Suffolk Heritage Coast.
So, we thought we’d draw your attention to some of our favourite walks, heritage sites, eateries, events and more.
Top of the list is a visit to Snape Maltings, which is a short car ride (10 minutes) from our workshop. In fact, every autumn, Snape Maltings welcomes the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival (this year on 25-26 Sep). A celebration of Suffolk’s food and drink scene, over 100 food and drink producers gather to sell their produce. Aside from being able to purchase and taste some local delicacies, there are cooking masterclasses and plenty of activities for children.
A visit to the charming seaside historic fishing village, Aldeburgh (a 5 minute car journey from us) is also a ‘must-visit’ if you love freshly cooked traditional food.
Afternoon tea at Craggs Sisters Tearoom is one of our favourites. They use local seasonal produce wherever possible, and all their food is handmade. With 30 different teas to choose from and a tasty selection of scones, sandwiches and cakes to delve into, it’s quite the treat.
Of course, we could not talk about Aldeburgh without mentioning Aldeburgh Fish & Chips, which really does live up to its reputation. Best of all, it’s almost on the seafront. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better place to eat fish and chips. Just make sure you arrive in plenty of time before closing though as there can be quite a queue.
The Suffolk Heritage Coast is home to some of the UK’s most inhabited nature reserves, including Dunwich Heath and Beach, RSPB Minsmere and RSPB Havergate Island, to name a few.
In autumn, RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit. The famous scrape hosts a large colony of avocets and bearded tits can be seen flittering over the reeds all year round. In autumn, migration is at its peek with a constant flow of birds passing through. In October, it’s also a really good time to see red deer rut, of which there are hundreds. If you are a keen photographer, Minsmere offers some incredible wildlife-inspired sunsets.
The Suffolk Heritage Coast is very popular with ramblers, and not just local groups either. People travel from quite a distance to walk a well-trodden nature trail from Aldeburgh to Thorpeness, which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Leaving from Fort Green car park in Aldeburgh, you’ll walk along a beach path to Thorpeness. On your way you’ll pass the glistening stainless steel sculpture of a scallop created by artist Maggi Hambling and a vegetated shingle beach before reaching your destination.
At Thorpeness there are lots of interesting things to see and visit, including The House in the Clouds, North Warren Nature Reserve, Martello Tower (an early 1800s defence tower) and The Windmill (an 1842 flour mill).
While you’re at Thorpeness, we highly recommend stopping for refreshments at The Meare. A boating lake steeped in history, The Meare is a lovely place to sit and enjoy afternoon tea. If you’re still energetic, even after your walk, you can hire a rowing boat, kayak, canoe or sailing boat.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous though and fancy a trail that’s off the beaten track, the Sailors Path is quite something. Starting at Snape Maltings, you’ll pass by the River Alde, Snape Marshes and Snape Warren Nature Reserve before arriving at Aldeburgh. You’ll travel 9.5km in total but time will fly past as you take in the incredible views. The marshlands are especially beautiful in autumn.
As you’d expect, by its very name, the Suffolk Heritage Coast is steeped in history.
One of the most popular heritage sites to visit is Anglo-Saxon royal burial site, Sutton Hoo (just a 25 minute drive from our workshop). It’s really quite impressive to see and is the subject of a new Netflix film, The Dig, which charts the story of the excavation of the Great Ship Burial at Sutton Hoo in 1939. If you’re planning a visit, it’s worth watching the film first.
There are many other sites too (far too many to list), but our other favourite heritage sites are Orford Castle and Framlingham Castle.
Framlingham Castle has an interesting history. Originally, the site was home to an early motte and bailey Norman castle built in 1148 that was destroyed by Henry II during the Revolt of 1173-74. Its replacement was built by the Earl of Norfolk, Roger Bigod, but it was unusual for its time as it has no central keep. Instead, it has a curtain wall with thirteen towers as a defence. Being an English Heritage site there are activities throughout the year. This autumn, there’s a special Halloween event running during half term week (23 – 31 October 21). Children and their families are invited to walk an adventure trail inspired by Cressida Cowell’s Wizards of Once series.
If you like visiting castles, Orford Castle is another interesting heritage site to visit. Again, its an English Heritage site and is one of England’s most complete and unusual keeps. Towering above visitors is a polygonal 1173 keep that offers views over Orford Ness. Darted throughout is an intricate maze of passages that lead to the chapel and chambers in the turrets. The construction is incredibly impressive!
Book your visit to our workshop
We always encourage you to come and see us at our workshop in Aldringham. You can come view an example kitchen, see and feel the quality of our craftmanship and speak with the very people who will handmake your kitchen.
We can also time your visit so that you can see your kitchen cabinets being made, which is a lovely experience.
All we ask is that you contact us before you plan to stop by so that we can make sure we’re available.
We look forward to seeing you!