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Picnics banned at Southwold Pier - family told to pack up their sandwiches

PUBLISHED: 13:52 10 August 2015 | UPDATED: 10:37 11 August 2015

Southwold Pier - no picnics allowed

Southwold Pier - no picnics allowed


The management of Southwold Pier have been labelled as the ‘fun police’ after stopping visitors having picnics on the famous pier.

Steven Dodd and his young family from Ipswich were visiting the pier last week when they were approached by staff and told the children, aged five, three and one, could not eat their homemade sandwiches because the bench areas were “reserved for diners at the Pier’s food outlets”.

He said: “We went for a day at the seaside, we walked up the pier and sat on the benches in the middle of the pier. We were feeding the girls sandwiches and someone said ‘sorry, I’m going to have to ask you to put the picnic away, there’s no picnics on the pier’.

“I explained that I was just feeding my children, but he said I had to put it away or he would have to get his management.

“Whether it’s to stop people from dropping litter or to stop seagulls, I don’t know. He then walked round and told an old couple they couldn’t eat a piece of cake they had brought in some Tupperware. It was like the fun police were out. It made me really quite angry.”

Alex Paul, director of Gough Hotels which owns Southwold Pier, said that picnics were not permitted on any part of the pier and that seating areas in particular were reserved for those buying food.

However, he added, that it was never the intention of the firm to make families feel unwelcome and offered to provide complementary ice creams to the family to encourage them to return. We have a lot of food outlets on the pier that are all family-friendly,” he said. “The family in question were at the booths which are reserved for customers eating food from the pier.

“We want all families to come to the pier to have a good time and I’m disappointed that they feel they weren’t made to feel welcome.

“If they want to come back and have an ice-cream on us we would be happy to see them. The pier is about having fun – it’s the summer holidays. It’s a good place to go and have some fun with the family. It’s such a family-friendly place.”

The management added that while picnics were not permitted at the site, they would not discourage parents from feeding young children during visits to the pier.

Picnics may be banned on Southwold Pier but there are plenty of other places to enjoy a Scotch egg, sausage roll and prawn salad in Suffolk.

Here is our top 10:

1 Christchurch Park, Ipswich

The scenery is lovely and you can always enjoy an ice cream from one of the kiosks afterwards!

2 Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds

Nowton Park is great for picnics – they even have seats and a play area for the kids nearby.

3 Landguard Fort, Felixstowe

Watch the ships come in as you tuck into your pack up.

4 Alton Water, near Ipswich

There are acres of green space, so always room for an extra picnic rug even on the hottest days of the year. And there is plenty of action to keep you entertained during your picnic.

5 Framlingham Castle, Framlingham

Sit in the shadows of the castle and marvel at this Suffolk landmark while you enjoy your hummus and dip.

6 Sudbury Meadows, Sudbury

Calm, tranquil and relaxed, take your hamper, folding chairs and the strawberries and enjoy.

7 Dedham Vale, Essex/Suffolk borders

It is an area of outstanding natural beauty, immortalised by Constable and popular with rowers - what more could you ask for in a picnic spot?

8 Covehithe beach, Covehithe

A staggering coastline awaits explorers of this stretch of Suffolk coastline, but don’t just drop by, take your lunch and spend the whole day exploring

9 Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds

Close to the town centre, green and historic views to boot, the Abbey Gardens are a beautiful spot for an al fresco lunch.

10 Under your kitchen table

Lets face it, the British weather can be unpredictable so when rain stops play, set up an indoor picnic and let your imagination take you to your perfect picnic spot - the top of a mountain, a tropical beach or the local park. The possibilities are endless.

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