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Secret Suffolk

Discover the Waveney Valley
 
Discover beautiful Suffolk on this self-guided walking holiday, with luggage transported. Explore medieval churches and crumbling Norman castles, spot an abundance of wildlife, wander beside tranquil riverbanks, visit the glorious coast and enjoy stays in three charming market towns.
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in Suffolk

What could be more delightful than a leisurely walk beside a gently flowing river as it meanders through a lush green landscape of fertile arable fields and shady woods, broken only by peaceful villages and fascinating historic sites? Wildlife abounds along the riverbanks – from water voles and moles, to kingfishers and coots – evoking fond memories of literary characters we all read about as children. Discover, too, a rich history of long-forgotten medieval wall paintings in ancient churches; crumbling Norman castles that once stood proud in the landscape, and memorials to heroic bomber squadrons from the Second World War.
You stay in three small market towns so typical of the area – unspoiled and traditional, yet providing high-quality accommodation and an eclectic mix of fine eateries in which to sample the excellent local produce. On the first two days, you walk from village to village, while on the third you are free to explore at leisure. We provide notes for a circular walk that discovers more of the Waveney Valley or a linear walk from the nearby market town of Diss. Alternatively, you can explore by car, perhaps visiting the city of Norwich, the charming Suffolk coastal towns of Southwold or Aldeburgh, or the beautiful gardens at Bressingham.



 
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on almost any day of the week, and are free to add extra nights. There is a good local bus service in the Waveney Valley (except Sundays and Bank Holidays), giving you the option to shorten several of the walks should you wish (pay locally).
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

    East England is less prone to rain than the west, but you should always be prepared for wet weather.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 6 6 9 11 15 19 21 21 18 15 10 7
    mm 54 40 46 48 46 50 53 54 50 57 65 59
  • Arrival in Beccles
    Night 1: at Waveney House Hotel (where you spend one night).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Beccles to Bungay: 16.5km (10 miles), 5hrs; shorter option: 9km (5.5 miles) 3hrs
    Explore the pretty streets of Beccles, with its fine array of red-brick Georgian town houses, independent shops, colourful Friday market – and an unusual church tower, which is not attached to the church. Leaving the town, you follow the north bank of the meandering River Waveney as far as Geldeston Lock, the furthest navigable point on the river and home to a characterful pub, The Wherry, named after the traditional sailing barges that once plied these waters. Heading south over the river via The Locks Inn, which dates from the 16th century, you reach the quiet village of Shipmeadow (from where you can choose to catch the bus into Bungay). The walk continues along field edge paths, rising briefly out of the Waveney Valley to reach the ruins of Mettingham Castle, before descending into Bungay, where you stay one night at The Castle Inn.

    Additional circular walk from Bungay: 5.5km (3.5 miles), 1.5hrs
    Depending on your time of arrival into Bungay, you can take time to discover this small, historic market town, which contains many independent shops, plus the picturesque ruins of Hugh Bigod’s Norman castle. Should you wish to explore further, there is a delightful additional riverside circuit that follows a wide meander in the river round Outney Common, where wildlife abounds. You may be lucky enough to see a flash of orange and turquoise as a kingfisher darts by…
    Beccles to Bungay: 16.5km
    River Waveney - Beccles to Bungay
  • Bungay to Harleston: 18.5km (11.5 miles), 5.5hrs; shorter option: 11km (7 miles), 4hrs
    From Bungay, you initially follow the meandering river through water meadows, before rising away from the valley to cross wide expanses of rich agricultural land. The joy of walking through flat terrain is that you are treated to big, big skies and far-reaching views. It's little surprise that this area was the site of an American Air Force base during the Second World War.
    En route you have the option of a short there-and-back detour across fields to visit St Peter’s Brewery for welcome refreshments (add 2.2km, 1.5 miles); or to wander down a quiet country road past the US Air Force memorial, the ruins of an Augustinian Abbey and St Mary’s church with its unique tower, to reach the village of Flixton, home to a little-known but truly fascinating aircraft museum (free entry) (add 2.5km, 1.6 miles).
    The route then descends to the valley floor and a series of sand and gravel pits, one of which is now a bird reserve, before arriving in the pretty village of Homersfield, with its colourful thatched cottages, historic church and pub – and a nearby bus stop should you wish to shorten the walk.
    Following the river once more, you reach Mendham, birthplace of the famous artist Alfred Munnings, where you cross the River Waveney, climbing the ancient floodbank to end your walk in Harleston – an ancient market town straddling the Norfolk/Suffolk border which offers a wonderful mix of historic buildings, unusual shops, and cafés. Here, stay two nights at Rooms at No.3, Chameleon House.
    Bungay to Harleston: 18.5km
    Country lanes - Bungay to Harleston
  • Choice of walks from Harleston: 6.5km-22km (4 miles-13.5 miles)

