Jenny Valentish dives back into chintzy seaside England and wonders if she should fish for crabs or order a scone.
This Suffolk seaside town is terribly, terribly English, from the lighthouse and seafaring history, to the cream teas and the colourful beach huts that change hands for around £38,000.
Walks on the common are an authentically Enid Blyton experience, while Agatha Christie might have scheduled a murder in one of the grand Georgian seafront properties. The Adnams Brewery no longer employs shirehorse and cart to transport its barrels through town, but the warm smell of hops is always in the air and the local pubs are well stocked with handcrafted beers.
Down at the harbour you can take the ferry (a rowing boat) to Walberswick, fish for crabs, or just buy seafood to throw on the barbecue.
While those who have visited once have a tendency to come back again and again, overpopulating the little town during holiday season, Southwold’s still a little-known seaside destination — maybe because it’s cut itself off from uncivilisation (Southwold Station closed back in 1929 and now the nearest is Darsham, some 10 miles away).
Southwold has retained its wartime, chintzy charm and doesn’t get any more hi-tech than a fair on bank holidays. Blackpool, this ain’t.
Southwold’s undeniably an expensive seaside experience if you’re seeking accommodation, but wherever you stay you’re almost guaranteed period features, best china and nautical décor (homeware designer Cath Kidson has a prominent store here, and her old-fashioned dot, floral and stripe designs in pinks and blues couldn’t be better placed).
Photo: cc Flickr/Karen Roe