The Anchor Pub with rooms in Walberswick, Suffolk

Prices from:
£110 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Foodie heaven close to the beach
  • Vibrant inn, hub of village
  • Elegant, earthy food, great flavours
  • Daily menus champion local producers
  • Amazing beer and wine lists
  • Contemporary chalet rooms

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingCandlelitClose to Water

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Overview

The Anchor Walberswick, Suffolk, IP18 6UA

The personal touch

The Arts and Crafts-era inn has a prime spot just a stroll from the sand dunes and beach in this smart village on the East Suffolk coast. It is the perfect spot to go a crabbin’ on the quay with a bacon-baited line, or dip your toes in the chilly water, but, then again, there are some rather more sybaritic opportunities to be had if you visit the Anchor Walberswick, particularly when it comes to matters of food, beer and wine. Owners Mark and Sophie Dorber have been here for over a decade, having previously developed the renowned White Horse in Parson’s Green, London, and they’ve elevated the place to the status of a food and drink destination. When it comes to beer and wine, Mark is your man (he’s a founder of the Beer Academy), and this is surely one of the best places in the country to sample Adnams’ world class beers. When it comes to food, Sophie leads the line, delivering a menu that is rich with fine produce from local farmers, fisherman and shoots, and shows a modern touch. Things come together perfectly when it comes to the food and wine/beer matching – do take their advice. There’s genuine attempt by the Dorbers to continually raise their ecological game, too, along with a host of opportunities in the area to connect with nature.

Sticky fingers

Highchairs are available in the eating areas and children’s options include smaller portions off the main menu or special kids’ dishes. Sofa beds in the chalet rooms.

Muddy paws

Dogs are very welcome in the bar and in three of the garden chalet bedrooms (£5 per night).

Alfresco

The under-lit terrace is a summer hotspot and the place to head to for Sunday BBQs or a pizza cooked in the wood-fired oven, or simply to savour a Trappist ale or a chilled glass of vibrant rosé.

What’s on?

Mark’s international reputation as a beer guru means his twice-yearly beer festivals are very well supported, such as August’s Top of the Hops Pale Ale Festival, where 18 beers are served straight from the cask. Every second Friday of the month is curry night, where Indian and South-East Asia is the inspiration for a menu that runs to Thai green fish curry or slow-cooked venison in a Rajhastani-style aubergine sauce, and there are occasional evenings when you can chow down with various winemakers and brewers.

What’s the Damage?
10 doubles/twin: from £110 (watch out for out of season offers)

What Else?

  • All credit cards accepted
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to restaurant and chalet rooms
  • Parking

Gongs
Waitrose Good Food Guide; Harden’s; Michelin

Sleep

The Anchor Walberswick, Suffolk, IP18 6UA

Do not disturb

There are four simple and bright bedrooms in the main pub and a further six in cedar-clad chalets out back. Two of the rooms above the pub (above the restaurant in fact) have sea views, with the two larger rooms the pick of the bunch. The bright, spacious chalets to the rear of the pub have a contemporary finish and have been built with environmentally-friendliness in mind (water butts etc.), while the surrounding landscape has been planted with attractive borders. A footpath leads to the dunes, beach and coastal path. The inn is ideally placed for exploring the pretty village with its quay and interesting shops.

Gadgets

Free Wi-Fi; Flatscreen TV.

Pampering

How about an early morning swim in the chilly North Sea…?

What’s for Breakfast?

Suffolk pressed apple juice; selection of teas and fresh ground Union Coffee; homemade bread with homemade jam, honey and marmalade; The Anchor full English; Lowestoft smoked haddock and poached egg; local kippers; cheese and jalapeño omelette.

What’s the Damage?
10 doubles/twin: from £110 (watch out for out of season offers)

What Else?

