Last week Wednesday I had a day off (they are rare!) and I was invited by the lovely Natz and Steve to join them and their friend Richard on a trip to Southwold, Suffolk, for some sea views and fish & chips.
Southwold, I think, is the furthest north in the country I’ve been so far. In Colchester, the day started out to be mild in temperature and quite sunny, but in Southwold, the sky was grey, the wind was freezing cold and the streets almost deserted. Apart from a few people who dared to brave the wind, there was no one on the beach. We resorted to a stroll around town, where I saw the sign below (interestingly, Southwold’s ‘seal’ bears Dutch flagged ships, referencing to the 1672 Battle of Sole Bay in which the English and the French fought versus the Dutch).
We then had lunch at Munchies before strolling back past the beach to the car. I’m still amazed we survived that trip, I can’t remember ever having been so cold! Having been in Southwold for only a short amount of time, Natz decided we should go to Aldeburgh for fish and chips, which apparently is “possibly the finest on the east coast” according to The Times (as quoted on it’s Wikipedia page).
On our way to Aldeburgh, we passed the ruins of the Leiston Abbey, so we stopped off there for some cultural education and some pictures. The sun was more present there, and there was barely any wind, and on one side, the sky was stark blue and crisp. The ruins seemed so permanent; they seemed enveloped in the stillness of the area and as far as you could see there would just be nature. Except for a few birds, and our cackling, it was quiet, and we were the only visitors.
Then finally off to Aldeburgh, which was also full of brightly colored cute houses and has a pebbled beach. As seemed custom, the wind was unbearable and the streets were deserted. Apparently, it is a traditional custom in Suffolk to close the shops early on a Wednesday, as they are also open on a Saturday, but some places, like the fish & chips shop, then re-open around 5 o’clock. Another thing we noticed in Southwold as well, is that almost every shop seems to leave out a bowl of water for any dogs? Aldeburgh had a plaque that offered an explanation for this.
Unfortunately my phone started playing up at this point, so I couldn’t take many pictures here. Natz luckily was up for the task of being my replacement photographer. We ended the trip with a visit to their famous fish & chip shop (when it re-opened), before we commenced the 2 hour drive back.
What I found so interesting was that the architecture seemed so different. The houses seemed more cheerful, more colorful and more stacked upwards rather than sidewards. The high streets seemed cheerful places to be; the sort of towns that have a population that is largely holiday folk with a second house by the sea, with people that rather go to butchers, fish mongers, greengrocers and bakeries rather than a quick stop at Tesco’s (which is not a bad thing at all!) – which, again, seems such a different way of life compared to what most people seem to do in Essex.
Except for Felixstowe, I don’t think I’ve been to any other seaside towns in the UK. It’s been a welcome change from the normal urban environment I’m in, and it’s been great getting to know England a bit better. After all, I know a tiny bit of London, a tiny bit of Essex, and a bit of Kent from what I’ve seen from inside the Eurostar. Hopefully we get to do something like this again soon!