11 of the best beaches in Suffolk holiday cottages

11 of the best beaches in Suffolk

Kate W 06 February 2023

Every beach-lover knows that watching white-capped waves crash onto the glittering shores of a secluded beach is one of the best ways to relax while on holiday. If you’re planning a seaside escape to one of Suffolk’s beaches but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. With everything from traditional family-friendly seaside resorts to dramatic secret coves with wonderful wildlife and scenic walks, this list of the best beaches in Suffolk will have a coastal spot you’ll love.

Early birds can catch the morning sunrise and watch the sky change colour, while anyone out in the evening can count stars from the shingle and sandy beaches in Suffolk’s Dark Sky sites. Salt marshes and saline lagoons can be found in the coastal nature reserves, while colourful beach huts wait to provide shelter to families on their holidays. 

To continue investigating Suffolk’s beautiful coast, take a look through our Suffolk Coast Guide or have a read of our guide on the best things to do in Suffolk for more holiday ideas while on your seaside break.

Felixstowe Beach

Boats moored on the shingle at Felixstowe Beach

The beach

Ice cream, sandcastles and beach huts: Felixstowe is a classic family-friendly beach with plenty to keep everyone entertained. It’s a sand and shingle shoreline that gently slopes down to the sea, perfect for lying back and soaking up the sun.

Is it dog friendly?

There are seasonal restrictions, so make sure you check before you go.

What's nearby?

When you need a little adventure, head to Manning’s, an arcade of amusements that has existed in South Beach since 1946. North Beach is for the grown-ups, with peaceful seafront gardens where you can walk or settle down on a bench.

The beach backs onto the town so you won’t have to go far to grab a snack or find a WC. At lunchtime, pop into one of the seaside-themed restaurants for a delightful dining experience.

Southwold Beach

Colourful beach huts at Southwold Beach

The beach

Another family-friendly seaside resort, Southwold is quieter than Felixstowe yet still enjoys a range of amenities and beautiful seafront draws. Southwold Pier, to the north of the sand and shingle beach, has the unique Under the Pier Show, places to eat, and an arcade and entertainment centre with slot machines. It’s great fun for little ones and big kids alike!

Further south, find the Southwold Lighthouse, a magnificent structure built in 1889. It’s still in use and there’s a museum that you’re welcome to visit.

Is it dog friendly?

Seasonal restrictions apply, however, Southwold Denes to the north is dog-friendly year-round.

What's nearby?

The town just behind the beach has plenty to offer those on a holiday; there’s a theatre, museum, an old-style cinema that calls itself an ‘electric picture house’, a library, shops, an art gallery and plenty of restaurants, bistros and cafes to dine in.

On the outskirts of town, there’s a boating lake, where you can go sailing and a golf course for those pro-putters among you.

Thorpeness Beach

Looking across Thorpeness Meare to the ‘House in the Clouds’

The beach

A boating lake sits just behind this quiet shingle beach, fed by the curious Hundred River and towered over by two ancient buildings, the Hundred River Castle and the House in the Clouds. Referred to as ‘the fairytale village’, Thorpeness is a unique, scenic place to visit. Divide your time between lying on the long stretch of beach, canoeing or kayaking on Thorpeness Meare, and relaxing in the waterfront tearooms while watching the swans.

Is it dog friendly?

Seasonal restrictions apply on the beach, however, the village has dog-friendly pubs and rural walks.

What's nearby?

Other old landmarks in the village include the windmill and Ogilvie Hall. There’s also a golf club, and RSPB North Warren sits just between Thorpeness (3.5 miles) and Aldeburgh.

Aldeburgh Beach

Boat moored on Aldeburgh Beach

The beach

Home to what’s possibly the best-known beach in Suffolk, this artsy town has a fantastic heritage and a big reputation.

Down on Aldeburgh's beach, you can find a sculptural monument to Benjamin Britten, who once lived here, called The Scallop created by local artist, Maggi Hambling. Soak up the sun on the sand and shingle beach, splash in the sea and build sandcastles, or dine at one of the many pubs, chip shops and cafes beside the sea. 

Is it dog friendly?

There are seasonal restrictions so please check carefully before you go.

What's nearby? 

South Lookout is a tiny art gallery in a tower just behind the beach which welcomes a different artist in residence each week - visit and see what’s on during your stay in Suffolk.

Britten founded The Aldeburgh Festival, an annual music festival which takes place in June. However, for the rest of the year, you can still catch a concert at Snape Maltings, a music venue with shops, regular exhibitions and a visitors' centre.

Dunwich Beach

A sunny day on Dunwich Beach

The beach

Discover the history of England’s lost city on this now remote and beautiful coastline. Once a major port, several years of fierce storms destroyed it and many of the buildings are now hidden below the sea.

It’s now been reduced to a sleepy village with a serene shingle beach that sits next to RSPB Minsmere. Walk past the waves and among the heather and gorse of the heathland on a visit to this mysterious stretch of coastline. 

