Walking Party – Suffolk

The Walking Party – private escorted walks since 1996.


11-17  July 2020
Price:  GB£2290 per person
Single room supplement:  GB£360
Distance:  59 kms
Walking: easy

 “This is the where I was brought up so it gives enormous pleasure to be able to show you around one of the most beautiful counties in England. Suffolk Pink, Suffolk Punch the Redpoll Suffolk Cattle and it surely has to be one of the best counties for the gastropub.  Two master chefs here so you will be eating fabulously well.  I think all agree now that the best cooking in Europe is in England!  Good wine to taste, the fine collection of works of art at the country house Ickworth, Gainsborough’s House, cream tea, Pimms …”

 Day 1  Sunday You will be met at Ipswich railway station (or Stansted airport) in the late morning and driven to the village of Bildeston.  Here we will stay at the Crown, a 16thcentury timber-framed coaching inn, that has recently been restored by its present owner James Buckle.  It’s an excellent English gastropub with a superb award winning chef and you will dine here tonight to enjoy this clever and delicious cuisine.
In the afternoon we will drive to a pretty Suffolk village where we will set off on foot to a next door village with a charming position.  We will pass through a hamlet that is famous for being the seat of John Winthrop before he sailed to America.  He was the founder of the city of Boston and was elected Governor of the State of Massachusetts in 1629.   Dinner at Bildeston.    Walk:8km

Day 2 Monday After a delightful English breakfast and a short drive, we will walk to a charming village favoured by Constable and then have lunch.

Our afternoon walk takes us along the valley and up our one Suffolk hill (!) before arriving at Dedham for a good cream tea!  Dedham Vale is pure Constable country.  “I associate all my careless boyhood with what lies on the banks of the Stour; those scenes made me a painter” (John Constable).   A short walk along the river brings us to the Sun Inn, our hotel for the next two nights.  The Sun Inn is full of character with a beamed dining room, snug oak-panelled lounge and open fires, plus 7 beautiful en suite bedrooms with sumptuous linen.   The ideal place to enjoy a light supper.   Walk:15km

 Day 3 Tuesday  After breakfast we will walk up to the old weavers’ houses before we double back to follow the stream-like river Stour.  At Dedham Lock we will pick up rowing boats and row down the river for half an hour “messing about in boats” before a picnic on the river bank. Pimms, cucumber sandwiches, summer pudding … the lot.  Those not wanting to row or be rowed can walk along the bank.   After lunch we continue the short distance to Flatford Mill where we will see Will Lott’s house (famous for its position in Constable’s ‘The Haywain’ painting) and then return to Dedham by car.   Dinner at the hotel.   Walk : 6km
 Day 4  Wednesday  After breakfast we will return to Bildeston by car.  Wewill walk through flower filled fields and lovely Suffolk villages stopping for lunch at a small heritage pub, which comprises two small rooms with fireplaces in each.  James the innkeeper produces a simple lunch and a game of dominoes!

After lunch we continue on foot to the pretty village of Lavenham.  Your base for the next three nights is a beautiful, medieval, half-timbered house set in three acres of lovely garden in the heart of this wonderful village.  It has been awarded the AA’s Guest Accommodation of the Year award.  It has elegant four poster bedded rooms and excellent breakfasts!  The Angel is now owned by Marco Pierre White who was the first English chef to be awarded three Michelin stars.  Marco Pierre White does not cook here but the food is excellent and we will dine here tonight.  Walk:15km

Day 5  Thursday We will set off from Lavenham by foot for the pretty village of Long Melford.  We lunch in the village before visiting the beautiful church.

English pubs are making a comeback with their quality lunches.  There was a period when a Ploughman’s lunch would be a couple of slices of Slimcea bread, a hunk of cheese and a spoon of chutney. This is something of the past and gastropubs are now at the fore.

In the afternoon we could visit a hall owned by the Hyde Parker family. Admiral Hyde Parker was responsible for telling Nelson to retreat at the Battle of Copenhagen.  Nelson paid no attention turning his blind eye to his telescope and saying he saw no signal.  Of course he went on to win the battle!

Or we could drive to the market town of Sudbury to visit the tiny Gainsborough’s House Museum.  Thomas Gainsborough was born here and lived here while he was married.  There are a few lovely examples of his early work on show which have always appealed to me more than the later robust social portraits. It has the appeal of the naïve, being much influenced by his tutor Francis Hayman, portraying almost doll-like figures (see the Portrait of Mr and Mrs Andrews in the National Gallery, London).   Return by car to Lavenham for free time in the garden or wander around the village.  Dinner at The Angel.  Walk:11km

Day 6   Friday  Today we drive to Bury St Edmunds, burial place of St Edmund and where, at the abbey in 1214, the barons swore to force King John to sign the Magna Carta.  Before Bury though we have a private tour of the great house Ickworth which belonged to the Earl of Bristol and which has a wonderful family history. It has a magnificent collection of furniture, ceramics, silver and paintings containing several magnificent Gainsboroughs as well as a much treasured Velasquez and an extraordinary collection of Paul de Lamerie silver.  We then visit Greene King in Bury and if there is time we may take a quick drink in the smallest pub in England.  We are very much in a beer region here and this brewery is a good example of why the British bitter is so good and shows us how it is made.

