Suffolk countryside


How to Keep Your Cool in the Glorious Summer Sun

As the summer heat continues to melt thermometers around the country, our thoughts inevitably turn to how to stay cool in the hot weather.

Seeking refuge on the coast is the obvious choice for many. We spend our weekends flocking to the beautiful towns and beaches near the sea in the hope of a refreshing dip in the water. But that’s not the only option! Here in the Dedham Vale, there are lots of things you can do to ensure you keep your cool among the heat and humidity.

From adventure water parks to sandy secluded beaches, here are some of our top picks in the local area. And there’s something on the list for everyone to enjoy!

Seagulls and deckchairs on a beach

Beach Trip to Remember

One of the closest beaches to Stoke by Nayland, West Mersea is a great choice for a day out near the breezy coast. A colourful yet relatively unknown place in Essex, the island’s beautiful huts sit on the pebble and sandy beaches that line the small estuary; providing the perfect backdrop to enjoy some time by the ocean. It’s a small, quiet and vibrantly colourful town, which offers visitors everything they could want from an escape to an island. Twice a day the tide comes up so high that the island is inaccessible for an hour or two!

The town is also well known in the local area for their incredible oysters. Dredged from the river, oysters are laid on beds and fed over the summer months in warm waters to give them a distinctive taste and impressive plumpness. A trip to West Mersea wouldn’t be complete without trying some of the local delicacies!

Ipswich Marina

Take a Breezy River Cruise

If you are looking for a relaxing day out to explore the area, what better way than to enjoy a river cruise from Ipswich on a Victorian sailing barge? The River Orwell is a beautiful peaceful river, with gently sloping banks graced by large country houses and fields and a Vintage Sailing Barge could be one of the most impressive ways to explore it.

Head to Ipswich Dock near the centre of town, where cruises start out with a slow meander through the docks. Out from the lock, you’ll head under the striking Orwell bridge and past picturesque Pin Mill – the most painted spot on the East Coast. As the river starts to widen out, you pass Levington Marina and come to Shotley and the entrance to Harwich Harbour and Felixstowe. On a typical 3-hour lunch outing, cruises turn around here, but if you have time you could choose a 6-hour day sail and head through Harwich Harbour and into the River Stour!

Flatford Suffolk

Journey Down the River Stour

When it gets hot in the Dedham Vale, the first point of call is the River Stour. A beautiful meandering body of water, it’s ideal to visit in the summer months when the weather is sweltering.

The river is safe to swim in and enjoy, but you don’t need to get wet to get cooler. This chilled out place is actually the perfect location to explore by water. Visitors can hop on a canoe and take in the picturesque scenes at a leisurely pace. From the majesty of the vast countryside to the dazzlingly blue damsel and dragonflies that cruise near the water’s edge, you’ll delight in the variety of nature and wildlife.

There are a number of places from which you can begin your journey. If you’re looking for the most famous then be sure you check out Flatford Mill, the scene depicted in John Constable’s most famous painting, The Haywain.

Alton waters aqua park

Water Adventures

When the heat rises we all look at getting closer to the water. So, how about having a bit of an adventure while you’re there? Alton Water’s Aqua Park is the biggest inflatable water park in the UK! With 72 obstacles, this massive floating park has climbing walls, trampolines, balance bars, rockers, rollers, blast bags and the UK’s biggest slides. It is a fantastic place to go to get in the water, have some fun, and get the adrenaline pumping.

Head there over the summer and you can explore the course and enjoy competing or teaming up with friends and family to try and beat all the obstacles.

Cinema seats

Chill Out in the Cinema

When it gets really hot outside, sometimes the only option is to spend a few hours out of the sun completely. Especially during the sweltering heat of midday!

There is a multitude of galleries and museums in the local area, but sitting in a lovely air-conditioned room watching a movie can really take your mind off the rising temperatures. Located within St Botolph’s Quarter in the historic centre of Colchester town and set over two floors, the Curzon has three screens showing the best of quality mainstream including family films, independent gems and events.

It’s two cafe bars and one roof terrace mean you don’t have to spend all your time inside either. It’s the ideal place to socialise and enjoy a snack and a tipple before or after a film!

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