Wish you were here?
From Toad Hall Lodges, you’re perfectly placed to explore the outstanding natural beauty of east Suffolk’s coast and heathland. Set in one of the driest parts of the country, our enormous East Anglian skies are often blue and the only thing more spectacular than our sunsets are the sunrises.
Our happy place
At the bottom of our road, you’ll discover Hen Reedbeds Nature Reserve, a meditative mix of wildlife, reedbeds, fens, dykes and pools. Within a few strides along the estuary towards Wolsey Creek Marshes, you’ll be taking deeper breaths, soaking up the tranquillity and leaving life’s stresses and strains far behind you.
There are viewing platforms and benches, as well as the Old Hall café which are all perfect spots to slow down, take in the unspoilt scenery and watch estuary life flow by. The area is a well-established breeding habitat for bitterns and, if the tide is out by the time you reach the mudflats, you’ll get great views of waders foraging for food too.
We can point you in the right direction for spectacular running routes and cycling trails to suit all levels of fitness and experience. Bike hire is easily organised from Southwold Cycle Hire, and paddle boards and kayaks can be rented can be rented from Southwold Surf School. For an even more intense dopamine and serotonin hit, you could take the plunge for all the stress-busting health benefits of cold-water swimming. We’re spoilt for choice for beautiful wild swimming spots.
If it’s dry land and sunset vinyasas you’re after, come home to Toad and roll out a mat at our yoga studio. The French doors open out on to uninterrupted views of the sun going down over the cornfields. Our studio also doubles up as a gym, kitted out with a Peleton bike, free weights and a Lonsdale punch bag with boxing gloves if you want a space to train.
From Toad, you’re within walking distance of the quintessentially English coastal town of Southwold with its jolly beach huts and winding lanes lined with small, independent shops. For the seaside picnic of your dreams, there’s Slate, the best cheese shop on the coast, and Jakery, our favourite bakery. You can even rent a beach hut here for about £50 a day.
Or wander along to Southwold Harbour and watch the boats sail in. The Sole Bay Fish Company started out selling its daily catch from a small hut here more than 20 years ago. Now it’s evolved into our favourite lunch spot. Grab a table outside and watch harbour life drift past in as you tuck into Mersea rock oysters followed by grilled sea bass. Or take their freshest fish and chips to eat on the beach.
We rarely leave Southwold without a visit to the Lord Nelson, known to locals as The Nellie. Its benches at the front are a perfect place to watch the sky turn marshmallow pink as the sun sets over the sea.
Suffolk’s beaches each have their own charms. For a laidback vibe, follow the estuary at the bottom of our road through the Hen Reedbed Nature Reserve and turn right towards the unspoiled dunes of Walberswick. Venture a little further afield and you’ll find the unique melancholic beauty of Covehithe beach with its 16th-century church. Or you could follow the footpaths that lead you through Dunwich Forest and across Dunwich Heath towards its shingle beach steeped in a rich history of sunken ports, 18th-century brandy and tobacco smuggling and secret wartime operations in preparation for the D-Day landings.
Come to explore the salt-marsh mud flats and brackish lagoons of Orford Ness National Nature Reserve, home to hares, Chinese water deer and peregrine falcons, take a look at Henry II’s castle and stay for lunch.
The Butley Orford Oysterage has barely changed since it opened back in the early Sixties but it’s all the better for it. This is a no-frills place to eat with a no-nonsense menu. They serve plump local oysters and the freshest fish imaginable, perfectly cooked every time.
Explore by bike
With 50 miles of coastline, thousands of quiet country lanes and relatively flat terrain with spectacular views, this part of Suffolk is a dream for cyclists. There are glorious circular coastal routes that loop Minsmere and Dunwich, as well as trails through ancient woods in Rendlesham and Tunstall Forests. Whatever your experience and confidence level, you can take your pick of great routes – and Southwold Bicycle Hire is round the corner so you don’t have to bring your own bike. It’s our favourite way to reconnect with nature and relax.
Pick your own
Round the corner from us are the flower fields of Southwold Flower Company’s farm if you’d like to spend a relaxing hour or two picking your perfect bunch. They’ll arm you with a pair of snippers and a container.
Or head north to the fields and orchards of Hillfield Nursery and Farm Shop to gather the best of whatever’s in season. Hillfield also comes to Southwold Market every Monday and Thursday selling bedding plants, shrubs and trees, as well as its freshest fruit and vegetables.
If you want to cherry pick the best bits of Latitude and you’re too old for tents and loo queues, make Toad Hall your luxe festival retreat. We’re only 20 minutes walk away. When it’s time to sleep, the shuttle bus will deliver you safely home to your comfortable bed. It takes five minutes, comes every hour and stops at the top of our road.