Lunch at the brewery then a short drive to the Wyken vineyard belonging to Sir Kenneth and Lady Carlisle.  We will look around the lovely garden before a short walk to a local village and then drive back to Lavenham.  Dinner at a beautiful restaurantin the charming main square, which is run by a French couple who come from our region here in France. Fabulous food with a huge reputation – voted the best restaurant with rooms in the country!  Walk:4km

Day 7   Saturday We leave Lavenham after breakfastfor Ipswich or Stansted airport.

NOTE:The itinerary is subject to change according to local conditions. All mileages shown are approximate.

Contact us for more information and availability.


18-24 July 2020
Price: GB£2390 per person,  single room supplement:  GB£360
Distance:  60 kms

” This is our second itinerary in Suffolk and centres around the beautiful coastline which has been an inspiration to so many writers, poets and composers (Britten, Dickens, Conrad, Sebald, Richard Curtis, Sigmund Freud, Paul Greengrass, Alain de Botton and many more …) .  We centre the week around the coastal resorts of Southwold and Aldeburgh.  This is a very quiet and beautiful part of England untouched by globalisation and full of the querks and eccentricities that only Englishness can offer.  This is scenery with wonderful salt marshes with scurrying reeds and the muddy Curlew warbling estuaries of the Alde, Deben and Ore rivers.  There is good bird life on these coastal walks and of course fabulous fish to be enjoyed (all very good for the brain) and the great Adnams brewery at Southward.”

Day 1   You will be met at Ipswich train station late morning and driven to the beautiful coastal village of Southwold.  This is one of the beautiful fishing ports of Suffolk and home to the great brewery of Adnams.  We stay at The Crown.  This is in the heart of Southwold and has lovely bedrooms all with bathrooms en suite. It is a lovely hotel to start the coastal week.

We drive for a picnic lunch near Covehithe with a view over to the ruined church painted by John Sell Cotman and other Romantic water colourists. After our picnic we start walking along the beach back to Southwold looking at the extraordinary erosion and driftwood as the sea continues to wear away the cliffs. Dinner at The Crown.  Walk:8 kms

 Day 2   After a delightful English breakfast we will visit the famous brewery of Adnams.  This is a world class family run brewery.  We will then walk from Southwold to the small port of Walberswick.  This is a place where famous journalists, writers and film directors like to dwell. We will then continue for lunch at The Ship Inn, once a smuggler’s haven, at the ancient village of Dunwich. Dunwich was a large port and the capital of East Anglia 1500 years ago but then most of it was swept into the sea with erosion.  The bells still toll from the sea bed on certain dark and stormy nights.

We will continue on foot to the small village of Westleton, before returning to Southwold by car.  Dinner at The Crown.  Walk:10 kms

 Day 3   We depart in the vehicles to drive back to Dunwich and start the mornings walk.  This is a lovely marshy walk that will lead us to the RSPB reserve of Minsmere. After a quiet while in a bird hide watching the avocets and other waders and sea birds (we may see Marsh Harriers, Avocets, Bearded Tits, Red breasted Mergansers …) we will carry on to Eastbridge for a local lunch in a popular pub.

After lunch we will continue on foot to the coastal village of Thorpeness for a welcome cup of tea.  From here you have the option of catching a ride, or walking to Aldeburgh for the Wentworth, a country hotel beside the sea, that will be your base for the next four nights.  Dinner at the hotel.  Walk:15 kms

 Day 4  After breakfast at The Wentworth we will walk to Snape Maltings which is where the Benjamin Britten Festival takes place in August. It is a gentle walk through the woods and marshes.  A drink in the Three Sailors pub before returning to Aldeburgh for a beach picnic.

After lunch we shall visit Benjamin Britten’s ‘Red House’.  This has only recently been opened and is an insight into one of the world’s most popular modern composers.  It is an attractive house where he lived and composed.  It is beautifully decorated with pictures and furniture.  Walk back to Aldeburgh to work up an appetite for the evening’s dinner.  Walk: 8 kms

Day 5  Morning drive to the coastal village of Orford, which has a castle, an excellent bakery and one of the best fish smokeries in the United Kingdom!  We will take a walk along the coastal wall before returning to board the Lady Florence and eat lunch on board whilst cruising along the rivers Alde and Or.  Hopefully we’ll see seals and avocets as we chug along.  It is a very special feeling to be relaxing on a boat chatting and taking it easy in the sea air breeze.   Drive back to Aldeburgh for a sundowner on beach.  Dinner at The Regatta.  Walk:8 kms

Day 6  After breakfast a drive to another pretty village to start our walk along a coastal path dotted with massive Martello towers which were built in anticipation of the invasion by Napoleon at the beginning of the eighteenth century (Trafalgar and Nelson’s brilliance put a stop to that!).  We eat lunch at the most delightful boathouse which produces a beautiful array of shellfish with freshly caught lobster if we are lucky!!  The boathouse overlooks the Deben estuary with its bobbing boats and occasional Thames barges with their lofty rust coloured sails.

After lunch we will take a ferry across the estuary and after a leisurely walk we’ll finish off the day with a refreshing drink in a pub.  Dinner at the Wentworth.  Walk:11 kms

Day 7   We leave Aldeburgh for Stansted airport.

NOTE:The itinerary is subject to change according to local conditions. All mileages shown are approximate.


Contact us for more information and availability.
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