Around ten miles inland from the Suffolk Heritage Coast, to the west of Southwold, Halesworth combines a great countryside location with a quaint market town centre,
Central to the town is Thoroughfare, now by-passed and pedestrianised. This leads to the Market Place where some lovely old buildings stand and, beyond, St Mary’s Church and the old almshouses which, until the 1960s, provided separate accommodation for ‘twelve poor single men and women’.
It is just a few minutes’ walk to The Cut Arts Centre, a converted maltings where, in autumn, the annual two-week long Halesworth Arts Festival presents the majority of its events.
A railway bridge at the end of Quay Street carries the main line from Lowestoft to London, via Ipswich. On the other side of the bridge is the end wall and embankment of a narrow gauge Southwold Railway which ran from 1879 to 1929 between Halesworth and Southwold, stopping at Wenhaston, Blythburgh and Walberswick en route.
There were other historic links between the towns too – in the middle of the 18th century the river was made navigable and wherries and keels would sail regularly from Halesworth to Southwold and then along the East Coast and into London, their cargo consisting of corn, coal, iron, bricks and timber. The combination of the silting up of the river and railway transportation killed off this industry and the last trip was made in 1882.