Why I Love Suffolk: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis
- Credit: Archant/Mick Webb
There are so many, but if I cast myself back to my earliest memory, it’s when I was just three, in the Great Storm of ‘87. I really vividly remember the water rising up to the doorstep and seeping into the hall while dad desperately tried to put down sandbags. And being floated along our road in a rubber boat by my babysitter. Apparently when my parents were sold their house the agent told them the neighbouring farmland would “never flood, or you can come and live with me”.
There’s something really quite eerie and unsettling about Landguard Fort. When they were young, my kids loved exploring all the nooks and crannies there, hiding from ‘ghosts’. Afterwards they’d run up and down the mounds in the nature reserve, and of course we had to have fish and chips – more often than not eaten in the car, while watching the enormous container ships come in.
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The further north you travel in Suffolk, the sandier the beaches get, and I have always had a soft spot for Walberswick. We pack up the crabbing gear, grab a picnic from the Black Dog Deli in the village, and nestle ourselves into the dunes. It really does feel like being on holiday!
Place to eat
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Ooh, this is dangerous territory seeing as I’m in charge of our food and drink content. For me, eating out is as much about feeling relaxed and comfortable as what’s on the plate. So while I have many, many favourites and recommendations, I’m going to say No.4 at The Abbeygate in Bury St Edmunds, because it’s the place my kids beg to eat at most. They make the best dirty fries ever!
I’ve always had an affection for the Kersey Bell. Pre-kids we used to live opposite the pub, and (shhh) used to have lock-ins back in the day. I remember once, in a very very bad snow spell that virtually closed Kersey off, we tried to walk into Hadleigh to get food. It was too blustery and impossible to navigate against the storm. We ended up back at the Bell, where the then-landlords gave us soup and beer. Today we still like to do a round walk from Hadleigh to the pub – they make a cracking pie.
As a family we like to play golf...and crazy golf. I can highly recommend the pirate ship themed game at Stonham Barns, or the dinosaur one at Ufford Park. It gets very, very competitive.
It’s got to be Pump Street chocolate. Especially the one with rye crumbs. I interviewed Chris at the beginning of the chocolate journey and it’s brilliant how recognised the brand has become, and how it’s grown.
Again, there are lots, but I’m going to say Girls Love Roses in my home town of Hadleigh. I’m a curvy girl, and it’s really hard to find clothes that suit my hourglass shape. I remember standing in the shop in tears saying nothing would fit...only for the lovely assistant to assure me otherwise. Their trousers, joggers and jeans are dreamy.
Well, it’s got to be Hadleigh Show. It's so disappointing it hasn’t been able to happen for the last couple of years. It really is something that brings the entire community together, and creates an anticipatory buzz in the weeks beforehand. Let’s hope it definitely comes back for 2022.
Town or village
Apart from my home town, I adore spending time in Bury St Edmunds. Fantastic shops. Loads of good places to eat. And the Abbey Gardens are stunning. If I was going to move, this is where I’d end up I think.
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