Following on from yesterday’s post which involved making Gin, food and exploring Southwold Town.
After a lovely traditional Full English in the B&B, we drove down to Southwold and parked up near the pier which was our first port of call for the day, we had been warned that the Pier’s attractions were pretty eclectic and they wasn’t wrong. We started the day with the weather at it’s worst, but it gave pretty dreary weather all day so we decided to brave the conditions of the pier anyway, and it was extremely harsh and brisk, so there isn’t many pictures as it was so hard to focus the camera it was that windy!
Southwold’s pier has a mixture of arcades, cafes, joke and gift shops as well as a clock that would have caused me to get soaked looking at the wind was that strong from the sea! It was a dash down the side of the shops to make it safely to the end. The pier is edged with plaques featuring tributes that you can sponsor as a memorium or momento of a special occassion or wonderful holiday. Normally it’s the kind of thing I’d love to be nosey at as I walked up and down but the weather changed play that day.
We got to the end of the pier and went into a homeware shop which was quite nautical and trinket themed and I picked up a gorgeous cream and gold striped trinket tray as a blog prop. I was highly tempted by candles as the shop smelt amazing but after a tidy up in our house just before we went I realised just how many candles I had that hadn’t even been lit once.
We wandered back to the ‘Arcade’ in the middle which on the surface looked like your classic seaside ticket machines, until you realised they were quite satirical and not your average ticket game. We played just a few of the games, we opted out of the game to walk your dog as we don’t have to pay to do that at home, whilst Ben did opt in for a brain wash. There was also a game to get you to the top where you won some bank notes, Four-Billion Dollars to be exact (no you can’t have any it’s already tied up in investments). Whilst Ben finished the experience off with having his brain washed. I’d always suspected that there was nothing in there, but alas there was.
From here we headed back to the more normal arcade of 2p machine and tickets for a good hour or so to win ourselves some classic seaside tat, which included several bizarre looking sheep wearing crowns, a very dodgy looking Captain America and a very serious feathered flamingo pen. But most importantly sweets.
We began our wander back down to Southwold town, briefly past the beach huts along the beach front bracing the weather as we went. It was time for some quick elevenses, and we stopped at a H&J cafe for a slice of cake and some drinks – we didn’t want to go too overboard due to something queued up in the afternoon.
H&J was Southwold’s equivilent to London’s Iconic Peggy Porschen’s. Decked out for Valentine’s the cafe was cosy and welcoming. Harris and James I believe are a small local chain of cafes specialising in gelatos, coffee and all things chocolate. We settled on a slice of lemon drizzle cake to share – the cakes looked that good I just couldn’t resist – two hot chocolates and a lovely refreshing sparkling rhubarb and rose water, which I need to stock up on as I could have guzzled that all day.
We then spent the next few hours wandering shops which we hadn’t been into the day before. There were several more charity shops on the cards, I’m always suspicious if you don’t go in them all then that’s the one with a hidden gem in it, but our gem was to be found the next day a few towns over. I don’t think we ended up buying anything, whilst I visually bought quite a lot of vintage-wares in one particular shop but the person who is putting her house on the market within weeks of going meant I talked myself out of every purchase.
The sky started brightening up whilst the wind also started dying down so it was the perfect opportunity to head back to the coast and admire the beach huts in more bareable weather. I went a bit crazy with the beach hut pictures but I really couldn’t help or stop myself snapping away every few, I’d had lovely plans of getting a nice shot of me for Instagram perched on the edge of a pretty hut, but after getting wet and windswept on the pier that wouldn’t have turned out as instaworthy as I’d wanted.
Most of the beach huts at Southwold are so well kept and looked after. Creatively named, and all unique in their own way. Jabba the Hutt probably has to win best named, Mr Blue Sky won points for creativity, there was a little turqoise one above which had unique painted panels that was lovely. But my favourites were probably the lilac and white striped number as well as the brighter yellow ones.
Our shed at home has been painted like a beach hut since we moved in and it’s given me plenty of ideas for different colour schemes when we come to move.