  • All credit cards accepted
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to restaurant and chalet rooms
  • Parking

Gongs
Waitrose Good Food Guide; Harden’s; Michelin

Eat & Drink

The Anchor Walberswick, Suffolk, IP18 6UA

Mastering the menu

Sophie Dorber’s support for the food growers and producers of Suffolk is not just lip service, with the local land and sea providing a good deal of what’s up for grabs on the menu. It all ties in nicely with the Anchor’s green credentials. There’s no preaching, though, and no pretentiousness to the culinary output – this place is all about elegant, earthy food and a passion for fresh local ingredients. It doesn’t get any better than sitting on the sunny terrace on a summer’s weekend when the outdoor pizza oven (decorated in pretty shells) is fired up, or when the smoker in an old Château Margaux barrel turns out its seafood and meaty cargo. Even the fish and chips is a cut above: beer-battered cod with hand-cut chips, mushy peas and jalapeño tartare sauce. Sunday lunch brings in the crowds for Blythburgh pork (as used by Heston Blumenthal – you’ll see the free-range pigs on the Blois family estate as you drive into the village), Sutton Hoo chicken and rib of Suffolk Red Poll beef. The main menu is supported by daily specials such as roast partridge with potato purée, lentils and game jus, or fillet of brill partnered with braised fennel, steamed clams and butter potatoes, and whatever you go for, expect dishes cooked with craft and care. It’s not all about British flavours, though, for you might start with salt and pepper squid with mango relish, and the good folk at Brindisa supply goodies with an Iberian flavour, but it’s back to home shores for super-fresh native oysters from Richard Haward on Mersea Island’s Blackwater estuary. Arbequina olive oil is specially imported from Falset in Priorat, Catalonia,To cap it all off, Sophie is a whizz when it comes to baking, so be sure to try the sourdough bread or a Chelsea bun.

On the menu

Cured gravadlax, horseradish cream
Pressed game terrine, apple chutney and toast
Duck confit, white bean and chorizo stew
Smoked haddock and salmon fishcake with creamed leeks
Meringue roulade with candied chestnuts and chocolate sauce

Sunday Roasts

Rib of Suffolk Red Poll beef
Roast Blythburgh free-Range pork
Sutton Hoo free-range chicken

Foodie Extras

There’s a wood-fired pizza oven on the terrace, so summers mean pizza, but, then again, they also mean BBQs, for on a Sunday lamb burgers and local pork sausages are cooked over hot charcoals in the garden. Whatever the weather, you’ll find homemade cakes on the bar (plus a range of breads to take away). The terrace is a great place to soak up the Suffolk sun, moodily lit at night, with smart furniture and parasols for daytime shade.

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 8.30am – 10am (non-residents by arrangement)
Lunch: 12 noon – 3pm
Afternoon Tea: 3.30pm – 5.30pm
Dinner: 6pm – 9.30pm

Local, local, local

Meat – K. W. Clarke, Bramfield (www.kwclarke.co.uk)
Real ales – Adnams, Southwold (www.adnams.co.uk)
Game – Walberswick Estate
Eggs – Maple Farm, Kelsale (www.maplefarmkelsale.co.uk)
Asapargus – Middleton Farm, Saxmundham
Seafood – L & G Roberts, Lowestoft
Smoked seafood – Pinneys, Orford (www.pinneysoforford) and Anchor Smokehouse, Lowestoft

Behind the bar

Mark Dorber knows how to mature and deliver a pint of Adnams cask ale to the customer in perfect condition. There are usually three to five Adnams beers on handpump at any one time – with Southwold Bitter, Broadside and Ghost Ship the regulars – but there’s much more besides such as eight draught craft beers and lagers (and no corporate brands whatsoever); so that could be Meantime’s London Lager, or Adnams’ Jack Brand Dry Hopped, and keg beers might include the California’s Lagunitas IPA. But grain is not the only all-consuming passion here, for the grape is far from neglected; Mark’s list is devoted to the great, the good and the flavoursome. The list kicks off with some 20 wines by the glass – kept in fine fettle by the Verre de Vin system – and there’s evident passion for France. There’s some good drinking to be had at the top end (especially Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhône), with some legendary growers at very fair prices (Barton, Lafon, Perrin…), but New World aficionados won’t be disappointed with some serious mature vintages up for grabs. But rest assured there is distinct quality and imagination at the everyday drinking level, and when it comes to matching wine (and beer) to food, there’s genuine expertise in the house.

Bar snacks

Mr Trotter’s pork scratchings
Sophie’s Anchor sausage rolls
Cake selection for afternoon tea on the bar

Time at the bar

11am – 11pm

What’s the Damage?
10 doubles/twin: from £110 (watch out for out of season offers)

What Else?

