Suffolk has a rich history which spans across hundreds of years. Over that time a number of significant buildings, events and people have left their mark on the towns and villages. Southwold, famous as the home of Adnams and with its iconic lighthouse, is no exception.
Perhaps an unusual sight to encounter at the beach, at Southwold you will find six 18-pounder cannons which commemorate the Battle of Sole Bay which took place off the Suffolk Coast in 1672. The battle saw English and French fleets on one side and Dutch fleets on the other. Given to the town in 1746 by the Royal Armouries, the cannons were intended to be used as protection against raids. Keep your wits about you to see if you encounter the ghost of Gun Hill. The cannons were last fired in 1842 to celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Wales, but on the second round of shots the number one gun misfired. A soldier was killed by the delayed explosion and there are many stories about his ghost wandering on Gun Hill. Now no one knows which cannons is the number one gun as during the First World War the cannons were dismounted and buried.
The Alfred Corry Museum
The old Cromer Lifeboat Sed is now the home of the Alfred Corry Museum. Housing the Alfred Corry herself, the museum offers visitors insight to the lives of the Southwold Lifeboat crews from 1893 to 1918 as well as the history of the Alfred Corry right up to present day. Used as Southwold’s lifeboat for 25 years, she was launched a total of 41 times and saved 47 lives. The museum is also full of local history, and with free admission and a warm welcome guaranteed be sure to make a stop here as you soak up Southwold.
Standing at 31 meters tall and housing a total of 113 steps in a spiral staircase, Southwold Lighthouse is something to behold. An iconic sight not only of the town but of the Suffolk Coast as well, the lighthouse has stood for over 100 years. The Lighthouse has had something of a colourful history from its conception as a replacement for 3 lighthouses which were condemned to be lost to coastal erosion, to the fire 6 days after the lighthouse opened and the threat of closure in recent years. One of five lighthouses which line the Suffolk Coast, you can even take a tour of Southwold Lighthouse and enjoy the view of the beautiful town and the sea stretching out to the horizon.
The Southwold Sailor’s Reading Room
Built as a refuge for fishermen and mariners in 1864, The Southwold Sailor’s Reading Room was intended as something of a haven – and a way to keep sailors out of the pub! Constructed in memory of Charles Rayley, a sea captain who had been in the Royal Navy as a young man and retired to Southwold, the Reading Room was commissioned by his wife so that sailors could have somewhere to “read things that were good for the soul”. Today pictures and portraits line the walls of local fishermen and seascapes, with various nautical memorabilia filling glass cabinets. Housing a small museum, pay the Reading Room a visit to see if you can find anything that soothes your soul.