10 of the prettiest places to live in Waveney
- Credit: Archant
Taking its name from the river that forms its north-west border, the district of Waveney in Suffolk is home to what are arguably some of the most beautiful villages in the county. From hosting picturesque beaches to sites of great historic significance, here are some of the best places in the district for sampling a slice of rural life.
As one of the fastest growing market towns in the country, Beccles is a spot along the Waveney Valley that should be on everyone's to-visit-list. Located at the southern tip of the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads, this town was once a flourishing Anglian river port.
Today it still has many buildings of architectural and historical interest, such as the Leman House in Ballygate, which is grade one listed and now hosts The Beccles Museum. Beccles was also once home to Catherine Suckling, the mother of none other than Lord Horatio Nelson.
In the thriving town of Beccles you won't be short of things to do. Head to the popular quayside area, fondly known as the 'Southern Gateway to the Broads', where you can board the 'Big Dog Ferry' and take a trip up the River Waveney. On this three-mile trip be sure to keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife. Pay your weekly visit to the historic Beccles Farmers' Market which takes place on Friday mornings, giving a real community feel.
The Beccles Lido is great for families, complete with a toddlers' pool, paddling pool and inflatable slides. Just four miles outside of the town is the child and dog friendly Wherry Inn selling classic pub food and acting as the perfect place to wander along to on a sunny day. There are a plethora of places for visitors to stay in Beccles such as the superb riverside Waveney House Hotel or the self-catering accommodation at Catherine House.
A stunning hamlet located on the North Sea coast, Covehithe is rich with fascinating history. Evidence collected suggests that this was an area once inhabited by the Romans, with discoveries including a possible section of a Roman road, old bits of pottery and even the remains of a Roman enclosure.
Anglo-Saxon remains have also been discovered in Covehithe including the remnants of what is thought to have been a cemetery, and during the Middle Ages this area prospered as a thriving small town. Since then costal erosion has been the foe of Covehithe, with the town increasingly falling victim to the ways of the sea. Although all that now remains is the hamlet, you won't find many more scenic places to live.
Covehithe boasts a beach which is said to be one of Suffolk's best kept secrets, so pay its shores a visit before everyone else finds out! Accessible only by footpath and with no real facilities, it remains very much in its natural state and offers its visitors an idyllic retreat from daily life.
It is particularly good for paddling out at sea, and is also a popular spot for dog walkers. Although not for the faint-hearted, there is a fantastic coastal walk with stunning views out to sea. With little else in Covehithe, you'll have your own piece of tranquil rural life. Your local watering hole is just a short walk away in the nearby town of Wrentham where you can drop into the popular Five Bells Inn.
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Halesworth is a small market town which stands on one of the tributaries of the River Blyth and so handily situated just nine miles upstream from the larger town of Southwold. The settlement has its origins in the Roman era and the medieval St Mary's Church is still standing - although there were some Victorian alterations made - while the Market Place forms the centre to the town, with the oldest house here dating way back to 1350.
Markets continue to be held here every Wednesday, where you can join in with village life by buying fresh local produce. The Thoroughfare was once the sole busy route through the town, but is now a pedestrianised shopping street where you'll be spoilt with an array of independent shops to visit.
Here you'll discover a selection of music, theatre, dance and comedy exhibitions. You won't be short of places to eat either: try out the traditional family run restaurant, Edward's, or visit The Hideout Café for perfect tea and cakes. The town also has many good primary schools and nurseries, so is great for young families.
Situated around 2 miles south-west of Beccles, Ringsfield is a hidden gem in the Waveney Valley. The area has an interesting history behind it: in the graveyard of the village's All Saints Church can be found the memorial and gravestone of American born Princess Caroline Murat, the granddaughter of the King of Naples. She lived and died at Ringsfield Hall following her marriage to John Lewis Garden, whose family resided here.
The Hall was built in 1823 by John Garden himself in order to replace the previous Elizabethan building, and is set in 400 acres of luscious parkland. Today Ringsfield Hall acts as an eco-activity centre, a great place for little explorers to learn about the outdoors as well as a being a place that offers great group accommodation.
Just a school and village hall accompanies the beautiful rolling countryside of Ringsfield, providing you with all you need if you're seeking a quieter lifestyle. However there is a local pub in the form of the Ringsfield Arms, which offers wild-boar hog roasts with the boar having been locally reared in the fields just across the road.
Other options on the menu include gammon and suckling boarlet, as well as a good selection of local ales. To find further places to eat you could take the ten-minute car journey to Beccles where you'll discover an array of places to meet your needs.
Gisleham is a village lying on the western edge of Lowestoft and its name originates from the Old English for 'Gsyla's Village'. The area's pretty church, Holy Trinity, is one of only 38 existing round tower churches in Suffolk, with its base being either Anglo Saxon or early Norman and topped with a 15th Century octagonal brick crown.
The village is also home to the moated site of Gisleham Manor dating well back to the 13th Century. It is believed that a manor house used to exist on this site within the moat, but the buildings no longer remain. The moat, however, is still present despite the fact that it has been filled in. The village remains to be an important archaeological site for research of the medieval and post-medieval periods.
Other than stunning rural surroundings which make this area somewhere you can't help but fall in love with, there is the nearby Bell Inn situated just a few minutes drive away. This is a traditional country pub, with an extensive menu offering all the usual favourites including everything from burgers to a shepherd's pie.
The children's options are also great, making this pub a favourite for families. The larger town of Lowestoft is conveniently located a stones throw away where there are a number of excellent schools but you'll still feel a whole world away in this secluded village.
Famous for being the most easterly settlement in the UK, Lowestoft is a thriving coastal town in the Waveney Valley and has been for almost the entirety of history! Some of the earliest human settlement in the country has been traced to Lowestoft, with evidence of habitation stretching back an incredible 700,000 years.
Today the town offers spectacular sandy beaches such as Claremont Beach which is great for water-sport fans, and many of the beaches are dog-friendly so your pooches can come along too. If you're willing to set an early alarm, watch the picture-perfect sunrise from Ness Point and you'll be sure to realise why Lowestoft is the much-loved town that it is.
With its positioning just twenty minutes from the nearby town of Great Yarmouth, you will be spoilt for choice with good primary and secondary schools within a short drive away. For fantastic places to eat, you won't need to venture far because Lowestoft is well known for its great selection of restaurants.
If you are a sea-food fan, you'll love the Jolly Sailor with its views out to sea, or for a 1920s themed dining experience try the Rocksalt Brasserie on Claremont Pier. The shopping in Lowestoft is wide ranging - with over 40 national retailers as well as many independent shops, shop-a-holics will be in heaven!