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Touring Suffolk

Oulton Broad river courtesy Suffolkcam Suffolk, once part of the powerful kingdom of East Anglia, is a county of small market towns and villages. It is also justly famous for its many historic churches. Take time to explore the Brecks, an area of the county that runs from Mildenhall and West Stow through Thetford and up into Norfolk. Here are open heaths, sandy soil, woodlands, and a mix of animal habitats. Suffolk's two main rivers, the Stour and the Orwell, provide much of its character. The coastline offers up views of the sea and in some places provides a beach to frolic on.

Southwold Beach promenade courtesy Suffolkcam The busy town of Bury St Edmunds, located on the A134/A14/A43 has several interesting historic buildings. Angel Corner, at Angel Hill in the town centre is a Queen Anne house. Under the care of the National Trust, the Theatre Royal on Westgate Street is a late Georgian playhouse built in 1819 and still in use.

Bury St Edmunds abbey by Barbara Ballard The ruins of Bury St Edmunds Abbey at the east end of the town centre are under the care of English Heritage. Here are a tower, 14th century gatehouse, church and precinct. The Manor House Museum is located just south of the Abbey grounds and has a collection of timepieces.

Pakenham village windmill 1830 courtesy Suffolkcam An attraction within a few miles of the town is the 18th century working Pakenham Watermill. Wyken Hall Gardens, 9 miles north-east of Bury is a plant lover’s garden with a maze, knot and herb garden, a rose garden with old roses, walks through ancient woodlands, and a 16th century barn; Euston Hall at Euston on the A1088, 10 miles north-east of Bury is a member of the Historic Houses Association. It offers paintings, pleasure grounds, and river walks.

Ickworth House Suffolk NT by Barbara Ballard Ickworth House, Park and Garden, in Horringer, 3 miles south-west of Bury St Edmunds is under the care of the National Trust. The eccentric house has a central rotunda and curved corridors. Inside are paintings and Georgian silver. Outside are an Italianate garden, a park with woodland walks, a Georgian summerhouse, a church, a canal and a lake.

Icklingham, north-west of Bury St Edmunds, boasts one of Suffolk's grandest churches, All Saints, with its thatched roof rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries; its floor tiles are medieval.

Thornham Magna thatched cottages Suffolk by Barbara Ballard Thornham Magna, just to the west of the A140 between Ipswich and Diss, is a lovely village. Walks are available on the Thornham estate. St Mary Magdalene church has a 14th century tower and the glass in the south-west nave is by the Morris Co.

Thornham Magna Church window Suffolk by Barbara Ballard Nearby Thornham Parva's St Mary church is set in a field and has a thatched roof, an ancient interior with wall paintings and medieval reredos, and a Norman north doorway.

Cavendish by Barbara Ballard On the A1092 Melford to Haverhill road is Cavendish, famous for its chocolate box village scene with a green, medieval cottages, and an ancient inn. The large church, St Mary’s, has a stair turret and a 14th century tower. St Mary's is considered one of the most significant churches in Suffolk. Don't miss the hammerbeam roof. Another church of note is found at Earl Stoneham, on the A1120 Stowmarket to Yoxford road.

At Hessett, just to the south of the A14 is St Ethelbert's, one of loveliest medieval churches in Suffolk with much to see. Stained glass windows, a painted rood screen, and wall paintings are among the attractions.

Kedington, on the B1061 southwest of Bury St Edmunds, is home to St Peter and St Paul church, one of Suffolk's most remarkable churches. Inside is a three decker pulpit. The church is famous for the Barnadiston tombs and memorials, which are the most interesting in Suffolk, and England's oldest post-reformation rood screen, dating from the Laudian re-ordering of the 1620s.

Kersey village near Hadleigh by Barbara Ballard Kersey, just off A1071 Ipswich to Sudbury road is often described as Suffolk’s most attractive village. Get there early before coach tours arrive. In the village, St Mary’s is a cloth church with a grand south porch, rood screen, ancient font, carvings, and statues.

