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What to do in Pin Mill

Pin Mill Suffolk sunset

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. 

[Image by Alex Healing on Flickr]

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Assington: Shoulder of Mutton

The Shoulder of Mutton is a real free house, set on the Suffolk & Essex border, in the charming village of Assington. They offer a superb range of wine, ales, and lagers, as well as award winning cider from across the county. 

They serve fresh seasonal food which is sourced, collected and delivered from local producers and merchants, and your meal can be enjoyed either in the restaurant or by the open flog fire in the comfortable bar.

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The Crown in Nayland

Crown Inn Nayland

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

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The Butt & Oyster in Pin Mill

Butt & Oyster

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)

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The Angel in Nayland

Angel in Nayland

The Angel Inn is a beautiful, timbered 16th century building that has been an inn since the 17th century

To this day The Angel Inn remains a traditional oak beamed ‘coaching house’, in the heart of this idyllic Suffolk village, offering all the comfort of modern life, in an historic setting

It has a superb reputation in the area and is well known for fabulous food and drink


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Anchor in Stoke by Nayland

Anchor Stoke by Nayland

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

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Sorrel Horse in Barham

Sorrell Horse

Homely dog-friendly pub with huge garden – great for kids

A family run freehouse for the last 25 years; it’s a traditional old listed building, just a short drive from Woodfarm in the village of Barham. They are dog-friendly and family friendly

They serve traditional English pub food and have a large garden as I said, with a large childrens play area. Full a la carte menu with a home made specials board, which changes daily

A stones throw from the A14 too

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Southwold Pier

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!