Visiting Southwold

Nestled on the eastern coast of England, hugging the North Sea, is the beautiful little town called Southwold. It’s a gorgeous little traditional British seaside town, filled with independent shops, delicate cottages and tiny details, like the flag bunting which lines the main street.

Last weekend, I spent two nights in the quaint town with my aunt and uncle. Like me and Aaron, they originally moved to London in their early 20s and lived there through the excitement of the 60s. London in the 60s, can you imagine? They’ve lived in the area for 20 years, but because it’s a 5 hour drive from my home in Wales, I’ve only ever visited once before (I used to be a horrific traveller!).

We got there on the Friday evening and, on the Saturday, my aunt and uncle gave us a little tour of the area. We visited the infamous seaside huts which sell in the thousands (and I mean, WAY up in the thousands), the famous Southwold pier, and some of aunt and uncle’s old homes, from their first cottage to their guest house on the front.

The pier is beautiful. At the entrance, there’s a fantastic piece of artwork by street art legend, Pure Evil, of the author and journalist George Orwell. The pier itself has a lot of history. It was battered by storms, and and also by WW2, and has been restored over and over again. It now reaches 208 yards and is long enough to play host to a selection of shops and cafes.

On the second day, we visited Southwold harbour. It’s a working harbour meaning there are boats being painted, catches being brought in and fresh fish being sold daily. In fact, a few of the fisherman have set up their own stalls and restaurants right on the side of the harbour, bringing you the FRESHEST fish and chips you could ever imagine.

Despite it being a working harbour, it has an untouched beauty about it. In the evening, the sound of the sails tapping the poles and the lights that have been hung around the fences give it a sort of peaceful feel. In the day, you’ll see old artists who have found their perfect muse in the form of a rusting old boat, and fishermen bringing in the day’s finds. It’s kind of magical.

At the end of the harbour walk is an old wooden sign that says “Ferry”. My aunt and uncle wanted to bring us here to travel across to the next little village for a Sunday cuppa. The ferry is actually a tiny rowing boat, rowed by a woman who has given up lecturing to keep the family tradition going.

With just a few rows, the tide carries you straight across the Blyth river and then it’s just a little walk to the perfect little town called Walberswick. All that’s there are a few houses, a pub and a handful of tiny stores. It reminds me of a living museum in Wales called St Fagins. Kind of stuck in the past but still incredibly beautiful.

When Sunday evening came, I wasn’t ready to leave. Hearing their stories and tales of travel, life in London and my uncle’s prestigious job was so heart-warming, and what started as a little visit to my aunt and uncle’s turned into a welcomed break and escape from the city. I can’t wait to go back again.

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