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WHERE TO STAY IN SUFFOLK: A TOWN BY TOWN GUIDE

Wondering where to stay in Suffolk? From the culture-mad coast to the nature-filled north and the wonderful Wool Towns of the west, here is our town-by-town guide to the best destinations in Suffolk:

NORTHEAST SUFFOLK: THE BROADS & WAVENEY VALLEY

Boat on the River Waveney (c) Milo BostockBoats moored up on the River Waveney
Photo (c) Milo Bostock

LOWESTOFT

Lowestoft is a great base for active, fun-loving families. It’s got miles of golden beaches (as does next-door Kessingland), access to the Suffolk side of the Broads National Park, plus Africa Alive!, Pleasurewood Hills and the beautiful village of Somerleyton nearby.
Best for: beaches, broads, family fun.

BECCLES

Beccles is a pretty town right on the Suffolk Broads, and while there’s lots to do on land, it would be a crime not to explore these tranquil waterways by boat, kayak or canoe. 
Best for: broads, boating, views.

BUNGAY

Like Beccles, Bungay sits on the edge of the Suffolk Broads, and is the perfect place from which to explore Suffolk’s waterways at a leisurely pace. It’s also loved by real-ale drinkers, who walk the town’s ale trail and visit nearby St Peter’s Brewery.
Best for: broads, boating, beer, castles.

EAST SUFFOLK: TOWNS & VILLAGES ON THE COAST

Aldeburgh coastline (c) Visit England / Diana JarvisA couple walk along Aldeburgh beach
Photo (c) Visit England / Diana Jarvis

ALDEBURGH

Not only is Aldeburgh blessed with a stunning pebble beach, sculptures by Maggi Hambling and Antony Gormley, and a very special art gallery; it’s also where Benjamin Britten made his name, and home to both the Aldeburgh Festival (“arguably the best musical event in Britain” – The Guardian), and a famous food festival. Enough said.
Best for: art, music, beaches, festivals, food.

SOUTHWOLD

It’s easy to see why people love Southwold: it has a sandy beach, colourful beach huts, an arts festival, and a pier full of wacky, hand-built arcade games. On top of that it’s a very foodie town, and home to the world-famous Adnams Brewery.
Best for: beaches, food, beer, family fun, art.

WALBERSWICK

Walberswick has a resident population of artists, who were perhaps drawn there by the swathes of beautiful countryside surrounding this stretch of coast. Families love it for the crabbing competitions, great pubs and gorgeous beach.
Best for: beaches, food, beer, family fun, landscape.

DUNWICH

Dunwich is a tiny village set against a landscape of incredible beauty. Kaleidoscopic heathland meets rugged coastline, and wildlife flourishes. This is the place for cyclists, walkers and birdwatchers, who will love nearby RSPB Minsmere.
Best for: landscapes, walking, cycling, nature.

WOODBRIDGE

Poised on the peaceful River Deben, Woodbridge is loved by foodies, families and shoppers alike, being home to The Cake Shop (winner of Britain’s Best Bakery), a fantastic vintage market, and one of the country’s oldest working tide mills.
Best for: views, boating, food, family fun, sightseeing, shopping.

THORPENESS

Thorpeness is a strange, magical village. Transformed into a rich Scot’s private playground in the early 1900s, it is now loved by families for its floating House in the Clouds, Peter-Pan boating lake, mock-Tudor cottages and golf course.
Best for: family fun, landscapes, beaches, golf.

ORFORD

Despite its diminutive size, Orford has a lot to offer. Mysterious folk tales, eerie landscapes, the Orford Ness National Nature Reserve, a majestic castle, an RSPB island full of wildlife, an award-winning bakery, and a famous oysterage are just some of those things.
Best for: food, castles, nature, landscapes.

FELIXSTOWE

Felixstowe is traditional seaside town that’s simply full of things to do, including building sandcastles on the beach, exploring the historic Landguard Fort, playing golf beside a rare Martello Tower, and even watching bird-ringing!
Best for: family fun, golf, beaches.

EAST SUFFOLK: THE MARKET TOWNS

Framlingham Castle (c) Rod EdwardsFramlingham boasts a majestic castle with an intriguing history
Photo (c) Rod Edwwards

HALESWORTH

Halesworth has lots to offer in the way of culture, including its annual arts festival at creative centre, The Cut. It’s also close to the coast, so you can enjoy a few beach days during your Suffolk holiday.
Best for: culture, shopping, coast.

