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Amy Bonifas feels the stress melt away on a seaside trip to Southwold...
It’s Saturday morning and my boyfriend and I are kayaking down the River Alde. The golden reeds and countryside seem to roll on for miles and the only sound is our paddles casually sploshing against the tide. Rounding the corner, I let out a cry as we spot two blubbery seals chilling on the bank. They gaze at us, unfazed, as we drift by.
Recharging is what this weekend is all about and The Swan hotel in Southwold is made for it. Newly refurbished and a stone’s throw from the beach, the rooms are fresh and airy. Ours is brightened with pops of lime and fuchsia against sultry navy walls. For those who like their mini breaks to be more get-up-and-go, The Swan offers a set of Great British Breaks packed full of experiences including beer tasting, stand-up paddleboarding and bespoke walks.
We opted for Coastal Contemplation, which features early morning yoga on the beach. Thanks to a sudden downpour we swapped the sand for the hotel’s Reading Room – settling into our own private yoga studio. There’s also the promise of a ‘head in the clouds’ head massage and a delicious picnic delivered to our deckchairs when the rain stopped. So far, so blissful.
On Friday evening, we order stiff vodka martinis before dining in The Still Room. To start, I have cured loin of beef with pickled prune and Parmesan, salty-sweet and delicious. My partner chooses the mackerel tartare, pepped up with kimchi and soy gel. Our mains are equally hearty and refined. The torched sea trout – juicy- pink and flaking beautifully – with courgette and saffron-infused clams for me. The aged ribeye beef with bone marrow, melted onions and triple-cooked chips for him.
Well, one of us had to! In the morning, breakfast is designed with active days in mind. And it’s just as well, as we explore the winding streets. Don’t miss the Two Magpies Bakery for fresh sourdough and Slate for local cheese. On our last night, after a lively brewery tour and a peek inside the pastel-coloured beach huts, we toast our stay with a glass of fizz in The Tap Room – the hotel’s answer to pub-style dining. We feel a satisfying combination of relaxed and energised. Oh, how it’s good to be by the seaside.
How to book:
The Swan’s Great British Breaks start from £360, based on two sharing. Rooms start from £200 per night on a B&B basis. Visit theswansouth wold.co.uk.