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Festivals and Festive Events in Southwold

Written by Alex Smith on

There are lots of things to do in around Southwold over the next few months and we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite events.

Southwold Way with Words Literary Festival

6-10 November 2014
The Way with Words Festival returns to Southwold again this year with a literary smorgasbord featuring some of Britain’s best loved authors and journalists.  Way With Words’ 2014 programme will include sessions by actor Timothy Spall who will enthuse about his travels around the British coastline in a Dutch barge and Martin Bell OBE who will talk about his book about the National Service and his time in the Suffolk Regiment in Cyprus.  Broadcaster and novelist Melvyn Bragg will also be welcomed to Southwold this year and will talk about his latest novel "Grace and Mary".

Over the four days, the festival will also welcome many more authors and speakers. There will also be a special Literary Dinner on Sunday 9th November which will be hosted by Blake Morrison, author of The Last Weekend, South of the River, Things My Mother Never Told Me and many more fiction and non-fiction titles.

Beccles Christmas Market

Friday 28 November, 5.45pm-9.00pm
The Beccles Christmas Lights Switch on and Christmas Market is a fabulous event taking place in a picturesque riverside town close to Southwold.  The lights will be switched on at 6pm and there will be fireworks from the Church tower later in the evening.

There will be a great variety of stalls selling festive gifts, hot chocolate and mulled wine and live music will be playing all evening with performances by Tom Elgie, The River Hundred Folk Band, Beccles Community Choir, the Lowestoft & Beccles Rock Choir, The Loddon Brass Band, Harmonique and a few other surprise acts. There will also be street entertainment with the return of the lively Suffolk School of Samba.

During this lovely festive event, the Christmas Tree Festival will again be taking place in Hungate Church and there will be a festive indoor market in St Michael’s Church.

Located less than a 30 minute drive away from Southwold, Beccles is an historic market town with a good selection of both independent and chain shops at its heart.  Visitors can park for up to 3 hours for free in the Tesco car park or there is pay and display parking at Hungate or near the library.

Grand Christmas Bazaar, The Cut, Halesworth

29 - 30 November 2014
The Cut, New Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BY
The Cut Grand Christmas Bazaar is back this year where you’ll find myriad designer-makers, bakers and artists plying their unique handmade wares in addition to vintage treasures and other quality goods.   

Located less than a 20 minute drive away from Southwold, Halesworth is a lovely Suffolk market town and offers shoppers free parking for up to one hour.

Southwold Christmas Lights Switch On (Theme TBC)

5 December 2014, 7pm,
The evening of Southwold’s Christmas Lights Switch On is a real community event enjoyed by locals and visitors alike and the town’s shops and business will be open to join in the festive fun. 

Seasonal goodies and gifts will fill the festive stalls lining Southwold’s high Street, and you can enjoy live music, activities for children and carol singing.  Father Christmas will be along at 7pm to switch on the lights.

Southwold Concert Series’ Christmas Extravaganza, St Edmund's Church

6 December 2014, 7pm
The annual Southwold Concert Series’ fabulous Christmas Extravaganza will again take place at Southwold’s beautiful and historic St Edmund's Church on Saturday 6th December.

This year’s concert will feature the talented Seraphim choral group, who are directed by leading choral conductor Vetta Wise. Seraphim's nine singers, who are all experienced soloists or members of leading East Anglian choirs, will sing many festive favourites including Vivaldi's Gloria, backed by a fabulous baroque orchestra conducted by James O'Toole.

Tickets are £12 and to book please contact the Southwold Concert Series’ box office on 01502 726 161.

CRAFTCO Christmas show

2 December 2014 - 12 January 2015
40A High Street Southwold Suffolk IP18 6AE
The CraftCo Christmas Show features a festive showcase of works from local painters, designers, textile artists, print makers, ceramists and jewellers. It will also feature an exhibition of paper cuts by Claire Knight.

Beccles Christmas Farmers Market

6 December and 20 December 2014
Beccles Heliport, Ellough Airfield, Beccles, Suffolk
(Approximately 15 minute drive from Southwold)

Halesworth Christmas Lights Switch On

7 December 2014
Details TBC

Southwold Christmas Day Charity Swim

25 December 2014, 10am-11am,
Meet on beach beneath Gun Hill
Brace yourself and join in the icy but invigorating fun when mad dogs and English men/women take to the waters for Southwold's annual charity swim. Swimmers are encouraged to don fancy dress and to raise sponsorship money for the Sole Bay Care Fund, Southwold Voluntary Help Centre or Southwold RNLI.

This fabulous, festive fundraiser is organised by Southwold Rotary Club.  For more information and to register for the swim click here.

Near to Southwold (within 30 minute drive)

Southwold Pier

Southwold is a fabulous and fun family attraction that is open all year around, except Christmas Day.

Try out the traditional 2p pushers in the House of Games, LOL (Laugh out Loud) in the totally bonkers Under the Pier Show, watch the “naughty boys” drop their trousers as the Water Clock chimes on the hour, or see what you can spy through the Quantum Tunnelling Telescope!

There'll be lots of Christmas seasonal fayre on offer in the Pier's eateries and the usual mad-cap assortment of school holiday activities planned over the festive period. 

Alex Smith

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