The coastline of Suffolk is probably best viewed from the deck of a boat. Five estuaries break up the coastline; the Stour, the Orwell, the Deben, the Alde and the Blyth. This creates a mosaic of landscapes with marshes and reed beds and provides a haven for sea and estuary birds.
The coast and estuaries of Suffolk provide some of the best leisure sailing on the east coast, with their many marinas, boat-builder's yards, sailing schools and clubs, waterside hamlets and ancient fishing villages.
Alternatively, there are numerous inland water sports centres where you can sail and windsurf. Oulton Broad and Alton Water are two of the most popular ones.
There are plenty of boat trips and boats for hire with a selection of cruises on rivers which are steeped in history and natural beauty. The following companies all offer boat trips in Suffolk:
Flatford, Stour (Trusty II): 01206 392656
Orford, MFL Lady Florence: 07831 698298
Orford, Regardless: 01394 459984
Orwell River Cruises, Orwell Lady: 01473 258070
Suffolk Cruises, Woodbridge Quay: 07850 773545
River Stour Trust: 01787 313199
Viking Mariners provide sailing trips and RYA sailing courses from the marina in Ipswich along the River Orwell.
Canoeing and Canoe Hire
Canoes are a great way of watching wildlife. They are totally silent allowing you to get close to the wildlife on the rivers of Suffolk. Swans, herons and kingfishers can all be seen, and in summer the rivers are teeming with beautiful damselflies, butterflies and dragonflies. You may even glimpse a slight of an otter!
Outdoor Hire Centres offer the hire of outdoor activity equipment from bikes and canoes/kayaks to pedal karts and camping kit available to hire for a few hours to day and weeks. A navigation guide for the River Stour can be found here.
Anglia Adventures offer family canoe days and camping trips on the river Stour. Designed for adventurous beginners every trip is led by qualified instructors using the best quality equipment.
Iken Canoe, a canoe and kayak hire centre based on the stunning upper reaches of the Alde estuary between Snape and Aldeburgh. Discover creeks and flood waters where no other craft can go, or gently glide with the tide at low water amongst the mud banks which are teeming with wildlife.
River Stour Boating CIC Is a Community Interest Company that has run guided canoe tours since 2007. Take a canoe journey along the picturesque Stour Valley and Dedham Vale. The tours are all inclusive of equipment, pub lunches, transport and camping.
Outney Meadow Caravan Park, at Bungay, has canoe hire in the Waveney Valley.
The Ipswich Canoe Club is an active club affiliated to the British Canoe Union and offers events year round including gentle paddles on local rivers.
Sudbury Canoe Club caters for both young and old paddlers, beginners or more advanced and organises trips along the River Stour.
For detail of other clubs and centres in Suffolk and details on the British Canoe Union, visit the website of Canoe England.
When it comes to relaxing outdoor activities, few can match the sheer pleasure of angling. Whether your interest is in sea, coarse or game, if you fancy some fishing, you will find Suffolk hard to beat. With its unspoilt rivers, beautiful coast line and abundant fishing lakes, which range from natural reed-fringed pools to large gravel pits stocked with specimen fish, there’s something for everyone.
Over the centuries commercial fishing has been one of Suffolk’s most important coastal industries. Its importance has gradually declined, but it’s still possible to buy wonderfully fresh fish, direct from the fishermen’s huts on the beach. Of course, it’s also possible (and much more fun!) to catch them for yourself - there’s tremendous sport to be enjoyed all along the coast and a range of species may be caught throughout the year. Information about tactics, bait and local hot spots can be found at the many local angling shops in the area.
The Waveney offers perhaps the finest river fishing and a wide range of opportunities, from wily chub in the intimate, alder-fringed upper reaches, to bream and pike in the open Broadland landscape of the lower river. Still water angling is widely available and the gravel pit complexes in the Waveney and Gipping valleys offer the chance to catch tench, bream, pike and especially carp to specimen size.
Game fishing is provided by a number of popular, day ticket fisheries. All offer excellent sport, in peaceful, uncrowded surroundings.
To fish in England you usually need to have a rod licence. These can be obtained from The Environment Agency.