We then started to walk back towards the town centre for our afternoon plans, the weather whilst less windy and sunnier was still cold, it was February after all, so we decided to go and try and find somewhere to thaw out. We were hoping to make our way up the lighthouse, but sadly it either wasn’t open in February or it doesn’t open on Sunday’s which meant that we couldn’t walk up and admire the view from the top. One for next time.
My sister had booked afternoon tea for us at The Swan. Probably the fanciest hotel in Southwold which I’d love to stay in future trips, it looks really stunning – it’s an Adnam’s run hotel/restaurant/bar and fits well into the town. We were around 45 minutes early so we decided to head to the bar located at the back of the hotel to kill the time and a suitable place for us to warm up. I naturally went for a gin – after all it was the theme for the weekend whilst Ben went for a Adnam’s beer recommended by a colleague which can’t be bought except from the barrel.
We made our way through to the room once our table was ready and boy was we in for a treat. I’ve done quite a few Afternoon Tea’s now and this was in my top two, and I can’t decided between those two which was the best. There was a mixture of seatings where you could make yourself comfortable, whether you wanted a more upright dining chair, a more comfortable sofa or something in between – the room was comfortable, bright and beautifully decorated. Sadly it was a bit too busy for me to get some gorgeous shots of the room but it was an eclectic mix of modern meets traditional. Bright white and blue walls in geometric prints with velvet green sofas paired with classic oil paintings on the wall with copper accents everywhere.
What I liked in particular about this afternoon Tea was that it was more heavily weighted on the sweet side rather than the savoury. I like sandwiches, but on my terms and most of the traditional Afternoon Tea sandwiches are not my favourites – Smoked Salmon, no thank you. There was a trio of finger sandwiches (to which I traded my Salmon one with one of Ben’s!) and a gorgeous aerated shot of soup that I think was butternut squash flavoured, it was very interesting texture and I’d definitely have it again!
After we’d finished our savoury course our platters of cake were bought out. My sister had obviously said that it was my birthday so I was greeted with a candle and a subtle Happy Birthday sing song from our waitress.
The plethora of desserts was a mixture of the most beautiful choices, fresh marshmallows, jellies, meringues, hot donuts, brownies, enormous scones, poppy seed cakes and a fresh berry and chocolate number to name some of the desserts. There was so much choice and there was a sweet treat for everyone. My favourites were the doughnuts – because who can question a hot fresh donut and the scones were some of the nicest I’ve had. We had far too much food and they kindly offered to bag up the rest for us to take home.
After we’d finished eating the shops were all closed it being a Sunday, and the night was drawing in pretty quickly so we opted to go back to our hotel. I attempted to have a relaxing bath, and we relaxed in the room for a little bit before heading out for dinner.
During our wander around the shops we decided which pub we wanted to eat in the evening. Being by the coast meant that a lot of pubs were predominately fish based which I just don’t like. The place we had planned to eat was far too fishy and would have left me with about once choice on the menu. Our guide on the Adnam’s tour had recommended the Lord Nelson Inn and we decided to take up his recommendation and we was not disappointed.
Despite the fact we had a rather large afternoon tea, we were both drawn in by the menu options at the pub and opted for a starter and main. Ben had a Nacho’s with chilli portion which could have been a main on it’s own it was so huge! Whilst I had a Camembert which was topped with a blackened lemon, something I’ve never had before but would definitely recreate at home.
For mains we opted for different things, Ben went for a classic cheeseburger with bacon – which he declared as one of the bets burgers that he had in a long, long time. Whilst I felt like something a bit more roast-esque and went for chicken wrapped in bacon with a huge potato cake, chesnuts and vegetables. It was absolutely delicious, the meat was so juicy and the potato cake was something I never normally have but thoroughly enjoyed.
Whilst we looked at the desserts menu and was tempted we declared ourselves full and with leftovers from afternoon tea in our room if we needed them. I would throughly recommend the Lord Nelson if you’re in Southwold – we will definitely be heading back in future.
To answer the question “You’ve never been to Southwold?” now feels like the answer should have been “I can’t believe we haven’t either”. We had the most fantastic weekend and we’re keen to go back over summer with the dogs, Southwold was a very dog friendly down, and dog friendly beach and the dogs, particularly Charlie would absolutely love playing on the beach when it’s a bit warmer.