Southwold

Southwold IP18

Perched on the cliffs just to the north of the River Blyth, Southwold is Aldeburgh's main rival for the lah-di-dah Londoners and second-homeowners, and you only have to come here once to see why. It was Suffolk’s busiest fishing port in the sixteenth century, but although a small fleet still brings in a few herring and sprats, it’s a enjoyable and rather handsome resort, with an elegant centre charmingly fragmented by little greens, a clifftop promenade overlooking a long sandy beach (rare in these parts) and quirky pier, and a lovely location surrounded by woods, heathland and the marshes of the Blyth estuary. It even has some industry in the shape of the Adnams brewery, bang in the centre of town, which adds a dose of reality to the town's genteel charms. Among many famous residents (past and present), George Orwell lived for a time at 36 High St (a plaque marks the spot) and heartily disliked the place, leaving as soon as he could, to “have less temptation from the world, the flesh and the devil” – not the kind of stuff that tempts people to Southwold these days, but it's none the worse for all that.

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