Phone: 01394 445225 | Email: schaonb@suffolk.gov.uk

Planning Your Visit

The Coast & Heaths AONB is a hugely popular destination for everything from walking the dog, to days at the beach, long distance walks, birdwatching, and staycations.

For those less active, or those who have tired themselves out exploring the area, then a cup of coffee in a seaside town or a fantastic pub meal and pint over-looking one of the AONB’s estuaries may be just the thing.

It’s home to people, nature and wildlife, local communities, businesses, and organisations that all come together to make the area such a special place to live, work and visit.

When planning your trip, please bear in mind that the AONB is a living and working natural landscape and it’s important to look after ourselves, each other, and the landscape. 

A timber building on the river Deben at Felixstowe Ferry

Felixstowe Ferry (Photo credit: Gregg Brown)

Maps and Guides

The Coast & Heaths AONB has some of the most appealing landscapes, it can be hard to know where to start!

We have a range of maps and visitor guides you can use to plan your adventures, with a host of different walks and experiences for all the family to explore. 

Additionally, both the Discover Suffolk and The Suffolk Coast websites are packed full of inspiration.

Being outside in nature is a fantastic way to really get to see wildlife and also to boost your physical and mental health and wellbeing!

Further information to help you plan your visit can be found on:

Couple cycling in the Heathland

Travelling in the AONB

The AONB may be a rural landscape, but there are several train stations and buses that provide excellent access to the towns and villages, making it a great place to discover by public transport.  

The Suffolk on Board and The Way To Go Suffolk websites help you plan your journey with live travel timetables and updates, plus maps and other useful information. 

The East Suffolk Lines website also has information about walking guides between stations, and guided walks from Lowestoft to Felixstowe. 

When exploring the south of the AONB along the Stour Estuary in Tendring, Essex County Council offers extensive advice on public transport and journey planning via Essex Highways

Sailing boat on the River Deben at Woodbridge

Sailing on the River Deben at Woodbridge (Photo credit: Gill Moon)

The Mayflower Line runs from Manningtree, which connects with services to London and Ipswich, and follows the path of the estuary of the River Stour to Harwich.

Four ferries (PDF) operate across the estuaries of the AONB:

  1. Harwich to Felixstowe
  2. Felixstowe Ferry to Bawdsey
  3. Butley to Orford
  4. Walberswick to Southwold

The AONB is also a magnificent place to explore on two wheels, on or off-road, so cycling is a great option. We have a number of cycling guides to set the wheels in motion!

If you do drive, please use designated car parks. There a number of electric vehicle charging points with locations around the AONB.

Buildings and boat machinery and Pin Mill with blue skies overhead

Pin Mill (Photo credit: Gill Moon)

Facilities

Before you leave, please research where you will park and how to find other public facilities such as toilets and baby changing.  

You can check locations and opening times for toilets and facilities in advance:

  1. Babergh District Council
  2. East Suffolk Council
  3. Tendring District Council

Make sure car parks are open before you travel and bring cash just in case.

At peak times, please park responsibly and keep roads and entrances clear to allow access for farming vehicles and emergency services.  

Man walking dog at Tunstall

Help your dog be a Good Dog

National research shows that between a third and a half of countryside visitors have a dog with them.


When you take your dog into the outdoors, always ensure it does not disturb wildlife, farm animals, horses or other people by keeping it under effective control.


This means that you:


  • Keep your dog on a lead
  • Keep it in sight at all times, be aware of what it’s doing and be confident it will return to you promptly on command
  • Ensure it does not stray off the path or area where you have a right of access.
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