Sandcastles and Smiles in Family-friendly Suffolk

Published: Thursday 23rd Jan 2020

Written by: Cathy Yeoman

When I think back to my holidays as a child, my memories are not of long plane journeys to exotic beaches. They are of building sandcastles with my mum and dad, burying my brother in the sand (not all of him!), squealing with delight as we paddled in the North Sea, exploring rocks pools with our fishing nets and eating steaming fish and chips. They were the best family holidays and we didn’t have to travel far. 

As we head into 2020, there is a growing trend for exploring the beautiful destinations we have right here in the UK. Suffolk is no exception and a family holiday here really does tick all the boxes. Whether you are a big kid or little kid, there is so much to do in our vibrant county and here are a few ideas to help you plan the perfect family Suffolk break.

Be beachy-keen


If you haven't stepped foot on a Suffolk beach before, you are in for a treat! With award-winning beaches aplenty along our unspoilt coastline, there is no better choice for a bucket and spade holiday. Pack a picnic and set up camp for the day on a golden sandy beach in Southwold, Walberswick or Felixstowe or explore one of the pretty pebble beaches in Aldeburgh, Thorpeness and Dunwich. The hidden gem of Covehithe is also worth a visit.  

When the kids have built their sandcastles and paddled in the sea, the quirky pier at Southwold or amusements at Felixstowe can provide hours of entertainment and in the summer, the traditional Punch and Judy shows are always a hit with the little ones. Crabbing at Walberswick is also a popular activity for families - all you need is a crabbing line, bucket and a little bit of bait - so it won't blow the holiday budget!

Float your boat

For something different and lots of fun for any age, why not head to one of the model boating lakes and watch your boat glide across the water and race against other miniature vessels! Aldeburgh, Southwold and Woodbridge have model boating ponds and regattas often take place during the summer. You could make your own boat or many of our independent shops sell them too.

Ride the Waves

With a relatively shallow sea floor, the North sea is a great place to learn to surf. Those who are surf-savvy recommend Lowestoft, Southwold and Walberswick as a good place to start. Take a look at Southwold Surf School who offers surf board hire and lessons.

Coastal Voyager
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For a different wave-riding experience, the Coastal Voyager will be sure to give you an adrenaline boost.  The high speed ‘sea blast’ is a 30-minute exhilarating boat ride starting from Southwold Harbour.

For calmer waters, head to Alton Water which is set in 400 acres of stunning Suffolk Countryside. Whether it’s Sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing or stand up paddle boarding, this is a great active day out for the whole family.

Talk to the animals

For little kids, Easton Farm Park  is a fun-packed adventure. Close to Woodbridge, this family attraction is home to lambs, goats, piglets and much more and has play areas and a 30 acre Green Trail to explore as well as a lovely cafe. There are always family events taking place during school holidays and the park is also host to The Maverick Festival in July.

If you like animals from further afield, Africa Alive is home to over 80 species of animals from around Africa. This walking safari adventure is set in 100 acres of Suffolk countryside in Kessingland and is a great day out for all ages.

Master the maze!

Southwold Maize Maze
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Voted ‘Best Small Visitor Attraction’ in the 2019 Norfolk and Suffolk Tourism Awards, the Southwold Maize Maze  which opens at Easter onwards, provides hours of fun.  Team up with your friends to tackle the giant puzzle of pathways set among 8 acres of maize or enjoy the play park with go-karts, bouncing pillows, zip wires and much more. An exciting addition in 2019 was the Old Hall Café & Walks, open throughout the year and commanding an amazing position overlooking Reydon marshes. You can also stay next to the maze at the fabulous Old Hall Farm House available to book with Suffolk Secrets.

Take a trip back in time

See the vehicles of yesteryear in action at The East Anglian Transport Museum. Just outside Lowestoft, this is the only working museum in the British Isles where visitors can ride on trams, trolleybuses and a light railway, and enjoy a fascinating collection of historic public transport vehicles and displays. Perfect for big kids and little kids alike with lots going on during school holidays.

Stay with us!

After all that fun, you will need a lovely family-friendly holiday home to return to and we have over 800 to choose from! A self-catering cottage offers you that home-from-home experience and is the perfect base for your family holiday whatever the time of year. Book online or talk to our helpful team on 01502 722717 and start making those magical family memories!

Cathy Yeoman
Cathy Yeoman



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