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A North American comes to Felixstowe

Ottawa, Canada
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A North American comes to Felixstowe

So it was a mistake that we ever came to Felixstowe. Misguided by Expedia to a hotel near our cruise port departure at Harwich, we booked at the Marlborough Hotel to spend the night at Felixstowe before (we thought) taking a short taxi ride to Harwich, which we understood was only about four miles away. It IS four miles away across the water. It is a 60 pound taxi ride away by road (it seems you have to drive all the way around the estuary.) Oh well.

But let's talk about Felixstowe. To our North American eyes, this place looks like somewhere opportunity should be knocking. It's a tired, retro, shabby seaside town. How did it ever get this run-down? It's a lovely place, with a great beach and boardwalk, safe, clean. How did it come to this? Along the seafront there are guesthouses boarded up, sad, for sale, drooping. The entertainment is bumper cars and saggy inflatable slides, plus a tacky casino. How come? We docked in Weymouth two days later, and the beach and the waterfront were alive with places to eat, drink and shop for big bucks, and it was crowded. But the beach and the boardwalk were not really better than Felixstowe by an order of magnitude.

So I don't get Felixstowe. It has great things to offer.

27 replies to this topic
Oakham, United...
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1. Re: A North American comes to Felixstowe

Many uk seaside towns have this problem. I don't know felixstowe particularly, but they grew and boomed with the railways, and as people started to have free time and money. Then cheap air travel arrived. It's often cheaper for someone in the uk to spend a week in the sunny Mediterranean than at the uk seaside with its uncertain weather. Some places have reinvented themselves and remain popiular. Felixstowe is known as a container port; I'd never think of going there to visit - perhaps that perception is a problem too

Great Yarmouth...
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for Norwich, Great Yarmouth
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2. Re: A North American comes to Felixstowe

Sadly many if our coastal towns are similar as we use them less and less for our own holidays. When we do go to the seaside, a handful of places win us over. Those on the south coast generally have a milder climate and an interesting coastline. People can spend a few days in and around Weymouth for example, and find plenty to do. Felixstowe is way out to the east, windy, and considered to be no more than and industrial container port.

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for Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Cotswolds
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3. Re: A North American comes to Felixstowe

As Floridge so correctly points out most people/families head for the south coast whether it be Cornwall,Devon,Dorset or East Sussex for their holidays.We have some stunning coastal towns in this country like Whitby and my own personal favourite non south resort Wells next the sea in Norfolk.Some seasides took a financial beating over the years and a fair few shops and cafes have had to close because of it.

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: A North American comes to Felixstowe

Or with a bit of research you could have caught the ferry for £6 each


Edited: 06 October 2015, 03:12
5. Re: A North American comes to Felixstowe

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Loughton, United...
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6. Re: A North American comes to Felixstowe

I quite like Felixstowe for its general air of resort decline. You can find it all round our coasts - Margate, Sheerness, Southend, Blackpool eg all share it to a greater or smaller extent.

Unlike Germany, France, or many parts of the US, towns in Britain have little autonomy to "do something about it". Felixstowe is part of the Suffolk Coastal District, and a small part at that. It has little say in how the tax revenues are spent, only having a Town Council with very few powers. It can't stop inappropriate development or sink millions into projects.

Having said all this, we were there a year or so back on Rembrance Sunday, and the civic pride shown that day almost makes up for the resort decline!

Southampton, UK
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7. Re: A North American comes to Felixstowe

Cheap air travel to southern Europe has been a hammer blow for many coastal holiday resorts such as Felixstowe, Margate and others.

The weather in the UK, as you have doubtless discovered, is totally unpredictable. You can have a glorious week in June, July or August but you can quite easily have an appalling week with rain and cool conditions. It is hardly surprising that the British opt for countries such as Spain to spend their hard earned money. There, at least, they have the near certainty of decent weather during the summer months.

Felixstowe has its container port but Margate and other former holiday resorts are struggling to find prosperity once more.

Rutland, UK
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8. Re: A North American comes to Felixstowe

As an aside, you might be interested to know that the port of Felixstowe is owned by Trinity College Cambridge. Profits from the port as well as other astute investments by Trinity such as the O2 Arena and the Cambridge Science Park are used to subsidise other Cambridge colleges.

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9. Re: A North American comes to Felixstowe

You mention Weymouth - they're much luckier than Felixstowe. The south coast is generally warmer - and the population around Dorset and Hampshire tends to be much wealthier. Also: it was the location for the 2012 Olympics sailing events, which brought with it a massive financial investment. So Weymouth has seen a big boost recently.

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for London, Devon
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10. Re: A North American comes to Felixstowe

Also, if people are in the area and want to head to the coast, they are more likely to head to places such as Aldeburgh and Southwold, which are well-known for being attractive.

Felixstowe cannot compete with that - and doesn't need to, as it has its port, which is one of the most commercially successful in the UK and well placed for trade with our European Union neighbours. The EU accounts for around 50% of our exports.

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