Getting to and around the Suffolk Coast & Heaths
It really is perfectly easy to reach the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB without a car. The East Suffolk Line provides plenty of options for reaching the area, while the service that runs from London to Lowestoft stops off at the likes of Woodbridge, Saxmundham and Darsham, and from here it is only a short hop to the area's most popular towns and attractions.
Of course, it is just as important to plan how you're going to get around once you've arrived, and thankfully there's plenty of scope for travelling around without having a negative impact on the environment. The Suffolk Link bus network makes getting to some of the most popular attractions wonderfully simple, while the wealth of waymarked routes makes cycling a great means of exploration.
Photos: SCH AONB
Getting to the Suffolk Coast & Heaths by train
The Suffolk Coast is serviced by the East Suffolk Line. From London Liverpool Street station you'll be able to catch a train to Ipswich where you can change for trains to Lowestoft. The Ipswich train also passes through Woodbridge, Wickham Market Saxmundham and Darsham. Saxmundham is the closest to the likes of Aldeburgh, Leiston and Thorpeness, while Darsham is the best stop for Walberswick and Southwold. Alternatively, you can take the Great Eastern Main Line to Norwich and alight at Ipswich, where you can hop on the next East Suffolk Line train and continue your journey.
>> For train times and to book tickets, see thetrainline.com
Getting around the Suffolk Coast & Heaths by bus
The Suffolk Coast & Heaths is serviced by a fantastic bus network which makes it easy for visitors to reach some of the most popular parts of the AONB. As well as a good rural scheduled bus service, there is a network of “on-demand” buses called Suffolk Link. These buses can collect passengers from any number of places including the train and bus stations and take visitors to attractions previously inaccessible by public transport - the RSPB reserve at Minsmere, the National Trust reserve at Dunwich Heath, and the villages of Darsham, Dunwich, Eastbridge, Middleton, Sizewell, Theberton, Westleton and Walberswick. To book the service call 01728 833 526 before noon on the day before you want to travel.
>> For more information on all the bus services please see www.suffolkonboard.com
Getting around the Suffolk Coast & Heaths by bike
When getting around the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB, two wheels are nearly always better than four! The region is generally low lying with very few hills and plenty of waymarked routes to explore. If you're looking to bring your bike along with you there are bike facilities on East Suffolk Line trains, which means that you can be exploring the scenic Suffolk Coastal Cycle Route in no time. There are bike-friendly ferries between Harwich, Felixstowe and Shotley, and across the Deben Estuary from Felixstowe Ferry to Bawdsey. If you're looking to rent a bike during your visit, see this guide's cycling page for some good options.
Getting around the Suffolk Coast & Heaths by ferry
This part of the Suffolk Coast AONB is punctured by the estuaries of the rivers Blyth, Alde, Deben, Orwell and Stour. Linking them are four foot ferries crossing the estuaries which run from spring to autumn: the Harwich Ferry crossing the Stour and Orwell estuaries, the Bawdsey Ferry crossing the Deben estuary (right), the Butley Ferry crossing the Butley River, and the Walberswick Ferry crossing the Blyth estuary. Cyclists can take their bikes onboard for a small fee and dogs go free. More details, including prices and timetables can be found here.