“One of the UK’s most sought-after seaside destinations, Aldeburgh combines traditional charm with a lively creative community”
Starting at Felixstowe and continuing alongside the North Sea towards Thorpness, the Suffolk Coast is renowned for its many charms, with residents enjoying pretty beaches, friendly communities, quaint little towns and villages, and a rich cultural life that rivals much more densely inhabited areas. Major communities here include the hugely popular Aldeburgh, a former Tudor port with a population of around 2,500, the historic town of Leiston (pop. 6,000), and the much larger town of Felixstowe, where you’ll find the widest range of shops and restaurants among a healthy population of around 25,000 residents.
While high street shops and speedy internet has brought the area into the modern day, it still feels frozen in the 1950s at times, with families enjoying ice creams on the beach before a night out at Aldeburgh’s Edwardian cinema. One of the UK’s most sought-after seaside destinations, Aldeburgh combines traditional charm with a lively creative community – the town hosts regular festivals, including a poetry festival and a food festival, as well as a stunning Blue Flag Beach. Around a third of the properties in Aldeburgh are second homes, and the town is dominated by affluent retired couples and families, giving it a higher average age than the rest of the UK.
House prices on the Suffolk coast
Unfortunately for those on a tight budget, it seems that the gentle, appealing Suffolk Coast lifestyle is no longer a secret – house prices in Suffolk are up 18% since 2014, and the average property price across the county is £259,000 as of 2017. Aldeburgh and Woodbridge are unaffordable for most, with average prices of £502,000 and £350,000 respectively, although nearby Leiston is much more reasonable at £189,000, and Felixstowe comes in close to the average at £250,000. As expected, properties with sea views tend to be the most expensive!
“It may be compact, but thanks to its rather high-end reputation, Aldeburgh offers a surprisingly good selection of shops – particularly if you’re looking for independent retailers”
Travel around the Suffolk coast
With just one A-road (the A12) running through the centre of the coastal area, travelling in this area usually involves slow journeys on B roads – a 25 mile journey from Aldeburgh to Ipswich can take nearly an hour, even in good traffic conditions. There are train stations at some urban centres including Woodbridge and Felixstowe, but many have closed over the years – including those at Aldeburgh and Leiston. Direct services are available to Ipswich and Saxmundham, and the rest of the coastal area is connected by a bus network.
The closest airport is Stanstead Airport, around 60 miles from Felixstowe, which offers flights to destinations across the world.
It may be compact, but thanks to its rather high-end reputation, Aldeburgh offers a surprisingly good selection of shops – particularly if you’re looking for independent retailers. You’ll find small art galleries, jewellery shops, plenty of gift shops and even international brands such as Crew Clothing and L’Occitaine. As the largest town in the area, Felixstowe has the best range of shops on the coast, with essential high street brands including Marks and Spencer and Boots as well as charming independent shops such as Ruby & Scarlet – a must-visit for kitting out your new kitchen.
Fans of seafood are in luck – Aldeburgh is home to multiple fish and chip shops, including renowned spots such as Aldeburgh Fish & Chips and The Golden Galleon. The town also offers a number of other restaurant, including high street favourite Prezzo, family-friendly The Lighthouse, and the retro Delphine’s Diner, as well as an annual food & drink festival. Felixstowe, on the other hand, has a good selection of international eateries such as Mediterranean restaurant Cafe Bencotto, Blue Naan and Bombay Nite for traditional Indian food, and The American Diner for your classic burger n’ fries combo.
Most of the communities in the Suffolk Coast have at least one supermarket, with a Co-op in Woodbridge, Leiston, Aldeburgh, and Felixstowe, with the latter two also home to Tesco. Felixstowe has the best range of grocery options, while Aldeburgh has a good selection of delicatessens, and the excellent produce from the Orford Meat Shed is worth the journey.
Health and sport
Unfortunately for fitness fanatics, the facilities here are often few and far between – which may be difficult for those who are accustomed to being a short walk from a wide range of gyms. In Felixstowe and Leiston there are council-run leisure centres, while Felixstowe, Aldeburgh and Woodbridge are all home to small studios for yoga, pilates and other types of exercise. For something in the great outdoors, try Aldeburgh Yacht Club, one of the many local golf clubs, or some beach-based activity!
It may have a sleepy reputation, but don’t be fooled – the Suffolk Coast is packed with cultural activities and venues, ranging from museums and historic sites to regular local festivals. Culture vultures and budding historians will love the likes of the Felixstowe Museums, Parham Airfield Museum, Orford Castle and the Brentwaters Cold Water Museum, while for cinephiles Aldeburgh Cinema dates back to 1919, and shows both big blockbusters and arthouse releases. Add Mannings Amusement Park, Snape Maltings music festival and a range of other festivals for everything from poetry to music, and you’ll find you’re spoilt for choice here.
“Suffolk holds an impressive education record, with over 85%of both primary and secondary schools holding above average Ofsted rankings”
Schools and education
Suffolk holds an impressive education record, with over 85% of both primary and secondary schools holding above average Ofsted rankings – a significant rise since 2012, showing how much the council has invested in improved teaching and schooling. However, the best schools in Suffolk tend to be in more central areas rather than in coastal towns and villages.
For younger children, leading primary schools in the area include Orford CofE Primary School, Bawdsey CofE Primary School, and Aldeburgh Primary School, all of which are rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted. At senior school level, the independent Woodbridge School, state Kesgrave High School and state Farlingaye High School are all highly recommended. Ipswich School and Ipswich High School are also excellent independent options in the nearby town of Ipswich.
With an average crime rate of 132 crimes per 1000 residents, the crime rate in the Suffolk Coastal region is relatively high, although it varies by town and the area is considered to be relatively safe despite this.
Fans of nature are in luck – as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Suffolk Coastal region is dominated by lush green spaces and beautiful beaches, with highlights including the Orfordness-Havergate National Nature Reserve, the pretty shingle Thorpness Beach, and the vast Orford Ness beach. There are also plenty of parks and green spaces to be found within the small communities, such as Felixstowe Seafront Gardens or Thorpness Meare, where charming islands and boating lakes make for a perfect family day out with a picnic.
How can OneDome help me move to the Suffolk Coast?
If you’re thinking of moving to anywhere along the Suffolk Coast, OneDome can help. With OneDome, you can find a property, connect with estate agents, get a mortgage, and complete your conveyancing. The best part? Everything is done online and in one place, meaning you paper work, trips to the post office, and phone calls are all drastically reduced. If you want to learn more about how OneDome can help you buy or sell a home, get in touch with us on 020 3868 6262 today.