Not only for the brave: Camping in Southwold, England
Camping is not in my blood. I am not the kind of girl who enjoys sitting huddled beneath a sheet of plastic on a freezing hill with no running water or coffee shops on the horizon. However, I was roped into a camping weekend in Suffolk, having convinced myself that if Marie-Anne Garboury was brave enough to face the elements, then I could be too (although I am not sure I could tackle a bear in the same way).
I approached our campervan with caution. After all it is not often you see a multicoloured van splattered in neon patterns, a roadrunner and a ‘Honk if you’re happy’ motif.
But I was pleasantly surprised by the interior: spacious leg room, squashy sofa style car seats with plenty of storage space underneath and an adorable kitchenette in the boot area. We cranked up the stereo, hauled out the map and hit the road.
The drive from London to Suffolk is around 2 hours and once the smog had cleared, I rolled down the window, past sweeping greenery and blazing rapeseed fields, and breathed in the freedom. We arrived in Lavenham (also known as the wonky town due to the quirky buildings) and had a quick petrol stop before snaking down winding roads again. A few wrong turns later we arrived at Preston St Mary and discovered the Six Bells, a quaint 15th century Saxon longhouse. The owners George and Vanessa were wonderfully helpful and helped us pitch up before dark in their large field behind the pub, watchfully observed by their many geese.
One surprisingly refreshing night’s sleep and a hearty pub breakfast later we were packed and back on the road. By this point I had fully embraced the idea of a hippy lifestyle and found myself with a flower behind my ear gazing out of the window with a dreamy smile. We took the short drive to the enchanting seaside town of Southwold on the Suffolk heritage coast. There is only one road that goes in and out of the town and without it Southwold would be an island surrounded by water. And it was here, in a tiny seaside village with endless coastline, that we discovered the most wonderfully bizarre and mad arcade. ‘Under The Pier’ was created by Tim Hunkin, full of homemade slot machines, cabaret machines and simulator rides. Find the famous ‘Quantum Tunnelling Telescope’ game, or just sit on the edge of the pier with a drink and soak up the atmosphere and spectacular view.
After a thoroughly entertaining afternoon, we wandered along the coast line with friendly nods from the locals as the sea air licked our cheeks. A short walk later through the picturesque lanes and the delightful harbour we stumbled upon The Harbour Inn. Spread across 3 floors and two gardens, this pub has a warm atmosphere and wonderful service. Order anything on the menu that contains fish and indulge in that exquisite, fresh flavour you can only get at the seaside.
- Wicked Campervans are available to book online. You can add as many drivers to the journey, making the drive a little easier on all of you.
- For enquiries and bookings please visit the Six Bells website.
- Find out more about the ‘Under The Pier’ arcade on their website.
- The Harbour Inn is at Blackshore, Southwold, Suffolk, IP18 6TA. Call 01502 722381 for more information.