FOR HOMEWARES: New Street Market, Woodbridge
New Street Market is a homewares, plants and clothing store in a huge Victoria building. It also has its own restaurant, The Canteen. It’s a perfect quick lunch spot, serving straightforward dishes using local products, such as crab on toast and wild garlic spaghetti.
FOR STOCKING THE FRIDGE: Maple Farmshop, Saxmundham
It’s here you’ll find organic fruit and vegetables, as well as other local products such as cheese from Fen Farm Dairy, LA Brewery kombucha (Tropical Ginger is my favourite flavour) and Hodmedod's beans and pulses.
FOR ANTIQUES: Marlesford Mill, Marlesford
Marlesford Mill is housed in an old grain store that's since been turned into a three-floor antique shop. A great place to pick up a souvenir or well-priced piece of furniture.
FOR MEAT & PROVISIONS: Salter & King, Aldeburgh and Peasenhall
This is my favourite butcher in the county, and it sells incredible local beef from Iken. My favourite product is the streaky Suffolk black bacon, which I use in my honey and bacon pastries at Pinch.
FOR WINE: Saltpeter Wines, Woodbridge
This is one of the only natural, organic wine shops in Suffolk. It sells everything from champagne to refillable bags of wine, all from really interesting producers.
FOR BOOKS: The Aldeburgh Bookshop, Aldeburgh
John and Mary James have been running the Aldeburgh Bookshop for the last 20 years and they're an incredibly important part of the community. You can find just about everything here – ideal if you’re after a holiday read.
FOR GIFTS: Mabel & Co, Thorpeness
Mabel & Co is the most immaculate, beautiful letterpress studio. It sells everything from notepads and personalised stationery to pretty packets of seeds.
FOR OYSTERS: The Butley Oysterage, Orford
This is a no-frills seafood restaurant in Orford. Here’s what to order: local oysters, prawns pil pil and then the skate or dover sole with capers and brown butter.
FOR A LONDON-ON-SEA EXPERIENCE: L’Escargot Sur Mer, Aldeburgh
Soho institution L'Escargot moved here to launch a pop-up during the pandemic and loved it so much, the team decided to stay. It's now undergoing renovations and will open again as a restaurant with rooms, complete with a rooftop and a wine bar. It will be renamed The Suffolk – I can’t wait.
FOR A CHOCOLATE FIX: Pump St Bakery, Orford
Before starting its famous bean-to-bar chocolate brand, Pump St was just a bakery in Orford. Whenever I go, I always order a pain au chocolate or pain au raisin.
FOR A QUICK, RELAXED LUNCH: Front Room Bungay, Bungay
This spot is just a tiny front room on a narrow street, but it’s filled with fresh pastries and salads and serves delicious Climpson & Sons coffee – all of which are available to take away.
Follow at @FrontRoomBungay
FOR PUB GRUB: The Dog, Grundisburgh
The Dog isn’t fancy – it’s just a typical countryside pub – but it serves really decent food. As the name suggests, it also hosts local dog walks too.
FOR VIEWS: Ramsholt Arms, Woodbridge
This is the perfect spot if you want a pre- or post-lunch walk – and it has beautiful views of the estuary. Keep it simple with the fish and chips or classic burger.
FOR A MID-WALK PITSTOP: The Ship, Dunwich
Another great spot if you like to earn your meal. You can do a long walk from Thorpeness through to Sizewell then Dunwich Heath, which takes you up to The Ship.
FOR FUN GROUPS: Wilderness Reserve, Yoxford
Once a hidden gem and now a favourite of the fashion crowd, Wilderness Reserve is 5,000-acre estate with various sized cottages, farmhouses and renovated barns. You can rent the individual buildings or, if money is no object, the entire estate.
FOR A SEASIDE STAY: The Swan, Southwold
This affordable hotel has modern, fun bedrooms – think pink four-poster beds – housed inside a seafront brewery that dates back to the 1600s.
FOR A ROMANTIC WEEKEND: Seckford Hall, Woodbridge
A great place for afternoon tea, this picturesque hotel has a spa and swimming pool, making it a good choice for those looking to relax over a long weekend.
THINGS TO SEE & DO
FOR A CHEESE FIX: Fen Farm Dairy, Bungay
I imagine it’s possible to call up and organise a quick tour of the farm if you’ve got a group. If not, you can still visit to buy products such as raw milk or its famous Baron Bigod cheese from the nifty vending machines.
FOR CHILDREN: The Meare, Thorpeness
Perfect for little ones, the Meare offers the chance to kayak, punt, row or canoe around the manmade lake, which was built about 100 years ago. It has fun Peter Pan features dotted around the place, which gives it a charming feel.
FOR MUSIC FANS: Snape Maltings
A beautiful heritage site with converted Victorian buildings, Snape Maltings is home to independent shops and galleries, decent places to eat and the world-famous Snape Maltings Concert Hall. The best time to visit is during The Aldeburgh Festival. If you’re into classical music, it draws in some pretty exceptional performers.
FOR A GIN TOUR: Fishers Gin Distillery, Aldeburgh
This is a lovely little gin distillery that looks over the shingle beach in Aldeburgh. Its gin is distilled with local botanicals such as samphire. Make sure to book in for a tour.
FOR A SCENIC WALK: The Red House, Aldeburgh
I mainly go here to pick mulberries from the ancient tree in the garden, but it's a beautifully quiet spot to relax during the months when Aldeburgh can get really busy. It was once the house of composer Benjamin Britten and his partner, Pears. Now, it's a little museum and you can also lie in the garden and pretend it's yours.
FOR A HOLIDAY FEELING: Ickworth House, North Suffolk
Ickworth House is an Italian villa – in Suffolk. You could spend all day wandering around this beautifully preserved palace.
FOR A HANGOVER CURE: Dunwich Heath, Dunwich
With all the heather around, it feels like you're in the Highlands of Scotland. The best time to walk across the heath is during the summer. For a cup of tea in a sweet setting looking over the sea, make a beeline for the Coastguard Cottages Tearoom.
Pinch, Maple Farm, Kelsale, Suffolk, IP17 2PJ
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