A day out in East Anglia

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A day out in East Anglia

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A Day out in East Anglia anyone? The sun was shining so I decided it would be a great idea to hop in the car and head for the seaside. I set off early and leaving the A14 at Stowmarket (in Suffolk) I headed off on the A1120 – direction Yoxford. The A1120 is billed as a ‘Tourist Route’ and there was certainly plenty to see on the way. I stopped at various places including Stonham Aspal (think cider vinegar), Saxtead Green to look at the 18th century Post Mill, before continuing through the gorgeous village of Peasenhall, with it’s well-kept cottages and thatches.

But (there is always a 'but' isn't there?), the A1120 is really a B road in my view with many sharp bends and single lane traffic. However fast I drove, there always seemed to be a queue behind me and that that spoiled the drive rather. There was often a speed limit of 30 or 40, but this did not deter people from driving right up my derriere (excuse the French).

It was a relief to join the A12 (and that’s saying something as the A12 isn’t exactly wonderful!) and continue my journey to Blythburgh and the fantastic Holy Trinity church. The legend of 'Old Shuck' – an enormous black shaggy dog with red hot coals for eyes (particularly associated with East Anglia) is alive and well round here. Evidently the naughty pooch made an appearance at Holy Trinity on Sunday 4 August 1577, killing a couple of men and a boy. Bet that disrupted the sermon. There are some scorch marks on the main door supposedly caused by a lightening strike or maybe by Black Shuck clawing at the door. That is one persistent hound.

Next stop was to the wonderfully peaceful Walberswick. I parked outside St Andrew's church and walked down to the marshes and the sea. There were quite a few people on bikes and, when I actually reached the sea, there was a rather overweight man in a pair of scanty bathing shorts looking a bit blue as he ran out of the sea. Brave man. His wife was sitting wrapped up for winter. She threw him a towel and continued reading her book. Not a word passed between them.

t is about half a mile's walk from the church down to the quay, but you can drive right down to the marshes and park for the day for £3. This would be the best option if you weren't fit enough for the longer walk. There are shops and toilets down at the quay and a Co-op half-way between the church and marshes. There is also a little row-boat service across the river Blyth (a very short journey). That costs 90pence each way, per person. For the adventurous and fit among you, you could take the ferry across the river and walk into Southwold. A bit further back along the river Blyth, there is a Bailey bridge which was used by cyclists.

I worked my way back to the A12 and continued on to Southwold. This was my first trip to this popular seaside destination and I was struck by the crush of people after the quiet of Walberswick. Southwold has a famous brewery, Adnams, a working lighthouse right in the middle of town (built in 1889) and a pleasant mix of independent shops, cafes and restaurants. I bought a sandwich and ate it sitting on a one of the plentiful benches watching the tide come in. Lovely. Beach huts sell for eye-watering amounts round here.

The thought of the driving back along the A1120 didn’t do a lot for me, so I went the long way back – down the A12 to the A14 and round Ipswich, towards Bury St Edmunds. It was 20 miles longer this way and can’t decide if I made the right choice doing that.

My day out was during the last weekend in September, so I managed to park quite easily in a side street but not sure how that would work in high summer months. Tough would be my guess. Away from the town itself, on the seafront, there is a pay and display car-park which looked pretty full considering it was the end of September. People were driving round and I can't say they looked overjoyed.

Having said all this, it was a truly wonderful day out and I would recommend it. Definitely.

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