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Bicycle in Snape, cycling in Suffolk

Our top 20 things to do in 2020

We have listed our top twenty things to see and do in Suffolk.  If you're looking for beautiful countryside, coastal escapes, good food, and award-winning attractions and amazing culture, there's no need to look further, we have it all here.
The Scallop by Maggi Hambling (c) Visit EnglandScallop on Aldeburgh Beach by Maggie Hambling

1 Have a day at the beach

Visit a beach, whether it's winter, spring, summer or autumn, whatever the season is, you are spoilt for choice. The stunning sand dunes and quiet beach at Dunwich to the family favourites at Lowestoft and Felixstowe are equally great to visit whatever the weather.
Both Aldeburgh and Southwold have some great independent shops to wander around, along with the famous Adnams Brewery also in Southwold. A trip to the beach isn't complete without fish, fresh from the sea, and chips. 

2 Visit the castle on the hill

Framlingham Castle has been made famous by singer and songwriter, Ed Sheeran, who wrote his no 1 hit, Castle on the Hill, about this hometown Framlingham.  The Castle has great historical importance as it was
behind these walls that Mary Tudor was proclaimed Queen of England.
Framlingham CastleFramlingham Castle

3 stay the night

Stay for a night, a weekend or a couple of weeks and discover why people once been, keep returning to Suffolk.

With a choice of accommodation from woodland glamping, lakeside lodges, luxury hotels and cosy farm cottages, there's accommodation to suit your lifestyle and your pocket.

image of Tuddenham Mill with champagneAccommodation full of character and charm

4 meet the Suffolk Trinity

The annual County show celebrating all things Suffolk is on 27th & 28th May 2020 at Trinity Park near Ipswich.  The show is a unique celebration of everything that makes the county great, showcasing the best of Suffolk’s food, farming and agricultural heritage.  Get to see the Suffolk Trinity consisting of the Red Poll Cattle, the Suffolk Punch Horse and the Black Faced Sheep 

The Suffolk Show is one of the UK's oldest county shows and remains a traditional agricultural show at heart but has plenty for everyone to enjoy with lifestyle shopping, food halls, exhibitions and plenty of animals both large and small to see.

Suffolk Punch horse (c) Rictor Norton & David AllenSuffolk Punch horse


Suffolk has become home to world class breweries, distilleries, and because of the fair climate and warm summers, produces some of the best ingredients in the country.  Fish and shellfish caught by day boats off the coast can be bought from the wooden huts along the beaches, and have a surprising choice and variety. Orford is home to both Pinneys, where the range of smoked and cured fish is incredible and the Pump Street Bakery where you can enjoy homemade pastries and craft chocolate. The multi-award restaurant Maison Bleue, The Unruly Pig, The Leaping Hare at Wyken Vineyards, and Tuddenham Mill are all worthy of a visit but there’s plenty of award-winning pubs, cafes and farm shops too.
Food at the Swan in Lavenham Suffolk (c) The Swan LavenhamFood at the Swan Hotel Lavenham

6 Explore the waterways

Learn a new skill or perfect an existing one on the water.  You can sail, surf, kayak and paddle board on Suffolk’s rivers, coast or on open water at Alton Water or Lackford Lakes.  It's a perfect way to unwind and reconnect with nature.

Surfing in Lowestoft (c) Chris Read PhotographySurfing in Lowestoft (c) Chris Read Photography

7. See the birds of Suffolk

Grab your binoculars and head to one of the many nature reserves to see the birds and other wildlife up close.  Birdwatching has always been high on the outdoor activity list in Suffolk.  You'll discover it's no wonder why when you visit the rugged heathland and coastal lagoons at RSPB Minsmere where a variety of birds and wildlife make it their home and resting place.    
Birdwatching at RSPB Minsmere © Rod EdwardsGo birdwatching at Minsmere

8 have a short break with your four-legged friend

Dogs love Suffolk, so bring your dog with you to enjoy the many beaches which are open for dogs throughout the year and explore the countryside on waymarked walks.  Many of the pubs and places to stay welcome well-behaved dogs and the historic town of Bury St Edmunds is exceptionally dog-friendly with the shops offering water bowls and doggie treats. 

26th July is Suffolk Dog Day, which is celebrated at Helmingham Hall Gardens, an event for all dogs to show off their agility, or to just watch the entertainment.

Dog plays in the surf in Suffolk (c) SirPecanGumDog playing in the surf in Suffolk (c) SirPecanGum

9. immerse yourself, in the parks, forests and woodlands

Visit one of the many country parks, forests or woods around the county and make the most of the great outdoors.  Christchurch Park in Ipswich is set around the Mansion which hosts exhibitions and art displays of national interest.  Thetford Forest, Knettishall Heath Nature Reserve and Brandon Country Park are excellent for walking, cycling and wildlife watching.  Meanwhile at Clare Castle Country Park you can visit the 13th Century stone castle keep set upon its 60ft high motte overlooking the town.
High Lodge Thetford ForestWalking and cycling trails at High Lodge in Thetford Forest

10. Go Glamping

Go glamping and enjoy a stay in a luxurious yurt, a safari tent or pod.  Go to sleep and wake-up to the sounds of the surrounding countryside whilst being in the warm and cosy confines of your bed. 
Image of two storey tent at Secret MeadowsGlamping at Secret Meadows

11. Visit an attraction

There are so many attractions throughout the county.  The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing, Oasis Camel Park and Easton Farm Park all have animals that both you and the children can get up close to.  Whereas West Stow Anglo Saxon Village and Sutton Hoo  are great for a trip back in time.  Join in the fun at Kentwell Hall for historical re-enactments. Ride the train and see the animals at Africa Alive!  Or battle it out at the Congo Rapids Lost World Adventure golf at Ufford Park.  
Sutton Hoo, Woodbridge © National TrustThe Sutton Hoo mask 

12. Join in the 1000 year celebration of the Abbey of St Edmund

In 2020, Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk celebrates the founding of the Abbey of St Edmund by King Canute 1000 years ago.

