4 SUFFOLK HOLIDAYS ON A SHOESTRING
Photo (c) Martin Pettitt
BE BUSY IN BURY ST EDMUNDS
Bury St Edmunds is a historic jewel in the west of Suffolk, with architecture that transports you back to Georgian England, the Victorian era, Tudor times and even the Middle Ages. With so much to see and do, and so much of it free, Bury St Edmunds a perfect place for a Suffolk holiday on a shoestring.
FREE THINGS TO DO IN BURY ST EDMUNDS
- Explore Bury St Edmunds Abbey Gardens and the ruins of its Benedictine monastery, built as a shrine to St Edmund.
- Visit St Edmundsbury, Suffolk’s majestic and singular cathedral. Guided tours are available depending on the time of year.
- Go wildlife watching at Lackford Lakes, where you can spot dazzling kingfishers, dragonflies, ducks and booming bitterns.
- Wander round Bury St Edmunds’ Farmers Market, held every Wednesday and Saturday. Dating back to the days of William the Conqueror, it’s one of the oldest and most successful markets in the country.
- Discover the stories behind Bury St Edmunds’ most famous sights with our guide to the Secrets of Bury St Edmunds, Part One and Part Two.
CHEAP THINGS TO DO IN BURY ST EDMUNDS
- Have a pint at the Nutshell, officially the smallest pub in Britain.
- Take a tour of the famous Greene King Brewery.
- Go antiques spotting and have a spot of tea and cake at Tom Keane’s Antique Traders and Tea Room in Great Whelnetham. Measuring 4,000 square feet and bursting full of finds, Tom Keane’s is widely considered the best antiques centre in Suffolk.
- Take a guided walking tour of Bury St Edmunds and learn about the town’s fascinating history, including its part in the Magna Carta story.
- Explore the Italianate gardens at Ickworth House, just outside Bury St Edmunds.
AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATION IN BURY ST EDMUNDS
- Camp at the Dell Caravan Park in Thurston, open all year round.
- Book a comfortable room in the town centre at Bury St Edmunds Premier Inn, or the Best Western Priory Hotel.
Photo (c) Nic McPhee
GO WILD IN WEST SUFFOLK
West Suffolk is a mysterious place. In its towns you’ll find traces of strange myths, living memories of Anglo Saxons, and even some of the greatest racehorses in the world. In its landscapes you’ll find eerie twisted pines, earth dimpled by Neolithic flint mines, the echoes of long-ago sandstorms, and wildlife thriving in thick forests. In a place this strange and beautiful, you can have more than a holiday on a shoestring – you can have an adventure.
FREE THINGS TO DO IN WEST SUFFOLK
- Explore the unique landscape of the Brecks on foot or by bike at Brandon Country Park, where the walking and cycling trails take you past natural wonders such as East Anglia’s tallest tree.
- Delve deep into Thetford Forest, keeping your eyes open for rare species and soaring birds of prey.
- Watch jockeys and racehorses train on the gallops at dawn on a misty morning in Newmarket.
- Go wild swimming at Santon Downham.
- See the exquisitely carved roof of Mildenhall St Mary, and visit the other stunning churches of West Suffolk on an Angels and Pinnacles trail.
- Walk around Woolpit, a village with a very strange story to tell.
- Wander round the Elveden Estate, where deer roam and farmers grow delicious Suffolk produce.
- Watch aeroplanes come and go from the viewing area at RAF Lakenheath.
CHEAP THINGS TO DO IN WEST SUFFOLK
- Go underground at Grimes Graves and see inside a Neolithic flint mine (the only one in Britain that’s open to visitors).
- Explore the wetland wonderland of RSPB Lakenheath Fen, home to hobby falcons, barn owls, butterflies and booming bitterns.
- Spend a day at High Lodge Thetford Forest following the way-marked cycling and walking trails, having a picnic in the forest, and playing in the wild play area.
- Discover the history of the sport of kings at the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket.
- Live like an Anglo-Saxon for a day at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village.
AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATION IN WEST SUFFOLK
- Camp out at the Paddock Caravan and Camping Site in Lakenheath.
- Receive a warm welcome at Orchard House Bed & Breakfast in Mildenhall.
Photo (c) Alastair Rae
GO BACK IN TIME IN CONSTABLE COUNTRY
There are few places in England more picturesque than the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley in the south of Suffolk. It was through this lush, river-carved landscape that the painter John Constable roamed as a young man, painting masterpieces such as The Hay Wain and Willy Lott’s Cottage, and eventually lending the area his name. With so much beauty all around, a holiday in Constable Country can be magical even on the smallest budget.
