Things to Do in Suffolk

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Suffolk is often overlooked as a destination so I went for a few days with my daughter to prove there is so much more more to this East Anglian county than many realise. It’s only an hour away from London by train so day trips are an option but I chose to hire a car from carrentals.co.uk and booked a couple of nights at The Swan Hotel in Lavenham as it’s truly stunning.

 

Suffolk Villages: Lavenham

The Swan at Lavenham
© Laura Porter

Suffolk has many picturesque villages but Lavenham has got to be top of the list as it is said to be the finest medieval village in England. Lavenham’s prosperity came in the 1500s with the wool trade and many of the half-timbered houses have survived. The Swan Hotel was once three of these houses and is now a hotel of just 45 rooms but two restaurants, plus a bar and lounge as Lavenham is the food and drink capital of Suffolk. This small village also has Wheeler’s, a Marco Pierre White restaurant in the Market Square, where you can also find Lavenham Guildhall, another heritage building from 1529, now a visitor attraction run by the National Trust.

More ideas from Visit Suffolk: Suffolk Villages.

 

Moyses Hall

Moyse’s Hall, Bury St Edmunds
© Laura Porter

Market Towns: Bury St Edmunds

There are many market towns in the region so shopping is never an issue here. I went to Bury St Edmunds which is a wonderful mix of medieval and Georgian buildings side by side.

I went to Moyse’s Hall Museum where you can discover more about the local history, or you could visit St Edmundsbury Cathedral where both the Cathedral and the Abbey Gardens are worth seeing.

More ideas from Visit Suffolk: Suffolk Market Towns.

 

 

 

Historical Sites: Sutton Hoo

Having fun at Sutton Hoo
© Laura Porter

You can walk around the ancient burial mounds of an Anglo-Saxon king at Sutton Hoo that were only discovered in 1939. We explored outside and then enjoyed the Exhibition Hall which has lots of displays and plenty of children’s activities too.

On my next visit to Suffolk I’d like to see the 12th century Framlington Castle that was once the refuge of Mary Tudor before she became Queen in 1553.

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoors: Jimmy’s Farm

Feeding the piglets at Jimmy’s Farm
© Laura Porter

Visitors can enjoy the farm shops and restaurant at Jimmy’s Farm with no admission fee but we wanted to see the animals – and get to feed them – so went on the Natural Trail. Jimmy Doherty started the farm with no experience but a lot of enthusiasm. His exploits have been made into a TV series which has brought him support from those who admire his entrepreneurial skills. There are over 600 rare breed pigs on the farm but on the Nature Trail we met many other animals, as well as trying den building in the woodland and checking for eggs, which was something my daughter loved doing when we visited the Isles of Scilly.

 

Heritage: Museum of East Anglian Life

Museum of East Anglian Life
© Laura Porter

At the Museum of East Anglian Life there are lots of buildings to explore plus plenty of outdoor things too as the region is known for its agricultural heritage. We saw farming equipment, farm animals, plus period room sets to show us domestic life in days gone by. The 18th century Abbot’s Hall is now open and has lots of displays about the area and plenty for kids to do.

 

Art Lovers: Constable Country

Constable Country
© Keven Law

At a less muddy time of year I want to go back to Dedham Vale and Stour Valley to Constable Country to literally walk into a classic painting as the landscape captured in John Constable’s The Hay Wain, from 1821, still looks the same today. Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury is the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough and the museum has recently been restored. Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich has the biggest collection of Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable paintings outside of London.

 

Quirky: Southwold Pier

Southwold Pier
© Graham Horn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Next time I visit Suffolk I also want to see Southwold Pier. As well as cafes and shops, there are two arcades including the Under the Pier Show which looks like good fun. The cheeky Water Clock will keep us giggling as there are boys who drop their trousers to have a wee! Yep, I’ll start planning that next trip to Suffolk now.

 

Thanks

I’d like to thank Best Loved Hotels for arranging my stay at The Swan at Lavenham, carrentals.co.uk for arranging the car hire and Visit Suffolk & VisitBritain for suggesting attractions and for arranging for admission to each location.

 

Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site and also Laura’s London for Anglotopia.net. She has lived in the London area all her life and can’t imagine ever wanting to live elsewhere. She fits in further freelance writing while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival the Queen’s. Laura is @AboutLondon on twitter and @AboutLondon Laura on Facebook. You can find out more about her at about.me/LauraPorter and see Laura’s other articles on the Visit Britain Super Blog.

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3 Responses to “Things to Do in Suffolk”

  1. Zoë Dawes
    November 10, 2012 at 2:31 am #

    Lovely description Laura. Only visited once, many years ago & your article has inspired me to go again. Suffolk is full of quirky little nooks & crannies and Lavenham is a quintessential English village.

    • Laura @AboutLondon
      November 30, 2012 at 9:29 am #

      Thanks Zoe. I was surprised how much I found to do in Suffolk and how well-known The Swan in Lavenham is as whenever I even mention Suffolk the first tip everyone keeps on giving me is to stay at The Swan! Luckily I’ve done that now but I’d happily return again and again.

  2. Jonathan
    January 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    Check out The Crown at Woodbridge which is a small market town. The Crown at Woodbridge offers a fine dining restaurant and luxury hotel accommodation in the heart of Woodbridge Suffolk, combining stylish interiors with the centuries of architecture and period charm. http://www.thecrownatwoodbridge.co.uk

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