Lavenham crooked house by Barbara Ballard The one place you won't want to miss in Suffolk is the town of Lavenham, a medieval wool town preserved when the decline in the wool trade and spinning left owners too poor to renovate. It's worth at least a day. The streets (and you must wander up and down all of them) are a maze of 1450-1500 built timber-framed houses, pink plaster houses and houses tilting in all directions. Your camera will be kept busy with every step worth a photo.

Lavenham medieval guild hall by Barbara Ballard Lavenham church door and carving by Barbara Ballard Overlooking the market square is a magnificent early 16th century timber-framed guildhall in care of the National Trust. Inside are exhibitions on local history, farming and industry, and the story of the medieval woollen cloth trade. There's a walled garden, 19th century lock-up and mortuary and a small tearoom. Lavenham's huge Church of St Peter and St Paul has beautiful carvings.

Long Melford town by Barbara Ballard Kentwell Hall at Long Melford Suffolk by Barbara Ballard Antique and collectible fans will want to visit Long Melford, 14 miles south of Bury St Edmunds and three miles north of Sudbury. The name of the town is appropriate with the main street and its many interesting shops strung out along the road. In the town is Holy Trinity Church with a famous Lady Chapel. Be sure to visit Melford Hall, a celebrated Elizabethan house, little changed since 1579 externally. Inside is a panelled banqueting hall, a Regency library, Victorian bedrooms, furniture, and porcelain. The garden has spectacular specimen trees and a banqueting house.

Nearby is Kentwell Hall, a lived in and loved Tudor house with a moat. Don't miss it. The historic Somerleyton manor house was built in Victorian times. Five rooms are on view that are typical of the times. The grounds are lovely and well kept, and there is a nice tearoom in the orangery.

Flatford Mill by Barbara Ballard Flatford mill pond and cottage by Barbara Ballard North of Colchester, the Saxon villages of Dedham, East Bergholt, and Flatford were made famous by Constable in his paintings. He was born in East Bergholt in 1776 and educated at Dedham so knew the countryside well that he painted. This section of Suffolk along the Stour river has become known as Constable country. Willy Lott's cottage and Flatford mill are not open to the public but can be enjoyed from the outside as can walks along the river and in the Dedham vale. The National Trust owns 16th century Flatford bridge cottage upstream from the mill and a small exhibition on Constable and a tearoom are open to the public. Boats can be hired to row along the river.

Framlingham church monument by Barbara Ballard Framlingham castle by Barbara Ballard Framlingham, on the B1116, just east of the A1120 is an attractive town with an interesting church, St Michael’s. The 12th century castle in the town is under the care of English Heritage and an interesting audio tour is available. The castle has been a poorhouse, a prison, and a school. Mary Tudor was proclaimed Queen of England here. Take a walk around the curtain wall with its 13 towers for outstanding views over the countryside.

Newmarket is well known for its horse racing. The National Horseracing museum tells the story of its development. The town was home to Nell Gwyn, Charles II's mistress.

Leiston abbey by Barbara Ballard The town of Leiston had the first production line for portable steam engines. Check out their history and that of the town at the Long Shop Steam Museum on Main Street. One mile north of the town are the remains of Leiston Abbey (English Heritage).

Orford Suffolk view from the castle by Barbara Ballard Orford Castle by Barbara Ballard Orford, located on the coast is a scenic village. Climb to the top of 13th century Orford castle (English Heritage) built by Henry II for views reaching to Orford Ness, the largest vegetated shingle spit in Europe Here are a variety of habitats including shingle, salt marsh, mudflat, and lagoons. It's an important bird location. (Catch a boat from the quay--restricted hours and dates.) The castle is a treat with its three towers, spiral stairs and passageways. An excellent audio tour is available.

Thorpness Suffolk by Barbara Ballard Thorpness, also on the seacoast, has an 1824 post mill and a 7 storey clapboard water tower with a house on top.

