Felixstowe is a sizeable town on the southern Suffolk coast. A cheery resort with a fine sand and shingle beach, backed by a promenade, leisure centre, theatre, traditional amusements and well-kept parks and gardens.
Felixstowe Beach (Image Pixabay)
The town lies in a gently curving bay between the estuaries of the Rivers Deben and Orwell. The two-mile promenade is bordered by delightful flower displays and beautifully tended lawns. The resort attracted much fashionable society during its Victorian and Edwardian heyday, including the German Kaiser. The pier opened in 1904 and is still in use today, with amusements, restaurants and family entertainment. The Spa Pavilion Theatre, alongside the seafront gardens, provides a regular programme of performing arts and shows in summer. Inland there is an excellent shopping centre and a railway station connecting to main-line services at Ipswich.
The area was once the site of a Roman fort, which now lies in ruins beneath the sea. The Church of St. Peter and Paul stands on the foundations of an 11th-c Benedictine priory, believed to have been founded by St. Felix of Burgundy.
Today the local architecture ranges from sedate Victorian hotels and houses to modern seafront pavilions and amusement centres. One of Felixstowe's oldest buildings is a Martello Tower (1810), built as part of a chain of defences against the threat of invasion by Napoleon. Another building of interest is the Dooley Inn, an old pub with many doorways that were once used by revelers as quick exits whenever the Press Gangs and Revenue Men arrived.
Landguard Point, a narrow peninsula of shingle that protects the harbour entrance, has long been regarded as a strategic defensive point on this section of the east coast. A succession of forts have been built here over the centuries. The current rendition was completed in 1844, although parts of it date back much further. In the vicinity is a nature reserve; home to much rare flora and migrating birds.
Felixstowe Container Port (Image Pixabay)
Felixstowe Museum, located in a Ravelin Block of the old fort, contains an interesting array of exhibits covering local history, militaria and natural history, plus a collection of Roman artifacts found in the area.
Located along the side of the Orwell Estuary (at the southern end of the town) is Felixstowe Dock. An important tanker terminal, container port and ferry terminus. Since the 60s, the port has expanded to become one of the largest and busiest container ports in Europe. A passenger ferry connects with Harwich across the estuary. There is also a freight service to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
Sea fishing is popular here, with good catches of skate and bass in the summer, while cod is best fished in the autumn and winter.
Regular events include Folk and Drama Festivals and Carnivals, plus the Deben Regatta in August and a Fishing Festival in the autumn.