Sarah Green finds a dif­fer­ent side to the seaside

Sara Green heads off to the pop­u­lar seaside re­sort and discovers a sur­pris­ing part of it she’s never ex­plored be­fore

EADT Suffolk - - Contents -

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I THOUGHT I knew South­wold pretty well. Turns out I was quite wrong. We de­cided on the town as the per­fect des­ti­na­tion for lunch and a walk one Saturday. It was in­cred­i­bly busy and all our usual park­ing spa­ces were full, so we found our­selves on Ferry Road, head­ing to­wards the har­bour in search of some­where to park. I re­alised I had never been to this part of South­wold be­fore. I’d seen it from the Wal­ber­swick side, but hadn’t taken a great deal of no­tice. This was very un­fa­mil­iar.

We parked eas­ily (lots of car park­ing here) close to the Al­fred Corry Mu­seum. The chil­dren have al­ways loved ex­plor­ing the lifeboat mu­seum in Alde­burgh, but we’d never seen the mu­seum at South­wold. The Al­fred Corry, built in 1892, was the South­wold No 1 Lifeboat for 25 years and saved 47 lives. She has been lov­ingly re­stored and is to be found in the former Cromer Lifeboat Shed, which was brought from Nor­folk to South­wold in 1998 to house the mu­seum. It’s well worth a visit – the walls are adorned with beau­ti­ful black and white pho­tos chart­ing South­wold’s mar­itime past, and the lifeboat it­self is quite some­thing. The brav­ery of the 18 men who crewed that open boat, in­clud­ing 16 oars­men, on the treach­er­ous North Sea re­ally made me stop and think.

We then walked along the har­bour ad­ja­cent to the River Blyth, where you can take a foot ferry over to Wal­ber­swick. On this par­tic­u­lar Saturday it was laden with fam­i­lies jug­gling buck­ets, spades, crab­bing lines and nets. Gor­geous, old fash­ioned Suf­folk. Not for us the Kiss Me Quick brash­ness of other English re­sorts – this is Suf­folk at its most won­der­ful. You can also opt for the less se­date Speed Blast, which leaves from here and takes a fairly hair-rais­ing trip along the coast. My step­sons as­sure me this is a fan­tas­tic way to see the coast­line.

I was far more in­ter­ested in lunch, so we headed to­wards the fish huts and came across the Sole Bay Fish Com­pany Restau­rant. De­spite dark clouds, we sat out­side and were re­warded later with sun­shine and some of the most de­li­cious fish dishes we’d ever tasted. I can’t wait to go back there. Note: the restau­rant is only open for lunches 12pm-3pm.

Not only was this part of South­wold a lovely sur­prise, the beach was also a bit dif­fer­ent. Shel­tered by dunes, sandy, no peb­bles at all, very easy to reach from the car park and not par­tic­u­larly busy, it looked so en­tic­ing that we went back the fol­low­ing week­end. The town was busy again, but the beach pro­vided more respite than the more pop­u­lar area near the pier. We swam, pic­nicked and sun­bathed – heaven.

Our South­wold days this sum­mer were re­ally lovely. The walk from the ferry end to the pier is fab­u­lous, and Hebe, the dog, par­tic­u­larly enjoyed it. The beaches near the ferry are dog friendly all year round. With the prom­ise of great at­mos­phere, views, and re­fresh­ments, this is a great place to wan­der what­ever the weather or sea­son. A TASTE OF CAL­I­FOR­NIA ON THE A12 I took my mother out for lunch at Dar­sham Nurs­eries. She had driven past many times, but had never ven­tured in. She was re­ally taken aback by this won­der­ful place – quirky, imag­i­na­tive and very dif­fer­ent, it re­minds me of some­where in Cal­i­for­nia. I dis­cov­ered that this is no co­in­ci­dence as the gar­den de­signer is from San Fran­cisco. The day of our visit was hot, so we headed into the shade of the shop first, which is full of re­ally un­usual items, cacti, beau­ti­ful crock­ery, cards and some very in­ter­est­ing books. Next time I need gift buy­ing in­spi­ra­tion I will come here. The café is also an ab­so­lute de­light – I should have booked, but they man­aged to squeeze us in. The decor was again rem­i­nis­cent of a place I vis­ited once near Carmel – bright, white and with flow­ers dis­played in unique ar­range­ments. I has­ten to add, I have not spent much time in Cal­i­for­nia – one short hon­ey­moon – but this place brought so many lovely mem­o­ries flood­ing back. The food was de­li­cious and very dif­fer­ent. As for the nurs­ery it­self, full of beauty and won­der­ful ideas. If you’re used to driv­ing past while on the A12, don’t! Stop – you won’t be dis­ap­pointed.

Alice on one of South­wold’s fa­mous can­nons

DERYH The place to buy fresh fish EHORZ The Al­bert Corry lifeboat mu­seum is well worth a visit

The sandy beach at South­wold’s har­bour end

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