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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 (aided on your way by the good local bus service), 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 village of Brockdish. 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.



 
 

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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.

Most of the walks listed below make use of the good local bus service operating in the Waveney Valley (pay locally; not available Sundays and Bank Holidays). This allows for leisurely walking and more time to explore the villages and towns through which you pass. However, there are options to lengthen the walks should you prefer.
  • 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: 9km (5.5 miles), 3hrs; longer option: 16.5km (10 miles) 5.5hrs
    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 catch the bus (pay locally) into Bungay for one night at The Castle Inn. For a longer walk, continue along field edge paths, rising briefly out of the Waveney Valley to reach the ruins of Mettingham Castle, before descending into Bungay.

    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: 9km
    River Waveney - Beccles to Bungay
  • Bungay to Harleston: 11km (7 miles), 4hrs; longer option: 18.5km (11.5 miles), 6hrs
    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.

    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 – from where you catch the bus (pay locally) to spend two nights in the ancient market town of Harleston on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. Your base here is the welcoming Rooms at No.3, Chameleon House.

    Should you prefer to keep walking, continue to follow the river until you reach Mendham, birthplace of the famous artist Alfred Munnings. Here, you cross the River Waveney, climbing the ancient floodbank into Harleston.
    Bungay to Harleston: 11km
    Country lanes - Bungay to Harleston
  • Choice of walks from Harleston: 6.5km-21.5km (4 miles-13.5 miles)

    Circular walk via Mendham: 14km (8.5 miles), 4.5hrs
    This leisurely route takes you via the restored watermills of Needham and Mendham – once so vital to the area's economy – and to riverside water-meadows where white egrets, herons and kingfishers can be seen. En route there are several interesting old churches to visit, particularly those at Needham and Weybread with their unique flint-built round towers.

    Linear walk from Brockdish: 6.5km (4 miles), 2-3hrs
    Longer option from Billingford: 14.5km (9 miles), 4-5hrs; longest option from Diss: 21.5km (13.5 miles), 7hrs

    Alternatively, take the bus (pay locally) to the village of Brockdish 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. To extend the walk, stay on the bus to Billingford to see its fine old windmill before following the Angles Way back to Harleston; alternatively, for a full day's walk, go all the way to the market town of Diss, a favourite of Sir John Betjeman, and walk back from there via Billingford and Brockdish, both of which 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. Much closer to Harleston is St Peter's Brewery, which you could visit for a guided tour and tasting (pay locally), as well as the village of Flixton, home to a little-known but truly fascinating aircraft museum (free entry).
    The Waveney near Mendham
    Circular walk via Mendham: 14km
    Linear walk from Brockdish: 6.5km
 

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
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 4 nights: 01 April 2021 - 31 October 2021 & 01 March 2022 - 31 October 2022

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

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 Apr 2021 £435 £200
    1 May - 30 Sep 2021 £420 £210
    1 - 27 Oct 2021 £395 £200
    1 Mar - 30 Apr 2022 £460 £210
    1 May - 30 Sep 2022 £445 £225
    1 - 27 Oct 2022 £415 £210
    3rd & 4th person discount -£35
    Single traveller supplement £35
    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, and any connecting travel detailed below.

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

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

    Please note: dogs are not permitted on Inntravel holidays

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Waveney House Hotel, Beccles
    Deluxe double with river view: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2021 £14
    Deluxe double with river view: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £15
    Deluxe twin with church view: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2021 £14
    Deluxe twin with church view: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £15
    Suite with river view: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2021 £34
    Suite with river view: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £36
  • 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
  • 2 picnics
    4 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route maps and notes
  • GPS navigation
  • transfer to first accommodation after parking up your car in Harleston
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

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.
  • If your holiday plans go awry because of Coronavirus, rest assured that we’ll do right by you. Since the start of the pandemic, our flexible booking policy and prompt issuing of refunds to customers who prefer not to defer their holiday have earned us high praise in the national press.
  • We sincerely hope that your holiday experience will be as enjoyable as it would have been before the pandemic – walking holidays are ideal in these times of social distancing, and we’re not operating holidays if the key highlights can no longer be delivered – but, naturally, there will be some changes to ensure your and other people’s safety, not least taking tests before and after your holiday for many destinations.
    Your holiday experience: what to expect >
    Safety measures being taken by hoteliers & others >
    Entry requirements for non-UK destinations & for re-entering the UK >
  • 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.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • Yes, absolutely. Over the years, we have arranged a great many holidays in the UK for customers living in the USA, Canada, Australia and beyond.

    If you've never travelled with us before, it's worth reading the web pages which explain how we can cater for customers who live outside the UK. The main thing to bear in mind is that our tour operator's licence doesn't allow us to book flights that originate outside the UK, and nor are we able to book rail travel in the UK, so we can't make travel arrangements for you, other than pre-arranging taxis between the local railway station and the accommodation – see the ‘prices & travel’ section for the options available.

    For practical information about travelling to the UK, see the 'what do I need to know about travelling to England, Scotland and Wales?' question.
  • 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.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • 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 take out our recommended travel insurance policy (if you live outside the UK you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    We'll ask you for the details of your policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency phone number) so that we can help out if the worst happens while you are on holiday. It's up to you, though, to check that your policy covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs; we don't check alternative policies.
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) 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.
  • Unfortunately not. The Inntravel team includes many dog owners, but the extra considerations – such as whether taxi firms accept dogs for transfers to the start of walks, whether routes cross private land on which dogs are not allowed, and proximity to a vet’s – would add another layer of complexity to what are already quite complex holidays.
  • As a minimum, you will need a passport to enter the UK; requirements vary according to your nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. You’ll need to check requirements on the website of your own country’s government or that of the British government. Our essential travel information page provides links to websites where you can find out about the applicable requirements, along with general official travel advice.
     
    English is the most widely spoken of several official languages; in Wales, for example, Welsh has equal status. The currency is the British pound (Scotland issues its own bank notes, but Bank of England notes can be used in Scotland and vice versa). The UK follows Greenwich Mean Time during autumn and winter, but switches to British Summer Time (GMT + 1) from late March until late October.
Last fetch time is : 10/26/2021 5:10:38 AM