Spotlight on Southwold, Suffolk
by Housesimple on 7th July 2016
Private house sales are booming in this picturesque town on the North Sea coast. Prices in Suffolk Coastal jumped by more than 10% in the year to April 2016, and Southwold was among the towns propelling the rise.
While its residents were accused of snobbery for campaigning against the arrival of Costa Coffee, locals view this fierce protection of its independent stores as part of their identity: something even the local council supports. Hardly surprising for a town that's motto is 'Defend They Ryght'. But what else makes the area so appealing?
Latitude Festival will kick off its 11th annual instalment in nearby Henham Park on 14th July. While it may not have the reputation of Glastonbury, it's an excellent advertisement for Southwold. Unlike rowdier rivals, Latitude is likened to continental festivals because of its inclusion of comedy, cabaret, poetry and literature.
On a smaller stage, the Southwold Music Trust aims to put musical merriment at the heart of the community with regular concerts and choirs.
As you might expect from a town with a major music festival nearby, it has drawn in one or two celebrities: with Taylor Swift and actor Tom Hiddleston pictured recently on nearby Aldeburgh beach.
However, it's not just the glitterati of today that have fallen for this location. Artists Turner and Freud were huge fans of the area, and painted there regularly, and writers as illustrious as Hardy and Woolf have found inspiration on the Coast. George Orwell not only grew up in Southwold, but returned frequently to live and work. There must be something in the air.
The average house prices in British seaside towns have risen by £53,000 in the last decade, a trend intrinsically connected to the UK's love affair with its coastline. The waterside itself, and the surrounding nature, are a huge part of the attraction for buyers in any seaside towns, and Southwold has a vast number of selling points.
The lighthouse and the pier are stunning attractions in the town, but it's the sandy beach that really draws the crowds. Outside the town, there's the Dingle Marshes, containing Britain's largest freshwater reedbed and some of the country's rarest bird life, alongside more than a dozen woodlands and wildlife reserves to escape to.