5 ways to spend a winter night in Suffolk

Date Posted: 16/12/2014

As the nights get darker and longer, most people go into hibernation mode. But that’s not the case in Suffolk.

Thanks to the county’s low levels of light pollution and a few quirky visitor attractions, the night time offers all sorts of excuses to avoid going to bed early.

Here are a few things to do in Suffolk…

Look for UFOs

Rendlesham Forest is the site of one of the UK's most famous UFO sightings. At 3am on Boxing Day, 1980, US Airforce personnel stationed nearby reported lights descending into the forest.

Thinking it was perhaps an aircraft gone down, they went to investigate. What they found was a 'strange glowing object, metallic in appearance and triangular in shape.' which illuminated the entire forest with white light.

The hovering object then flew off and disappeared but when they went to investigate at daylight, impressions were found in the earth.

Later that night and again the following evening there were further sightings of strange lights.

Today, you can take the 'UFO trail' in the forest and explore, in the daytime or, if you're brave, after dark.

Take a ghost walk

There's no doubt about it, Suffolk has more than its fair share of spooky stories and leg-wobbling legends.

From the 'ghost bells' that can be heard off the coast of Dunwich, the enduring tale of the Black Shuck dog or the ghost girl at Kentwell Hall, near Long Melford, there's plenty to set the spine tingling.

Go stargazing at Dunwich Heath

Stargazing is one of the National Trust's Top 50 things to do before you're 11 and 3/4 and it’s easy to take part in it at Dunwich Heath, whether you’re five or 50.

According to the Dark Sky Discovery website, Saxmundham, adjacent to the site, is the best place in the whole of Suffolk for stargazing whilst the heath itself offers visitors 'unrivalled views along Suffolk's Heritage coast', allowing for optimum star sightings.

Whilst the site is closed after hours, you are welcome to star-gaze from the car park or, if you prefer, head to the nearby beaches and watch until your neck aches!

Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star

Visit Lavenham by day and you'll get to explore what's widely regarded as 'England's Best Preserved Medieval Village'; wandering through the cobbled streets, visiting the historic Guild Hall, maybe taking in some of the award-winning restaurants like the Swan and The Great House.

Visit after dark and you'll see the same skies that inspired poet Jane Taylor to write what's become the best known nursery rhyme in the world: 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star'.

Go back in time at the Electric Picture Palace, Southwold

Visit Southwold's tiny cinema, the Electric Picture Palace and you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd gone back to the 1950s.

A Wurlitzer organ, rising from the stage, plays during the intermission, there's a doorman and adults can even have a sneaky sherry at half time. All screenings end on a high with the National Anthem.

Check the box office for screen times, the cinema is tiny so tickets sell out fast. Tours of the cinema are also available, and group tours can be arranged for more than five people.

The above list was compiled by Rebecca Scrase from the holiday cottage provider Suffolk Secrets, that offers self-catering accommodation for small groups.

Some of the most suitable Suffolk Secret cottages for small groups include the eight person Old Town Hall and the eight-person Fernlea.

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