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What to do at Dunwich Heath

Dunwich beach sunset

Often called ‘the lost city of England’, the historic village of Dunwich on the coast of Suffolk is worth a visit for its heath, beach and ruins

If you’re after a family day out or a walk with the dog, Dunwich is an excellent place to visit. A half-hour drive from our Onderneming barge at Snape Maltings, and 35 minutes from Twee Gebroeders at Tidemill, Dunwich is easily accessible for a day trip of any length.

But what is there to do in this village of less than 200 people? Plenty, actually! For such a small area, it is brimming with activities. Here are some ideas of what you could do on your trip to Dunwich.

Greyfriars priory
The ruins of Greyfriars Priory are some of the most complete ruins found in Dunwich – © Copyright Rob Noble and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Absorb the history

Dunwich was once the capital of the Kingdom of the East Angles during the Anglo-Saxon period. A bustling town, its size at its height made it England’s 10th largest town! However, it was battered by annual storms, eroding the coast until its buildings began falling into the sea – you could call it Britain’s Atlantis.

Though much of the old Dunwich is now underwater, you can still find ruins dotted around the village and surrounding area. This includes Greyfriars, a Franciscan friary founded before 1277; a medieval leper hospital; and the last grave of the ill-fated All Saints’ Church, which lies 15 feet from the edge of the cliff on which the church once stood.

If it’s raining and you don’t feel like wandering around ruins, visit the village museum, which details Dunwich’s incredible history in the comfort of a cosy indoor space.

Explore the Heath

With its vivid purple heathers and coastal wind-beaten paths, the Heath is ripe for exploring. Bring along your dog and walk one of the many trails which can be downloaded beforehand or requested at the Visitor Information Centre.

There’s plenty of wildlife to spot at Dunwich Heath. Visit the pond, where you can get to know common newts, intriguing water scorpions and even water stick insects. You’ll also be able to spot many different types of birds, including one of Britain’s rarest: the stone curlew, which recently began nesting at the Heath again.

Dunwich beach
Dunwich Beach allows dogs all year round

Enjoy the beach

Dunwich beach is dog-friendly all year round. This is perfect for dogs who love running up and down long stretches of shore and splashing about in the water.

Wood at Dunwich BeachEncourage your kids to look after our fragile beaches with a mini beach clean, before enjoying a hard-earned ice cream at the Flora Tea Rooms. If you’re after something heartier, try the renowned Ship at Dunwich, which sources ingredients from local producers, farmers and fishermen for its seasonal menus. It’s a dog-friendly pub, so feel free to bring along your furry friend and enjoy a delicious meal.


We hope you enjoy your visit to Dunwich Heath! Don’t forget that our luxury, dog-friendly Suffolk barges are within easy reach of this beautiful part of the county. We also have seven luxury, dog-friendly cottages at Woodfarm Barns, some of which have large, private hot tubs! Our cottages are a 45-minute drive away from Dunwich. Bring your dog and enjoy all that the Suffolk countryside has to offer.

'Onderneming'. A great place to stay near Dunwich
‘Onderneming’. A great place to stay near Dunwich
'Twee Gebroeders' in Woodbridge. A romantic break near Dunwich
‘Twee Gebroeders’ in Woodbridge. A romantic break near Dunwich