A Little Off Base Portal to summer
July 30, 2008
FELIXSTOWE — Craving some sun and surf during the British summertime? Well, maybe just some surf, waves, a boardwalk and the serenity that comes with the North Sea endlessly churning in and out?
Look no further than the quaint beach town of Felixstowe. Located about an hour’s drive from RAFs Mildenhall, Feltwell and Lakenheath, this self-proclaimed "Garden Resort of the East Coast" offers four miles of boardwalk with all the requisite shops and activities for all ages.
Actually, the Brits call it a promenade, but imagine the quaint beach towns that pepper the East Coast back home, then put a local spin on it, and you’ve got Felixstowe.
Aside from the promenade, which features a pier, arcade and tons of places to eat and drink, this little town is hilly and historic.
Those looking for that bit of history with the briny sea air can check out the Landguard Fort, a base that guarded the entrances to the rivers Orwell and Stour since the 16th century.
It is also the site of the last invasion of England in 1667, when the Dutch were repelled by the garrison.
The town gained popularity as a Victorian tourist mecca in the 19th century. There are a host of pubs and restaurants right across the street from the water, and booths on the promenade sell excellent fish and chips along with other fresh seafood specialties.
Those looking to bop around shops will find a variety of specialty stores selling all the expected knickknacks that come with a beach town visit, as well as a string of national shops.
When you’ve promenaded on down the promenade to your heart’s content, be sure to check out the Landguard Peninsular on the way out, where a visitor can spend some time watching container ships come in and out of the Felixstowe port.
Some locals jump into the North Sea waters; others think it’s too dirty. It’s your call, but the water looked pretty refreshing on a recent visit.
Yes, British days out are expensive for Americans these days, but Felixstowe’s abundance of natural beauty, cheap eats and cheap parking means a reasonably priced day for you and your special someone, or the spouse and kids, is entirely within reach. Gas up the car and hit the road.
What: A seaside town on the Suffolk coast that offers activities for all ages.Where: About an hour’s drive down the A14 from RAFs Mildenhall, Feltwell and Lakenheath.