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Travel: FamilyUK: Young fun 10 things to do with kids in east Suffolk

June 21, 2014

Jonathan Bastable



1 Seek out the Saxons

Sutton Hoo (nationaltrust.org.uk/sutton-hoo) is a magnet for families looking for an improving day out. Any child with a sense of history will be mesmerised by the Anglo-Saxon burial ship in the museum, with its spears and shield and its opulent Byzantine bowls and spoons. More beguiling yet is the helmet thought to have belonged to King Raedwald of the East Angles, its empty eyesockets gaze at you across 1,500 years of English history.

* Open daily 10.30am-5pm. A family ticket costs pounds 20.60

2 Tales of the Tudors

Most children will love exploring the atmospheric ruins of 12th century Framlingham Castle (english-heritage.org.uk), where Mary Tudor was proclaimed queen.

* Open daily 10am-6pm. A family ticket costs pounds 17.90

3 Where bombers flew

More recent history can be found at Parham Airfield Museum (parhamairfieldmuseum.co.uk), which evokes the time in the second world war when this was a base for the US 390th Bomb Group. An exhibition is devoted to the auxiliary units, which would have formed the core of British resistance had Britain been invaded.

* Open Sundays and bank holiday Mondays, 11am to 5pm, Wednesdays 11am to 4pm, admission free

4 Go wild for birds

Head for RSPB Minsmere (rspb.org.uk) near Saxmundham, where the BBC's Springwatch has been filming this year. You may find bitterns making their basso profundo hoot, or you could see otters, dragonflies and adders. Go for a yomp on Dunwich Heath to spot warblers and red deer.

* Open dawn till dusk. Entry to the visitor centre is free. Countryside walks and hides cost pounds 8 for adults, pounds 4 for kids, and one child goes free with two paying adults. Parking is pounds 4.80 for non-National Trust members

5 Size up Southwold

Southwold (visitsouthwold.co.uk) has an amazing church - St Edmund, King and Martyr. Children are welcome to ring the bell held by the medieval figure of Jack-smite-the-clock while you inspect the damage wrought by the Suffolk-born iconoclast William "Basher" Dowsing during the civil war: he scrubbed the faces from all the finely painted apostles and saints on the rood screen. Afterwards you could climb the Southwold lighthouse or pay 90p for a ferryman to row you to Walberswick.

6 Tide turns for Woodbridge

Make time for Woodbridge, which is not on the coast, but is on the water. The tide mill (woodbridgetidemill.org.uk) on the banks of the wide, slow-flowing river Deben, is well worth a visit. The mill, whose five-metre-high oak waterwheel harnessed the power of the tides to produce flour and animal feed for more than 800 years, has recently been restored to full working order.

* Family ticket pounds 8

7 Cafe society

It is easy to get a family-pleasing bite on the Thoroughfare in Woodbridge. Don't miss hotdogs at the East Coast Diner (eastcoastdiner.co.uk) or Honey and Harvey, a "modern English coffeehouse" where refills come free. This part of Suffolk is full of handsome delis selling pies, sausage rolls, and other picnic stuff. Try the Black Olive (theblackolivedelicatessen.co.uk) in Southwold or Green Olive (greenolivewoodbridge.co.uk)in Woodbridge.

8 Catch a festival

A couple of great festivals take place in Suffolk over the summer. Latitude (latitudefestival.com), 17-20 July, near Southwold, is an outdoor event with lots of theatre, woodland craft, and performances aimed at kids. The Snape Proms (aldeburgh.co.uk), at the end of the summer, has several gigs that would make a family outing, including a Mary Poppins singalong and a concert by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

9 Grab a brew and some grub

Go to the Sweffling White Horse (swefflingwhitehorse.co.uk) between Framlingham and Saxmundham. It is a strange and unusual pub, one of few in the country with no bar - though it does serve substantial locally made pies that'll keep the kids quiet.

* Open Thurs-Mon, from 7pm

10 Take a ride, then pitch up

Outside the White Horse you'll find a man with a horse and trap ready to take you on a ride through the quiet country lanes (pounds 15). Nearby is Alde Garden (aldegarden.co.uk), a campsite with a range of accommodation: a low, wooden hideout (pounds 75 for two nights), a bell tent (pounds 125), a tipi (pounds 165), and a yurt or two (pounds 180).


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Source: Guardian (UK)


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