Walks and Pubs: They Go Together in England

Clive and Cousins, Levington, Suffolk

Clive and Cousins, Levington, Suffolk

Levington, Suffolk, England

What two fundamental elements of British culture go together very well?

I’ve written about public footpaths and walks in the United Kingdom. It wasn’t until this trip I’ve really appreciated, and experienced, the combination of a walk with that other quintessential British institution, the local pub.

Maybe it’s because pubs are now smoke-free inside. Maybe it’s because travel sections of local bookshops always seem to have a ‘Pub Walks’ offering. Maybe it’s because you don’t even need a book; many walks end in a village or on a roadside with a pub nearby.

Ferry Boat Inn (FBI), Felixstowe Ferry, England

Ferry Boat Inn (FBI), Felixstowe Ferry, England

For Example: Levington and the River Orwell, Suffolk

The 1,000 year-old village of Levington is a few miles north of Felixstowe, on the River Orwell in Suffolk. The writer Eric Blair loved this river so much he chose the pen name George Orwell.

One thing I love about walking in Suffolk is the variety of landscapes and scenery, from the North Sea coast to historic market towns and churches to quiet rivers and estuaries and inland woodland paths.

Clive & Cousin near Levington, Suffolk

Clive & Cousin near Levington, Suffolk

Walking with Clive has opened my eyes to seasonal changes I hadn’t experienced before. This year we happened to be in England during bluebell time. I found it magical to see the carpet of blue inside the green budding woods.

Bluebell Time in England

Bluebell Time in England

This walk was a short loop of 2-3 miles because we had commitments later in the day. It ended at the Ship Inn, a pub where we had a light lunch and I tried a ‘Regatta’ ale from Adnams, the local Suffolk brewery. ‘Regatta’ seemed appropriate, sitting near Levington Marina and the River Orwell. It was good.

Sunday Sails on the River Orwell, Suffolk

Sunday Sails on the River Orwell, Suffolk

Walks and Pubs = Counterintuitive? Non, pas du Tout

At first it seemed counterintuitive to me, to take a brisk, healthy walk, then sit at a pub drinking ale, or in Clive’s case, a Scrumpy (Scrumpy Jack’s cider) or Guiness. I thought stopping at the pub would cancel out the benefits of the walk. But here in England, it feels like the natural thing to do.

Our walks don’t always end at or near a pub, but I’m starting to like it when they do. If it’s early, we can always have a coffee or a nice cup of tea; if it’s cold, a hot chocolate would be nice. It’s a kind of reward, and extends the experience of being out and enjoying the country together.

On a sunny Sunday in Levington, I felt like I was sitting in a postcard, joining the locals at outside tables, breathing in the fresh spring air, and having a pint.
The Ship Inn, Levington, Suffolk

The Ship Inn, Levington, Suffolk

Levington, Suffolk, England
River Orwell, Suffolk
Adnams Ale, Suffolk

5 Responses

  1. No-one does a pub better than the British do they? It looks lovely and the weather looks quite good too. Glad you are enjoying yourselves and take care.

  2. I love those English pubs. I always get the poughmans lunch with ham and pickles and pickled onions. I love the chutney too. Most of them have such great interiors and it is almost always a step into the past.

  3. sounds divine! and how amazing was it to see the bluebells like that?!

  4. Such a lovely walk, just look at those bluebells.. 🙂

    So pleased you are having a great time …and the weather is behaving for you too!!

    Not all British pubs are like that..in fact a lot have been turned into Fun pubs, etc , but the village ones (if they have one) are so quaint……and they are expensive…to say the least..

  5. Lilly, so true that no-one does pubs like the Brits 🙂 Hope all’s well with you and life in Oz – we miss Australia too!

    Linda, oooh yes those lunches with cheese (not sure about chutney, though) and the interiors are really great.

    KimB and Anne, yes the bluebells were truly divine. Anne, agree re pubs – they vary so much now, in atmosphere and price. I think we all still prefer the traditional ones 🙂


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