Martha Freud: a dream day in Walberswick

Artist Martha Freud divides her time between Suffolk, where she swims in the sea and eats ice cream, and London, where she makes beautiful ceramic artworks, many of them embossed with pithy philosophical musings. In addition to her gallery pieces, she has created a collection of scented candles and tableware that’s available exclusively at The Conran Shop in Chelsea. We talked to her about her dream day in wonderful Walberswick

When I’m in Suffolk I try to get down to the beach early, before the crowds come. Sometimes the water is calm and flat, sometimes it’s not, but it’s always magical and occasionally a seal will swim right up to say hello. The great thing about starting the day with a swim is that you can spend the rest of the day telling everyone about it, and whatever life throws at you feels manageable.

After breakfast, we’ll cycle to Southwold, which is the next village along and is a postcard-perfect seaside town. I would head straight to Under the Pier, Southwold’s alternative arcade. It was created by a local artist called Tim Hunkin and it features all these leftfield arcade games that he’s made himself. There’s a pedal-powered version of Pong, and a game that involves climbing the housing ladder. My kids love the mad photo booth that will blow air in your face, or the seat will suddenly drop just as it is taking your picture. 

A favourite lunch spot in Southwold is The Canteen, a new restaurant in the old hospital building with wonderful high ceilings. They have a really simple short menu: a couple of sharing plates and maybe two imaginative main dishes – venison meatballs, say, with polenta – all of it seasonal, all of it delicious.  

I like having dessert in a different place from where I’ve had my main meal, so after lunch I would take the kids to the Harris & James ice cream shop, which does super soft scoop Italian-style gelato in quite adventurous flavours. Banoffee Pie is my current favourite, but they’re known to do things like Jaffa Cake or Party Ring flavour, best eaten in a cone on the beach down by the rainbow-coloured huts.  

Then, if there’s a matinee on, I might head to the Thorington Theatre, a beautiful open-air amphitheatre set in the woods and built on the site of a WW2 bomb crater. I saw James Righton play there last summer and it was most atmospheric.  

If not, then I would head over to Covehithe, which is quite tricky to get to, but it’s worth the journey as it’s the fastest eroding bit of coastline in Suffolk. Sometimes you arrive to discover that the waves have taken away another chunk of the forest and there are upturned trees falling into the sea with all their roots exposed: the scale of them when they are on their side is quite surprising and it almost feels like a prehistoric graveyard.  

In the evening, I would hop in the car and drive to The Suffolk in Aldeburgh. It’s the brainchild of George Pell who’s the MD of L’Escargot in Soho. They started it as a L’Escargot pop-up but it’s now got its own identity and it’s wonderfully special with no pretence or over-fussiness. The last meal I had there was a haddock chowder followed by a chicken and leek pie, which was everything you want a chicken and leek pie to be. 

You can follow Martha on Instagram: @marthafreud; marthafreud.com

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