Car-free toThe Shotley PeninsulaSuffolk

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Discover a salty slice of Suffolk, beginning with a scenic bus ride by the water, offering spectacular views of the Orwell estuary. The Shotley peninsula is a wild and peaceful place for a staycation and we've added a few tips on buses and places to stay at the end. There is great countryside for strolling including the long-distance Stour and Orwell Walk. Soak up maritime heritage in Shotley Gate and Harwich (seven minutes away by boat). Sample local food and drink at various pubs and the Suffolk Food Hall along the way.

  • County: Suffolk
  • Great for: local food | pub | seaside | walking | Walks |
  • Refreshments: Waterside pub and Suffolk Food Hall
  • Please note: researched/updated November 2023. If anything’s changed or you have tips to share, do get in touch:
  1. 3. Catch the little yellow ferry to Harwich

    Just seven minutes across the water from Shotley marina, the long sands and colourful beach huts of Harwich beckon.

    • The ferry runs regularly with a break for lunch. It is currently best to book in advance.
    • You can visit the lighthouses, pier and huge fort museum or just have tea somewhere.
    • For more car-free adventures in the area, see our guide to Harwich
    • From here, you could choose to get a direct train towards London. Without a car, you don’t have to return the way you came!
  1. 4. Take a scenic bus ride back

    The bus from Ipswich to Shotley and back runs beside the River Orwell

    • Erwarton Hall near Shotley has an extraordinary brick gateway with turrets. Get off at Erwarton Turn and stroll down the Street to see this and some great countryside beyond.
    • Look out of the bus for 18th-century Wolverstone Hall near Chelmondiston – a Palladian mansion framed by a leafy drive.
  1. 5. Relax at the Suffolk Food Hall

    As the bus goes under the spectacular Orwell Bridge, you can get off to eat or shop at the Suffolk Food Hall

    • You’ll find beef from Red Poll cattle, artisanal sourdough from the bakery, local fish, fruit and veg, wines from Dedham Vale, and a delicatessen counter selling pies, quiches, cured meats and cheeses.
    • Stop off on the way out for a picnic and morning coffee in the café or on the way home for souvenirs and tea… great cakes too.
    • The Cookhouse restaurant upstairs serves full meals in the day time.
  1. Buses, bikes and places to stay

    Here’s a bit more practical info if you’re planning a staycation on the Shotley peninsula.

    • If you’re taking several bus rides around Ipswich there are day tickets giving unlimited trips across and around the city with a Country Routes ticket including Shotley and some great value options for families.
    • If you are taking local bus journeys on the same day that you arrive by train, get a bargain PlusBus ticket for unlimited bus rides to the air or transport museums, show ground or leisure park. If you have limited time, the PlusBus ticket will also take you to Red House, the bus stop for the Suffolk Food Hall (buses 92 or 97 from the station). You can have tea with views of the wooded estuary.
    • You can hire bikes from the Bicycle Doctor in Ipswich or to cycle around the reservoir at Alton Water, a short ride on bus 92 from Ipswich or Manningtree train stations. (Check it’s running).
    • There are quite a few places to stay around Shotley, including Ipswich Travelodge near the marina. Handy for both trains and buses, the Station Hotel is opposite Ipswich railway station, right by the Shotley bus stop. Also near the marina, the lovely Salthouse Harbour is the ideal place for a luxurious break.

    Here are some more ideas for green travel around the Suffolk Coasts from our friends at Green Traveller.