    Circular walk from Harleston: 18.5km (11.5 miles), 5hrs; shorter option 14.5km (9 miles), 4hrs
    Enjoy a varied circuit from Harleston via the restored watermills of Needham and Wortwell and the riverside water-meadows of Mendham, where white egrets, herons and kingfishers can be seen. En route there are several interesting old churches to visit, some with round flint-built towers like Needham and Weybread, others seemingly too large and grand for the villages they dominate like Redenhall. This walk can be shortened by walking back to Harleston when you reach Mendham; or by catching the bus from Wortwell.

    Linear walk via Diss: 22km (13.5 miles), 6hrs; shorter options: 6.5km-14.5km, 2.5-4hrs
    Alternatively, take the bus to the market town of Diss, a favourite of Sir John Betjeman, and follow the Angles Way through lush grazing meadows beside the river Waveney back to Harleston. On this walk there are old churches to explore, villages of thatched cottages to pass through and the chance to see a wide variety of wildlife from Muntjac deer to kingfishers and green woodpeckers. Again, it is possible to shorten this walk by alighting from the bus at either Brockdish or Billingford and joining the Angles Way for the return to Harleston. Both villages have fine country pubs should you arrive at lunchtime or be in need of refreshments.

    Explore by car
    If you prefer not to walk on your last day and you have your car with you, you could always explore further afield. The genteel resort of Aldeburgh and the picture-postcard pier and beaches of Southwold make for a wonderful day out to the coast; while the small market town of Diss has managed to retain its traditional ways of life and unique character. Here, you will find boutique shops selling everything from designer clothes, books and organic produce; and bustling cafés and restaurants offering locally sourced food. Continue on to the Bressingham Gardens and Steam Museum, before exploring the ‘foodie’ towns of Attleborough and Wymondham. The city of Norwich, with its fine cathedral, castle, and medieval streets and churches, is also well worth a visit.
    Circular walk from Harleston: 18.5km
    Circular walk from Harleston shorter option: 14.5km
    The river Waveney near Mendham
    Circular walk from Harleston: 18.5km
 

Accommodation

You start at a smart hotel by the river in Beccles, then stay on subsequent nights in two smaller guesthouses, both of which have only a few rooms.
 
Prices & travel options
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  • 4 nights: 01 June 2019 - 30 September 2019, 01 October 2019 - 29 October 2019, 01 April 2020 - 31 May 2020, 01 June 2020 - 30 September 2020 & 01 October 2020 - 31 October 2020

    Start varies according to season | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 May - 30 Sep 2019 £440 £230
    1 - 25 Oct 2019 £420 £220
    1 - 30 Apr 2020 £435 £200
    1 May - 30 Sep 2020 £455 £210
    1 - 27 Oct 2020 £435 £200
    3rd & 4th person discount -£30 to -£35
    Single traveller supplement £30 to £35

    Please note: dogs are not permitted on Inntravel holidays

    Start dates
    1 Apr - 31 May: Tue, Wed, Thu & Fri
    1 Jun - 30 Sep: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu & Fri
    1 - 29 Oct: Tue, Wed, Thu & Fri

    Included travel: transfer Harleston-Beccles (if driving) OR to Diss railway station

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Waveney House Hotel, Beccles
    Deluxe with river view: 01 Apr - 29 Oct 2019 £16
    Deluxe with river view: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2020 £14
    Suite with river view: 01 Apr - 29 Oct 2019 £35
    Suite with river view: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2020 £34
  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Connecting travel options - out via Beccles, home via Diss

    Outward route Price per person Latest train
    arrival time
    walk Beccles station to Waveney House (0h10) n/a flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest train
    departure time
    Taxi Chameleon House, Harleston to Diss station (0h30) included flexible
What is included
  • 4 nights
  • 1 dinner
    2 picnics
    4 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route maps and notes
  • transfer back to first accommodation to pick up car
 
Reviews

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FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 11/19/2019 7:57:47 AM