Hotel review

UK Hotel Review: Inside The Ship in Dunwich, Suffolk

Magical Moments and a Touch of Mystery: Inside the Cozy Coastal Pub with Bedrooms Near ‘British Atlantis’

  • The Ship in Dunwich, Suffolk, is a pub with a long history – it dates back to the Middle Ages
  • Lizzie Enfield checks in and finds the ‘comfortable’ rooms come with a free carafe of port
  • She makes a delicious discovery at dinner in the form of Aldeburgh’s vintage marmalade ice cream

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The ship dates back to the Middle Ages, when Dunwich was a prosperous port.

At the time, the Suffolk village was the size of the square mile of London, a hub founded on fishing, trade and religious patronage.

Over the past 700 years, most of this mini-metropolis has gradually been lost to the sea, but fortunately not all of it – and where once the daily market was its beating heart, it is now The Ship, with a cozy bar, a cozy log burner and a draft Adnams beers brewed just up the coast in Southwold.

Shipshape: Lizzie Enfield was a fan of the ‘seaside’ food served in the ship’s spacious restaurant (pictured)

Lizzie slept soundly in her bedroom, which had crisp white bedding and delicately patterned cushions.  Pictured is one of the bedrooms

Lizzie slept soundly in her bedroom, which had crisp white bedding and delicately patterned cushions. Pictured is one of the bedrooms

The food is sea-side, seasonal, and served in an ocean-blue-walled restaurant. We start with the terrine of Suffolk ham hock and the mussels marinières, followed by the Norfolk chicken and the fried sea bream. It’s all washed down with an aptly named Sea Change Chardonnay and finished with Aldeburgh’s vintage marmalade ice cream – a surprisingly delicious find.

No lunch reservations are taken during the summer months, but staff say they will find guests in the restaurant or in the pretty garden with its outdoor bar serving pints of beer – or prawns – and salt and pepper squid with sweet chilli.

We had our breakfast of mashed herrings and avocados on sourdough on the veranda, spied from the bar through an old porthole.

Where Dunwich once attracted kings, sailors and pilgrims – it is part of an ancient pilgrimage route said to have been traveled by St Edmund, England’s original patron saint – now its 16 comfortable double rooms ( with the possibility of twin and family rooms) bring weekenders and vacationers.

Dogs are also welcome in all rooms.

Wooden walls and furniture are painted in earthy neutral tones, complementing wrought-iron bed frames with crisp white bedding and delicately patterned throw pillows.

Outdoor affair: patrons can enjoy pints of ale and salt and pepper calamari with sweet chilli at the pub's Field Bar above during the summer months

Outdoor affair: patrons can enjoy pints of ale and salt and pepper calamari with sweet chilli at the pub’s Field Bar above during the summer months

The ship is located in Dunwich, home to the cliff-top ruins of the medieval Greyfriars Monastery (pictured) and a museum that chronicles the port's history

The ship is located in Dunwich, home to the cliff-top ruins of the medieval Greyfriars Monastery (pictured) and a museum that chronicles the port’s history

TRAVEL INFORMATION

The Ship, Dunwich, Suffolk. B&B from £125 per night for a double room (shipatdunwich.co.uk).

Some of the suites have roll-top baths, some have spacious walk-in showers, and all have complimentary British Bramley toiletries.

Details nod to the location, with beach pebbles stacked in fireplace grates and a complimentary carafe of port over the fireplace. All rooms are named after buildings from Dunwich’s medieval heyday. Ours, The Guildhall, overlooked the marshes to the sea, drawing us along the Suffolk Coast Path.

From Dunwich you can walk south to Aldeburgh, north to Walberswick and Southwold or inland to Dunwich Heath and Minsmere RSPB Reserve.

Dunwich itself has the cliff-top ruins of the medieval Greyfriars Monastery and a museum that traces the history of the harbour, its disappearance and recent rediscovery.

For years, stories circulated that the lost buildings of the village had remained under the sea – a British Atlantis. And recently, scientists discovered the remains of two monasteries and several churches at the bottom of the sea, just as the storytellers claimed.

At the Ship’s bar, the story goes that at certain times, you can hear the church bells ringing under the waves.

But whether we walked too far, drank too much, or simply succumbed to the comforts of our surroundings, we slept soundly, hearing only the occasional cry of a seagull or the creak of Tudor wood flooring.

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