Grand Days Out from Woodbridge and the River Deben

River Deben near our Suffolk holiday cottages

Last Updated on March 9, 2023

Well, where to start? I’m back on the topic of stuff to do when you visit our Suffolk holiday cottages. The great thing about this part of the world is that you can pace yourself however you want. I like to take things slow when I’m out and about, it’s part of the beauty of living in the countryside, but there’s nothing stopping you taking the whistle-stop option when you come and stay in Suffolk.

That’s why I think you should take a (grand) few days to enjoy some of the things rural mid-Suffolk has to offer. This little Blog Post is my guide to the River Deben; a guide to a few of the best spots to enjoy along the tidal river, the estuary and the sea. It’s by no means exhaustive!

I’m going to start with one of my favourite places to spend my leisure time, the scenic and historic Woodbridge. Home to the famous Tide Mill, it boasts a lovely Marina, a quaint town and some of the best pubs in the area. All just 25 minutes from Woodfarm Barns.

The Tide Mill itself is one of the last two commercial Tide Mills in the country. The entry fees are only a few quid and you can even see the mill at working times. Aside from being a historic landmark in the area, it is an impressive sight as part of the landscape, and a beautiful building. Considering that lots of the streets here are lined with wonky half-timbered houses, the Tide Mill is still indicative of Suffolk architecture, with beautiful white wooden cladding standing straight, tall and majestically next to the river. Buildings like this gave me so much inspiration for my cottages when I was planning and designing Woodfarm Barns!

My next stop would always be Bawdsey. 

For some more amazing architecture take a look at Bawdsey Manor, an incredibly grand structure, standing quite intimidatingly in the fields that surround it. The great thing about Bawdsey though is the Felixstowe ferry that takes you over to Felixstowe. It wouldn’t be much of a visit to the Deben if you didn’t go on it now would it?! You can soak in the beauty of both beaches as you ride away from one and get closer to the other. Be wary of the season if you have a dog and don’t forget to take a blustery walk along the beach on either side, as well as admiring it from the water. It’s very bleak here in the winter but for me, that’s a huge part of the charm.

I’m skimming the surface really here and one could easily allow a few days to fit all of this in is because its just nice get so caught up in being relaxed (awful I know!), with the endless walks around the Deben and the places to sit and soak everything in, time flies by. 

In my old age, sitting at The Ferry Café in old Felixstowe, overlooking the water’s edge is a brilliant way to spend an afternoon. The food is lovely, the atmosphere is great, no one seems to be ‘grabbing a quick coffee’.

When you’ve finished being leisurely, head back to Woodbridge for a pint (or two!) at The Anchor. A stone’s throw from the Tide Mill, this lovely pub is homely, warm, and a real regular of mine!  They serve Greene King cask ales, some of the superior beers chosen by the head brewer, and (if I haven’t mentioned it before…) it’s only brewed down the road in Bury St.Edmunds! This is made all the better with some great live music. You can also find some other famous locals like Aspall’s Cyder, the most local of our brews, all made about 5 miles from Woodfarm. Just over the road is the even more famous Adnams Cellar and Kitchen; great for buying local products and taking them back to your holiday cottage!

As I’ve already mentioned, the Tide Mill is commercial, and one of the many fab places that use their flour is Honey + Harvey in their baked goods; well worth a try! This just happens to be my favourite coffee shop! They roast their own coffee and bake all of their goods on-site, making for a super fresh breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. We use their wonderful coffee at our bi-annual Pop Up Restaurant.

Then for all of you outdoorsy types, take a picturesque walk along the river up to Martlesham Creek. It’s a good hour (longer if you go further up the creek) or so round trip with some breath-taking views; a great opportunity to get some fresh air and maybe catch a glimpse of some wildlife. Even with a caffeine boost from Honey + Harvey I’m sure you’ll need to rest your weary feet after this walk, so head over to the Maybush at Waldringfield.

Take in some more sea air in yet another fantastic pub. Overlooking the water, this is another one of my favourites, perfect for a summer’s night outside, or a winter’s evening next to the fire. Be warned, it’s best to book as the Maybush gets very busy due to its fabulous food and vistas!

Both The Anchor and The Maybush allow dogs in their bar areas by the way, so they can enjoy roaring fires in the winter just as much as you can.

See what I mean by a lot to do?! Of course, you can do everything in one day, but I like to take it slowly and just relax, I’m sure you’ll enjoy doing just the same.

So why not get your diary out and check out our Availability & Prices to come and enjoy this and one or two other Grand Days Out in our series?