Kayak and Wildcamp the Suffolk Coast

Paddle along rugged coastline, wildcamp on a secluded beach, and enjoy sundowners on a scenic Martello tower. 0 days off work.

  • United Kingdom
  • May—September

The wilderness is closer than you think. Take a quick trip to Suffolk for the chance to explore some of the wildest coastline in the region. Kayak along rugged cliffs and estuaries to a remote beach campsite. Venture inland to look for owls and kestrels and enjoy sundowners on top of a 19th Century Martello tower.

A donation from every booking will go to Sea Shepherd and we do beach cleans on every landing we make where practicable.

Your hassle-free adventure includes

  • 2 days of guided sea kayaking on the Suffolk Coast
  • 1 night of wildcamping on a secluded beach
  • Guided wildlife tour to a defensive Martello Tower
  • Breakfast and dinner prepared in camp
  • Red or white wine in the evening
  • Kayaking equipment (kayak, paddle & buoyancy aid)
  • Sleeping bag with bag liner

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.

Need To Know

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)

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.

This trip will run with a minimum of 6 people and a maximum of 12.

Please note, if there are not 6 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 choice of both 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.

Your host will provide your single kayak (sit-on-top or touring depending on your experience), paddle and buoyancy aid. Every guest is also provided with a Geodesic Two Man tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag with liner and three dry bags for kit and clothing while they are travelling in the kayaks.

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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Location

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You’ll be paddling along the Suffolk Coast and Heath Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). 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, kestrels and marsh harriers.

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. The Martellos that survive today have been preserved and, in some cases, converted into unique homes.

Start point

Your trip will begin at the beach near Bawdsey Quay around 11:00 on Saturday morning. Your host 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. Your host will be in touch before the trip to finalise details.

What to Expect

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 then paddle north up the coast enjoying the historic, deserted coastline. Your guide will talk you through the rich history of the Second World War ‘D Day’ preparations and the Cold War nuclear test bunkers at Orford Ness.

You’ll arrive at the campsite in the early afternoon. Once you’ve settled into your tent and familiarised yourself with the campsite, you’ll have the option of paddling out again in the afternoon.

This time you’ll visit the mouth of the River Ore which 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.

Once you get back to camp, you’ll visit the local Martello Tower and enjoy a glass of wine sun-downer at the very top, enjoying the beautiful views and the history of the old coastal defences. Back at camp, relax and let us prepare your meal for you while you finish the wine. You’re free to spend your evening how you like, whether that be around the fire with a drink or walking along the beach.

Sunday: Paddle to Felixstowe Ferry and Departure

You’ll enjoy a relaxed start and breakfast with tea and coffee on Sunday morning. Then you’ll pack your kayak ready to set off down the coast to Felixstowe Ferry. You’ll paddle for around 2 hours before finishing the day with a snack and a drink at the local cafe before setting off home.

A great adventure without the hassle, cost and worry of tents, food and toilet not to mention the hard work getting everything erected and breaking the camp down again!

Accommodation

You’ll wild camp on a wild and desolate shingle beach on the outskirts of Shingle Street, an isolated coastal village 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.

There are no facilities (this is a wild camp), but for our guests, we include Geodesic two-man tents, sleeping mats and sleeping bags with liners for each guest. A chemical screened latrine and breakfast and dinner are included too. So you don’t need to do anything other than turn up for your weekend of paddling and wild camping, just be prepared to get wet.

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Dates & Prices

Prices include

  • Accommodation
  • Equipment
  • Guide
  • Meals As Described
  • Routes & Maps

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

Large group? Make a private booking
Special requirements? Get a quote for a custom trip

If you can't find a private trip that suits you, try a group trip or ask for a quote.


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