Beccles lies in North West Suffolk on the banks of the Waveney river on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, just a 20 minute drive from Kessingland. To the one side it is bounded by open countryside, with the River Waveney providing the boundary on the other side.
The name ‘Beccles’ means ‘meadow by the stream’; thought to have been chosen as Beccles backs onto the southern edge of the Norfolk Broads. Originally a Saxon river port, it continues to be a popular and bustling boating centre.
Beccles has preserved its historic centre and market square. The narrow streets in Beccles are home to an eclectic mix of boutiques and antiques shops, as well as interesting things to do.
Those with an interest in gardening and nature will enjoy Urban Jungle; a plant nursery and cafe filled floor to ceiling with plants. They also hold regular events, such as the annual Chilli & Cactus Festival. Visit our listings for events in Beccles to keep up to date with what’s on in the area, or read our guide to Open Gardens in Suffolk for more ideas about where to go.
The pretty riverfront and quay make Beccles a popular stop for pleasure craft, and the river offers a splendid view of the Georgian gardens sloping down to the water’s edge.
The Bell Tower next to St Michael’s church dominates the skyline and climbing its 100 or so steps offers the reward of some commanding views. The church has a rich history; the front dates from the 13th century, while the interior was damaged by fire in 1586. The church played a central role in several important marriages. The mother of Norfolk Hero Horatio Nelson married Reverend Edmund Nelson here, and Suffolk poet George Crabbe married Sarah Elmy at the church in the 18th century.
The octagonal town hall dates from the 18th century, and nearby Roos Hall is said to be the most haunted house in England.
Nothing beats swimming outdoors, so why not visit Beccles Lido? This is a heated, open-air pool with slide, springboard, giant inflatable aquarun, grassy areas, sunloungers, tables and chairs to relax on. The main 30mx15m pool and separate toddler pool and paddle pool are all heated to 27 degrees and there are hot showers and disabled facilities (please call first with your requirements).
Located by the River Waveney, the café serves hot and cold snacks, delicious Fairtrade teas and coffees, cold drinks, and ices. With lane swimming until 10am and most evenings, Beccles Lido is the perfect place for a swim or a family day out. Call 01502 713297 for opening times and prices.
Beccles Lido also operates Big Dog Ferry between Beccles Lido and the Locks Inn, Geldeston – a relaxing 40 minute boat journey along the River Waveney with the opportunity to enjoy the wildlife en-route. Enjoy a meal and a drink at the Locks Inn, or stay on board for a round trip. Visit Big Dog’s website for timetable and fares: www.bigdogferry.co.uk or call 07532 072761 for more information.
Things to do in and around Beccles
Potton Hall Spa & Health Retreat | Suffolk
Potton Hall, Blythburgh Road, Westleton, Suffolk, IP17 3EF
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