Summer in Suffolk – my 5 favourite things to do

1) Crabbing in Walberswick Every summer, hundreds of people descend on the sleepy little town of Walberswick armed with smoky bacon, fish bait, weighted strings, nets and buckets. During August, the town holds the British Open Crabbing Championships which has been an annual tradition since 1981. The wooden footbridges and muddy banks of the Dunwich river teem with hopeful competitors dangling bait into the water and impatiently reeling in their string. Once the surface of the water is breached, there is a limited amount of time to scoop up the monster catch, or sweep the five scrabbling miniature crabs into your net. Some crabs, savvy after years in the game, take one last bite of bacon before launching gloriously backwards into the sludgy water. Hungry seagulls gather on the banks, swooping and pecking at hard shells whilst avoiding the quick snap of claws. The record catch was back in 1981, with the prize winning crab weighing in at an impressive 7.25ozs!

20130721-135143.jpg 2) Southwold beach One of the best walks in Southwold is along the promenade, taking in the coast from the restored Victorian pier down to the sandy beach near the harbour. Early in the morning the sun rises out at sea, turning the water into melted silver and enticing swimmers. The colourful beach huts are lovingly decorated in bright shades, with portholes, stained glass windows, decked porches and bunting. Others feature the handiwork of local artists, with pastel beachscapes and underwater worlds. Families spill out over the promenade to the sand below, playing cricket and frisbee and building sand fortresses. Up top, you can visit the Sailor’s Reading Room, sit on the cannons at Gun Hill and spy on ships far out at sea. On the way, stop at Suzie’s Beach Café and enjoy breakfast tea, a grilled panini and slice of lemon drizzle cake. Dog walkers can let their pooches off at the harbour end where the promenade and beach huts finish.

20130721-143329.jpg 3) Latitude Festival This festival, now in its seventh year, offers an eclectic mix of popular folk and world music, film, literature, comedy, dance and cabaret. Based at Henham Park in Suffolk, it has grown to hold 35,000 which puts it on par with Bestival. In homage to the Tour de France that is racing at the same time, Latitude teamed up with M&S to raise money for the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, by encouraging festival goers to cycle from London. This year’s music line-up includes Bloc Party, the Foals, Kraftwerk, Hot Chip and the Maccabees. In other tents, Eddie Izzard, Sean Lock, Dylan Moran, Carol Ann Duffy, Robin Ince and Germaine Greer are let loose. Look out for rainbow sheep, enjoy a refreshing Pimms by the lake, dance in the woodland raves and watch psychedelic light shows over the water. Last time I was there, I saw Phil Jupitus dj’ing ska in his pyjamas in a cabaret tent in the early hours. That said, Latitude is extremely family friendly, with a special section for camping and play area just for kids. The festival has also gained the reputation of being ‘supremely middle-class’, find ticket prices here.

20130721-142719.jpg4) Boating at Thorpeness This small town was built with summer tourism at its heart, with the Ogilvie family designing a fun place to spend their summer months back in 1910. The unique ‘House in the Clouds’ and the Tudor beams on the buildings make this a unique gem on the Suffolk coast, just inland from Aldeburgh. The large artificial lake is filled with gaggles of tame swans and bright bobbing boats which are named after the men who dug out the meare a century ago. The lake was designed with J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan in mind, with a treasure island and pirate’s lair to explore – but watch out for the resident crocodile! Visitors can rent out rowing boats, kayaks, canoes, dinghies, sailing boats and punts, and you can find the prices here.This year’s Regatta on 18th August will celebrate the centenary of the lake.

20130721-150135.jpg 5) Taking tea in Aldeburgh We love tea here in Britain, and this national constitution is not forgotten during the warmer months. The Cragg Sisters Tearoom is a dainty café serving loose leaf tea from all around the world, including exotic strains like Assam, Lapsang Souchong and elderflower white tea from China, and Japanese green tea Gyokuru. See here for their full list of drinks available. Each customer is served with bone china teapots, cups and saucers, each decorated in unique hand painted designs. Knitted cosies decorate the shelves and walls, and vintage wartime relics make you feel as if you’re having tea at Grandma’s. Fresh scones, iced coffee and walnut cake and a selection of soups and salads can be ordered to accompany your tea.

20130721-154827.jpg Notes

Crabbing in Walberswick, http://www.walberswick.ws/crabbing/

Southwold Beach Huts, http://www.bbc.co.uk/suffolk/content/articles/2005/07/02/coast05walks_stage4.shtml

Latitude,
http://www.latitudefestival.com/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2013/jul/19/latitude-festival-sun-john-grant

Thorpeness, http://www.themeareatthorpeness.co.uk/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorpeness

The Cragg Sisters Tearoom, Aldeburgh
http://www.craggsisters.co.uk/

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