Car-free adventures aroundLowestoftSuffolk
Britain’s most easterly place, Ness Point in Lowestoft, is nothing like as celebrated as Land’s End or John o' Groats, but it does have a curious sense of extremity about it – a muted spirit of adventure. The naturalist Richard Maybe, inspired to write "Food for Free" by foraging in this area, wrote in his memoir "Home County" that on this coast: “the world seems to be all possibility.” Following this spirit of adventure, the desire to be "washed up somewhere unexpected", here are some seaside and Broadland journeys through sunny Suffolk that are far better without a car.
1. Catch the Wherry Line from Norwich
The best way to get to Lowestoft is by train. This railway journey through the Broads from Norwich is an end in itself: a meditative voyage through shining waters and waving grass, studded with grazing cows and lazily spinning turbines. The single carriage rattles hourly, rousing pheasants from trackside trees, past glimpses of a round-towered church or rural stately home. You can often see several windmills at the same moment.
- The Greater Anglia railway company have branded the routes from Norwich to Lowestoft and Yarmouth the Wherry Lines – a reference to the little cargo boats that used to carry goods from steam ships to the local staithes or landing stages along the East Anglian rivers.
2. Explore the "Scores"
The Red Herring Trail off Lowestoft’s picturesque High Street, lined with old buildings, explores the steps and steep lanes that run down towards the sea. These alleyways are known as the Lowestoft Scores. While you’re wandering round town, you can visit Britian’s most easterly point. Ness point, the furthest east you can go in the UK by foot, is a curiously underwhelming visitor attraction. But it’s an intriguing place to eat your fish and chips and a twenty-minute walk from the train station.
- A giant ornamental compass at Ness point tells you that you’re closer to Minsk than to Lisbon and you can easily believe it.
- Pick up some fish and chips on your way and eat them on the seafront, with a view of distant beaches and the man-made rocks of the promontory sparkling in the Suffolk sun.
- Or walk back up to the High Street and have a pub crawl. You could follow the main road all the way up to Lowestoft lighthouse. The X1 bus runs back towards the station from the stop nearby.
3. Bus to Southwold
For a day-long adventure, catch a bus to Southwold and a ferry to Walberswick. A circuit through the nearby countryside packs all Suffolk’s iconic landscapes into one gentle, five-mile stroll: the boat-margined river Blyth leads to the open sea, sand dunes and marshes. Through lonely mills and reed beds, you reach carpet-like heathland with delicate, yellow bedstraw flowers and golden, coconut-scented gorse.
- The 99 Coastal Clipper bus leaves regularly (less on Sundays) from Stand 7 at Lowestoft bus station, heading for Southwold, where you can explore the quirky retro pier and colourful seafront.
- Get off at the stop called King’s Head to explore the town.
- To reach Walberswick, walk straight along the High Street and turn right along the Coast Path to reach the bonny River Blythe, where boats ride the tides or rest on the mud. See map below.
- The tiny ferry over to Walberswick is a delight. There are pubs and cafes nearby, but the overriding feel is of wild and peaceful coast with miles of shingle and wild flowers.