If there’s one place I haven’t explored nearly as much as I should have – it’s right here in the UK. But this year, I promised myself I’d do more staycations and explore more of what the UK has to offer.
Exploring the UK means you can have a bigger budget (no need to budget for flights or currency exchange, etc) and as everywhere is much closer – it means you could head off somewhere for only a few days (and use less of your holiday allowance).
Bank holiday weekends are the perfect time to take advantage of the UK – so we took the Easter weekend to take our first staycation, and ventured off to the East Coast of the UK, taking in the country lanes, the British seaside, and two beautiful hotels in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.
We packed our suitcases into the new car, packed a bag of snacks for the trip – and set off. Spotify playlist blasting from the speakers.
The first hotel we stopped in was called The Salthouse Harbour Hotel. It’s located right on the front of Ipswich Neptune Marina, in the most picturesque spot imaginable. I’ve included a couple of photos of the views below.
Honestly, the hotel could’ve been anywhere in the world. When the sun was out, it felt like we were in some sunny European marina fishing town. The marina is full of bars and restaurants, so if you’re there for a couple of nights, there’s plenty to try. It was lovely to just walk along and soak in the atmosphere, and do some people watching.
The room itself was just utter perfect. I made the sweeping declaration that it was one of the ‘top 3 hotel rooms I’d ever stayed in’. The room was spacious, comfy, modern and quirky. There were little luxuries scattered around the room, as well as little unique details – and the combination made the whole thing gorgeous.
No little detail was overlooked and all the fixtures and fittings felt so intentional and well thought out. The bedroom contained a huge copper bathtub (see photo above) and the re was even extra bath products next to the bath, and extra towels within reach of the bath – so you didn’t need to worry about running to the bathroom.
In the evening I took a long bath (who could resist with that HUGE bathtub?!), enjoyed the sunset from our balcony, and then we ventured down the hotel’s restaurant ‘The Eatery’ to enjoy some delicious food.
The menu (click here to take a look) is traditional flavours and combinations with modern and fun twists. Honestly – it was great food. I’m still drooling over the steak and peppercorn sauce… They also do afternoon tea and breakfast there, as well as a fab cocktail menu for after dinner. Which we definitely took advantage of!
The next morning, we woke up refreshed and ready to explore. There are plenty of beaches within driving distance of the hotel, and we wanted to make sure we had time to check out a couple of them! I haven’t explored many UK beaches, so I loved seeing these new places.
The best beach we visited was Southwold Beach, about 40 minutes in the car from our hotel. The beach has plenty of space for walking and exploring, as well as a quirky pier with restaurants, shops and arcade games on. I ADORE piers, and Southwold pier is definitely a contender for top spot.
Oh, and the adorable coloured huts that line the beach…. They are the most photogenic, instagrammable things ever. So cute and so typically British.
We ate lunch at ‘The Boardwalk‘ restaurant which is right in the middle of the pier. It’s a gorgeous restaurant, with big windows looking out the sea on either side. The menu is varied, lots of seaside classics and fish dishes (as you’d expect!) – all really yummy and fresh.
That afternoon, we headed towards Bury St Edmunds, a beautiful little town about an hour drive from Southwold Pier. I’d never been here before but I was so pleasantly surprised by how quaint and pretty it was. We stayed at The Angel Hotel, which is right in the centre of town. The town is full of cute little coffee shops, independent boutiques, and big name retailers too. The perfect little market town – ideal for a weekend getaway.
I’m already planning to revisit soon, it’s just my kind of place!
The hotel we stayed in was called ‘The Angel‘ hotel, owned by the same company as the hotel we visited in Ipswich. You could really tell – the hotel had the same attention to detail and quirky little fixtures and fittings. The exterior of the hotel was just stunning too – see the photo below!
The style of this hotel is a bit more ‘country’ rather than modern – but it totally fits in with the town and the building. The room was cosy and cute – but still had the wow features, like the HUGE bed and the HUGE bath.
The location of The Angel is just ideal for exploring the town, literally a 30 second walk and you’re right in the middle of the shops. There is also a big car park right outside the hotel too – which makes things super convenient.
If you don’t feel like venturing too far though – the restaurant in the hotel is just amazing – and they have this quirky, cool underground bar called Wingspan which was so unexpected and lovely. I love any bar with character and a story to tell, and this had those things in buckets.
Hopefully I’ve convinced you to take a staycation this year, and given you two pretty great recommendations of where to stay!