Once a bustling fishing port, Lowestoft is now a small quiet town on the east coast of Britain. It houses not much but is a big tourist destination due to its huge beach which runs all the way down to Pakefield. Lowestoft also had a famous composer, Benjamin Britten, who died in The Red House in Aldeburgh in 1976.
If coming from the south, the A12 London-Great Yarmouth road passes right through the town. Note that past Ipswich much of the road is single-carriageway and can become congested during summer holidays and weekends so allow 3–4 hours driving time from London. A- and B-roads link Lowestoft to most other locations in Suffolk and Norfolk.
Lowestoft Station - the UK's most easterly railway station - is located right in the centre of town at Station Square, just north of the river, and is the terminus of 2 lines. Services to Norwich run every hour (Monday to Saturday) and take around 30–45 minutes. The service is two-hourly on Sunday.
There is also an hourly service to Ipswich (Monday to Saturday. It takes around 90 minutes to reach Ipswich.
All buses terminate at the town-centre bus station. There's no direct service to Ipswich and the most useful bus is the hourly express coach from Peterborough via Norwich and Great Yarmouth. Note that getting to Great Yarmouth by train is very indirect and requires a change at Norwich so it's much quicker to take the bus.
Lowestoft is a compact and pleasant town to walk around, boasting award winning Blue Flag beaches. Biking can be a fast way to get around Lowestoft, or you could walk and soak up those memories of a new town. There are also a lot of taxi companies in Lowestoft, and can be used for a short trip to town from your hotel. Just call the number on the taxi HQ and you get a taxi within minutes.
- Gulliver. 126 metre high wind turbine
- Ness point. The most easterly point in Britain, and a signpost noting distances to various major British and international cities.
Lowestoft has one of the finest sandy beaches in the East of England and is a regular winner of the 'Blue Flag' award. The annual air show brings in visitors from all over the region and the town has a festive atmosphere for the two days of the show. Entry to the beach (where the flying takes place and the stalls are set up) is free but a donation to keep the festival running is appreciated.
As well as being a gateway to the Norfolk Broads (via Nicholas Everitt's park in Oulton Broad) Lowestoft also has several well-kept areas of park land catering for all needs, Sparrows Nest for relaxing, Everitt's park for boating (including powerboat racing) and walking, Normanston Park is very good for football and tennis and Kensington Gardens has tennis courts, a boating lake and a bowls green.
Lowestoft also has Pleasurewood Hills, a small family-friendly theme park, Africa Alive (an impressive zoo for its size), Somerleyton Hall complete with Maze, Fritton Lakes, the quintessential town of Southwold (with its award winning pier) and Great Yarmouth all within a simple bus journey from the town.
Lowestoft town centre has been renovated over the past 10 years with some shops closing, but at the same time new ones have opened to take their place. You will find the usual shops such as Marks & Spencer, BHS, Argos, Boots, WH Smith, Game, New Look, Wilkinsons, Peacocks, Greenwoods etc., as well as its fair share of mobile phone shops. There are also two department stores - Beales and Palmers and a quality electical retailer - Hughes. There are a number of small shops in a small shopping precinct The Britten Centre, which is adjacent to the bus station, and is situated on the west side of London Road North alongside the WH Smith shop. This also houses a small market which is open 5 days a week (Tuesday to Saturday) as well as an Iceland food store. The main Post Office is situated at the southern end of the pedestrianised London Road North - the main shopping thoroughfare on the north side of the river which splits the town in half - and about 75 metres north of the Railway station. At the north end of London Road North is the High Street which has many small independent shops.
About a mile west of the railway station is the North Quay Retail Park which has a number of outlets including B&Q, AHF (Co-op furnishers), Dreams (Bedrooms), Maplins (Electrical), Morrisons (Supermarket), Curry's, Argos Extra, Halfords, Brantano, Pets at Home, Carpet Right, Carphone Warehouse, and Next. Across the road there is a Wickes DIY and a Lidl supermarket.
South of the river - over the Bascule Bridge - is London Road South which comprises mostly smaller independent 'local' shops which serve the Kirkley area of the town. This part of town was also renovated within the past ten years to make it more pedestrian-friendly although it is not a pedestrianised area as such. Also south of the river and alongside the quay, about 400 metres from the Bascule Bridge, is an ASDA supermarket.
Lowestoft lacks notable restaurants. The town centre provides the expected fast food chains including McDonald's, KFC and Subway, but no Burger King. There are also numerous Kebab and Asian cuisine outlets, which range in quality. The Spice Den Indian restaurant is very good.
Pub food is also readily available but again varies in quality. 'The Wherry Hotel' and 'The Waveney', both located in Oulton Broad are recommendations, as well as the 'Joseph Conrad', a very recent free house with a large outside seating area. You'll most likely find it packed to the brim though.
The Lowestoft town centre is fairly run down these days and that includes the pubs and bars. Your best bet is to head down to Oulton Broad which is a five minute taxi ride away or catch the train there. Oulton Broad has really become the main place for bars and pubs in Lowestoft with many modern bars such as Winelodge, Broadview and Bridges open, the place is usually heaving during the weekend and can be busy in the week. There is also a new nightclub called Escape by Winelodge.
If you do choose to stay in Lowestoft your best bet is the pubs by the bridge with The Harbour, Notley, Iconic and Winelodge all close to each other although these tend to be very quiet during the week and only tend to get busy on Fridays and Saturdays and even then they can be quiet.
The seafront areas of Lowestoft are packed with BnB's and contains two large hotels. Booking is recommended during the school holidays especially during the air festival and the prices tend to range from £25-£90 per night. There is a Premier Inn and Travelodge on the edge of town (head North on the A12 towards Great Yarmouth) and the surrounding area contains plenty of campsites with varying levels of facilities.
- D.G. Hayden Chemists Ltd., 0830 - 2230 / 7 Days. High Street, Lowestoft. Call 01502 580 002 for more info.