The first Patron Saint of England and King of East Anglia, Saint Edmund was enshrined in the Abbey consequently lending his name to the town, which was built around it. The shrine brought visits from across the UK and abroad including Royalty as the Abbey became one of the most famous and wealthy pilgrimage locations in England.

read more here.

Image of the orginal entrance to the AbbeyThe Norman Tower, the original gateway to the Abbey Church (c) Rebecca Austin.

13. Go to a festival

The line-up of Suffolk's Festivals is rather impressive, with an alternative and rather unique selection.
The family favourite, Latitude, returns to Henham Park between 16th and 19th July to again light up and bring a fabulous mix of world famous musicians, comedians and entertainers to the Suffolk countryside.
Other dates for the festival diary include 23-24th May for LeeStock at Melford Hall - 28th - 30th May for Red Rooster at Euston Hall, 26th-28th June for the Ipswich Jazz Festival and 27th June for the Bury Folk Festival.  These are just a few of the many festivals so keep checking the events listings here for more details.
image of pink sheep at Latitude FestivalLatitude Festival (c) Matt Eachus

14. Have a day at the races

Get dressed up and head to the tracks at Newmarket, the home of horseracing and home to over 3000 horses.

Throughout the season from April through to October, champions and new-comers from around the world will battle it out along the world-famous tracks.  Along with the racing, there's also a chance to see some great musicians playing to the après racing crowds, including for 2020 Bryan Ferry, Rick Astley and Alfie Boe.  

Ladies Day at the July Festival in Newmarket

Ladies Day at the July Festival in Newmarket

15. Be an adventurer

 Take the high ropes challenge at Go Ape in Thetford Forest (or go on Segway).  If it's wet, reach new heights at Clip 'n Climb in Ipswich or step inside one of the biggest laser battling arenas in the country at Planet Laser in Bury St Edmunds.  Race your friends at one of the go-karting tracks or whizz along on dry land at Flo-Ridaz – a hovercraft driving experience in Mendlesham.
Go Ape forest segway (c) Go ApeSegways at Go Ape, Thetford

16. Take a cruise down the river

Hop aboard and cruise down the river.  Many operators offer themed cruises which might include dinner, a cream tea or music on board.  Here are some suggestions for trips on the rivers of Suffolk for you to enjoy this spring, summer and autumn. River Cruises in Suffolk with Waveney StardustThe Waveney Stardust river cruiser

17. Go walking and Cycling

See the Suffolk countryside and coast by foot or on bike.  Suffolk has miles and miles of off-road cycling and quiet country roads perfect for cycling.  Take the Heart of Suffolk waymarked routes, the 69-mile Painters Trail around Constable Country, The Saints cycle around the Bungay area, and the marked paths within Thetford and Rendlesham Forests. 

For walkers there is so much choice of long and short walks and Suffolk even has it's own Walking Festival.  During the months of May you can take guided walks as part of the festival and find out more about the fascinating countryside and heritage of the county.  It's more than just a walking festival, previous walks have included poetry walks, photography walks and many include a cream tea or other refreshments as part of the itinerary.

Woodland Walk at Kentwell Hall in SuffolkGet off the beaton track and explore Suffolk

18. Get into the garden

Wander through the gardens of Suffolk and witness the displays of snowdrops in Christchurch Park, Ickworth House and Kentwell Hall.  During May see the bluebells at Haughley Park and Blakenham Woodland gardens, and then it's the turn of both the cottage and stately gardens to display their colours through the summer and autumn.   

A year round attraction is the Italian style gardens at Ickworth House which were designed as pleasure grounds for the former family and guests to enjoy.

At Langham Walled garden, they describe themselves as 'a little magic in rural Suffolk'.  The Walled Garden and Nursery are lovingly looked after with new projects always on the go.

Ickworth House The National TrustIckworth House and Gardens

19. Discover Suffolk's Arts and culture

Theatres are in every nook and cranny offering an eclectic offering of performance including music, theatre, cinema and literature.  The Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds is the sole surviving Regency playhouse that has a year round programme of drama, music and family shows.  The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich is an innovative and welcoming theatre showing a wide range of drama and musicals, including their annual rock 'n roll panto which never fails to entertain.  Galleries and exhibitions can be found throughout the county, and world class facilities include the Jerwood Dancehouse in Ipswich and Snape Maltings on the coast. 
Theatre Royal Bury St EdmundsTheatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds

20 Visit a farmers market

Throughout the year, weekly markets pop up to sell a variety of produce harvested throughout the county.

At the weekly Saturday market at Wyken Vineyards, you can select the best of the best from cheeses to chocolate, bread and wine, honey and cider.  All set in the beautiful surroundings of Wyken Hall where you can browse around the country store and enjoy a coffee and cake in the cafe and the glorious gardens in the summer.

Many of the towns and villages host farmers markets, it's a great way to meet the producers and support the small businesses.

Farmers' Market in Bury St Edmunds © Suffolk Market EventsFarmers' Market in Bury St Edmunds © Suffolk Market Events


What would be on your list of interesting things to see and do in Suffolk? Let us know via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.