“ Address: Ferry Road / Southwold / Suffolk / IP18 6ND / England „
I have been camping at this lovely site for many years, and although I have been to many other great sites over the years, I have never found one that can equal the perfect location of Southwold.
The campsite is situated outside the village centre, just by Southwold harbour. In my opinion this location is far superior to any other in Southwold: the beach is a few yards away from the campsite, and you can just walk over the dunes in your swimsuit and plunge into the sea; the working harbour lies on the other side of the campsite, with its sailing and fishing boats coming and going and providing a constant buzz; crabbing children hang from the harbour walls, shrieking when they find a crab on the end of their line; and small cabins and cafés line the creek, selling the fresh fish that the fishermen bring in every day.
Looking across the creek you can see the village of Walberswick, a source of arty shops, lovely pubs and yet more beaches. You can easily cross the creek by paying 50p to the ferryman, who will row you over - or by walking up river and crossing the bridge. We always love to catch the ferrry, waiting on the wobbly wooden pier we watch the jelly fish floating down the river and wave to passing boats.
Southwold itself, with its lighthouse, its Victorian architecture and its plentiful real ale pubs, can be reached via a beautiful 10 minute walk along the beach, or a 5 minute cycle ride down the single track road. This walk will take you past the famous Southwold beach huts; past Gun Hill, with its rows of cannons pointing out to sea; and along to the pier, with its shops, cafes and artwork.
The campsite itself is very basic, and the prices that people are prepared to pay reflect the popularity of Southwold and the location of the site, rather than the amenities.
The tent field has about 120 pitches, and there is only 1 tent allowed per pitch. There is one toilet block for the camping field, and one for the static caravans. The camping block has two showers, 8 toilets and some sinks. Both of the blocks are run down and frequently dirty. The showers are small and there is always a queue for them.
There is no shop on the site, but the campsite reception will sell gas canisters and will freeze ice blocks for 80p per block. There are no electric hook-ups for tents. There are two smallish but very adequate supermarkets in Southwold, as well as a delicatessen and greengrocer.
A mobile shop (man in a small van) comes to the campsite every morning, selling papers, milk and a variety of light groceries. Fresh fish can be bought from any of the cabins along the creek and some of them also sell fish and chips. There is an ice cream kiosk just outside the campsite that sells crabbing equipment and bait, as well as ice cream, sweets, teas, coffees and cakes. The Harbour Inn is very close to the campsite, and provides lunch and evening meals.
The reason that people return to this site time and time again, ignoring the high prices and the inadequate facilities, is the great atmosphere of the site. The tents are fairly close together, but this give the site a sense of community spirit. The children run around in packs with bikes or on foot, and start communal games of football - or the much more popular water fights!
This is a campsite for relaxing, for letting the kids run around in a safe environment, to do some crabbing, to walk into town, to catch the ferry over to Walberswick. Because there is no on-site entertainment, everybody makes their own. It is good old fashioned fun, with no fancy pools, kids clubs or giant skittles.
~~prices and booking~~
The campsite administration is very laid back, and if you arrive after 5pm it is likely that there will be nobody there to book you in. Luckily each pitch is numbered, and you are told your pitch number when booking - so it is easy to look at the map and set up unassisted.
The campsite is incredibly popular and many people will book a year in advance, booking next years stay during the current stay. There is a £25 non refundable deposit per pitch, and the balance is paid at some stage during your stay.
The prices are £15 per night per pitch. This includes two adults - it is £1.10 for each additional child, or £2.00 for an additional adult. Under 18's are not allowed to stay on the site without an adult.
If you are looking for a static caravan - there is a 40 year waiting list to buy one of these!
The site opens late March/early April to late October.