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Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Famous for its beer and pier, Southwold is rumoured to enjoy more column inches in the national broadsheet newspapers than anywhere else outside London.
Where is Southwold?
Southwold is about 10 miles south of Lowestoft, on the North Sea coast and by the River Blyth. It is a five-mile run from the A12 at Blythburgh.
The ancient borough of Southwold was granted its town charter by Henry VII in 1489.
Today, its distinctive charm stems from the haphazard grouping of houses of differing architectural designs, some characteristic of Dutch and Flemish influence, resulting in a unique blend.
It also takes much of its character from its scattered and distinctive greens, which came about as a result of a great fire in 1659 which destroyed many buildings.
One of these greens, on Gun Hill (above), boasts a row of 17th-century cannon pointing out to sea in memory of the Battle of Sole Bay, the last great sea battle between the English and the Dutch, which took place off Southwold on May 28, 1672.
The chief glory of Southwold must, however, be its magnificent 15th century church dedicated to St Edmund, Christian martyr and the last King of East Anglia. With a tower that stands about 100ft high, elegant proportions and perfect unity of perpendicular design, it has been called the grandest church in Suffolk.
The lighthouse, built in 1890, stands above the town and is a landmark that signifies Southwold to many people. It remains a working lighthouse, and can be visited on Sunday afternoons.
Near its foot lies the old Adnams brewery, which brews real ales popular with discerning drinkers well beyond the borders of Suffolk.
Southwold's narrow sandy beach extends south to the mouth of the river Blyth - beyond which lies the picturesque and hugely popular resort village of Walberswick.
The Blyth, once a busy commercial waterway, today plays host to a picturesque flotilla of yachts, pleasure craft and longshore fishing boats.
You will find no "kiss-me-quick hats" here, but you will find a number of antique and gift shops. Southwold is also famous for its amber. If you can't find it on the beach, there are a huge number of shops selling amber in all manner of designs.