Suffolk has a tremendous coastline stretching down from Norfolk in the north through Lowestoft and down to Felixstowe and Shotley in the south, featuring sandy cliffs, dunes, bays and creeks. The diversity of the coastline means that there’s something for everyone – from sand to shingle, from reed bed to fishing port, with wildlife rich estuaries too.
Much of the Suffolk coastline is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but, as you can see above, despite this the beaches aren’t very crowded! Beaches in Suffolk offer a range of inexpensive Days Out options whether you’re wanting brave a dip in the North Sea, bury your head in a good book, spot at tern hover or pick out some sprats from the water.
Lowestoft is the most easterly point in the UK and in addition to its Edwardian splendour along the seafront, you can easily see why the town is at the forefront of the UK’s wind generation industry. Lowestoft is a very family friendly resort offering miles of wide stretches of sandy beaches as well as traditional seaside amusements, a pier and plenty of fish & chip shops to chose from. Direct access from London by train from Liverpool Street makes Lowestoft beach a good option to choose when the sun comes out. For more information, read guide on things to do in Lowestoft here.
Kessingland and Pakefield beaches are remarkably unspoilt and extremely spacious. Although close to Lowestoft, Kessingland is one of those Suffolk gems that few people know about, and those that do tend not to tell anyone! The beach is a mix of marshland, shingle and sand, and it stretches for miles towards Lowestoft to the North and Southwold to the South. If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet on an unspoilt beach, Kessingland Beach is highly recommended (and the dog can come too!).
Further South is the remote beach of Covehithe which has a lovely sandy beach but it is off the beaten track and only accessible by foot or cycle. There is on street parking near the church and a well signposted footpath taking you through the fields down to the sea. No facilities – just glorious beach and sea air. For those that truly want to get away from it all, clothes optional!
Southwold is a very popular town on the Suffolk Coast offering plenty of good accommodation, a fabulous pier and both shingle and sandy beaches, which was ranked in the top six of beaches by the Sunday Times travel supplement. The town is famous for its colourful beach huts and you can often hire these by the day (call 01502 723292). But expect to pay a small fortune if you’re thinking about buying one!
Southwold is a great option for families as there’s plenty to do – stroll about the town, watch the Punch & Judy show on the waterfront, enjoy the putting greens and boating ponds and visit the lovely Southwold Pier whilst you’re there. The shingle beach around the pier is very popular but come high tide you might find yourself having to move on! Further down towards Walberswick and Southwold Harbour there are large stretches of sandy beach as well as sand dunes to shelter in on windy days. There are several beach cafes open during the summer months and on high days and holidays during the rest of the year. Try Beaches and Cream on Queen Street for a fantastic selection of ice cream, milkshakes, sweets, worldwide confectionery and beachy souvenirs!
From Southwold Harbour you can either take the small boat ferry (ie a rowing boat!) or footbridge across to Walberswick, famous for crabbing, sand dunes and miles of unspoilt marshes, perfect for bird watching and walking. Here you’ll find more unspoilt sandy beaches as well as The Anchor which offers great local food (& accommodation) for those needing sustenance. Click here for more information on Walberswick
From here you can walk 2 miles south either along the beach or along the Walberswick Nature Reserve to the famous beach of Dunwich which once was a large trading City & port with a population over 4,000 people.
Today the population is nearer 40 but the wide stretch of sand & shingle beach is very popular and there are no restrictions on dogs on this beach throughout the year. There’s a lively cafe open from Spring to the end of Autumn offering meals and snacks, but for a real taste of local fish & chips and other great pub food head for the Ship Inn just off the beach & you won’t be disappointed. Come rain or shine this cosy pub offers great food year round. Find other Dog Friendly Suffolk Beaches in Suffolk here.
Walking away from Dunwich you’ll have the cliffs on the right as you approach RSPB Minsmere, RSPB’s most famous nature reserve. Dogs aren’t allowed into the Reserve at any time but from the beach you can see the marshes and bird towers.
Heading towards the iconic egg shaped dome of our nuclear facilities at Sizewell (where there is also an excellent beach) the next Suffolk beach resort you come to is Thorpeness, famous for its Peter Pan’s Meare and unusual architecture. The village was built at the start of the 20C by a wealthy eccentric Scottish barrister with a penchant for mock Tudor and Jacobean architecture. However, more recent architectural additions, from the 1930s Art Deco Thorpeness Hotel to the very modern Dune House from Living Architecture make this an interesting place to visit anytime of the year. The beach here is wide and mainly shingle.
Aldeburgh Beach Wander along the beach in Aldeburgh and you will pass Maggie Hamblings’ iconic Scallop – a tribute to local composer Benjamin Brittain – on the way. The beach, which was ranked third in the Sunday Times’ Top Ten of cultural beaches, is very wide and the closer to the town you get the more shingley it becomes – not easy to walk on. Aldeburgh is a thriving market town with several art galleries, restaurants & boutiques as well as a cinema and Summer theatre. For more info see our guide to Aldeburgh. Walking north you’ll reach the quaint village of Thorpeness and south takes you down towards Orford Ness.
BBQ’s in Aldeburgh and Walberswick are permitted but care must be taken.
For restrictions on when you can take your dog on Aldeburgh beach please see our guide to dog friendly Suffolk beaches.
The English craze for beaches began in the 19th Century, when people began to seek the health benefits of sea air. Most Beaches in Suffolk remain as first visited – unspoilt and fresh.
You can find wild beaches in Suffolk and believe yourself the only person between sand and sky in the world. Orford Ness National Nature Reserve is one that the National Trust is preserving for wildlife and visitors forever but you can visit it a selected opening times – see link above for details. And if you feel like stripping down to nature yourself, there is even a naturist beach at Corton!
There are also great family beaches with special activities & amusements for children on the Suffolk Coast, at Lowestoft and Felixstowe in particular. Felixstowe, bordered on the north by the River Deben and on the south by the River Orwell, is a well loved resort known for its Blue Flag quality sand and shingle beach, long promenade, Mannings Amusement Park, perfectly kept seafront gardens and seaside attractions. For pit stops in Felixstowe check out The Alex Cafe Bar & Brasserie and Cafe Bencotto for fabulous food.
The only place on the beach in Felixstowe that you are allowed to have a BBQ is at The Dip on Cliff Road.
Shotley Peninsula is also a beautiful place to visit. With picnic areas, marinas and an abundance of wildlife, the riverbanks of the Orwell and Stour afford wonderful walks and views. Click here to read our guide to Shotley.