  • All credit cards accepted
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to restaurant and chalet rooms
  • Parking

Gongs
Waitrose Good Food Guide; Harden’s; Michelin

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Anchor

2

The Lord Nelson, 42 East Street, Southwold IP18 6EJ

The 'Nellie' as she is affectionately known is the closest thing to a brewery tap that Adnams has, the place to come and enjoy its benchmark Southwold ales and absorb the Southwold drinking culture at its best. If it's good enough for Chairman Jonathan Adnams!

3

Emmetts Hams of Peasenhall, Main Street, Peasenhall IP17 2HJ

The Royal Warranted favourite of the dear old Queen Mum, Mark David is a charcutier par excellence, crafting amazing legs of pork into cured and smoked gammons of sheer class, made here since 1820. Quirky variations on the normal ham and bacon don't end at Green Unsmoked, Mild Cure or the Smoked Suffolk Black, how about spicy molasses Christmas Cure, black peppercorn, Earl Grey, fennel seed and many other interesting flavourings. Also a heavenly continental deli and courtyard cafe.

4

White Horse, Sweffling Low Road, Sweffling IP17 2BB

A rare beast in Suffolk, a proper drinking house in the middle of nowhere, with two alternating beers and one cider drawn from the taproom casks, keg-free (but there are 5 bottled Suffolk lagers). Food is interesting bar snacks, and either ploughmans and savouries in the summer months or hot Marlesford Farmcafe pies from the Aga come winter, bliss! Of course, there are traditional pub games and dogs welcomed.

5

Eels Foot, Eastbridge, Leiston IP16 4SN

This charming coastal inn, close to picturesque Dunwich Heath and RSPB Minsmere, is the home of local folk music. They have a great tradition of instrumental acoustic sessions here, they 'jam' at 'Squit Night' every Thursday whilst the last Sunday of the month is more trad' scene.

6

Fish Hut at Aldeburgh Beach (north end of Aldeburgh Promenade) IP15 5BJ

Unusually the in-shore boats are dragged up high on the rolling shingle beach of this cosmopolitan chic resort town. Dean and Alby’s fish shack is legendary in these parts, take your pick of the flappingly-fresh morning’s catch, which they will happily gut and scale for you.

7

Harbour Inn, Black Shore, Southwold IP18 6TA

Stopping off is a must for well-kept beer and hearty good pub food on a ramble along Blackshore, named after the black-painted fish sheds and the colour of the river mud. Despite the constant stream of wandering tourists, this is a working harbour, replete with house boats, chandlery, shipbuilders and a handful of working and charter fishing vessels.

8

Adnams Brewery and Distillery Tours, Adnams Wine Shop, Pinkney's Lane, Southwold IP18 6EW

Suffolk and especially this north-eastern part of the county is Adnams country, few landlords far and wide would risk not serving their well-known beers, such is their renown. Visit the brewery and the recently-installed distillery for tours to see how the ales, spirits and liqueurs are produced and of course a good slurp or two to find your favourites. Tutored tasting and sampling in their excellent Cellar & Kitchen Store in Victoria Street is included. Alternative 'Make Your Own Gin' Experience too. Pre-booking essential.

9

Snape Maltings Farmers' Market Main Road, Snape IP17 1SR

The world-famous Aldeburgh Music concert halls are based at this converted maltsters as is perhaps East Anglia’s leading foodlovers’ emporium, with its own pub, restaurant, food hall, a plethora of shops and home to the equally renowned Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, which is held on the last weekend of September. It is also the venue for one of the best monthly farmers’ markets on the first Saturday.

10

Friday Street Farm Shop & Cafe, Farnham IP17 1JX

Not just a great place to buy locally-grown food and amazing Suffolk products but also visit the lovely cafe-restaurant, wet fish shop, homewares store and new butchery. Seasonal summer PYO soft fruits too.

11

Wissett Wines, Rumburgh Road, Wissett IP19 OJJ

One of East Anglia's better wine producers, they are known for their award-winning still Madeleine d'Angevine and their sparkling blush pink 'Gloriana' bottle-fermented blend. Self-tours around the estate followed by tastings in the shop.

12

Maple Farm, Kelsale Clay Hills Road, Kelsale IP17 2PL

A gentle drive south past Dunwich, this organic farmstead harvests the most amazing seasonal veggies, free-range eggs, Suffolk honey plus organic meats and even their own home-grown milled flours. Honesty box farm shop sales. (best to use Sat-Nav to find the farm).

