I can officially confirm that Southwold is a very pretty place. A lovely mix of old buildings, well-kept green spaces, a clean sandy beach and a very well-run pier. The built environment reminded me of a recent trip to Arundel, West Sussex – a place where money doesn’t so much grow on trees as appears to be lovingly stitched onto each leaf by stockbrokers’ wives with too little to do. Southwold is more family-oriented but equally financially relaxed. A friendly woman in one of the pier’s pleasant but pricey shops told me that 70% of Southwold is second homes so “people are used to London prices”.
Scuffle had a great time – grassy footpaths everywhere and the friendly Blyth Hotel where she got a whole sausage for breakfast. Southwold Pier also balanced up the dog-friendly stakes, in contrast to Southend where no dogs are allowed ‘due to health and safety’. To me it’s obvious that piers are great places for people with dogs on leads. We’ll certainly welcome them to Hastings Pier which is the starting point for the dog-friendly beach and right opposite the dog-loving White Rock Hotel.
Another pier contrast with lessons to teach is the approach to on-pier fundraising. At Southend a series of wooden boards placed near the queue for the train acknowledge hundreds of plank sponsors. At Southwold endless small brass plaques line the railings and also cover various white walls, with more personal messages. The whimsical humour evident throughout Southwold Pier extends to other fundraising including the ‘bottomless pit’ coin slot for the maintenance fund. Lesley thought they should have a net to catch the coins thrown overboard by visitors trying to land them on the posts. Would that put people off? I’m afraid I didn’t find out how much money any of these raised towards the pier costs.
Please forgive my very poor photo placement – I’ll get better at it with practice! Below are a couple of Southend Pier that I forgot to add to yesterday’s post.
Off to Great Yarmouth for my next post…