FREE THINGS TO DO IN CONSTABLE COUNTRY
- Go back in time at Willy Lott’s Cottage and Flatford Mill on the River Stour, views that haven’t changed in almost 200 years since Constable first captured them on canvas.
- Visit Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich, which has the largest collection of Constable paintings outside London.
- Learn about Constable’s life through the permanent exhibition at Flatford Bridge Cottage.
- See an exhibition of contemporary art at the Boat House Gallery.
- Learn about gardening in the beautiful RSPB Flatford Wildlife Garden, made up of flower borders, a wildflower meadow, a woodland garden and an orchard.
- Explore the Bellflower Nursery in the secret walled garden at Langham, open on Thursdays and Fridays.
- Walk along the River Stour and through the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, from Flatford to Nayland, Wissington and Bures.
- Pay a visit to Polstead and discover the dark story of the Red Barn Murder.
- Take a pew at the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin in East Bergholt, built on a site where congregations have been worshipping for over 1,000 years.
CHEAP THINGS TO DO IN CONSTABLE COUNTRY
- Rent a boat from the Boathouse Restaurant in Flatford and row up the River Stour, or take a River Stour Trust waterbus and relax as the sights sail past.
- Have tea in the riverside tearoom at Flatford.
- Explore the enthralling exhibition at Gainsborough House in Sudbury, where Constable’s predecessor Thomas Gainsborough spent his early life.
- Take a tour of Assington Mill, a farm in a hidden valley near Sudbury that has been renovated using traditional materials, and offers courses in rural skills. See the website for information on open days.
AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATION IN CONSTABLE COUNTRY
- Camp at Polstead Caravan and Camping Park.
- Settle in at College Farm Bed & Breakfast, a 15th century farm near Ipswich.
Stunning sunrises are free of charge on the Suffolk coast
Photo (c) Martin Pettitt
FEEL FREE ON THE SUFFOLK COAST
Suffolk’s 50-mile coastline is swathed in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A patchwork of beaches, marshes, heathland, forests, rivers, lagoons and islands, it’s a landscape that has inspired artists, writers and musicians for centuries, and its towns offer a style of life long forgotten in other parts of the country. And as you might expect, the best things in that life are free.
FREE THINGS TO DO ON THE SUFFOLK COAST
- Roam through blooms of heather on Dunwich Heath, spotting nightjars, ant-lions, Dartford warblers, water scorpions and the resident herd of red deer.
- Explore ancient churches along the coast on foot or by bike with an Angels & Pinnacles trail.
- Visit the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum at Bungay, home to 66 aircraft and thousands of articles from aviation history.
- Walk through the tranquil watery landscape of Snape Marshes and along the River Alde to Iken.
- Explore the Amber Museum at Southwold, the only museum in Britain dedicated to the 50-million-year-old story of amber.
- Spend a sunny afternoon in Felixstowe’s Seafront Gardens.
CHEAP THINGS TO DO ON THE SUFFOLK COAST
- Immerse yourself in Suffolk’s sea-faring history at the Lowestoft Maritime Museum.
- Walk the battlements of Landguard Fort in Felixstowe.
- Buy a bucket, bacon and string and go crabbing at Walberswick.
- Play ‘Whack a Banker,’ ‘Gene Forecaster’ and other weird and wonderful arcade games at Southwold Pier’s Under the Pier Show, created by inventor Tim Hunkin.
- Have a bacon sandwich on the beach from Suzie’s Beach Café in Southwold.
- Ride vintage trams, taxis, trains and trolley buses at the East Anglia Transport Museum in Lowestoft.
- Explore Orford Castle, unique in shape and with an eerie story to tell.
- Take a tour of the Adnams Brewery in Southwold, including a tutored beer tasting and a bottle of beer to take home.
AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATION ON THE SUFFOLK COAST
- Book a cosy caravan at Pakefield Caravan Park (closed from November to 1st March), or pitch your tent at Heathland Beach Holiday Park in Lowestoft, which is open all year round.
- Enjoy a discounted mid-week stay at Eaton House, a bed & breakfast in Aldeburgh that overlooks the sea.
- Spend the night at Grange Farm House in Felixstowe, a charming bed & breakfast run by Stephen and Liz Pettman.