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Kayak and Wild Camp the Suffolk Coast

Paddle along rugged open coastline, wild camp on a secluded beach next to a Site of Special Scientific Interest, learn new skills and enjoy sundowners on a shingle beach with sunset in the distance. 0 days off work.


Trip Ref #8831

Adventures / Kayak Journeys

Kayak and Wild Camp the Suffolk Coast

Paddle along rugged open coastline, wild camp on a secluded beach next to a Site of Special Scientific Interest, learn new skills and enjoy sundowners on a shingle beach with sunset in the distance. 0 days off work.

United Kingdom
Perfect for

Active adventurers who are looking for a hassle-free kayaking and wild camping adventure on one of the most historic coastlines in the UK.


The wilderness is closer than you think. Take a quick trip to Suffolk for the chance to explore some of the wildest open coastline in the region. Kayak along rugged shores and estuaries to a remote beach campsite. After a beach clean, venture inland to look for owls and Kestrels, source and filter your own water and build a group fire for the evening.

  • 2 days of guided sea kayaking on the Suffolk Coast.
  • 1 night of wild camping on a secluded beach with an open wood fire.
  • Afternoon hot drinks with treats.
  • Choice of quality wines for sundowners.
  • Evening dinner and dessert plus evening hot chocolate.
  • Breakfast of Granola, Greek yoghurt and honey with morning tea or coffee and fresh juice.
  • Kayaking gear (boat, paddle, buoyancy aid).
  • Two man geodesic tent, 2 season sleeping bag, sleeping mat, crockery and cutlery.
  • A donation to Sea Shepherd

Saturday: Set off from Bawdsey Quay

Arrive on Saturday morning at Bawdsey Quay to meet your guides and get briefed before hitting the water. You’ll be shown around your kayak and issued with all your gear; don't worry, your kayaks have two very large hatches to pack everything in to. After a safety brief you’ll launch into the estuary and begin paddling a few hundred metres to the open coastline. Once you hit the open coast it's time to turn north, and learn the rich, local history of the region from your lead guide. Expect to find out about Second World War ‘D-Day’ preparations, the role played along the coast with the development of radar and the local and the Cold War nuclear test bunkers at Orford Ness.

After 1 to 2 hours of paddling you will arrive at your campsite in the early afternoon. After deciding where to pitch your tents and build your fire pit, it’s time to enjoy a well earned tea/coffee followed by a sweet treat. Once you’ve settled into your tent and familiarised yourself with the campsite, the group will source fresh water and after filtering and filling your water bottles, return to camp and discuss the plan for a late afternoon paddle to the mouth of the River Ore.

This river leads up to Aldeburgh with beautiful views out to sea and north to the lighthouse on Orford Ness, the famous former secret nuclear test site. This is a popular paddle and a great way to round off the day before a nice hot meal and a glass of wine. Relax and let your guides prepare your meal while you finish your wine looking over a beautiful sunset over the sea. You’re free to spend your evening however you like, whether that be around the fire with a drink or walking along the beach in the moonlight.

Sunday: Paddle to Bawdsey Quay and Departure

Waking with the early sunrise, you’ll enjoy a relaxed start and breakfast with tea and coffee provided by your Guides on Sunday morning. Take an early morning walk along the beach or just coffee-watch the passing gulls, then you’ll pack your kayak ready to set off down the coast back towards Felixstowe Ferry. Your launch today is scheduled around the flood tide wherever possible, making for an easier return trip that allows you to enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of the Suffolk coast whilst paddling.

After 2 hours of paddling you’ll head back up the Deben estuary to your finish point. Leave your gear with your guides and wave goodbye to this stunning coastline. If you have time, why not pop onto the nearby foot ferry and head to the opposite shore of the estuary, for a nice hot meal and a drink in the Ferryman pub before heading home.

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

You will wild camp on an open coastline just off a shingle beach on the outskirts of Shingle Street, a small Suffolk hamlet approximately 12 km east of Ipswich. A large Martello tower is visible from camp, and the site backs up to a flat grassland and small saltwater lake filled with marine bird life.

You will stay in geodesic two-man tents with everything you need for a comfortable night camping provided. Your professional guides will be on hand throughout your adventure to take care of your needs so you don’t need to do anything other than turn up for your weekend of adventure and paddle the coast with a big smile and an open heart!

