We headed out to the Suffolk Coast on Sunday, stopping on the way at Shawsgate Vineyard in Framlingham. It was a good time to visit as all the grapes were ripe and would start to be picked next week. We had a good wander around the vineyard, tasting about eight varieties of grapes as we went. The woman running the vineyard shop was very nice and we tasted quite a few of the wines. We came away with three bottles each of Kate Moyes 2006, light red and Shawsgate Müller Thurgau, 1994. Both are very nice and the red is great drinking (but doesn’t stand to being open for long), if a bit pricy at £9.25 a bottle (£1 of this goes to St Elizabeth Hospice, Ipswich).

We drove for a lovely fish and chips lunch at Aldeburgh, at an award-winning shop with a queue out of the door (The Aldeburgh Fish and Chip Shop). The fish and chips were great and we ate them on the sea wall out of the paper, looking out to sea. Wandered along the beach, stopping at the wonderful Moot Hall and visiting the little museum inside.

Michael Aylesbury

Moot Hall, Aylesbury

Drove on up to Southwold and checked into our room at The Stables. Our room was massive, there was free cake in reception, which was also very good. We had a little wander about the park, flying 27 chinese kites that I bought three years ago in China and had never flown. About six of the tails fell off as the glue was coming unstuck but the trail of kites looked great. We wandered over the remnants of the old stately home demolished by the 4th Earl in the 1950’s. There’s isn’t a lot to see now.

Stables, Henham Park

Taxi in the evening into Southwold and followed the driver’s recommendation to have a pint at the Sole Bay, the closest pub to Adnams Brewery. Had a nice pint of beer each there, before heading off to the Crown (another Adnams Pub). Had more beer here and a lovely fish meal in a nice atmosphere. The waiters were very friendly and the food was good. Finished off our night in a third Adnams pub, the Lord Nelson which is a cosy pub with a good atmosphere. Out taxi driver met us at 10.30 sharp as promised and took us back to our hotel.

Slept well into the morning, partly thanks to the jet lag, and partly because it was so quiet in the middle of Henham Park. We had to keep an eye on the time to make breakfast at 9. Nice home made bread but disappointing kippers. We drove to Southwold and parked near the water tower, then wandered to the marina on the river. The tide was racing in quickly. Saw some wonderful, dynamic, foamy spindrift blowing up the beach which was entertaining. The waves were high and the wind was strong, which was invigorating but turned my hands blue from wind chill!

Spindrift at Southwold

Lighthouse, Southwold

Had a wander through Southwold and a cup of tea in one of the tea shops, before heading back to the car and heading of for home. On the way we had a walk around the outside of Framlingham Castle, which was a bit to priced to pop in for a look for 20 minutes. Still, an impressive castle with a house build onto the wall inside, which was still in use.

Framlington CastleMichael, Framlington Castle