Constable’s picture-perfect muse is known for its glorious countryside, gorgeous coastline, and its long stretches of wide sandy beaches which attract holidaymakers in droves. Alongside its many natural treasures, the East Anglian county is also dotted with handsome historic towns, impossibly pretty villages, fine country houses, and pretty coastal resorts that are known for their genteel charm. Whether you’re looking for a great day out or longer here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Suffolk, England…
Southwold – a seaside resort which is one of the most popular and beautiful spots to visit in Suffolk
A very popular and much-loved place to visit in Suffolk, the thriving market town and charming seaside holiday resort resides in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Suffolk Heritage Coast in East Suffolk.
It’s biggest draw is the long sandy beach but it’s also home to colourful beach huts, idyllic pubs, dreamy streets, a wonderfully old fashioned pier, a unique cinema and plenty of interesting independent shops.
Its beauty has also captivated several interesting people over the years including the famous author George Orwell (who used to reside at Montague House) and the renowned crime writer PD James who lived just off the market place.
Flatford and Flatford Mill – a now protected beauty spot made famous by Jonh Constable’s painting
Flatford is a gorgeous historic hamlet set in wonderful ‘Constable Country’ (the muse of the famous painter John Constable). A protected area now owned by the National Trust, here you’ll find Bridge Cottage, The Granary, Valley Farm, the Lock, the Dry Dock, and Flatford Mill which starred in one of Constable’s most famous paintings ‘The Haywain.’
Also located here is Willy Lott’s Cottage which is the most famous cottage in Suffolk due to also starring in the paintings. You can visit the pretty 17th-century cottage and find out the intriguing history of the house.
Constable Country – a must-see in Suffolk which is set within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
After your Flatford Mill visit, make sure you include the other beauty spots in Suffolk’s Constable Country. Born in Suffolk, John Constable, was a famous English landscape painter who mostly painted the beautiful Suffolk countryside.
Dedham Vale borders both Suffolk and Essex and is home to numerous scenes which inspired the famous artist, and here you can boating in the River Stour, go for pretty riverside walks, explore cosy pubs and take in the glorious scenery.
Don’t miss Dedham, Stratford St Mary, and Stoke-by-Nayland for some of the area’s highlights.
Ipswich Waterfront – a lovely place located around the historic docks of the city
Another lovely place to visit in Suffolk, Ipswich is Suffolk’s bustling county town with a rich heritage, cutting-edge culture, and fascinating maritime history. If you like shops, restaurants, and the buzz of a big city then Ipswich is definitely worth a visit when you’re exploring Suffolk.
One of the prettiest areas in the city is the waterfront which is a cultural and historically significant area surrounding the marina. It’s filled with a great selection of cafes, restaurants, and bars and comes with an attractive mix of classical and postmodern architecture. While away a few hours here and watch the boats come and go for a very pleasant morning or afternoon.
Other areas in Ipswich worth visiting include Christchurch Park which is located just north of the town centre. It has 70 acres of landscaped lawns alongside two arboretums planted with exotic trees and Holywells Park which is famed for being the place where excavations have unearthed Stone Age tools, axes from the Bronze Age, and also Roman coins.
Lowestoft – a traditional seaside town which is home to one of the best beaches in Suffolk
Once a small fishing port, this is Britain’s most easterly town perched right on the edge of the broads. Over the years its become a popular holiday spot probably due to its gorgeous sandy beach which is now award-winning!
It’s a beautiful place with plenty of reasons to visit and stay (Lowestoft offers a great number of accommodation options) and one is the incredible array of independent shops – there are over 40 independent shops and eateries many of which serve up traditional seaside fayre.
Other highlights include the promenade, the heritage vessels on the South pier, the pretty gardens, bowling greens, and the award-winning Lowestoft Maritime Museum.
The Broads – a popular beauty spot which spans both Suffolk and Norfolk
This is one of the most famous places to visit in both Suffolk and Norfolk (The Broads span both counties). They’re a large sprawling – and very beautiful – network of rivers which were originally formed by the flooding of peat workings.
Now a protected and very popular tourist attraction one of the best ways to explore the areas when in Suffolk is to set sail along the River Waveney from Oulton Broad to Lowestoft on a river tour or your own boat hire. From here you can begin your journey exploring the wonderful Broads.
Walberswick Beach – a small and lovely sand dune-backed beach
This Southwold’s lesser-known beachside neighbour and has a less crowded and quaint village atmosphere. It’s a lovely place to visit in Suffolk with a mixed sand and shingle beach backed by beautiful sand dunes.