14

Crown Inn, Snape Bridge Road, Snape IP17 1SL

This 15th-century smugglers' haunt, full of history in the old beams, red brick walls and the iconic wooden settle in front of the inglenook. They are known for their home-reared livestock producing fine well-hung meats for their seasonal cooking and great Adnams beers of course.

15

Emmerdale Farm Shop, Westleton Road, Darsham IP17 3BP

On the home farm of The Anchor's excellent butcher, the Thickitt family's huge farm shop-deli has been running for decades, long before they became fashionable, a new meat counter is worthy of a visit alone, let alone for all the local products.

16

Two Magpies Bakery, 88 High Street, Southwold IP18 6DP

An artisan bakery and intimate magical cafe with great music, cool arty interior and of course, amazing pastries, breads and fine beverage essentials. All the loaves feature their sourdough culture for depth of flavour and seek out the locally-inspired Double Broadside cake.

17

The Anchor, 26 Court Street, Nayland CO6 4JL

Part of a three-strong pub-restaurant group, perched right on the banks of the river Stour at the heart of Dedham Vale, this lovely village hostelry is well worth combining with a good walk through Constable Country.

18

Flavours Food Festival, Henham Park, Blythburgh NR34 8AN

Taking place in early June at this country parkland estate, a foodlovers’ treat with producers, chef demonstrations, music and lots for children to enjoy. Also, it’s home to the cultural family-friendly Latitude music festival in July.

19

Suffolk Herring Festival, Lowestoft NR32 1HH

This celebration of the local silver darlings, the herring shoals, which helped ‘make’ Lowestoft into the famous nearby fishing port, takes place every two years and due to be next held in late October 2015. A showcase of arts, music, culture, tastings, special menus and lots more. Check the website for details.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Anchor

Activities

2

Southwold Electric Picture Palace, Blackmill Road, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6AN

This is a cinema outing with a difference, recalling those distant, fondly-remembered days when going to the pictures was something of an occasion. Seeing a film here transports you to that magical era and to make the visit even more special, there are usherettes, a commissionaire and a front-of-house manager in evening dress.

3

Crabbing at the Quayside, Walberwick IP18 6TN

Make for the River Blyth in Walberswick, venue for the British Crabbing Championships, and enjoy some rare family time by the water. With the aid of string and bacon, you can try catching a few native crustaceans. The kids will love it and the occasion will no doubt rekindle happy memories of family holidays over the years.

Shopping

9

Norwich NR2 1RL

One of the best-preserved medieval cities in the country, Norwich is a top shopping destination with lots of independent retailers and smart restaurants. For something slightly unusual visit Colman's Mustard Shop and Museum in the Royal Arcade. We've all grown up with those distinctive little jars of mustard; here, you can discover how it all began and then visit the shop for a wide selection of mustard pots and spoons. Look out, too, for St Gregory's Antiques and Collectables in Pottergate, just the place for that rare item or quirky find.

10

Cork Brick Gallery, 6 Earsham Street, Bungay NR35 1AG

Located in Bungay, not far from Southwold, Cork Brick Gallery showcases the varied and exquisite work of local professional artists. The shop stock is constantly changing.

11

Southwold Pier IP18 6BN

A shopping trip with a difference, this is where you can potter and browse against the stunning backdrop of the North Sea. Expect plenty of gift items and souvenirs in this quaint seaside setting.

13

Snape Maltings Farmers’ Market, Main Road, Snape IP17 1SR

The world-famous Aldeburgh Music concert halls are based at this converted maltsters as is perhaps East Anglia’s leading foodlovers’ emporium, with its own pub, restaurant, food hall, a plethora of shops and home to the equally renowned Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, which is held on the last weekend of September. It is also the venue for one of the best monthly farmers’ markets on the first Saturday.

Places to visit

4

Elizabethan House Museum, Great Yarmouth NR30 2QH

Located in Great Yarmouth, this amazing National Trust museum represents a real hands-on experience, bringing to life the day-to-day routine of the generations of families who have lived in this fascinating 16th-century building on South Quay.

5

Southwold Museum, 9 -11 Victoria Street, Southwold IP18 6HZ

Housed in two Dutch-gabled cottages, the Southwold Museum is a little gem on the Suffolk coast. The story of the town's fishing industry is told in fascinating detail and there is also a display of relics and items washed up on the shore here over the years.

