This ancient market town lies on the banks of the River Waveney, in Suffolk. It is located on the edge of the Norfolk Broads National Park, close to rivers, lakes and unspoiled woods and meadows. The city of Norwich is 16 miles to the northwest, while the vast sandy shores of the Suffolk coast are a short distance to the east. Wander along the river bank from your holiday cottage in Beccles, and explore the historic town centre, where there are a variety of boutiques and antique shops. Beccles is famous for its markets, with stallholders selling the finest local produce every Friday. By the river, there is a lido and a museum with fascinating exhibits. The Caxton Arms, at Douglas Place, is a welcoming pub serving Suffolk ales, while Graze is one of the town’s best restaurants, with delicious meat and seafood dishes.

There are several excellent cafes, including Twyford’s, and Baileys deli.  Looming over the town, the 16th-century bell tower of St Michael’s Church can be seen for miles around. Opposite the church, the octagonal town hall was built in 1785, on the site of the market cross. Grazed by cattle, the Common is a lovely spot for a stroll or a picnic, while Beccles Marsh Trail is perfect for a longer walk, into the surrounding countryside. Visitors staying in a holiday cottage in Beccles in the third week of August won’t want to miss the carnival, which features a duck race along the river.

A day by the sea in Southwold is also highly recommended on self-catering holidays in Beccles. This classic Suffolk resort has a sandy beach backed by beach huts, a pier, and a lighthouse. The riverside town of Saxmundham is further south, with a maze of narrow streets packed with independent shops.