The 10 best family-friendly pubs around the Suffolk Heritage coast
There is no doubt that the Suffolk coastal area is a great place for a family vacation, and that Suffolk offers lots of fun things to do with kids but what about the food? If you are like us and sometimes choose a destination based on the dining options, then you’ll be pleased to know that Suffolk has some great offerings for a foodie family.
We especially love the laid back setting of a Suffolk country pub with a beer garden for the kids to run around in, and having visited quite a few over the years, we decided to pull together a list of our favourite spots for some casual dining so that you’ll be sure of a great meal or two during your stay in Suffolk.
Here are our top 10 recommendations.
1. The White Hart in Blythburgh
The pub may be on a busy main road (A12), but once you turn off into the car park, you would never know. For years we used to drive past this pub and didn’t give it much thought as it looked a little run down but it has had a relatively recent makeover and I am so glad we popped in one day to check it out.
It is very cosy inside and serves a range of Adnams ales. There is a large fireplace stacked up with toys to keep little ones entertained if you are inside on a rainy day but if it is sunny, they have possibly the best beer garden I have ever seen!
It is enormous, including a mini football pitch with goals at the very bottom which, handily, is well away from the diners but still within sight. Just remember to bring a football with you. It also has ride on tractors which are fun to free-wheel down the slope and small animals in various enclosures. The garden backs directly onto the picturesque Blyth Estuary so you can have a walk along the footpath to walk off some of the delicious food after lunch.
And the food is delicious which is a bonus because we would come here just for the beer and the beer garden! The menu is very inviting, including a large selection of lovely tapas dishes that come served on a long board. You can choose 2,4,6,8 – however many you can handle. They also have the usual suspects on the menu and a pretty extensive kids menu, including cocktails!
This is possibly one of our favourite restaurants in the Suffolk Coastal area. It also has rooms but we have not stayed here as we have our own accommodation nearby.
2. The Ship in Dunwich
Dunwich is an interesting place because in the 11th Century is was one of the largest towns in England. During the 13th and 14th Centuries, storms destroyed the coastline and the town fell into the sea. Today it is a quaint but tiny village (possibly one of the smallest in England!) with a church, a pub, a maritime museum, a fish & chip restaurant and a handful of houses.
Coming here, you really feel like you’ve hit the end of the road – and you have because it is on a loop and you can go no further. At certain times of the year it can get really busy – check out the dates for the Dunwich Dynamo. This is when hundreds of cyclists cycle from London to Dunwich and end up here, queuing for fish & chips!
The Ship is a great little pub, serving Adnams ales like most of the Suffolk pubs. The food is very much your typical pub food and they have a pretty good kids menu but the big draw for us is their beer garden. The kids love the boat in the middle of the garden (although you are not allowed to climb on it). They have some lovely accommodation .
3. The Westleton Crown in Westleton
The Westleton Crown is not far from the coast near Dunwich and is famous for having the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stay there after attending a friend’s wedding in Suffolk. (They stayed in the Swan Room in case there are any royal fans out there!)
The food is consistently great with a good kids menu. They usually run a competition for kids to colour in a crown and when you hand it in, you get a token for a free kids meal when buying an adult meal on your return which is a nice touch.
In the summer they open up the large bifolds at the back which makes the dining area lovely and light. The garden is a sun trap and can get very warm on a hot summer’s day, although there’s plenty of shade if you need it.
4. The Dolphin Inn in Thorpeness
If you have been boating in Thorpeness (which we highly recommend – see our post on things to do in Suffolk with kids), then you should definitely check the Dolphin out for lunch. They are set just a little back from the beach and serve high quality, modern British food. In the summer months they also have a BBQ menu. They have a good kids menu too, including a burger almost the same size as the adult burgers but half the price!
The beer garden is a huge draw. There is lots of space, although it does get very busy in the summer holidays so come early to get a table. They also have a boules court which kept the kids entertained for a while (watching). They have accommodation too.
5. The White Horse in Badingham
This is a picture-perfect pub both inside and out. There is a little snug drinking area inside when the weather is not so great, and a lovely outdoor seating area out front with a large beer garden round the back overlooking the local bowling green.
The food is pretty standard pub food and they have a pizza oven outside serving pizzas through the summer which is what our boys go for.
6. The Jolly Sailor in Orford
We love the Jolly Sailor It offers relatively simple pub food but not your average pub food. It is done very well and they source local produce where possible. As with most old Suffolk pubs, the ceilings are quite low, but this just adds to the cosiness. Out back there is a large patio area which leads onto a huge grassed area with a sandpit for the little ones.
7. The Ramsholt Arms in Ramsholt
If you like the idea of enjoying a meal or a drink on a warm summer’s day while watching boats sailing by, this is the pub for you. It is a little out of the way of anywhere but it is definitely worth the trip down narrow country lanes. The food is delicious, especially the fresh seafood and the BBQ menu in the summer months. The kids menu is a little light although it has the favourites. The real selling point is the view and the fact the kids can potter around on the shore edge with a bucket and spade while you finish your meal in peace.
If you come in the evening, you might be lucky enough to encounter a beautiful south facing sunset for sundowners.
8. The Crown Inn in Great Glemham
The Crown Inn has a very traditional feel to it, and offers a very warm welcome. We especially love their kids menu and their large and pretty beer garden at the back. It’s located far enough off the A12 to be lovely and peaceful, but a convenient location if you need somewhere to stop off from the A12 on the way to the coast.
9. The White Horse in Easton
The White Horse is a little inland from the coast but it is on here because they serve really delicious food and they are just around the corner from Easton Farm Park. The pub itself is a lovely 16th century building and so cosy inside in the winter. They cater for everyone and do pub food really well. They have a standard but tasty and reasonably priced kids menu.
In the summer the beer garden is perfect for the kids as it is enclosed and has a great climbing frame.
10. The Station Hotel in Framlingham
There used to be a railway in Framlingham but it closed to passengers in 1952 and the station building was converted to a pub. Although it doesn’t have a great beer garden for the kids to run around in (just a pretty floral courtyard area out the back), I’m putting this in here because you will probably (you should) check out the town of Framlingham while you are in Suffolk and it is a lovely pub with great food. The kids were very impressed with their choices (Suffolk sausages and homemade ragu tagliatelle) and wanted to take a picture of it! I was very impressed with my delicious open sandwich with bacon and brie.
If you are an Ed Sheeran fan, you may be interested to know that this is his local pub when he goes home and if you are lucky, you may get to see him. If he’s not there in person, there is a picture up on the wall of him with the bartenders.
There are so many great options for eating in Suffolk but if you give one of these a try, let us know your thoughts! Or maybe you want to tell us of a little gem we have missed. Either way, we’d love to hear from you.
Top Tip for drinking in Suffolk
With the Adnams Brewery based in Southwold in Suffolk, many of the pubs serve a variety of their world-class beers. Be sure to check them out!