Walberswick is a hidden gem - a picturesque Suffolk coastal village located just across the river from popular Southwold. It's a famous spot for crabbing due to two tidal rivers converging here and the unspoilt beach stretches for miles southwards to Dunwich and beyond along the Suffolk Heritage coast, offering many walking trails though the reed beds and heaths. There are 2 excellent pubs, 2 tea shops, a couple of tourist shops and a small store with all the essentials. One of the main attractions of the village is its many pretty old houses of differing styles, several of which were built by local resident and celebrity Wally Webb, who also launched the world crabbing championship now held annually in Walberswick. Nowadays several modern day celebrities from film and TV live here, but they are left to their own devices and vice versa. It's a wonderful place for families and friends of all ages to get together with its sweet village green and gentle pursuits (and the beach allows dogs all year round).
Within the village, there are 2 great pubs offering good quality food and a great selection of beers. We always make sure to visit both when staying. The Anchor has a lively social calendar, especially around Christmas and New Year and a large and very child-friendly garden and outdoor seating area at the rear. Likewise, The Bell Inn has a superb beer garden overlooking the sea and a very cosy, olde worlde interior where the main bar is split in two by the open fire; a separate dining room and 2 further snugs.
The Black Dog Deli offers superior food and drink and is open daily in summer and at weekends in the quieter months. The relatively new Sardine Tinsits bang in the centre by the village green and offers fresh fish and a selection of seafood-based sandwiches and dishes.
Cross the river using the small ferry service and you will find several more eateries located in Southwold's attractive harbour area. We absolutely love Sole Bay Fish Company, which is open daily for lunch only and has a great fresh seafood counter. We also think the fish and chips from Mrs T'sare the best in the area. And we can't resist the lovely walk down to The Harbour Inn for a pint, especially if we can get away without children to relax in the adults-only upper bar!
Just a hop and a skip away in Dunwich is The Ship, a lovely hotel and restaurant with a cosy pub and attractive outdoor areas. Dunwich beach also makes a nice day-trip, or a perfect stopping point on a bike ride. You can follow the beach from Walberswick or walk inland along parts of the Suffolk Coastal Path.
Darsham Nurseries is a nursery and a cafe. Easily missed, but not easily forgotten, it's worth a visit even if you don't eat here, though that would be a great pity as the cafe is excellent, serving up top-notch nosh for those in the know. As well as plants on sale, there is a small shop with gardening books and decorative items and lovely gardens showcasing seasonal planting.
Further afield, there are 2 wonderful restaurants in Orford - a bit of a drive, but it makes a good day trip when combined with a visit to the castle or when combined with a stop in Aldeburgh. The Butley at Orford is rightly renowned for its seafood options, especially oysters, and is very popular. The Crown and Castleis a boutique hotel with a pricey but excellent restaurant, owned by hotelier and restauranteur Ruth Watson of Hotel Inspector fame.
Things to do
The Suffolk Coast and Heaths has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and as such offers 155 square miles of beautiful and diverse landscape to explore. Useful information on walking and cycle trails and places to visit is available here.
Adnam's Brewery- take a tour around the famous Suffolk beer factory, located right in the heart of Southwold. Not just beer, they also produce a wide ranges of spirits too.
Coastal Voyager - located in the harbour, they offer a range of boat trips and experiences including thrilling high speed rides and more gentle river cruises.
Minsmere is one of the RSPB's premier reserves and it's an enjoyable family-friendly destination. Follow the trail and stop off at the hides which allow you to see a huge range of birds. You can hire binoculars at the entrance for a small fee.
Valley Farm Vineyards is just 10 miles up the road and makes a nice outing for a few hours. The owners do tour and tastings (best to ring and confirm beforehand) or you can do a self-guided tour around the 8 acre estate.
High Lodge is a sporting resort located on the road to Darsham and offers a range of activities for holiday-makers, such as clay pigeon shooting, golf, archery and lake fishing. Check their website for times and booking instructions.
Framlingham Castle, owned by English Heritage, makes for a nice excursion with something for all ages. Dating from Tudor times, the ruins have an impressive 10 metre high wall which you can walk around, as well as an 18th century workhouse and exhibitions. There is also a cafe and shop.
Sutton Hoo - arguably the must-see attraction in Suffolk! It's a massive Anglo-Saxon burial site and home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time. The National Trust has just re-opened (in summer 2019) the Exhibition Hall and hugely improved the visitor experience following a £4m transformation. The 200 acre site has lots of space, great views and is good for kids and dog-friendly. Go!
Of course you will want to visit Southwold while in Walberswick - we are inevitably dragged to the famous pier by our daughter every visit! But there are many things to enjoy in this popular, pretty town including shops, restaurants, the lighthouse, amusements and the lovely promenade which has a Punch and Judy show down at the pier end in the summer months.
Don't forget about Aldeburgh, Halesworth, Covehithe and Lowestoft - all very different but charming in their own way with lots of history!