Southwold beach huts
The Bell at Walberswick
Vast and Blue and Breathless - Walberswick, England
Esther Freud's eloquent depiction of Walberswick in her novel, The Sea House, evokes a memorable image of the shore: 'Vast and blue and breathless, stretching to the edges of the world.'
This description only touches upon the splendour of this 13th century Georgian port town, which has become one of Britain's lesser known tourist spots.
Resting in a cranny of the River Blythe, Walberswick is one thousand acres of charming coast and marshland protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The surging shore of Dunwich is a short wander along the coastline, through the amazing Walberswick Nature Reserve. Ramble through meadow, salt marsh and woodland, keeping your eyes open for all manner of wildlife. In Walberswick town, the Parish Lantern is a delightful gift shop and tea room, boasting a large range of tasteful gifts and cards. Enjoy the sunshine and a delicate cream tea in the leafy courtyard. Any film fanatics will be intrigued by Southwold Film Society's Electric Picture Palace. A miniscule, 66-seat screen with wonderfully authentic furnishings: it's a must-see whether you catch a film or simply take the tour.
The white, sandy beach at Walberswick can be reached by climbing over the grand sand dunes, which provide makeshift partitions for your own private beach area. The ferry to Southwold is in fact a man in a charming row boat, which adds to the old-world feel of this village. Southwold is a somewhat larger town with a selection of restaurants, pubs and the Adnams brewery with associated museum. The famous beach huts rise from the pebbly seafront along from the arcade on the pier, where all the machines are completely unique and made by individuals, rather than standard games machines.
Walberswick is renowned for hosting the British Open Crabbing Championship at the beginning of August, so keep in mind that the village will be at its busiest around competition time. If you would like a slightly calmer break, and a real chance of some exclusive crabbing, I would recommend visiting later in August. Pop in to the wonderfully friendly local butchers and ask for scraps to use as crab bait. The most fruitful place to crab fish is from the dock area- high tide is the best time- but do remember you will have to release anything caught.
- The drive to Walberswick from London is around 3 hours and public transport will take roughly the same length of time: The nearest train station is Halesworth which is 2 hours from London Liverpool Street. For fares and tickets, visit www.nationalrail.co.uk
- Instead of taking a taxi from Halesworth, hop on the 15 minute bus 520 to Southwold (www.anglianbus.co.uk), then take in the beautiful views on the foot ferry into Walberswick. The ferry runs daily between 1st June and 26th September for 80p per person. Fares and details can be found at www.explorewalberswick.co.uk/ferry.php
- The website for The Electric Picture Palace has contact details and information about bookings, tours and film times.
- I stayed at The Bell Inn which has a fabulous garden for a sunny day and log fires for a cosy evening. Ask for a room with a sea view - you will not be disappointed!