6

Orford Ness National Nature Reserve, Orford Quay IP12 2NU

Bleak and exposed, Orford Ness is a long, natural barrier of shingle south of Aldeburgh. The only way to reach it is by National Trust ferry from Orford. The Ness is where rare and fragile wildlife exists in a precious environment once used for testing atomic bombs.

7

Minsmere Nature Reserve, Dunwich IP17 3BY

Minsmere, one of the Suffolk coast's most familiar landmarks, is an RSPB nature reserve and top destination for wildlife in Britain. These reedy marshes are a haven for rare birds and serious ornithologists.

8

Sutton Hoo, Woodbridge IP12 3DJ

It's a name that crops up from time to time in history documentaries and travel programmes, but there's nothing to beat actually visiting these atmospheric ancient burial mounds near Woodbridge. Sutton Hoo is where the 7th-century Anglo-Saxon Kings of East Anglia lay buried and undiscovered until they were unearthed in 1938.

12

Snape Maltings, Bridge Road, Snape, Saxmundham IP17 1SR

Renowned for its glorious associations with fine music, Snape Maltings at Aldeburgh is also an excellent shopping venue. There are nine independent shops here, including a boutique, fresh food pantry and a bookshop and stationers.

Walking

www.walkinginsuffolk.co.uk
www.discoversuffolk.org.uk
The Suffolk coast is a fascinating area for walking. This evocative landscape, visibly eroded and overwhelmed by the sea through the centuries, has many miles of secret paths and hidden tracks that were once the haunt of smugglers evading the excise men. It’s a fascinating place of mystery, of moody reed marshes and wide, breathtaking skies. One of the most popular walking routes in the region links many of the Suffolk coast’s great landmarks. The Suffolk Coast Path runs for 50 miles between Felixstowe and Lowestoft and takes in a variety of sea wall stretches, marsh, heath and foreshore.

Cycling

www.discoversuffolk.org.uk
www.cycle-route.com
Like so much of East Anglia, the Suffolk coast is essentially flat and cycle-friendly. North and south of Walberswick, around the river estuaries and across the remote heaths there are many miles of cycle trails, quiet country lanes and off-road routes to enable you to spend a few enjoyable hours in the saddle.

Events

www.aldeburgh.co.uk
www.folkeast.co.uk
www.suffolkherringfestival.net
www.flavoursfoodfestivals.co.uk
Without doubt the annual Aldeburgh Festival in June is the event in this part of the world. Founded by Benjamin Britten in 1948, the festival focuses on classical music by past and present composers and the Suffolk coast setting is delightful. There’s also an assortment of films, visual arts and master classes. The Snape Proms and FolkEast are in August and September is the month when Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival is held. The Suffolk Herring Festival comprises arts, music, culture, tastings and special menus and there’s also the Flavours Food Festival, held at Henham Park near Blythburgh, a popular event that always appeals to foodies. There are producers, chef demonstrations and entertainment for children.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

From the A12 near Blythburgh, follow signs for Walberswick onto B1387, at staggered crossroads, go across to Walberswick, continuing on B1387, after approx. 2½ miles, the Anchor is on right in the middle of the village.

Address:

Southwold, Walberswick, Suffolk, IP18 6UA

Room rates & booking
Reviews

Reviews

Country and Town House Magazine 2014, Fiona Duncan
What a five-star find this simple pub turns out to be. And so is Walberswick. Not for nothing does the Suffolk coastal village, separated from Southwold by the River Blyth, shelter a slew of discreet film, media and arts A-listers. Friendly, that’s Walberswick, but enigmatic too, thanks to the stunning marshes that surround it. The hosts are Mark and Sophie Dorber, and together they’ve created a haven of comfort and hospitality. Sophie, the head chef, strives for food that’s ‘well, terrible word, but tasty’, and hits the spot with ease, and Mark has created something really unusual by matching all the dishes with a suitable gourmet beer (he’s an expert), plus suggestions for wine. Beer with breakfast? Mark knows the very one. The bedrooms, four upstairs, others in spacious garden chalets, are fresh and comfortable. The Dorbers have created a fine garden and even grow their own hops. Beyond the garden lie enigmatic marshes.

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