On the outset, Southwold doesn’t look particularly family friendly. It’s filled with boutique shops and bakeries. It’s a town that’s stuck in a slower time and Tripadviser doesn’t recommend any particularly family friendly places there. You certainly can’t take a rogue toddler on the Adnam’s Brewery Tour, nor would you particularly want to carry them up to the top of the lighthouse.
But I’m a big believer in finding cheap, or free activities to do when we’re on holiday. When I was growing up, the things I remember doing most when on holiday were free. Like exploring the forest in Center Parcs, riding my bike and playing in the swimming pool.
So if you look hard enough, there’s so much to see and do for free. So here’s my list of 7 fun things you can do for free in Southwold with the kids.
1. Throwing stones at Southwold
Such a simple and free thing to do, Southwold beach is full of stones ready and waiting to be thrown into that big expanse of sea. Although if your aim is anything like Georgia’s (granted, she’s only 2) you’ll just be throwing it in the general direction of your very understanding cousin.
Just make sure you take the wet wipes to wipe those mucky hands afterwards (as if you’d leave the house without them).
2. Build sandcastles in the sand
Southwold has a beautiful beach with both sand and pebbly areas, making it great for building sandcastles. Just make sure you take your bucket and spade with you.
3. Visit gun hill
With a line of canons in a row on aptly named ‘gun hill’ it makes a great photo opportunity. Kids can clamber on them, or pretend to be pirates shooting at an enemy ship. Avast ye.
4. I spy a Southwold beach hut
The beach huts that line the Southwold coastline are beautiful, but they can also make a really fun game for kids. From naming the different colours, to reading the funny names, each is different and has it’s own personality.
When you get back home, you could then ask the kids to draw their own beach hut to see how they’d decorate their own.
If you’re thinking of buying one then beware… they go for about £50-60,000!
5. Visit the pier
Southwold pier is a thing of beauty. It’s a relatively small pier with a few shops lining the walkway. About halfway down there’s a metal clock that has moving parts every hour. Wait for it to start moving to see little metal men pop up from bathtubs and drop their trousers. This obviously causes great amusement for tiny people (and some much larger people). At the end of the pier is another photo opportunity where you put your heads into a picture.
For those old enough to read, the pier is also lined with cute message plaques that have been bought over the years. Some are quite funny!
There’s also an arcade full of ‘unique’ games – although these are obviously not free (and to be honest are a bit weird – zimmer frame walking simulator anyone?).
6. Go to the park
There’s quite a nice big park hidden behind Adnam’s brewery which is great fun for kids of all ages. With slides big and small, climbing frames, swings and spinners, it’s enough to keep kids entertained for ages and to blow off more steam.
7. Go crabbing
Okay… this technically isn’t in Southwold, but Walberswick which is either a short-ish walk away and a ‘ferry’ (I use the term very loosely as we discovered the ferry is actually a row boat), or a 20 minute drive around the coast. Walberswick is home to the national crabbing championships – yes, that is a real thing.
Take a bucket and some crab lines with some bacon and you’ll be able to catch a few crabs. Just remember to pop them back again.
If you have any other ideas of free things to do in Southwold, please do let me know and I’ll add them to this list!