Beautiful, unspoilt and quintessentially English: Pin Mill is a gorgeous Suffolk landmark frozen in time. Nestled in the heart of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) this tiny hamlet on the banks of the river Orwell has remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of years: a collection of cottages set against stunning shoreline and ancient forest all centred around the world famous 17th century Butt and Oyster pub. Enjoying the view and talking in the landscape with a walk through the fields and along the coast is one of the undisputed highlights of any trip to Pin Mill, but this special place has a whole lot more to offer than that…
We would recommend starting (or ending) a visit with a meal and swift pint at The Butt and Oyster. The pub keeps a superb selection of Adnams ales and has a really varied award-winning British menu. There are a lot of wonderful dishes on the specials board but it’s hard to go wrong with their locally caught and, frankly, absurdly large cod and chips… if you are feeling really brave then try their vegetarian friendly version where the fish is replaced by battered halloumi. The seating area outside is made for summer, with tables overlooking the splendid riverside view, but it can be extra special to take your pints over to the village green and sip the under the trees or whilst paddling in the ‘Grindle’ (that’s ‘stream’ to everyone else). The green often hosts local events so it is worth checking if anything is on before heading down; if favourites like the Pin Mill Barge Race are happening then this sleepy hamlet can get quite busy!
Nothing seems to inspire photographers like reed beds and sailing masts against that big Suffolk sky, so many make the pilgrimage to Pin Mill to get those special shots. Much of this talent is incubated by The Pin Mill Studio – just a few meters from the pub, the gallery hosts photography sessions and classes as well as displaying work by local artists. Several day classes include a meal at the Butt and Oyster so it really can be a brilliant way to enjoy the space and really fall in love with Pin Mill. If you fancy coffee and cake instead of beer and chips then the Sunshine Cafe is situated in the same building as the studios and the elevated outdoor seating gives a great view of the area.
The gorgeous walks really are the highlight of this beautiful place so bring your boots and get exploring. Walking maps are available from the pub but for a simple stroll turn left at the Butt and Oyster and keep walking until you reach the neighbouring village of Woolverstone. The route passes through forest, fields, styles and streams whilst following the gentle curb of the majestic the river Orwell.
If you are after something a little more ambitious then head down past the community of houseboats and follow the river towards Shotley. This village lies at the tip of the peninsular and is where the Orwell reaches the Sea, with Felixstowe to the left and Harwich to the right. Both can be reached via a 5 minute foot ferry; if you have time it is well worth the experience – we would recommend a trip over the water to The Alma pub in Harwich.
Pin Mill lies 30 minutes from from the award winning Woodfarm Barns. This gorgeous dog-friendly accommodation is made up of a collection of six cottages and an exquisitely maintained 500 year old farm house. If you fancy accommodation more befitting of Pin Mill’s riverside surroundings then we recommend ‘Onderneming’: a historic late 1800s sailing barge moored on the river Alde. Its location directly outside Snape Maltings is unparalleled and accommodation doesn’t come much more unique, proudly combing ‘luxury with an open, dog-friendly approach’. Alternatively the 18th century dutch sailing barge Twee Gebroeders is moored at the Tidemill on the river Deben. It sleeps up to 4 and flawlessly blends historic touches with 21st century comfort. Both are approximately 30 minutes from Pin Mill and offer a great base to explore the wider area.
One of the most beautiful, historic villages in England, let alone Suffolk!
Jam-packed with quirky, wonky timber-framed buildings, antique shops, craft shops, art galleries, tea rooms and pubs, it’s a really popular tourist destination for all visitors to Suffolk and still a regular for us locals too!
Owning a wonky old timber-framed Suffolk house, you think I’d tire of the sight but I don’t! I stare at the Crooked House every time I go past it
There are lots of places in Lavenham covered on here so have a good root around
Privately owned village inn, in a lovely old Suffolk building
The menu changes every five weeks and they embrace seasonally available produce. They have a bar, restaurant and terrace, all of which are very comfy. Extensive wine list and cask ales, including the traditional Suffolk favourite Adnams
The food is superb at the Crown and they are open for breakfast, lunch and supper
Well worth a visit. A firm fave with our guests at Woodfarm
One of the best known pubs in Suffolk and a firm favourite with Woodfarm guests
Famed for great Adnams beers, fabulous home cooked food and the most stunning location right on the river Orwell
A proper old riverside pub with bare oak floorboards, pints pulled straight from the keg and the smells wafting from the kitchen. This place is popular with locals and visitors alike and in the summer is heaving outside giving it a great atmosphere
A great place to visit when in Suffolk and just a stones throw from the Suffolk Food Hall (see our separate post)
A fabulous old restaurant on the village green in a beautiful historic village. Perfect for a long lunch or dinner, they also serve teas and coffees all day and have a wonderful bar with a roaring fire in the winter
They even have a bunch of board games waiting for you
Definitely one of my favourite places. Very dog friendly
Believed to be the oldest inn in Lavenham, the historic market town in Suffolk
Although much altered over the centuries, The Angel still retains much of its Tudor character. Around 1500, the gable ends were added and brick chimneys installed. Renovated and refurbished in recent years the Angel Hotel has a reputation for excellent foodand is one of the most stylish of all Suffolk Inns
A traditional country inn and restaurant nestled in the beautiful Stour Valley
Nayland is a picturesque little village perched on the banks of the River Stour. It enjoys stunning views across the river and the beautiful countryside that is fondly known as ‘Constable Country’ thanks to the work of painter, John Constable
I’ve arrived at the Anchor on more than one occasion in my Kayak as it’s very easy to pull up at the bank and wander in for a pint or lunch
Southwold is arguably the jewel in the crown of Suffolk’s heritage coast as far as visitors to our great county are concerned
Home of the Adnams brewery, famous lighthouse and beach huts. Splendid art galleries, fine shops and pubs and the Blackshore harbourside for extremely fresh fish and the ferry across the River Blyth to Walberswick (see our separate post on Walberswick)
Jam packed with great pubs, restaurants, coffee shops, shops and a fabulous beach and pier, with some quirky old things to see and do!