It is possible to visit the Old Post Box without a car. Our location just outside Halesworth means that you have access to a town with shops and transport links while also being able to walk into beautiful countryside in Holton and beyond.
First up - how to get there. Halesworth Train Station is just over a mile away from the cottage and takes about 20 minutes to walk. It's a well lit, pavement walk along the main road from Halesworth to Holton. Trains to Halesworth come from Ipswich, which has regular and direct connections to London, Cambridge and Peterborough
Getting around once there....
It is possible to get around Halesworth and surrounds by foot only. There is a nice walk into Halesworth via the Millennium Green and this route is printed out for you in the cottage. The 99A bus goes from Holton to Southwold and to Bungay and to the pubs mentioned below as well as Halesworth town centre. The bus stop is just opposite the house outside the School. They run every couple of hours so important to look at the timetable to plan your journey. They accept contactless payments.
There is a Farm Shop three minutes from the cottage at Holton Garden Centre. It would be possible to just buy your groceries from here for a short weekend - it has all the essentials as well as a range of fresh vegetables, milk, meat and butter and frozen food including delicious pastries and ready meals. They accept cards too. The nearest supermarket, the Co-Op, is 1.5 miles away and can also be reached by foot in about 30 minutes. You simply walk back towards the station and through the town.
Things to do....
There are lots of nice walks from the cottage, including immediately behind at the Holton Pit which is a site of geological interest. It includes a beautiful lake and lots of rabbits! There are many other walks possible via the river accessed from Mells and they are signposted, more ideas on this website. It is possible to walk all the way to Southwold though we have not yet done it! The Cut Arts Centre is by the station and so can easily be walked to and has regular plays, performances and films.
Eating and drinking...
While there is no pub in the village itself, there are several in walking distance. The first option is to walk into Halesworth where you will find The Angel Inn and the White Hart. You can walk via the green route during daylight and the pavement by night. The Queen's Head Blyford can be walked to in daylight in about 45 mins. You walk out of Holton towards the turning for Mells and walk along the river. This is a similar route to take to the Star at Wenhaston. These are long walks (45 mins to 1 hour) and should only be attempted during the day since it involves walking through unlit and rough paths.
If that all sounds a bit exhausting, the cottage is perfect for just chilling out in front of the fire in the warm. With the Garden Centre Farm Shop so close it is possible to have a very pleasant weekend with just a short stroll there and back for provisions.
My favourite time of year to visit the beach is actually the Winter. You can't beat Southwold on a cold, crisp and sunny day. After the end of September, you can let your dogs off the lead so they can have fun too.
Since it is so quiet, it's also a perfect time to take in the beach huts in all their glory. It's hard to pick a favourite, but I actually like the smaller and less posh ones!
Park at Gun Hill which is the Walberswick end of Southwold, and you may be able to get one of the free spaces if it's quiet otherwise there's a pay and display there too. You can start the walk with a coffee at the Gun Hill cafe, walk up to The Harbour at Walberswick for lunch and the perhaps a drink at the Sail Loft before home!
I'm pondering a new house sign for the cottage but can't decide what to get. Been looking for inspiration on the Suffolk streets and here is one that caught my eye...
One of the many nice things about Suffolk is the sandy beaches. A recent discovery is Sizewell beach - the beautiful picture in our kitchen by local artist Sara McLaughlin is a scene from there. It's a strange place in that it is the site of the nuclear power station which looms over the coast. But it is still a beautiful place to walk, with a huge expanse of sandy beach. I have only been once and stuck to the shore but there are many walks to and from including to Dunwich. High up on my list for a return visit.
No trip to The Old Post Box is complete without brunch at dog-friendly Darsham Nurseries - delicious food, followed by more temptation in the gift shop. This wrapping paper caught my eye and these ceramics. Plenty of inspiration in the garden too, including this glorious sculpture as modelled by Betty.
I've been impatiently waiting for the right time to pick some blackberries and it has finally arrived. It hasn't stopped me trying a few early ones though and putting up with the tartness. Dog walking is the perfect time for impromptu picking - poo bags (clean!) are ideal to collect your haul.
So far, we've sampled the berries of Blythburgh around the marshes, a few early ones in Minsmere and perhaps the best ones right behind the cottage near the old pits. Much crumble has been consumed!
If you enjoy mooching around vintage shops and flea markets, this part of Suffolk is for you. From the moment you hit the A12 after Ipswich you will find a trail of treasure troves:
1. Marlesford Mill
Set on two floors, this vast space includes both vintage and upcycled pieces for home and garden. Our kitchen table is from there, as well as a few of our vinyls. There's also a lovely farm shop and cafe next door.
2. Snape Vintage and Makers market
Between July and October, Snape hosts a range of traders selling everything from prints and cookware to furniture and lighting. If you are visiting outside those times, you can check out the permanent antiques centre there. No dogs allowed though unfortunately. Our dog tail hooks and tea and coffee pots are from this market.
3. Yoxford Antiques Centre
This is a huge space crammed with stuff, including jewellery and vintage clothing as well as home and gardenware. There are lamas on site too, although I've never been to have a peek at them! Some of our bedroom furniture came from Yoxford. The village itself is worth looking at too, with cute little cafes and another more traditional antique shop and well worth a look at the Rowe&Williams Gallery.
4. Black Dog Antiques
The best is the nearest! This lovely shop is in Halesworth market place and has beautiful furniture, as well as some ironmongery and other bits and bobs. We eyed the Hungarian Settle in our lounge up at Black Dog for many months before taking the plunge. The team at Black Dog also organise the regular Brocantes in Halesworth and larger outdoor fairs around Suffolk, including at Glemham Hall and Bungay. We got a haul of stuff at the last Glemham event such as our coffee table, pendant lamp and plant stand.
5. Various, Halesworth
Do check out the charity shops in Halesworth, where we've found some lovely trinkets, kitchenware and cushions. There are two other vintage shops in Halesworth itself, including one regularly stocked by Red Eyed Dove, the source of some of our kitchenware, and HunkyDory. A couple also open their cottage opposite the library from time to time to sell various vintage items and that's where we bought our bird prints from.
About thirty minutes drive from the cottage is Shingle Street, which was rumoured to be the site of a failed German invasion. It's eerily quiet, even on a summer's weekend, but all the more atmospheric and tranquil for it. There's not much there so definitely somewhere to take a picnic!