Plan Your Day Out in Felixstowe
Whether you love traditional amusements or more cosmopolitan pleasures, Felixstowe is a great place for a day out. Take in the view, have a walk along the prom or enjoy a chilled glass of Prosecco served with amazing sea views.
The Town Centre
Based around Hamilton Road, high up above the seafront, Felixstowe's shopping centre has a surprisingly extensive and varied range of stores for a small town. High street brands are represented, including M&S, W H Smith and Boots. But the emphasis is on independents, with a wonderful mix of establishments offering everything from artisan baking and retro sweets to crafts and gifts. A recent addition is the Adnams store, which features a wide range of beers, wines and spirits brewed and distilled in Suffolk, as well as contemporary kitchenware and stylish branded items.
There's a scattering of shops along the seafront, selling a range of time-honoured holiday resort fare, including souvenirs, beach products and postcards.
Hop on the foot ferry across the Deben estuary to visit the 'home of RADAR'. On 24 September 1937, Bawdsey Manor became the world's first operational 'listening' station able to detect approaching enemy aircraft with radio waves. The brilliant Magic Ear exhibition tells the story of how this revolutionary technology helped the Allies win the Second World War.
Located next door to Landguard Fort, this surprisingly well-stocked museum brings alive the military and social history of the town. There are no less than 14 rooms, stuffed with all kinds of artefacts and memorabilia, including uniforms, model planes, fossils and Victorian toys.
Landguard Fort has been watching over the sea-borne access to Felixstowe since the 18th century. It's one of the country's best-preserved coastal defences, with a fascinating history that spans several major conflicts, including the Napoleonic Wars and the two world wars. Regular events include activities for kids, such as spooky ghost trails and a pirate weekend.
St John's Church
Built in the 1890s, this handsome red-brick church has a magnificent spire and stained glass. It was immortalised in Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman's poem, 'Felixstowe, or the Last of Her Order.'
The Palace Cinema
If you love watching movies in luxury, the Palace Cinema is the place for you. With super-comfortable American-style seating and an at-seat service for food and drinks, this is a special cinematic experience. Two screens feature all the latest blockbusters, including family favourites.
The Spa Pavilion
Surrounded by lovely manicured gardens, the Spa is a multi-purpose performance venue, offering a year-round programme of shows, concerts and more. The annual pantomime staged by a local company is a much-loved tradition and there are many visiting star attractions, from rock 'n' roll legends to top names on the comedy circuit. There's also a restaurant with panoramic picture windows providing great sea views.
A walk through 'old Felixstowe' to the Ferry takes you back in time. As you pass the windswept nine-hole golf course, you come across a scene straight out of the East Anglian history books with the ancient Ferry Boat Inn plus a gaggle of fishermen's shacks and houseboats. There are some lovely walking trails up-river and it's a great spot for birdwatching.
Planted in the early 1800s, this well-established nature park has lovely walking trails through mature woodland and shady glades. Next door is Abbey Grove, planted by the Woodland Trust as part of their 'Woods on your Doorstep' project.
Landguard Nature Reserve
This shingle spit at the south-west tip of Suffolk is a productive habitat for unusual flora and fauna, including shellfish, seabirds and colourful coastal plants. Take a stroll along the boardwalk round the headland where you'll get a great view of the famous port of Harwich across the estuary.
Landguard Visitor Centre
On a clear day, this is the place for stunning views of the beautiful Shotley Peninsula and historic Harwich, where the Pilgrim Fathers' ship the Mayflower was built. You might also catch a splendid cruise ship or a massive container vessel coming into dock.
Just a short walk from the seafront, Langer Park is a delightful green space with a children's play area. Go for a stroll, have a picnic or simply relax and enjoy some quiet time.
Recently created as part of a major seafront housing development, this pleasant recreation area is next to one of Felixstowe's legendary Martello towers. Eight of these imposing structures were built along the British coastline between 1804 and 1812 to guard against French invaders.
The Seafront Gardens
The eight Grade II listed formal Victorian gardens that are set along Felixstowe seafront gave the town its name 'The Garden Resort of East Anglia'. With the aid of Lottery money, they have been lovingly restored and enhanced to provide the perfect environment for a stroll or a sit-down.
Trimley Marshes Nature Reserve
With stunning views of the Orwell estuary, these wonderful wetlands are home to a rich variety of seabirds, including redshank, avocet, oystercatcher and little grebe. Coot, tufted duck, teal, pochard and other breeds are frequent visitors to the reservoir which is the hub of the reserve.
Beach and promenade
Lined by colourful beach huts, Felixstowe's sweeping seafront combines a touch of old England with a hint of the French Riviera. The Blue Flag beach is great for sunbathing and swimming. Alternatively, take a stroll along the wide promenade, which stretches from the West End to Old Felixstowe. After dark, it's adorned by twinkling lights to add to the magic.
Felixstowe's traditional Pier amusement arcade has all the favourites, from coin pushers and grabbers to air hockey and pinball machines. Built in 1905 the Pier was once one of the longest in the country with a train running from end to end and there are plans for a regeneration project.
Enjoy a cuppa or an ice cream in the café while the kids amuse themselves with a variety of fun activities, including aqua boating, karting, a giant inflatable slide and the Railroad Express mini train ride.
Sea Road Amusements
There are three arcades at the south-western end of the seafront: Family Amusements and Adventure Golf, Forum Amusements and Manning's Amusements. All have lots of fun attractions for young ones (and big kids), including rides, video games and slot machines.
Cafés, Tea Rooms and Coffee Houses
As you'd expect in a seaside resort, there are plenty of places to enjoy a nice cup of tea or a reviving coffee and a bite to eat. Some also offer great sea views, including the Lounge and the Terrace at the Spa Pavilion and the light, airy View Point Café at Landguard Point, a popular spot for breakfast. Crafty Coffee is a sociable 'arts and crafts' cafe where you can enjoy freshly brewed coffees and speciality cakes as you get creative with ceramic painting, decopatch and other crafts.
Restaurants and Pubs
For eating out, Felixstowe has everything from family-friendly pubs and informal eateries to chic bistros and gourmet restaurants. There's also a wide range of ethnic options, including Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai. Welcoming hostelries include the White Horse in Old Felixstowe or the 15th century Ferry Boat Inn near the Deben estuary. For fine dining, there's the beautifully restored Fludyers Hotel on the seafront or Westerfields Restaurant at the Orwell Hotel up in the main part of town. The Alex on the seafront offers brasserie classics in a lively atmosphere and Café Bencotto in the town centre serves up a great-value Mediterranean menu. Down at the Ferry, Winkles cafe serves excellent line-caught fish and chips, as well as fresh lobster, crab and prawns in season.
Food To Go
You'll find all the usual take-away treats you'd expect in a traditional British seaside resort, including fish and chips, burgers, doughnuts, candy floss and toffee apples. There are also plenty of fast food options with a more international flavour, from pizza to Tandoori.
Where To Stay
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