Above image credit: Emily Harris

With restriction-free international travel looking doubtful for a while, boat owners are looking to staycations for some much-needed R&R.  The many rivers on our doorstep provide stunning scenic sails, rural stop-offs and idyllic waterside pubs, meaning boat owners find themselves spoilt for choice.

Here are a few ideas to provide inspiration for summer cruising and passage planning…

Harwich Harbour

About half an hour’s sail down the River Orwell from the SYH, to the mouth of the River Stour, is the traditional fishing town of Harwich, home to Ha’Penny Pier. Dating back to 1853, the pier is now one of the oldest surviving wooden piers in the UK.  The pier was originally named after the half penny toll charge but now Ha’penny Pier moorings are free to use between 9am and 6pm.

We recommend The Alma Inn for delicious food; fresh Harwich lobster being the highlight.  Hidden from the crowds, the walled beer garden is a true sun-trap and the perfect spot to soak up the rays in the afternoon while enjoying a pint of something cold.

Pin Mill

Why not take a trip to the Butt and Oyster pub located on the south bank of the River Orwell? The short scenic sail from SYH takes you up river to the rural shores of Pin Mill providing access to a myriad of country walks across the Shotley Peninsular.

Pin Mill sailing club provides visitors’ moorings on a first-come, first-served basis.  If you are planning to explore on foot, you will need to tow a dinghy and row ashore (pack your wellies and expect to get a little muddy).

If you fancy anchoring beneath the stars, this part of the river is perfect for an overnight stay. On a sunny day, you can enjoy breath-taking sunsets over the upper reaches of the Orwell.  The Butt and Oyster pub is a great location for lunch or dinner with outside seating overlooking the river or cosy inside tables for cooler summer evenings.

Above: river views from the beer garden at the Butt & Oyster at Pin Mill

Stone Point

If you are looking to venture a further afield, then the Walton Backwaters are definitely worth a visit. The narrow channels are easily navigated by following the channel markers, but do keep a watchful eye on the depth! Stone Creek and Stone Point on the east of the channel is a popular anchorage spot to access the isolated beaches. The area is a hive of activity for river wildlife and the perfect location for spotting birds and seals.

River Deben

Located north of SYH and the River Orwell is the picturesque River Deben.  Highlights include picnics at Bawdsey and the Ramsholt Arms pub from which you can walk up river to a beach known locally as “The Rocks”.    About eight miles up the river from the sea, is Woodbridge; the perfect place to while away a few days or shelter from bad weather. The town was also recently voted “Best Place to Live” in the East of England by The Sunday Times. Good food is plentiful in Woodbridge with cafés such as Honey & Harvey and the Wild Strawberry café, an abundance of great British pubs (The Anchor, The Kings Head and The Mariners to name a few) and lovely restaurants (try The Crown or The Boathouse) and shops.   

Above: sunset over the River Deben at Woodbridge

The Alde & the Ore

The River Alde and River Ore form a river system that meets northwest of Blaxhall.  The waterways take in Snape, Aldeburgh and Orford, and you could easily spend at least a week here.  If you have recently watched Netflix’s The Dig starring Ranulph Fiennes, the Alde and the Ore were the backdrop for some of the scenes in the film.  Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to local culture, history, walks, beaches and delicious local food and drink.

Have you found any hidden gems on your travels?  Share them with us via our Facebook page and we’ll include them in the next local cruising blog post.