Southwold has a working harbour that takes a much cherished place in the hearts of the people of the area. Two boatbuilding yards are sited along the Harbour Road, leading to Blackshore Quay on the River Blyth, and many varieties of fishing craft may still be seen around the harbour although the industry, itself, is much reduced from its times of former glory.
Southwold, lies within an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Suffolk Heritage Coast. It is surrounded by marshes and has a history of suffering from storm surges and flooding although flood protection measures are in place but erosion of cliffs to the north, at Eastern Bavents, and the ingress of the sea to the south of the town makes it somewhat vulnerable. Indeed, the Town could be deemed and island were a major storm surge to break through current sea defences.