It’s a popular holiday destination and amenities and highlights include charming tea rooms, restaurants, two public houses, an art gallery, original crafts, and gift shops, and the photogenic beach huts.
Whilst in the area also explore the River Blyth Estuary The Nature Reserve, which follows the River Blyth estuary and covers over 1,000 acres, or take the ferry to see the neighbouring Suffolk beauty spot Southwold over the river.
Bury St Edmunds – one of the best historic market towns to explore in Suffolk
This is a very easy-on-the historic market town which apparently Charles Dickens was a frequent visitor and a huge fan. He used to drink at The Nutshell pub – said to be the UK’s smallest pub – where Dickens regularly hosted public readings to promote his books at the historic venue The Athenaeum.
It’s a charming and elegant place with medieval streets, many beautiful historic buildings, and a good handful of great attractions. Highlights include the ruins of the Abbey which were one of the most important medieval monasteries in Europe, the pretty abbey gardens, and the 200-year-old Greene King Brewery empire.
Other reasons to visit include the collection of award-winning restaurants, gastropubs, and cafés.
Westleton Heath National Nature Reserve – is a tract of stunning sandy heathland which stretches along the Suffolk coast
One of the most beautiful spots to explore in Suffolk, this protected area is part of the best remaining tract of heathland in Suffolk.
Here you will find a number of species of flora and fauna such as harebell, tormentil, heath bedstraw, mossy tiliea, the white admiral butterfly, tree pipit, the Dartford warbler, stonechat, and the nightjar. So must for nature lovers!
Dunwich – a pretty village and beautiful heath and beach which is looked after by the National Trust
Dunwich was once the capital of the Kingdom of East Angles but over the years its importance has declined. Although it’s still one of the best places to visit in Suffolk but is the surroundings that are the village’s biggest draw.
It’s located on Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is home to a shingle beach backed by low cliffs where you have a relaxing day on the beach with the family or your dog.
Also visit the popular Ship pub, which also provides accommodation for those who want to stay, the Dunwich Museum, or just try and spot some of England’s rarest birds and wildlife including the Avocet, Otter, and Red Deer.
Ickworth House – a stunning neoclassical country house near Bury St Edmunds
This is a fantastic National Trust property to visit in Suffolk, it’s a very striking and photogenic Neoclassical Italianate Palace, which was once a fine country home, set in over 1800 acres of beautiful gardens and parkland.
Definitely one of the most stunning attractions in Suffolk, it’s a great spot in Suffolk to spend time with your family, go for walks on the new all-weather trail and get back to nature.
Framlingham – a unique historic market town set in gorgeous Suffolk countryside which is home to Framlingham Castle
Framlingham is a unique and historic market town which was mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book. Today it remains a quaint historic charm that is home to two of the oldest functioning Post Office pillar boxes in the UK (dating back to 1856) and one of the smallest houses in Britain, known as the “Check House.”
Although its biggest attraction is Framlingham Castle which is a spectacular 12th-century fortress with a long and interesting past which can be visited for a fee.
Covehithe beach – one of Suffolk’s best-kept secrets
This is a real hidden gem in Suffolk which lies on an almost forgotten stretch of the Suffolk coast, so you’re not into crowds then this is the beach for you.
It’s a gorgeous, unspoiled spot and the beautiful sandy beach surrounded by cliffs can only be accessed by accessed foot or by cycle hence why the crowds stay away.
To the south, you’ll find Benacre Broad which is a brackish lagoon and conservation area. There is a footpath to the beach that is at the entrance of the village and is a pleasant walk.
Aldeburgh – a pretty and charming seaside town to explore in Suffolk
This is a lovely seaside town located on the Suffolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s a charming historic place that was once home to the composer Benjamin Britten and remains an arts and literary centre today. For starters, the International Aldeburgh Festival of arts is held at nearby Snape Maltings was founded by Britten in 1948, there’s also an annual poetry festival and several food festivals, and well as many other cultural events held here.
Other highlights include the wonderful selection of boutiques, antiques, and arts as well as the long, wide sand and shingle beach. The lighthouse here is also worth exploring and is Grade II listed and has a spiral staircase with over 100 steps leading to the top.
The Brecks – home to unique and beautiful landscapes
Spanning both Suffolk and Norfolk, the Brecks were once described by Charles Dickens as ‘barren’ in David Copperfield. It’s probably because it’s actually the driest part in the heart of England. Although don’t let that put you off as this is a true natural beauty spot to explore in Suffolk.
For starters, there are large blue skies and then the are miles of tranquil trackways, a distinctive range of plants and animals, and both the beautiful Thetford Forest and Kings Forest to explore and gaze at. Wonderful!