FRAMLINGHAM

The most striking thing about Framlingham is its spectacular castle, yet this medieval market town has plenty more history to share, not to mention vineyard tours, and nearby sights like Glemham Hall and the village of Earl Soham.
Best for: history, castles, wine, sightseeing.

MID SUFFOLK: MARKET TOWNS

STOWMARKET

Surrounded by gorgeous countryside, Stowmarket is worth visiting if only to see the fascinating Museum of East Anglian Life, and the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts. There are many more family attractions nearby, including the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary and Stonham Barns.
Best for: museums, family fun, countryside.

SUFFOLK'S MARITIME TOWN

Viking Mariners yacht on Ipswich quay (c) Viking MarinersIpswich's stylish marina is full of places to eat, drink and see shows
Photo (c) Viking Mariners

IPSWICH

Ipswich is a place where history meets cutting-edge modern culture, where you can see masterpieces by John Constable, discover maritime history, catch a show at DanceEast or a play at one of Ipswich’s many theatres, take a boat trip up the river, and stroll along the stylish marina.
Best for: art, theatre, museums, boating, landscapes.

WEST SUFFOLK: BURY ST EDMUNDS & THE WOOL TOWNS

Clare in SuffolkPretty Clare is Suffolk's smallest town

SUDBURY

Sudbury is surrounded by the stunning landscapes of the Stour Valley that first inspired the great master of English landscape painting, Thomas Gainsborough. It’s a fantastic place for walking, and Gainsborough House is a must-visit.
Best for: history, art, landscapes, walking.

LONG MELFORD

As one of Suffolk’s famous Wool Towns, Long Melford is unsurprisingly picturesque. Timber-framed buildings, a beautiful church and two medieval halls (one frequented by Beatrix Potter) make it a very special place to stay.
Best for: history, sightseeing, shopping, museums.

CLARE

A chocolate-box village full of medieval architecture such as the aptly named Ancient House, Clare is a beautiful location for a holiday. It’s also packed with independent shops, galleries, and places to eat and drink.
Best for: views, sightseeing, art, shopping.

LAVENHAM

Perhaps the most famous of Suffolk’s Wool Towns, Lavenham’s cobbled streets and awe-inspiring buildings make staying there a like travelling back into the past. It’s also home to the spectacular Great House restaurant and Weaver’s House Spa, and will be known to J.K. Rowling fans as the inspiration for Harry Potter’s fictional birthplace!
Best for: history, views, sightseeing, food, shopping.

BURY ST EDMUNDS

Bury St Edmunds not only has a fascinating history, it’s also full of things to see and do, such as a medieval abbey, the smallest pub in Britain, the Greene King brewery, the neoclassical Ickworth House and the flower-filled abbey gardens.
Best for: history, sightseeing, food, beer.

WEST SUFFOLK: THE HOME OF HORSERACING

Racehorse parades for the crowd at Newmarket RacecoursesNewmarket is the home of British horseracing

NEWMARKET

Newmarket is famous as the home of horseracing, and you can spend days here discovering the sport’s past and present at the National Horse Racing Museum, the Jockey Club, Tattersalls auction house, the National Heritage Centre for British Horseracing and Sporting Art (opening in 2016), and of course, Newmarket Racecourses!
Best for: horseracing, history, sightseeing.

NORTHWEST SUFFOLK: THE BRECKS

Go Ape forest segway (c) Go ApeExplore The Brecks using Elveden or Brandon as your base
Photo (c) Go Ape

ELVEDEN

Set amongst enchanting countryside, Elveden is a tiny village with a population of just a few hundred. You can stay on the Elveden Estate, home to majestic wild deer, or at Center Parcs, where the landscape is yours to enjoy.
Best for: family fun, landscape, views, food, walking, cycling, sports.

BRANDON

You’ll find Brandon on the edge of Thetford Forest, which you can explore on foot, by bike, or even by swinging through the trees at Go Ape! Nature-loving families will love Brandon Country Park, and all should visit the eerie Grimes Graves flint mines.
Best for: landscapes, nature, views, family fun, walking, cycling, sports.

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