Southwold and Walberswick, two great seaside towns facing each other across the Blyth Estuary, are some 10 miles east of Ivy Grange Farm. If you aren't already familiar with their delights, a visit to both is a must. Walberswick is delightfully old fashioned, very popular with crabbers during the summer season and has great tea shops and gift/craft shops by The Green. Good pubs too! Southwold is bigger and has Britain's newest pier with some interesting mechanical toys and exhibits including a big water feature clock, inspired by Tim Hunkin. Adnams Brewery is in Southwold and has a terrific shop and restaurant/cafe. There are masses of independent shops, good second-hand bookshops, plenty of places to eat and drink and a fantastic lighthouse to visit (where you can climb the seemingly endless spiral staircase).
There's now great new river trips up the Blyth Estuary, run by the Walberswick Ferry team - we haven't tried it yet but it's high on our to-do list as we've heard such good things.
The Saints - we’re right on the southern edge of “The Saints”, where you can famously get lost! Worth exploring by bike or car – remember to take a map! Have a look here for some background.
Covehithe is our closest beach, about 7 miles due east. You can see up close how the sea is eroding the coastline, park by the “Church within a Church” and walk to the end of the road, which now disappears into the sea. There’s some great walking (and swimming) from here – we’ve got guidebooks and maps in the barn for you to borrow.
For a fun way to see the River Waveney (and maybe a kingfisher or otter if you are lucky) try the Big Dog Ferry which runs between Geldeston and Beccles. The boat can take 12 people and can accommodate bikes (though it's wise to book ahead to be sure) and it's a great trip from Beccles up to the Locks Inn at Geldeston for lunch and then a leisurely ride back. The skipper is great and will fill you in on what to look out for on the ride, including the old tree trunk when the kingfisher likes to sit.
Stargazing: we are blessed with big dark skies and it's lovely to watch the star formations at any time of year and the shooting stars in particular during August. There is a nearby Observatory at Seething which runs public events that include use of the telescope in the Observatory. They encourage children (8+) to come along to events and, if you've never seen Saturn through a telescope, it's a must! Check their programme of events on the website,
For a trip back in time, take a horse-drawn carriage trip round the local lanes. Our neighbours at Valley Farm offer half-hour and hour-long rides and will collect you from Ivy Grange Farm. It's a lovely way to see the local area and you can enjoy meandering at a slow walking pace and also cracking along at a fast trot.
Dunwich Heath is always worth a visit. It’s a large expanse of heathland overlooking the sea, very close to Minsmere. It has a good tea-room too.
Don’t miss a trip to Orford Ness. It’s a strange, wild place; fantastic for photography and home to a wide range of wildlife, a lighthouse and miles of pebbles and beach. On your way to the pier, check out Pinney’s of Orford for fresh seafood too. You can have a good day out in Orford, visiting the pubs, antique shops and castle.
Thorpeness is fun for the House in the Clouds as well as boating on the Meare or exploring this wonderfully old-fashioned seaside town.
Just down the coast from Thorpeness, look at Maggi Hambling’s Scallop on Aldeburgh Beach, and take in the Britten tour. If you have time, Aldeburgh cinema is well worth looking in on and carries the NT Live and Met Opera programmes.
The Norfolk Broads - take a day boat out from Rowan Marina at Geldeston (opposite the Wherry Inn) and explore the southern part of the Broads by boat. You start at the quietest stretch at Geldeston and can pootle around happily even if you aren't a great captain! Or pick up a boat from Hippersons in Beccles, self-styled Gateway to the Broads.