Perched on robust cliffs just to the north of the River Blyth, SOUTHWOLD had become, by the sixteenth century, Suffolk’s busiest fishing port. Eventually, however, it lost most of its fishery to neighbouring Lowestoft and today, although a small fleet still brings in herring, sprats and cod, the town is primarily a seaside resort, a genteel and eminently appealing little place with none of the crassness of many of its competitors. There are fine Georgian buildings, a long sandy beach, open heathland, a dinky harbour and even a little industry – in the shape of the Adnams brewery – but no burger bars and certainly no amusement arcades. This gentility was not to the liking of George Orwell, who lived for a time at his parents’ house at 36 High St (a plaque marks the spot); who knows what he might have made of Southwold’s major music festival, Latitude, which spreads over four days in the middle of July with happy campers grubbing down in Henham Park beside the A12 about five miles west of town.
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