Suffolk boasts many old-worldly seaside towns which still offer remnants of the heyday of British staycations. One example is Felixstowe, a dog-friendly destination with plenty of quirks.
From its century-old pier adorned with jangling penny machines and ice cream stands, to its pristine four-mile-long promenade and stunning Martello towers, Felixstowe succeeds at protecting its history. Here, you’ll find a town which has seen many small renovations over the years, but which has remained largely the same in terms of its general landscape and size.
However, being the largest container port in the UK, Felixstowe is growing faster than ever before and the townscape is gradually changing to accommodate a younger, more switched-on and increasingly metropolitan audience. This means that alongside the town’s historic architecture and vintage quirks sits a rising restaurant and cafe scene, attractive housing developments and a highly accessible high street with plenty of promise.
With this in mind, Felixstowe is an ideal day trip destination for a range of ages and interests – including those with dogs! If you’re planning on staying in one of our beautiful dog-friendly Dutch barges, you can easily reach Felixstowe by car. The town is 23 miles from our Onderneming barge at Snape Maltings and just 13 miles from Twee Gebroeders at Tidemill in Woodbridge.
Here’s a few ideas on how to spend your dog-friendly day trip to the coastal town of Felixstowe.
Dog-friendly activities in Felixstowe
Hit the prom
Dogs are prohibited on Felixstowe beach during May to September, but you can take your canine friend for a stroll along the prom all year round. The town is blessed with a wide promenade which makes it easy to keep your dog away from others if it’s nervous. On the other hand, there are enough dog walkers along this seaside walk that if you’re open to your dog making some friends, he or she will certainly have no problem!
The prom is approximately four miles long, stretching from the pretty hamlet of Felixstowe Ferry to Martello Park at the other end of the town. If you reach the end of the prom and head down Manor Terrace, you can access the nature reserve and walk to Landguard Point, the most southerly point of Suffolk.
Along the prom, you’ll also find the historic pier, the heart of Felixstowe’s seaside town charm. The pier’s most recent renovation saw a complete overhaul of the amusements, which are now housed in a modern structure complete with a restaurant, and a boardwalk running around the entire building – perfect for sipping a pint of local brew Adnams whilst the sun sets. You can sit outside on the boardwalk with your dog, too.
Further up are the Spa Gardens. Located next to the Spa Pavilion, an entertainment venue which first opened in 1909, the gardens recently received lottery funding to undergo extensive regeneration. Today, you can wander through manicured lawns and a selection of colourful, abundant and well-kept blooms in an easily accessible area. Walk your dog through the gardens and watch the goldfish frolick in the ponds, or play a game of fetch followed by an ice cream from ‘The Hut’ nearby on the prom.
Grab a bite to eat
We mentioned the pier, but there are lots of excellent restaurants and cafes around Felixstowe – many of which are dog-friendly!
The Alex is a great example. Just a stone’s throw from the beach, The Alex is favoured by locals and visitors alike for its casual atmosphere and proximity to the shoreline. You can enjoy the sunshine whilst sitting outside the front of the bistro with your pooch. We recommend trying the nachos, or the generous portions of fish and chips.
Just a two minute walk away from The Alex sits Delphine’s American diner, a spacious, dog-friendly restaurant with a retro theme and menu to match. Park up at your table and enjoy tunes from the fifties while you sip on your milkshake and tuck into a hamburger. The service is friendly and attentive, and there’s an extensive menu for vegetarians!
Head further into town to Felixstowe’s very own vegan cafe, The Greenhouse. Green by name and green by nature, this cafe offers a diverse range of delicious options with a heavy focus on locally sourced goods. It’s also dog-friendly! You can either sit inside with your pup and enjoy the charming interiors and the smell of the cafe’s iconic ‘nossage’ rolls (veggie sausage rolls), or watch the world go by at one of the small tables outside the front.
Stop by The Grove
Behind the modern Grove Medical Centre, you’ll find a large park and wood with a quiet walking trail leading to Old Felixstowe. This area is commonly known as The Grove, and it’s a popular area for dog walkers. Here, there is a choice in terrain, from the leaf strewn paths of the wood, to the open, grassy football fields, to the quiet country track. You may also spot a range of birds, including goldfinches, greenfinches and green woodpeckers, as well as a variety of butterflies.
How to get to Felixstowe
The locals say that there’s ‘one road in and one road out’ when it comes to Felixstowe – and they’re right. The town is surrounded by water on three sides and can only be accessed via the A14. However, the drive to Felixstowe is a very pleasant one, cutting through farmlands on a smooth dual carriageway. You’ll know you’ve hit Felixstowe when you see the iconic water tower which sits at the edge of town on the Dock Spur Roundabout; from there, it’s just a few more minutes to the beach!
As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, Felixstowe is an easy drive from our barges in Woodbridge and Snape Maltings. It’s also a short distance from our luxury dog-friendly holiday cottages in Stonham Aspal – so whatever your accommodation, you’re never too far away!