Great Outdoors: Glorious Outdoor Attractions of Suffolk
Published: Wednesday 9th Aug 2017
Written by: Chloe Baker.
There’s nothing quite like fresh air in your lungs, sand between your toes and views worthy of a painting. Are you an explorer, fitness enthusiast or adventurer? Look no further than Suffolk. In our luscious county, we have rolling fields, trickling rivers and thrashing seas. Our lands, waters and skies are sure to keep any exhibitionist entertained. Suffolk has broads, rivers, coastline and forests, all beautifully unspoilt areas in which the outdoorsy or the curious can get out and about and enjoy what nature has to offer. We’re looking at some of our favourite outdoor activities and exploring some of the wonderful areas in Suffolk in which you can do them.
Suffolk has such beautiful countryside and walking through it is one of the best ways to make the most of the sites and take it all in as you ponder. Whether you’re walking pub to pub or on a wildlife expedition, Suffolk has walking trails to suit all. The RSPB Minsmere near Saxmundham is a beautiful unspoilt area of the purest Suffolk countryside. Take an idyllic walk on one of RSPB Minsmere’s circular routes and you’re sure to spot all sorts of wildlife from Konik ponies, marsh harriers and the RSPB's Avocet. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, why not embark on an RSPB safari, where you’ll be taken across the reservoir on an exciting journey in a 4x4! The reserve also has a wonderful café where a well-deserved cup of tea and renouned scone can be awarded.
As well as walking trails, Suffolk has an abundance of exciting cycle trials from the leisurely to the daring. Cyclists can peddle along at their own pace, pit stopping in various villages, or for the more experienced biker, test their endurance on the 88 miles circular Suffolk Coastal Route. Suffolk Secrets love Thetford Forest’s High Lodge for a day out on the bikes. High Lodge offers fantastic bike trails, some which are family friendly and others that are more challenging. The easier Shepherd’s Trail will take you through wide open spaces on the moderately level terrain. The Lime Burner trail is for the more experienced rider with its twists, turns and many obstacles. The 10-mile route is bound to get your adrenaline rising. If you’re not lucky enough to have a bike or couldn’t fit them in the suitcase, High Lodge offers a bike hire service along with facilities, a café and play areas.
No, we’ve not transported to Australia, we’re still talking about Suffolk. Southwold, Walberswick and Lowestoft all host fantastic areas for surfing with great waves and beautiful beaches to take a brake on. There’s nothing more exhilarating than catching your first wave and gliding along the water surface making for an incredibly exciting day out. Although the best time to catch some waves is between October and March, surfing is still great fun and very doable in Suffolk all year round. If you’re a surfing beginner or a complete newbie, Southwold Surf School is a great place to start. The school is open from April to November and offers lessons to groups, hen dos, stag dos, couples and one on ones. They have full equipment hire, and if you really love your lesson, there’s the option to keep the equipment for the rest of the day.
Suffolk is lucky to have such a variety of rivers, lakes and broads. To really make the most of them, canoeing or kayaking is a great way to explore the waters. Five estuaries come off of the coast including the Stour, the Orwell, the Deben, the Alde and the Blyth. With reed beds lining the waters and marshland surrounding them, they offer beautiful landscapes where wildlife thrives. Canoes and kayaks are the perfect mode of transport to spot wildlife as they drift silently, the only sound being the water trickling off the paddles. You may find yourselves getting a little too close to a swan, or perhaps even spotting an otter. Iken canoe can be found on the upper reaches of the Alde estuary and is a friendly hire centre where you can borrow canoes, kayaks and paddle boards. They accept dogs so your pooch can join in on the adventure and if you glide with the tide at low water, you may be lucky enough to spot some rather cute seals bathing on the mud banks.
There’s nothing better than swimming in fresh water with no chemicals or filters in site. The draping willows and sparkly waters are almost magical and swimmers will feel exhilarated and free. You can spend a whole day at a great swimming spot by bringing along a picnic and some blankets. Outney Common on the river Waveney, just north of Bungay, is a great place for wild swimming. The waters are good quality and there are many spots to choose from with banks that line the river for easy access in and out of the water and are great places to relax when not swimming.
Hot Air Ballooning
If you’re planning on going all out when visiting Suffolk and wanting an unforgettable experience, hot air ballooning could be on your list of things to do. What better way to experience the great outdoors than via a bird's eye view. You’ll be surrounded by breath taking views of the countryside whilst enjoying an exciting way to travel. When drifting along you’ll be able to spot churches and castles, see the winding rivers and the rolling fields, all from the comfort of the balloon. Suffolk Balloon Ride at The Cornwallis Country Hotel is a great place to catch a balloon ride. Ballooners may even enjoy a meal at the country club to add to their once in a lifetime experience.