Beccles means ‘meadow by the stream’, this still makes sense today. Once a flourishing Saxon riverport, it lies in the Waveney valley and is a popular boating centre.
In fact you could say this is one of the many things that draws you to Beccles, there’s no activity more pleasant than mooring up at the quayside and enjoying a summer picnic.
The town itself offers a wealth of diversity, combining history with modern-day culture, surrounded by fantastic views set amongst rolling countryside.
There is a blend of shops, restaurants and other services that will make a trip to Beccles memorable, but it’s the independent shops and businesses make up the heart of the town.
There is a vast mix of places to eat and drink including Upstairs at Baileys, Tywfords, the Wine Vaults, Swan House and the newly opened Graze. Or perhaps if you fancy sitting by the River The Waveney House Hotel offers pleasant views from there outside patio.
As well as a thriving culinary scene, Beccles has an interesting history and several important landmarks, including the Bell Tower, which at 97ft tall provides spectacular views of Beccles and the Broads.
At different times of the year the Tower is open for guided tours providing visitors with an insight to the building’s history.
Steeped in history, Beccles suffered from extensive fires in the 16th and 17th centuries, and much of the oldest parts of the town were destroyed.
As a result, most of what can be seen today dates from the Georgian period and later. An exception to this is the Tudor manor of Rose Hall (alternately spelled “Roos” Hall).
There are many buildings of architectural interest, including Leman House in Ballygate, home of the Beccles Museum.
This Grade 1 Listed Building was once the local school and it still bears the motto ‘Disce aut Discede’ (roughly translated to ‘learn and go’). The town was also home to Catherine Suckling who was married in the town’s St Michael’s Church to Edward Nelson and later gave birth to England’s greatest Naval Hero – Lord Horatio Nelson.
When you visit Beccles, a glimpse of the town museum inside the 16th century Leman House is a must.
Details on the history of Beccles can be found within, (open April to October, Tuesday to Saturday, 2.30pm to 5pm).
In terms of attractions, nothing beats swimming outdoors so why not visit Beccles Lido?
This is a heated, open-air pool with slide, springboard, giant inflatable aquarun, grassy areas, sunloungers, tables and chairs to relax on, a perfect place for a swim or a family day out.
Beccles Lido also operates the Big Dog Ferry between Beccles Lido and the Locks Inn, Geldeston, a relaxing 40 minute boat journey along the River Waveney with the opportunity to enjoy the wildlife en-route.
Whilst there, you can enjoy a meal and a drink at the Locks Inn, or stay on board for a round trip.
Those visiting by water can book mooring spaces in or on the day; half day mooring is also available, although visitors will need more than half a day to experience all of the town’s attractions.
The Quayside at Beccles is home to a number of events throughout the year including the Beccles Carnival, and a number of other community events.
Also featured are The Duck Race, Antiques Market, The Harvest Moon Free Music Festival and the Late Night Christmas Event. It is also worth catching a race or two at Beccles’ annual regatta.
Photos © Roland Blunk – with thanks