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Explore the Suffolk Wool Towns

The Suffolk Wool Towns are some of the best-preserved historic towns and prettiest villages in Suffolk. Exploring them feels like stepping back in time to the 15th century, when the wool trade was at its peak, and the Suffolk Wool Towns were among the richest places in the country.

During the medieval period, towns like Lavenham in Suffolk grew extraordinarily wealthy from the production and trade of woolen cloth. Across Suffolk this wealth was used to build timber-framed houses, and ever-grander churches: buildings that today are the hallmarks of a classic Suffolk Wool Town.

Once the 14th richest settlement in the country, Lavenham is the archetypal Suffolk Wool Town. It’s often called ‘England’s Best-Preserved Medieval Village’, containing no less than 340 listed buildings. Today you’re more likely to discover foodie delights than cloth merchants on Lavenham’s crooked streets, so best visit on an empty stomach!

Delve further into the fascinating history of the wool towns here.  

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Kersey is a Suffolk Wool Town so beautiful that it’s been named among the top 10 villages in Britain. Set amid rolling Suffolk countryside, Kersey is best explored on foot, followed by a pint at the village pub. The same can be said of Cavendish, a picture-perfect Suffolk Wool Town with iconic ‘Suffolk Pink’ cottages.

Suffolk Wool Towns don’t come much prettier than Clare, which boasts a wool church, priory, castle and country park. Sudbury is another Suffolk Wool Town with charming views; here you can walk along the River Stour in the footsteps of Thomas Gainsborough, whose former Sudbury home is now a museum. The historic Suffolk Wool Town of Hadleigh is also set beside a river, perfect for country walks after you’ve admired the town’s guildhall and deanery tower.

Long Melford is instantly recognizable by its spectacular wool church, widely regarded as one of the best in England. There’s also a lot to do in Long Melford, including fantastic shopping and exploring two Tudor mansions.

Use the tabs on this page to find out more about the Suffolk Wool Towns, and start planning your perfect trip. Or, visit The Wool Towns website for more inspiration.

Haven’t found what you’re looking for? Check out our latest series of Suffolk films and find your happy.