Southwold Pier Suffolk by Barbara Ballard Southwold is known for its pier, a place of entertainment in the summer. Its medieval church, St Edmund, is considered one of the grandest in Suffolk. Look up at the painted hammerbeam roof and its angels.

Bungay was an important medieval stronghold on the River Waveney, but now serves as a boating centre. A fire destroyed much of the town and is commemorated by a buttercross in the market square.

Sutton Hoo path to grave site by Barbara Ballard Sutton Hoo, two miles east of Woodbridge, is the location of the discovery of an Anglo-Saxon royal burial site. A huge ship grave laden with treasures was uncovered in a field. There's a large exhibition hall telling the story, a National Trust restaurant, and a shop. Most of the treasures are replicas of the originals, many of which, including 41 items of solid gold, can be found in the British museum in London. There's a walk to the field where the discovery was made, but there is nothing of the grave left to see except the site itself.

Suffolk Attractions

For opening times and full details of attractions see the Attractions section of our website.

Aldeburgh Museum
The Moot Hall, on the sea front at Aldeburgh Suffolk
Tel. 0 1728 454 666
Web: Aldeburgh Museum

All Saints Church
A1101 northwest of Bury to Mildenhall road
Tel. see key holder notice on church door

Angel Corner
8 Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds town centre
Tel. NA

Beccles & District Museum
Leman House, Ballygate, Beccles Suffolk
Tel. 0 1502 715 722
Web: Beccles &District Museum

Brandon Heritage Centre
George St, Brandon
Tel. 0 7709 236 446

Bury St Edmunds Abbey
Bury St Edmunds, east end of town centre
Tel. 0 1284 764 667

Buttrum’s Mill
Tel. 0 1394 382 045

Christchurch Mansion
Christchurch Park, Soane Street, Ipswich IP4 2BE
Tel. 0 1473 433 554

Church of St Edmund King and Martyr
Tel. NA

Church of St Peter and St Paul
Tel. NA

Clare Ancient House Museum
26 High St, Clare
Tel. 0 1787 277 662
Web: Clare Ancient House Museum

Clifford Road Air Raid Shelter Museum
Clifford Road Primary School, Clifford Road
Tel. 0 1473 251 605

Dunwich Heath Coastal Centre and Beach
Dunwich, on minor roads off B1125, one mile south of Dunwich, signposted from A12
Tel. 0 1728 648 505

Dunwich Museum
St James St, Dunwich Suffolk
Tel. 0 1728 648 796

East Anglia Transport Museum
Chapel Rd, Carlton, Colville, Lowestoft
Tel. 0 1502 518 459
Web: East Anglia Transport Museum

East of England Military Museum
Little Heath, Station Rd, Barnham near Thetford
Tel. 0 1842 890 633

Easton Farm Park
Tel. 0 1728 746 475
Web: Easton Farm Park

Euston Hall
Euston, on the A1088, 10 miles north-east of Bury St Edmunds
Tel. 0 1842 766 366
Web: Euston Hall

Flatford Bridge Cottage
Flatford, East Bergholt; on the B1070 by Manningtree
Tel. 0 1206 298 260

Framlingham Castle
Framlingham, on the B1116
Tel. 0 1728 724 189

Framlingham St Michael Church
Framlingham, on the B1119/B1120/B1116 junctions
just south-east of the A1120
Tel. not given on website; tel 0 1728 723 255 for conducted tour
For photos and more details see our article St Michael at Framlingham

Gainsborough’s House Museum
46 Gainsborough St, Sudbury
Tel. 0 1787 372 958
Web: Gainsborough’s House Museum

Glemham Hall
Little Glemham, Suffolk
Take A12 from Ipswich
Tel. 0 1728 746704; for booking house visits tel 0 1206 573 948
Web: Glemham Hall

Guildhall of Corpus Christi
Market Place, Lavenham
Tel. 0 1787 247 646
For photos and more information see our article Lavenham