Is it dog friendly?

Dogs are welcome throughout Dunwich Heath, although must be kept on leads at certain times of the year. They can even go in the National Trust tearoom for a rest and drink of water.

What's nearby?

You can visit the museum and the ruins of the medieval Greyfriars Monastery to see remnants of the old town.

Walberswick Beach

The dunes along Walberswick Beach

The beach

Next to the fun and vibrant seaside resort of Southwold, you’ll find the quieter family-friendly village of Walberswick. Head here for a true bucket-and-spade holiday with the kids as you can explore the grassy dunes, build sandcastles on the sand and shingle beach and have a go at crabbing – Walberswick is home to the annual British Open Crabbing Championships!

Is it dog friendly?

Dogs are welcome at Walberswick all year round.

What's nearby?

For arcades and amusements, take the ferry across to Southwold, while for dining, there are pubs and a tearoom in the Walberswick. Enjoy a relaxed family getaway in this tranquil seaside village.

Covehithe Beach

 Driftwood on Covehithe Beach

The beach

This secret beach is hidden on a forgotten stretch of Suffolk's coast. Covehithe is part of the Benacre National Nature Reserve Head and just 5.5 miles north of Southwold. Few venture up this way, so head to Covehithe for a quiet, sandy spot to walk - there’s a coastal path you can follow up to Kessingland Beach.

Is it dog friendly?

A beautiful sandy beach that is dog friendly throughout the year.

What's nearby?

The village itself is home to a peculiar ‘church within a church’. The residents found the upkeep of their impressive medieval church too difficult, so removed the roof and built a second, smaller church inside. You can wander around the old ruins and visit the newer working church that now exists in this beautiful space.

Shingle Street Beach

House beside Shingle Street Beach

The beach

Down to the south of Orford Ness sits Shingle Street on the Amber Coast, a peculiar hamlet made up of a long line of cottages and bungalows that face the long shingle beach. Rumours and legends of Nazi bodies and military secrets abound in this remote spot.

Is it dog friendly?

Dogs are welcome all year on this quaint stretch of shingle.

What's nearby?

Orford Ness is just next door, where you can discover long walks across beautiful heathland. It’s not all about the remarkable WWII heritage, this seaside spot is home to a wealth of wildlife. Seals can be spotted basking in the sun at the mouth of the River Alde estuary and there are saltwater lagoons and a wide diversity of flowing plants dotted about the shore.

Kessingland Beach

Boat moored on Kessingland Beach

The beach

Backed by cliffs, this long, wide stretch of sand and shingle is a great place for families to visit. It’s one of the lesser-known beaches along the Suffolk coast and because of its size, it rarely feels crowded even on the sunniest of summer days. There are a few cafes and facilities in the seaside village and it’s even home to Africa Alive! Safari Park, a fun family-friendly day out where you can meet giraffes, rhinoceros and lions.

Is it dog friendly?

There are seasonal restrictions so please check carefully before visiting.

What's nearby?

To the south of the beach is the Benacre National Nature Reserve where you’ll find reedbeds, saline lagoons, woodlands and heathlands. The Suffolk Coast Path will lead you on a walk through this scenic landscape.

Pakefield Beach

Beach huts along Pakefield Beach

The beach

In Lowestoft itself is the sand and shingle beach of Pakefield, lined with colourful beach huts and eateries. 

Build sandcastles, splash through the waves or soak up the sun from the comfort of your beach towel; Pakefield in Lowestoft is a wonderful spot for a seaside break.

Is it dog friendly?

This delightful Lowestoft Beach is dog friendly all year.

What's nearby?

Chip shops and delis can be found a short walk from the front, as can a range of shops, boutiques and a garden centre you could peruse.

Bury St Edmunds pop-up beach

Pop-up beach in Bury St Edmunds

The beach

We have one extra inclusion on this list. Bury St Edmunds is a market town found inland, about 50 miles away from the coast. Yet that doesn’t prevent the locals from setting up their own sandy beach every year at Whitsun Fayre.

The pop-up beach is great fun for children to enjoy digging and playing in the sand, while families get the chance to holiday in this fantastic town.

Is it dog friendly?

Dogs are welcome at the fayre and there are plenty of dog-friendly pubs, cafes and attractions throughout this traditional market town.  

What's nearby?

Bury St Edmunds is home to a magnificent cathedral and seemingly endless parkland and gardens where you’ll find a children's play area, crazy golf and a sensory garden.

Visit during the Whitsun Fayre to make the most of the pop-up beach or take a trip any time of year for a wonderful holiday in the historic town of Bury St Edmunds. 

Discover more of the Suffolk coast

If you feel inspired to visit the Suffolk coast on a seaside holiday, take a look at our selection of coastal cottages. Check out all the Suffolk coast has to offer by clicking the button below to browse our collection of self-catering accommodation.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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