Why Felixstowe is more than just its docks

  • Words from ITV News Anglia presenter Becky Jago (watch a report from her above)

I've been coming to Felixstowe on days out since before I can remember. It's part of my history. It may not be the prettiest coastal town, but it really has got a traditional charm all of its own.

It's certainly a town of contrasts - from state-of-the-art shipping to a rich history dating back centuries. Landguard Fort can be found in the south of the town. There's been some form of fort here since 1543, with major additions over the centuries.

Nestled quite happily alongside it are nature reserves - an important site for birds and rare flowers.

But I'm not on a nature trail today. I'm not going to spend the day lazing on the beach either, although there are over four miles of it to laze about on.

ITV News Anglia presenter Becky Jago has been visiting Felixstowe since she was a child. Credit: ITV Anglia

Over the years, Felixstowe has offered all you could want from a traditional seaside holiday resort - cute beach huts, a wide promenade and a pier with arcades.

Part of Felixstowe's uniqueness, however, is down to the large number of independent shops and cafes. At the Little Ice Cream Company, Jessie makes her ice cream from milk that's produced just three miles down the road.

She came over from Virginia 25 years ago, she literally put a pin in a map and left.

"I was expecting long, sandy beaches, and it was rocks, which was kinda funny", she told me.

"I've grown to love it now. It's comfortable in its own skin... evolving... a special place."

Just along the promenade is the Spa Pavilion Theatre.

Felixstowe is a 'town of contrasts'. Credit: ITV Anglia

The last time I was here I was 13, performing The Nutcracker on stage with my local ballet company.

The co-owner and manager here Ray Anderson has been kind enough to open it up for me to have another look. It's been, as with all theatres, a tough few months, but the residents here are behind them all the way. 

Ray Anderson, the theatre's co-owner, said: "They see this as a local theatre. We get a lot of regulars, they even want to choose the same seats. It's fabulous when you see that." 

Moving further north, you can find one of eight Martello Towers that were built along this part of the coast as a defence against a possible invasion by Napoleon's forces. Most are unused, but one has been converted into a private house with another now being used by the National Coastwatch Institution. 

In the north, you can watch the fishermen, or get the ferry boat across the estuary to Bawdsey, but our reward for the walk was always, and still is, a visit to the Ferry Cafe for some chips. Chips, childhood memories, and just chilling out...that's what I call a good day.