Halesworth History Museum
Halesworth, at the railway station
Tel. 0 1986 873 030 (curator)

Haughley Park
Four miles northwest of Stowmarket, signed off A14
Tel. 0 1359 240 701

Helmingham Hall Gardens
On the B1077, 5 miles south of Debenham
Tel. 0 1473 890 363
Web: Helmingham Hall Gardens

Heveningham Hall
Halfway between Heveningham and Walpole
On minor road 5 miles southwest of Halesworth off B1117
Tel. 0 1986 798 151
Web: Country Fair at Heveningham Hall

Ickworth House, Park and Garden
Horringer, 3 miles southwest of Bury St Edmunds on west side of A143
Tel. 0 1284 735 270

Ipswich Museum
High St, Ipswich
Tel. 0 1473 433 550

Ipswich Town Hall Galleries
Tel. 0 1473 432 863

Ipswich Transport Museum
Old Trolleybus Depot, Cobham Road, Ipswich, IP3 9JD
Tel. 0 1473 715 666
Web: Ipswich Transport Museum

Kentwell Hall
Long Melford, four miles north of Sudbury off the A134
Tel. 0 1787 310 207
Web: Kentwell Hall

Landguard Fort
One mile south of large town of Felixstowe on the A14
Near docks on the south coast of Suffolk
Tel. 0 7749 695 523
Web: Languard Fort

Leiston Abbey
One mile north of Leiston off the B1069, east of Saxmundham and the A12
Tel. NA

Lindsey St James’s Chapel
On minor road ˝ mile east of Rose Green, northeast of Hadleigh, A1141 or south-east from Lavenham
Tel. NA

Long Shop Steam Museum
Main Street, Leiston
Tel/Fax: 01728 832189

Manor House Museum
Just south of the Bury St Edmunds abbey grounds
Tel. 0 1284 757 076

Martlesham Heath Aviation Society Control Tower Museum
Off Eagle Way at Martlesham Heath
Four miles east of Ipswich
Tel. 0 1473 624 510 or 0 1473 435 104
Web: Martlesham Heath Aviation Society Control Tower Museum

Melford Hall
Long Melford, off A134, 14 miles south of Bury St Edmunds, 3 miles north of Sudbury
Tel. 0 1787 880 286
For photos and more information see our article Melford Hall

Minsmere Nature Reserve (RSPB)
Minor road dead ends from Westleton to Dunwich road east of Westleton, Saxmundham
Tel. 0 1728 648 281

Moot Hall Museum
Moot Green, Aldeburgh
Tel. 0 1728 454 666
Web: Moot Hall Museum

Moulton Packhorse Bridge
Moulton off B1085, 4 miles east of Newmarket
Tel. NA

Moyse's Hall Museum
Corn Hill, Bury St Edmunds, in town centre Suffolk
Tel. 0 1284 706 183

Museum of East Anglian Life
Crowe St, Stowmarket
Iliffe Way opposite ASDA in town centre, signposted from A14 and B1115
Tel. 0 1449 612 229
For photos and more information see our article at Museum of East Anglian Life
Web: East Anglian Life

National Horseracing Museum
90 High St, Newmarket
Tel. 0 1638 667 333
Web: National Horseracing Museum

Orford Castle
Tel. 0 1394 450 472

Orford Ness
Orford Quay
Tel. 0 1394 450 900

Pakenham Watermill
Mill Rd, off A143 about five miles east of Bury St Edmunds
Tel. 0 1359 270 570

Saxted Green Post Mill
2˝ miles northwest of Framlingham on A1120
Tel. 0 1728 685 789

Smiths Row Art Gallery
Market Cross, Cornhill, Bury St Edmunds
Tel. 0 1284 762 081

Somerleyton Hall
Five miles northwest of Lowestoft on B1074
Tel. 0 871 222 4244
Web: Somerleyton Hall

