Great reasons to visit Lowestoft

For maritime history or the beach, the most easterly town is worth a visit, says Sarah Brealey.

Great reasons to visit Lowestoft


For maritime history or the beach, the most easterly town is worth a visit, says Sarah Brealey.

1 The beach

Yarmouth and Southwold may be better known for their beaches, but Lowestoft’s sands are great and have the advantage of being a bit quieter. There are two blue flag beaches, one north and one south of Claremont pier. Nearby, the Royal Plain Fountains, next to the South Pier, give countless youngsters a chance to get wet in 72 playful and unpredictable water jets.

The Scores

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Unique to Lowestoft, these steep, narrow lanes give you an insight into its history. They were originally paths worn in the soft cliffs by people travelling between the High Street and beach area. Now they are paved (some have become roads) and visitors can follow a Scores trail, which is marked out with red herring-shaped signs. Historical spots include Mariners Score, where Oliver Cromwell stayed when he visited the town, and Martin’s Score, where John Wesley preached in the open air in October 1764.

Benjamin Britten

The famous composer was born in Lowestoft, the son of a dentist and an amateur musician. The family home was above the dental surgery at 21 Kirkley Cliff Road, which is now Britten House bed and breakfast (above). His first compositions were probably written here at the tender age of six. 01502 573950,

Hotel Victoria

If you want to turn your day out into a mini break by the sea, this is the place to stay in Lowestoft. The sea views are fantastic, while the restaurant specialises in seasonal British food, with locally caught fish a speciality. The 24 rooms are all en suite, while the Victoria Room has a four poster bed, lounge and jacuzzi bath. 01502 574433,

Boats and planes

Lowestoft is a great place to look at boats – from the shiny new ones moored in the yacht harbour, to the Mincarlo, a historic Lowestoft side trawler. She is the last fishing vessel built in Lowestoft with an engine made in the town. Now looked after by the Lydia Eva and Mincarlo charitable trust, she is normally at Lowestoft yacht marina, though is due to visit Yarmouth. And if you prefer airborne transport, you will love the famous air show for two days each July (below).

Marina Theatre

It has been a roller skating rink, theatre and cinema, and at one point was nearly demolished. The Marina Theatre reopened in 1988 and has built up a reputation for hosting many top-class acts. Since 2005, the famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has had a residency here. Its English Music Celebration is on October 9, at 7.30pm, with music from Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Holst. September highlights include the Best of British Variety tour, the BBC Big Band, comedian Dave Gorman and writer and broadcaster Pam Ayres. And if you want local talent, see the Lowestoft Players present Boogie Nights from September 22 to 26. 01502 533200,


The town’s rich history is reflected in its range of museums. For an overview of local history from the Neolithic to the 20th century, Lowestoft Museum, in Nicholas Everitt Park, is your destination. Highlights include the collection of Lowestoft porcelain and domestic history. Lowestoft Maritime Museum, in the Sparrow’s Nest gardens, (right) will tell you about the history of the fishing fleet and lifeboats. On the same site is a collection dedicated to the Royal Naval Patrol Service in the second world war. Just outside town, in Carlton Colville, is the East Anglia Transport Museum, where you can see trams, trolleybuses and a narrow gauge railway.


Lowestoft has plenty of places to get a cuppa and a cake, or a full fry-up for that matter – just what you need to warm up after a stroll on the beach. But certainly the best place for a cup of tea is Flying Fifteens. It serves dozens of varieties of tea, as well as tasty treats including homemade cakes and scones. Diana Knight has run it since 1996 and is justifiably proud of her attention to detail. It is the only place in Norfolk and Suffolk to win a Tea Guild award of excellence. The seafront location is a plus too, with a pleasant garden.


On London Road South, Di-Lusso is the place to head for stylish women’s clothing. High-quality clothes with an emphasis on classic designs. Evening gowns and occasion wear, office clothing and casual wear are all stocked here (01502 568733, And make sure you include Top Drawer Boutique when you are shopping in Lowestoft. Located at Bevan Street East, this shop puts affordable elegance and gorgeous accessories at the top of its list, together with making sure every customer feels special – it also offers a gift wrapping service (01502 512355,