You’ll be paddling along the renowned and beautiful Suffolk Coast and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Visitors come from all around the UK and the world to visit our villages and hamlets along one of the longest coastlines in the country. The area protects a wide range of natural habitats, including woodlands, estuaries, salt marshes, heathlands, mudflats, shingle beaches and low cliffs. Wildlife includes otters, five species of deer, and more than 280 bird species, (including short-eared owls less than 100 metres from our camp), kestrels and marsh harriers. Seals hunt along the shallow shoals for sand eels and often track our progress on the water.

The region is filled with the history of the D-Day preparations, historical Napoleonic fortifications and plentiful wildlife on a scarcely populated coastline. Along the coast you’ll see several Martello Towers. These small forts were built in the 19th Century to protect against attacks from France that never came. The forts are about 40 feet tall, circular, with 2 – 3 floors and walls up to two metres wide. The Martellos that survive today have been preserved and, in some cases, converted into unique homes. One locally can be visited when accessible, showing the remarkable architecture of these wonderful fortresses and offering an all-round view of the Suffolk countryside

Start Point

Your trip will begin at the beach near Bawdsey Quay around 11:00 on Saturday morning. Launch times vary based on the tides for the day; Your host will always try to ensure your group has the tide behind it making for an easier and more rewarding kayaking experience. They will be in touch before the trip to finalise details.

Finish Point

Your trip will end back in Bawdsey Quay around 15:00 on Sunday. Again times will vary dependant on the tides. Your Lead Guide will always discuss the options for the Sunday with the group on the Saturday night so you’ll know exactly when you’ll be back and in the best weather and sea conditions for that day. This will all be covered in your ‘trip details’ email prior to departure.

Our Epic Weekends are very social in nature and we’ve seen lots of new friendships born out of them. Expect a mix of solo travelers and very small groups, all with a shared appreciation of escaping the city for the great outdoors to try something new and meet new people.

The following are NOT included in the trip price:

  • Travel to/from launch location of Bawdsey Quay *
  • Lunch on the first and second day (Meals i.e. Saturday dinner and Sunday breakfast are included)
  • Tips for your guide (optional)

This trip will run with a minimum of 4 people and a maximum of 12.

Please note, if there are not 4 people booked the trip may be rearranged or cancelled.

You’ll kayak out and back along the same route. Conditions are quite mellow and flat, making for easy, fun kayaking. When there are swells you can take advantage of them for an even easier paddle. Wind can occur at any time making the paddling a bit more challenging. Guides will always plan to paddle with the tide behind the group but mother nature sometimes dictates otherwise.

There are two planned paddling routes on the Saturday and one planned kayaking route on the Sunday. The minimum paddling distance is 6km to get from the launch point to the campsite, but can easily be extended to as much as 15km if you're feeling feisty.

A basic level of fitness is needed to enjoy 2 hours of paddling each day. No previous experience is needed—your guide will help you get the hang of it.

In typical wildcamp format, your host will provide expedition type meals for dinner and breakfast. For dinner this will include a main meal and dessert. By offering expedition meals this gives the host the flexibility of accommodating for all types of dietary requirements, which ordinarily couldn’t be covered with stew and bread! Of course, all of our guests are welcome to bring additional food and snacks to keep energy levels up and for treats.

Yes, our expedition meals cover most dietary requirements.

Summers on the Suffolk coast are pleasant. Daytime temperatures range from 16 - 21°C and cool down to 9 – 13 °C at night. Weather conditions can quickly change on the coast, so pack accordingly a packing list will be provided by your host.

  • Single kayak (sit-on-top or touring depending on your experience), paddle and buoyancy aid.
  • Geodesic Two Man tent
  • Sleeping mat
  • Sleeping bag with liner
  • Three dry bags for kit and clothing while kayaking.
  • Crockery and cutlery

Your host will send a detailed list after you book. The basics include:

  • Lightweight, breathable athletic tops and trousers (no denim or cotton)
  • Runners or sandals that can get wet
  • Thermal top and trousers
  • Wool, fleece or down/synthetic jacket
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Sun protection (hat, sunglasses and sunblock)
  • Head torch
  • Water (1L per day, minimum)

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