10 Suffolk riverside picnic spots

A Spring day at Beccles Quay

A spring day at Beccles Quay - a great place for a picnic. - Credit: Keith Read

This summer head for the peaceful waters of one of Suffolk's rivers where you can stroll along the riverbanks or simply while away an afternoon just watching the world go by.

Sudbury - Friars Meadow
Friars Meadow, next to the River Stour in Sudbury is an area of grassland ideal for picnics and outdoor family games. It's easy to get to from the town centre and you can get up to three hours free parking at several car parks (sudburytowncouncil.co.uk/parking). The Sudbury water meadows are grazed in the summer months and are the longest continuously grazed pastures in East Anglia. Next to the meadows is the Valley Walk, a linear route along part of the former railway line between Sudbury and Cambridge, now a three-mile walk to Long Melford Country Park with views of the meadows and river. SatNav: CO10 2TL

The annual Sudbury rowing regatta at Friars meadow on the River Stour

Friars meadow on the River Stour, location for the annual Sudbury rowing regatta and a favourite spot for a picnic. - Credit: Andrew Mutimer

Flatford
Relax and enjoy the peace and quiet pf the countryside by the water near Flatford Mill. You can also hire a boat and row down the river to explore the surroundings or take a trip on the Stour Trusty II. Flatford gets busy in good weather and in peak season but take a stroll along the river and you'll find plenty of spots to spread out your picnic blanket. SatNav: CO7 6UL

Messing about on the river at Flatford Picture: ANGELA GOODWIN

Messing about on the river at Flatford. - Credit: Angela Goodwin

Nacton, nr Ipswich
The River Orwell provides some of the most stunning river views in Suffolk, making the riverside the perfect place for a picnic. You can watch boats and ships navigating the narrow channel up river to Ipswich and, when the tide's out, the Orwell’s extensive mudflats are a picnic site for lots of wading birds. The picnic site is well signposted from Nacton village. There is a 2.2m height barrier at this site and the car park closes at 8pm (4.30pm November 1 to March 31) SatNav: IP10 0EP

STAR NEWSSunny days on the shores of the River Orwell at Nacton.Pix Phil Morley 22/5/09

Sunny days on the shores of the River Orwell at Nacton. - Credit: Phil Morely

Iken Cliff
A favourite spot beside the River Alde for so many reasons. Peaceful and secluded, it's ideal for walks, with wonderful views of the river and open countryside. There is plenty of parking space although it may get busy in summer so pick you time and try to avoid weekends. You can hire a canoe (ikencanoe.co.uk) or stroll through lanes and tracks that weave through Tunstall Forest on a five-mile circular route. SatNav: IP12 2EN

A beautiful and changeable afternoon walking by the river at Iken, Suffolk.

By the river at Iken, Suffolk. - Credit: Richard Rice

Cattawade Marshes
If you enjoy watching wildlife you'll love this spot on the edge of the Stour estuary. Cattawade Marshes, maintained by the RSPB, are renowned as a great spot for bird watching where, on a good day, you will see redshank, lapwings and oystercatchers. You can also fish or canoe, using the purpose-built platforms. After your picnic you walk off the cake with a stroll along part of the Stour Valley Path, a 60-mile route which takes you all the way to Newmarket. Car park on site. SatNav: CO11 2LH

READ: 2021 Suffolk Food & Drink Awards open for entries

Nicholas Everitt Park, Oulton Broad
In the very heart of Oulton Broads and surrounded by lovely gardens and views, Nicholas Everitt Park is a favourite place to enjoy family time. There is plenty to do for adults and children with tennis courts, a bowling green and a bandstand, where on a Sunday you could be entertained by a traditional brass band, children's play equipment, arcades and crazy golf. The vast open spaces make this an excellent spot for a picnic and there's the Boulevard car park nearby. SatNav: NR32 1HS

Beccles Quay
A wonderful place for a picnic by the River Waveney and a lazy time watching boats go by. Beccles Quay is large and open with lots of picnic benches that are excellent for enjoying an outdoor feast and there's a car park nearby. There's a children's play area nearby and plenty of walking routes if you feel like exploring the local area. Normally this is the spot for Beccles Carnival (third weekend of August) so make a date for 2022 when it's next planned to be held. SatNav: R34 9BB

The Grave yard of Wrecks at Pin Mill

The grave yard of wrecks at Pin Mill make it a picturesque spot for a picnic. - Credit: Barry Pullen

Pin Mill
Pin Mill Common, on the Orwell foreshore and near the Butt and Oyster pub, is a picturesque place for a picnic followed by a stroll along the Stour and Orwell walk. This is Arthur Ransom territory, where the author drew inspiration for Swallows and Amazons. There is a public car park near the foreshore. SatNav: IP9 1JJ

Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds
The beautiful River Lark flows along the east side of the Abbey Gardens making this a lovely spot to while away an afternoon with a picnic. The award-winning 14-acre gardens are on the site of the former Benedictine Abbey, the Abbey of St Edmund which historically used the river as a power supply and trading route. There are lots of places to picnic - among the abbey ruins is a favourite followed by a riverside walk. There's a children's play area, treehouse and sandpit, and friendly koi carp in the pond. Try Ram Meadow long stay car park (IP33 1XP) then use the garden entrance on Mustow Street. SatNav: IP33 1LW

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West Stow Country Park
For wildlife enthusiasts there are two bird hides and a bird feeding area as well as a lake and the River Lark with all the life that it attracts. Perfect for picnics on sunny days and with an adventure playground for children and a car park, this is an ideal family destination. SatNav: IP28 6HG