As well as being a great place to simply relax, The Ship at Dunwich is an ideal base from which to explore the wealth of attractions offered by Suffolk and its Heritage Coast.
Our knowledgable team is always on hand to let you know what's happening locally and to answer any questions you might have about things to do in the area. We can give you plenty of ideas about how to make the most of your stay on the beautiful Suffolk coast, whatever the season so please ask away!
Dunwich Heath is a nature reserve and conservation area owned by the National Trust. Designated a site of special scientific interest and an important conservation area, the heath is teeming with wildlife, such as the Dartford warbler, nightjar, woodlark, ant-lion, adders and much more.
Unspoiled and exceptionally beautiful, you can enjoy wonderful moorland and forest walks with coastal views; the area is surrounded by ancient salt marshes and wide river estuaries.
Dunwich Heath is an incredible place to visit at any time of year. From July to September, you will be spellbound by the vibrant patchwork of colours. During other months, you'll love the dramatic views and family-friendly activities.
The quintessentially English seaside town of Southwold, with its historic pier, is a 'must' to visit. It has beaches, rivers, a busy harbour, excellent independent shops and a charm that draws its visitors to return year after year.
You won't find amusement arcades and candy floss but Southwold is still a seaside treasure with its famous beach huts, iconic lighthouse, family-friendly beach and quirky cinema, the Electric Picture Palace.
Southwold is the home of Adnams brewery and its famous beers; a horse drawn dray is still used through the streets and there's always a faint sniff of malt in the air. Over 18s can take part in a guided tour of the Adnams' brewery and distillery, including tutored tasting (so you know what you'll want to drink when you arrive back at The Ship!)
You can also enjoy a variety of boat trips from the harbour.
The driving distance between Dunwich and Southold is approximately 8.08 miles and takes about 17 minutes to drive.
With its wide main street and long shingle beach, Aldeburgh is an unspoiled seaside town with fascinating architecture that is definitely worth a visit. Traditional fishing boats still pull up near to the beach huts from which they sell excellent fresh fish.
Aldeburgh is also renowned for being a cultural centre, a place of inspiration and energy for music and the arts. Up to 100,000 people a year visit to experience an eclectic year-round range of events, which includes the famous annual Aldeburgh Music Festival and world-class ballet, opera, poetry, literary and documentary festivals, plays and readings.
If you're a keen cyclist, then you'll love the paths and bridleways around Aldeburgh, which give you an opportunity to explore the surrounding Suffolk countryside and coast. There are some great dog-friendly walks too.
Aldeburgh is a family-friendly destination and there are always activities for children taking place in and around the area. From rowing or learning to sail to themed walks or theatre activities, there should be something to suit most tastes and budgets.
You might also enjoy visiting historical sites such as the martello tower and the Moot Hall in Aldeburgh, the House in the Clouds in Thorpeness, and some of the stunning flint churches in the region.
Aldeburgh is situated approximately 11 miles from Dunwich and it takes about 24 minutes to reach it by car.
Snape Maltings are a unique collection of granaries situated close to Aldeburgh. The famous annual Adleburgh Music Festival is held in the Snape Maltings Concert Hall, a beautiful conversion of one of the old maltings. Snape also hosts a number of music and arts festivals throughout the year.
Snape Maltings is also home to a number of independent and unique shops and galleries. Pick up gorgeous accessories for your home or garden, sample local produce at the Fresh Food Pantry, or book a place on a one-day workshop at The Workshop - there's plenty to do!
Many visitors also use the Snape Maltings as their starting point for walks in the local area. There are a number of longer and shorter walks, so you can enjoy the surrounding countryside whatever your fitness levels.
River trips run from Snape Maltings from late spring to early autumn.
Minsmere is rated as one of the top bird sanctuaries in Europe and is the RSPB’s flagship European nature reserve. Minsmere supports an enormous range of bird species, it is particularly famous for its: avocets, bitterns and marsh harriers, and you might catch sight of its otters as well. May and June are particularly good months with nightingales and nightjars providing the greatest interest. With its boundaries being less than 2 miles away sleeping with your windows open at The Ship at Dunwich could lead to nightingales and nightjars disturbing your sleep!
RSPB Minsmere nature reserve is a short walk or cycle ride from our Inn, though you can of course take the car if you prefer. Look out for red deer and a variety of woodland and heathland wildlife on your way.
The Minsmere visitor centre is the perfect starting point for your visit. Staff and volunteers will direct you to the best places to spot wildlife each day, and you can recharge your batteries in the excellent cafe or browse the RSPB Shop. Many items on the cafe menu are homemade using local, Suffolk products. The Wild Zone is the perfect place for families to explore and discover nature as they climb through sand martin tunnels or build a den.
There’s a choice of countryside walks offering fantastic scenery and wildlife. The Scrape is a shallow coastal lagoon where you can see breeding avocets, gulls and terns in spring and summer, migrant wading birds in spring and autumn and huge flocks of ducks in winter. The reedbeds are home to rare and elusive species such as marsh harriers, bitterns, otters, water voles and bearded tits. With luck you might spot some of these. In the woodlands, listen for nightingales and warblers in spring or watch flocks of tits and finches throughout the year, and keep your eyes peeled for a muntjac or red deer. There’s a superb variety of flowers, butterflies, dragonflies and insects during spring and summer.
Entry to Minsmere is free to RSPB members. There is a charge for non members, which is refunded if you join on the day of your visit. The visitor centre is open daily 9 am to 5 pm (closes 4 pm November to January) and there are guided walks and family activities throughout the year.
The stunning Suffolk coast is a great place to spend a day out with children as there are a lot of exciting and entertaining things to do and see. If you are looking for a thrilling family adventure why not start with some of our favourite activities, only few minutes’ drive away from us here at The Ship Inn.