Suffolk played a vital role in England’s wool trade from medieval times onwards, and this helped shape the beautiful timber framed architecture still very much evident in many of its Medieval Wool villages and towns today, such as Lavenham, Long Melford and Sudbury.
England’s finest medieval village has been remarkably preserved over the centuries and attracts visitors from all over the world. There are over 300 listed buildings, including the iconic Guildhall of Corpus Christi, located in the heart of the village on the market square. Inside the Guildhall you can learn about the Lavenham’s local history, farming heritage and the story of the medieval wool trade. There are a number of tearooms scattered throughout the village where you can enjoy a traditional afternoon tea whilst admiring the fantastic surrounding timber framed architecture.
The county town of Suffolk, is situated on the busy River Ore, which opens onto the coast a short distance away. In medieval times it was a major exporter of cloth woven in the Suffolk wool towns. Today Ipswich is a bustling town steeped in history.
The waterfront area has been revamped in recent years and now has many cosmopolitan cafes and restaurants with fantastic marina views. It is also home to the new University Campus Suffolk.
A state of the art dance house on the waterfront, which brings an eclectic programme of world class dance performances to the East of England.
The mansion is well worth a visit. You can explore period rooms styled from the 16th to the 19th century as well as The Wolsey Art Gallery which houses the second largest Constable collection in the UK and also many works by Thomas Gainsborough and a number of other well known artists. The beautiful grounds of Christchurch Park are a lovely place to stroll around or have a picnic.
There is a large Cineworld cinema in Cardinal Park, close to the town centre, which is also home to a number of eateries, a nightclub and a gym.
Our local town was also one of the important wool towns and boasts more than 250 listed buildings. Today it is a pretty market town with several shops, pubs and cafes. Its flint and freestone church, St Mary’s, houses the oldest bell in Suffolk. Just outside the town and close to The Suffolk Escape is an ancient piece of woodland, Wolves Wood, a RSPB reserve perfect for those wishing to head out spotting wildlife, thankfully there are no wolves in the woods!
Owned by the National Trust Sutton Hoo is a group of 6th and 7th century Anglo Saxon burial mounds overlooking the River Deben. It is one of the most amazing and important archaeological discoveries in the country and gives insight into the lives of the Anglo Saxons in ancient Suffolk. The exhibition hall houses a full size replica of a burial chamber of a Warrior King and his most treasured possessions.
Set amongst rolling chalk heathland Newmarket is the historic home to British horseracing, training and thoroughbred breeding. Explore the town’s history at the British Horseracing Museum and visit The National Stud to see the mares and foals out in their paddocks. You can also do tours of some of the racing yards and watch morning training sessions out on the gallops. To complete the experience nothing beats the thrill of a day’s racing at one of the towns two race courses. Throughout the summer months the extremely popular ‘Newmarket Nights’ provide a fantastic evening’s entertainment of horseracing and live music.
Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, CO10 9BA (15 miles, 30mins – click here for route map)
A fantastic moated red brick Tudor mansion, with extensive grounds and a rare breed farm. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of everyday Tudor life on one of the famous re-creation weekends which take place throughout the year.
Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, CO10 2EU, (15 miles, 25mins – click here for route map)
This museum and gallery in the nearby town of Sudbury is the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough. It houses the largest collection of Gainsborough’s work on display at any one time in Britain.
This beautiful, historic town has much to attract the visitors including the fantastic Cathedral and Abbey Gardens which are steeped in history dating back to 633. Whilst visiting Bury you could also enjoy a drink in the world’s smallest pub, aptly named ‘The Nutshell’ or see a show at ‘The Theatre Royal’, the only remaining example of a regency playhouse in this country. You could also take a tour round the famous ‘Green King’ brewery.
This bustling little medieval town on the River Deben is home to the last working Tide Mill in the country. Over the years the Tide Mill has been inspiration to many artists and photographers. The Shire Hall, standing in the centre of old Woodbridge, has been the focal point of the town for many years. The Hall houses the Suffolk Horse Museum; a museum dedicated to the oldest breed of heavy working horse in the world, ‘The Suffolk Punch’. Also worth a visit whilst in Woodbridge is Buttrum’s windmill, one of England’s finest tower windmills.
A unique set of granary buildings which house a number of independent shops, a café and pub, as well as a world famous concert hall. The concert hall is operated by Aldeburgh Music, who host a diverse year round programme of music.
Thischarming seaside town was a thriving port and ship building centre in the 16th century and became a seaside resort and fishing village in the 19th century. Today fishermen still pull their boats up the steep shingle beach to sell their morning catch. The bustling high street is lined with attractive Georgian shop fronts and the famous Maggie Hambling scallop sculpture sits at the northern end of the beach. A trip to Aldeburgh is not complete without sampling the wares of the famous Aldeburgh Fish and Chip shop!