AREA GUIDE

Lowestoft

Lowestoft is famed as the most easterly town in Britain and has a rich history as a working port and town.

The river Waveney meets Lake Lothing and Oulton Broad near Lowestoft. This forms the barrier between the southern parts of Lowestoft – Kirkley, Pakefield, Kessingland and Carlton Colville – and the north – the town centre, Gunton, Park Hill, Corton and Blundeston. Housing is generally more affordable here than in Gorleston or Oulton Broad and you can pick from historic architectural gems to modern housing estates.

Lowestoft has musical associations with Benjamin Britten and, more recently, The Darkness.

Read more about Lowestoft below – and if you’ve any questions about the area or property, please do get in touch with me.

Location

Ness Point and the giant wind turbine, Gulliver, mark the most easterly point in Britain.

A futuristic building, the Orbis centre, provides fantastic sea views, and marks the town’s resurgence with the renewables industry. Lowestoft is celebrated in one episode of Top Gear where I recall an overnight dash from west to east by Clarkson.

Being so far east, means it is often sunny, with warm summers, cold but generally frost free winters. It has a railway station close to the beach, with direct links to Norwich. The A12 will take you to London – but be aware that much of this is single carriageway with numerous 30 mph zones.

The river does divide Lowestoft and can cause severe bottlenecks when Bascule Bridge is raised. The town centre is divided too, with London Road South having quirkier independent shops and London Road North, pedestrianised, with Marks and Spencers, the Britten Centre, Palmers and Godfrey’s, as well as a string of independent shops south of the river.

  • Sunny weather in summer
  • Quirky town centre
  • Can get bottlenecked

Beach

The main tourist beach stretches from south of the Waveney to Pakefield and beyond.

There is a sea dash every Christmas, to raise money for charity by many brave people. The beach is broad and generally sandy though apparently not as sandy as it used to be, as the outer harbour at Great Yarmouth has apparently caused sand to head to Norfolk.

There are traditional beach huts, which are more affordable than those commanding £50,000 plus in bijou Southwold, which along with Aldeburgh, is beloved of second homers from London.

Large hotels and apartments are set on the cliffs above the beach, peering down on the two piers (South and Claremont). Property here can command six figures, but apartments can be found for around £120,000.

Further south is the delightful buildings of Kirkley and Pakefield, which has beautiful homogenous Victorian rows of housing clustered around a fine theatre, the Seagull.

The beach areas are relatively uncommercialised – Lowestoft doesn’t have the attractions of Great Yarmouth, which you could see as good or bad, depending on your perspective.

  • Relatively uncommercialised
  • Beautiful seafront housing
  • More affordable than other parts of Suffolk

History

Lowestoft, like Gorleston and Yarmouth, has a rich history and a deep seated rivalry, based on the herring industry.

In the middle ages Lowestoft became an increasingly important fishing town. The trade, particularly fishing for herring, continued to act as the town’s main identity until the 20th century.

In June 1665 the Battle of Lowestoft, the first battle of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, took place 40 miles (64 km) off the coast of the town. The battle resulted in a significant victory for the English fleet over the Dutch.

In the 19th century, the arrival of Sir Samuel Morton Peto brought about a change in Lowestoft’s fortunes. Railway contractor Peto was contracted by the Lowestoft Railway & Harbour Company to build a railway line between Lowestoft and Reedham. Peto’s railway not only enabled the fishing industry to get its product to market, but assisted the development of other industries such as engineering and helped to establish Lowestoft as a flourishing seaside holiday resort.

During World War I, Lowestoft was bombarded by the German Navy on 24 April 1916 in conjunction with the Easter Rising.  In World War II, the town was heavily targeted for bombing by the Luftwaffe due to its engineering industry and role as a naval base. It is sometimes claimed that it became one of the most heavily bombed towns per head of population in the UK. The Royal Naval Patrol Service had its central depot HMS Europa, also known as Sparrow’s Nest, in the town.

  • Rich fishing history
  • Extensive historical buildings and areas
  • Well connected by public transport

 

Tourism

Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park is situated on the northern edge of the town, near Tesco Extra and Park Hill estate. In the west at Oulton Broad boat trips and watersports on the Broads and River Waveney are attractions. To the south Africa Alive at Kessingland is a major attraction.

A major attraction in recent years was Lowestoft Airshow, founded in 1996. The two-day event, which took place in August, featured a wide range of aircraft includingthe Red Arrows, a Lancaster bomber, Spitfires and an Avro Vulcan. The event, which was run by Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival Ltd, a not for profit company, since 2004, had financial difficulties and made a £40,000 loss in 2010. Further financial difficulties, made worse by bad weather and low visitor numbers in 2012, mean that the 2012 airshow was, unfortunately, the last to take place.

  • Africa Alive and Pleasurewood Hills are superb
  • Close to the honeypots of Aldeburgh and Southwold
  • Gateway to the Broads