Things To Do

Walking and Cycling

Suffolk with its gentle landscape, beautiful coastline and large skies makes it a great place to enjoy the great outdoors, whether on foot or bike. The county offers an enormous network of footpaths and cycle routes in many different terrains – by the sea, through forest, field and heathland.

Routes around Alton Water start right from the Coach House, where bikes are available for hire. We are also just a few miles from Manningtree railway station if you wish to start your route by train.

Bird Watching and Nature Reserves

Suffolk has over sixty nature reserves, including RSPB Minsmere, which was the base for the BBC’s Springwatch programme. The RSPB’s Cattawade Marshes is also just a few miles from the Coach House, and although the site is not open to the public, there are excellent views of the reserve from the river footpath which leads to Flatford.

Alton Water also has a number of hides and is home to thousands of water birds in winter such as wigeon, pochard and teal and chiffchaff and common tern in summer.

To get a full overview of the reserves in Suffolk, visit the RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife Trust websites.



There are twelve golf courses within a ten mile radius of the Coach House, catering for all standards of player. We are members of Brett Vale Golf Course and are happy to book tee times on request. There is also a driving range close by.

Water sports

Alton Water is the largest provider of Royal Yacht Association dinghy and windsurf training courses in East Anglia, including dinghy sailing and powerboating. It is also possible to hire sail and row boats and paddle boards. Fishing is also available.

Snow sports

Less than five miles away is the Suffolk Ski Centre which offers skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and ringoes. Not quite snow sports, but there is also a climbing wall and high ropes experience!

River Cruises

One of the best ways to see Suffolk is from its rivers and estuaries. You can enjoy afternoon tea aboard a Suffolk barge down the River Orwell where the rolling countryside will surround you or enjoy a hearty meal abroad a WW2 boat on the River Alde, which runs parallel with the coastline and offers beautiful inland views.

If it is sheer tranquillity you are after, then a gentle meander down the River Stour from Flatford to Dedham with the River Stour Trust might be just the ticket, with a chance to enjoy a cream tea to finish.

Open Gardens

The Coach House is ideally located for visiting a number of beautiful gardens and plant centres. Within a thirty minute drive you have The Beth Chatto Gardens, Place for Plants in East Bergholt and Helmingham Hall (to mention just a few), and slightly further afield there is RHS Hyde Hall and Wyken Hall near Bury St. Edmunds.

There are also various village Open Garden weekends throughout early summer and private gardens open through the National Open Garden Scheme.

Places of Historical Interest

We have mentioned a few of the most popular local places of interest in the Local Area section, but you can discover more places to visit from the Suffolk Tourist Guide and the National Trust websites.

You can also find out more about the historic churches in Suffolk via the Britain Express website.

Leisure Courses

If you have ever thought about learning a new skill, why not tie it in with your stay. The list of what is on offer is endless but here is just a taster. If you are looking for something specific and need help with your search, do contact us and we do our best to help.

Local cookery workshops vary in content and price, but the closest are The Cookhouse or Mistley Kitchen.

A wide range of courses is also available at the beautiful setting of Flatford Mill, through the Field Studies Council.

Gardening related courses can be booked through RHS Hyde Hall or The Beth Chatto Gardens.

We haven’t sampled all the above courses and experiences so can’t guarantee quality, but we have tried to include ones which friends have enjoyed!