Loads to do on a short break to Suffolk

Maggi Hambling's impressive, though controversial, sculpture
Maggi Hambling's impressive, though controversial, sculpture

TRISH TAKES FIVE: BY Trish Burgess

Norfolk is perfect for a day trip from South Lincolnshire but popping over the border to Suffolk is one of my favourite destinations for a short break.

A couple of weeks ago we headed to Woodbridge, a picturesque market town on the River Deben and perfectly located as a base to explore the area. We chose to stay in The Crown, a gorgeous 17th century inn which has been stylishly renovated and is now all very bijou and chic with a smart looking bar and excellent restaurant.

Woodbridge itself was looking dazzling in the Suffolk sunshine so we spent the first afternoon just walking around the town, admiring the tide mill (one of the few working examples in Britain) before sitting outside The Riverside Restaurant with a welcome glass of local cider.

We made a beeline for Aldeburgh the following day, another pretty town where we walked from one end of the beach to the other, stopping to admire Maggi Hambling’s impressive, though controversial sculpture, Scallop, dedicated to the composer Benjamin Britten. I thought it was beautiful but some people feel it disturbs the unique flatness of that stretch of coastline.

Nearby Snape Maltings, an arts complex famed for its concert hall, also has its fair share of modern art with sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore plus a new installation, Myriad, which is like a vast periscope, numerous mirrors reflecting images of the surrounding landscape.

Sadly we had to head home the next day but I’ve plenty of suggestions, gleaned from previous visits, for anyone planning a trip.

If you have National Trust membership, you will certainly make the most of it in Suffolk. Near to Woodbridge is Sutton Hoo, home to the famous Anglo Saxon burial mounds where a huge haul of significant archaeological treasures was excavated. It’s well worth visiting, particularly with children.

Wave your membership card at the entrance to the stunning Georgian palace, Ickworth, which has heaps of history and fabulous gardens to explore. Take a drive to Flatford Mill, park free and see the dreamy location of Constable’s famous painting, The Hay Wain.

Close to Aldeburgh is the fantasy village of Thorpeness, brainchild of former railway designer, Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie. here you’ll find a water tower which was transformed to create the whimsical ‘House in the Clouds’. There’s also the Meare, an enchanting boating lake, inspired by Peter Pan: JM Barrie was a close friend of the family.

Further up the coast is the traditional seaside town of Southwold where a visit to the Under the Pier show is a must to try out the unique collection of home -made slot machines and simulator rides.

Whether you’re a fan of the sea or the countryside, Suffolk has many quaint towns and villages worth exploring and if you like your nosh, you’ll be in foodie heaven.

You can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at www.mumsgoneto.co.uk