Things to do in Felixstowe
Visit Felixstowe and enjoy a great day out by the sea! There are lots of things to do in Felixstowe, from the beach to gardens and nature reserves to military history there is something for everyone.
Of course, one of the greatest attractions of the seaside is the beach! Consistently rated with 'excellent' bathing water quality from the Environment Agency, the sand and shingle beach has perfect spots for building sandcastles. With a wide promenade that stretches almost the entire length from Landguard Point to Felixstowe Ferry, the Felixstowe seafront is over four miles long.
The Seafront Gardens
On the cliffs between the town centre and the beach are the beautifully restored Seafront Gardens which give the town its title, "The Garden Resort of East Anglia". Stretching for nearly a kilometre, there are actually eight gardens linked together: Town Hall Gardens and the South Cliff Shelter; Pram Walk; Ivy Terrace and the Ranelagh Steps; Spa Pavilion approach, the Wishing Well and Dripping Pond; Pavilion Terrace; Serpentine Steps and the Round and Octagonal Shelters; Rose Garden; Cliff House Garden and the Arch Cascade. Now over one hundred years old, the gardens are Grade II listed and a downloadable map along with historical information can be found on the Visit Felixstowe website.
To the east of Trimley St Mary is a wetland nature reserve which was created in 1990 alongside the river Orwell to help mitigate the habitat loss from the expansion of the Port of Felixstowe.
There are fantastic views of the Orwell Estuary and attracts a great number and species of birds. Cattle are used to graze many of the wet meadows in the traditional way. For more information visit the Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s website.
If flora and fauna are of interest, you can’t miss out on the Landguard Nature Reserve. Covering around 33 hectares (81 acres) the Reserve is home to some unusual and rare plants.
Due to the variety of migrating birds, as well as abundant nesting birds, the Landguard Bird Observatory is run by the Landguard Conservation Trust. Primarily functioning to study and record the wildlife of the Landguard Peninsula, the Bird Observatory also works towards education and advancement of knowledge - holding special events open to the public and sharing annual reports with a variety of other organisations.
Landguard Fort has a history stretching back nearly 450 years and is one of England’s best preserved coastal defences. With such a long and dramatic military and maritime heritage, it is well worth picking up an audio guide (free with admission) or joining a guided tour to learn about the Landguard Fort’s history. There are also a number of special events held during the open season, from April till October. For opening time and prices check the Landguard Fort’s website.
The Felixstowe Museum is housed within the Landguard Fort and follows the military life of Landguard from Henry VII to the 1950’s along with the social history of Felixstowe. Spread through fourteen different rooms and with new themed exhibitions each season, special events and learning activities there is a lot to discover!
The John Bradfield Viewing Area provides views across the estuary to the Shotley Peninsula and the towns of Harwich and Dovercourt and you can watch the hustle and bustle of the Port of Felixstowe and the vast container ships that come into the harbour. Open daily, the View Point Cafe serves all-day breakfasts, snacks, fresh fish and chips, salads, cakes, ice cream, teas and coffees, while the Landguard Visitor Centre has fun hands-on displays, videos and exhibits on the attractions of the Peninsula. The Harwich Harbour Foot and Bicycle Ferry runs daily from April to the end of October to Harwich and Shotley. It is the only public ferry service connecting Suffolk and Essex. Visit the Harwich Harbour Ferry website for prices and timings.
For more information on any of the attractions at Landguard take a look at the Discover Landguard website.
Originally built in 1905, the Felixstowe Pier has recently been redeveloped and has a lot to offer. The Family Entertainment Centre hosts mini tenpin bowling and the latest arcade games. Lorenzo’s Ice Cream Parlour serves up ice cream and traditional sweets along with great Italian coffee. For another sea-side favourite, fish and chips, there is The Pier Fish Co. If you’re looking for a sit-down meal there’s the Boardwalk Café Bar, which is open from breakfast through the evening and offers dining indoors or alfresco and hosts regular events. For more details and to learn more about the Pier’s history take a look at the Felixstowe Pier’s website.
The Pier isn’t host to the only family amusements in Felixstowe, there’s also Family Amusements, Forum Amusements and Mannings Amusements. Family Amusements has an arcade with video games, fruit machines and more. They also host the Felixstowe Snooker Club, and have an outdoor 9-hole Adventure golf course. Forum Amusement Arcade is a traditional family run business and has fun for the whole family, with all the games you would expect plus slot machines in the Adult Gaming Centre. They also have their own food court! Perhaps most well-known is Mannings Amusements which was built by Sir Billy Butlin in 1933. Owned and managed by the Mannings family since 1946, Mannings Amusements has all the traditional family amusements – including classics on display and some that can still be played, indoor crazy golf, ten-pin bowling, the fun fair and they even host a popular Sunday market!
Inspired by a watch tower at Mortella Point in Corsica, eight Martello Towers were built on the Felixstowe Peninsula between 1805 and 1812 as a defence against potential invasion by Napoleon's forces. They formed part of a network which ran along the east and south coasts of England, and were given letters of the alphabet as names. Four of these towers can still be seen around Felixstowe today.
Martello Park is home to the recently restored Tower 'P'. There are boards within the park that provide the history of the tower. The National Coastwatch Institution has one of their stations in the tower’s lookout.
Tower 'Q' (on South Hill) has been converted to a home. Tower 'T' is unused on the golf course and 'U' (also converted into a home) is located at Felixstowe Ferry.