Ruby the VW Campervan is parked up on her own private glade on the outskirts of Southwold. We are plugged into the electric and have a water tap and loo disposal. We have 4 other neighbours but due to the lovely landscaping of this campsite we can’t see any of them! We’re pitched up at Jubilee Certified Campsite, a 5 van site linked to the Camping and Caravan Club and at £15 on we feel like it’s a steal!
Thursday; we were working until 11:30 at which point we closed our laptops, bid our final students a fond farewell for the summer and literally RAN into Ruby and set off towards Southwold.
It’s actually an amusing story as to how we ended up here; it was an accidental booking a few weeks ago, as we were emerging out of lockdown I hit the phones trying to secure a couple of local breaks. When I rang this site, I thought it was one elsewhere, and when he told me he literally had one night free in the whole of July- I snapped it up thinking oh my god, we’ve missed the boat. When I realised my error I understood; walking distance into Southwold is always going to be attractive and the reviews for the site glowed. We decided to keep the booking and go and enjoy some Adnams to mark the end of a very strange and stressful school year!
The campsite is just lovely. Everything I hoped a CL with no facilities would be. Check in was relaxed, we literally just found an empty glade, plugged in and then tried to remember how to set the awning up. It went up quickly and easily and we had another couple of new gadgets to play with – our sun canopy and two Ruby red zero gravity recliners.
We decided to have a bbq lunch and just enjoy the quiet campsite for an hour or so which was bliss. I cracked open the fizz and we toasted getting through the last few months of utter chaos work wise!
Around 4pm we made our way the short distance on foot (20 mins) into Southwold. It’s been ages since we’ve visited, despite it being only an hour away. The colourful beach huts against the lovely sandy beach made us instantly feel on holiday.
We made our way to the Adnams shop to stock up- but had mistimed it so our summer budget breathed a sigh of relief! Instead we made our way to the historic Lord Nelson Adnams pub, who have adapted brilliantly to COVID requirements by closing inside – there are too many nooks and crannies; instead serving drinks out of a hatch and allowing you to enjoy a beer on benches overlooking the sea. This view would rival any beer garden! Having found a prime spot bench, we decided this would become our office for the evening, so we ordered fish and chips for takeaway from the pub for later on and spent a couple of hours sampling some Adnams with a view that just never got old.
After our delicious Adnams beer battered fish and chips, we made our way back to Ruby and had a chill outside the van until the mosquitos came out to play! They completely caught us off guard- we were totally unprepared for them and as such spent 2 hours before bed trying to make Ruby a mossie free zone- then realised there is a gap in the tailgate awning so had to reluctantly close the tailgate and start again!
Somehow we woke up with only 2 bites but high on today’s agenda is to get some repellent!
We absolutely LOVE this campsite so much! For us this is the perfect CL. It’s no surprise it books up very quickly.
Shortly after writing the blog section above, we began thinking about packing up ready to move on, as sadly our campsite (when we booked in June) could only fit us on for the one night. We therefore were thrilled (despite sharing the campsite owner’s annoyance of people’s lack of courtesy) when he popped round as we cooked breakfast to say he’d had a no show and we therefore would be welcome to stay an additional night. It was a no brainer and we thanked him for giving us first dibs, settled up for another night and put the kettle on; our day ahead looked leisurely and with no time commitments we couldn’t have been more relaxed and happy.
Late morning we decided to have another wander into Southwold, and this time take a walk towards nearby Walberswick along the coast. The weather had been a bit grey and drizzly so far but as soon as we reached the centre the sun came out and as luck would have it a beer table became available outside the Sole Bay inn. Well it would have been rude not to have stopped to sample an Adnams cider and we happily people watched for a while, whilst sat in the shadow of the lighthouse.
We moved on towards Walberswick picking up some mozzie repellent on the way and followed the dune path towards Southwold harbour and passed the exceptionally busy and hemmed in Southwold campsite. We felt pleased to not be staying there this time.
We joined the queue for the small foot passenger “ferry” which would take us the very short distance by water, but save us a much longer walk. There has been a ferry here since 1236 and it’s usually and traditionally a small rowing boat, but Covid restrictions have meant that the rowing boat is too small for social distancing. We were surprised to see our campsite owner driving the ferry! He seemed pleased to see us as he’d recommend the walk to Walberswick.
On the other side we happened across a pastry shop which just happened to have some fresh out of the oven sausage rolls for us to enjoy for our lunch. We washed it down with a drink at The bell, before hopping back across to Southwold on the ferry.
Opposite the ferry drop off point was a traditional fishmongers and as we are suckers for local food and the weather was good we picked up some fresh scallops and sea bass fillets for a bbq tea.
As we passed the Adnams shop on route back to the campsite we stocked up on lager, cider and white wine ready for our fishy feast!
We enjoyed our fish bbq so much! We had a delicious cheese board for supper (including some local Baron Bigod soft cheese) and retreated to bed before we got attacked by mosquitos!
Keith has made some effective mosquito nets to cover the gaps in the tailgate awning, so we were able to sleep with that open last night which was comfortable- although we both managed to screw a few bites between us!
The awning and canopy came down really easily and quickly as we packed up this morning, and after a fairly quick pack away we waved a fond farewell to our campsite- we have loved our stay here!
On the way home we stopped off at Woodbridge, to do a walk and also see the last remaining original tidal mill in the country. The town of Woodbridge is pretty and has lots of listed buildings. Thomas Seckford, Master of the Court of Requests of Queen Elizabeth I lived here in the 1500s and we passed many very pretty and quaint (and some less so 😉 ) properties around the centre of the town.
The tidal mill has been there since the 1700s, although there has been a tidal mill on that site since 1170 which is just remarkable to imagine. It’s recently been fully restored to working order and is looking fabulous standing proudly against the River Deben. Across the river is NT Sutton Hoo – well worth a visit (we’ve been recently). We passed some lovely looking house barges along the quay.
We were thrilled that the weather held out for our walk and only changed as we neared home.
We arrived home feeling refreshed and relaxed; we’d had such a lovely mini break! We’d fallen out of love with Southwold a few years ago, we can’t even really remember why, but it’s safe to say after this visit it’s lodged firmly back into our heart! We’ll be back!
We’ve actually only got a couple of days at home before we venture out again; this time we’ll be pointing our wheels northward.
Stay tuned! Until next time
PS: COVID-19 measures within Southwold
There is currently a one way system on the Main Street- with one pavement for each direction. This helped us feel secure and mainly worked well. All pubs and shops had sanitiser stations and on the Friday the law changed regarding masks and every seemed to be obeying the new rules. The pubs all did things differently and according to the space they each had available. The Lord Nelson served only from a hatch outside, and served takeaway food in the evening (pre book via phone) The Sole Bay Inn had a one way system and plenty of Perspex screens. The Bell at Walberswick were hugely limiting numbers, even in the garden. The Walberswick ferry sterilised every contact point as people got off after every trip. We felt safe and welcome at all times.