St Bartholowmew Church
Tel. NA

St Edmundsbury Cathedral
Bury St Edmunds
Tel. 0 1284 754 933 or 0 1284 748 720 (office); for guided tours tel. 0 1284 754 933

St Ethelbert Church
Just to the south of the A14 to the east of Bury, signposted at a junction
Tel. NA

St Mary Church
Thornham Parva
Tel. NA

St Mary’s Church
Tel. NA

St Mary’s Church
Earl Stoneham, Suffolk
Tel. NA

St Mary Magdalene Church
Thornham Magna
For photos and more information see our article St Mary Magdalene

St Peter and St Paul Church
Kedington, two miles from Haverhill
Off the A143 to Bury

Suffolk Punch Horse Museum
The Shire Hall, Woodbridge
Tel. 0 1394 380 643
Web: Suffolk Horse Society

Sutton Hoo
Two miles east of Woodbridge on B1083
Tel. 0 1394 389 700

Theatre Royal
Westgate St, Bury St Edmunds
Tel. 0 1284 769 505

Thorpeness Mill
One mile north of Aldeburgh
On the seacoast, southeast of Saxmundham

West Stowe Country Park and Anglo-Saxon Village
Icklingham Road, West Stow, off A1101 near Bury St Edmunds
Tel. 0 1284 728 718
Web: West Stowe

Wingfield Old College and Gardens
Wingfield, signed off B1118 southeast of Diss, and B1116 at Fressingfield to the east
Tel. 0 1379 384 888

Woodbridge Museum
Market Hill, Woodbridge
Tel. 0 1394 380 502

Woodbridge Tide Mill
Tide Mill Way, Woodbridge
On the River Deben by yacht harbour
Tel. 0 1473 626 618

Wyken Hall Gardens
Nine miles north-east of Bury, follow brown tourist signs to Wyken vineyards from Ickworth
Tel. 0 1359 250 287
Web: Wyken Vineyards

Suffolk Tourist Information Centres

High Street, Aldeburgh, IP15 5AQ
Tel: 0 1728 453 637

Beccles TIC
The Quay, Fen Lane, Beccles, NR34 9BH
Tel. 0 1502 713 196

Bury St Edmunds TIC
6 Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1UZ
Tel. 0 1284 764 667

Felixstowe TIC
Seafront, Felixstowe, IP11 2AE
Tel: 0 1394 276 770

Flatford TIC
Flatford Lane, Flatford, East Bergholt, CO7 6UL
Tel. 0 1206 299 460

Ipswich TIC
St Stephens Church, St Stephens Lane
Ipswich, IP1 1DP
Tel. 0 1473 258 070
Open: 9am-5pm, Mon-Sat

Lavenham TIC
Lady Street, Lavenham, CO10 9RA
Tel. 0 1787 248 207

Lowestoft TIC
East Point Pavilion, Royal Plain, Lowestoft, NR33 OAP
Tel. 0 1502 533 600

Newmarket TIC
Palace House, Palace St, Newmarket, CB8 8EP
Tel. 0 1638 667 200

Southwold TIC
69 High St, Southwold, IP18 6DS
Tel. 0 1502 724 729

Stowmarket TIC
Wilkes Way, Stowmarket, IP14 1DE
Tel. 0 1449 676 800

Sudbury TIC
Town Hall, Market Hill, Sudbury, CO10 1TL
Tel. 0 1787 881 320

Woodbridge TIC
The Station, Woodbridge, IP12 4AJ
Tel: 0 1394 382 240

More than 600 churches visited and photographed by Simon Knott. See them at: Suffolk Churches

Official website of Suffolk County Council

Oulton Broad and Southwork beach courtesy Suffolk cam

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Some of our Suffolk Articles
St Mary Magdalene
Melford Hall
St Michaels Church Framlingham
Framlingham Castle
Museum of East Anglian Life
St Bartholomew Church, Orford
Orford Castle
Church of St Peter and St Paul, Lavenham
Ickworth House
Other England Articles

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