When you visit the Heart of Suffolk you can take a step into a different pace of life. It doesnt have to be all relaxing though, there are lots of ways to get the adrenaline pumping so you can keep up that healthy ‘lockdown’ lifestyle. The air here is fresh, there are plenty of open spaces and the views are quite breathtaking. Whilst touring around you will discover hidden gems nestled away in the countryside and iconic wool towns, with something for everyone to enjoy, along with delicious local food and drink being served around every corner.
Escape the everyday at the aptly named Suffolk Escape
1. Historic houses and glorious gardens
Kentwell Hall is a moated, Tudor house with an array of magic kept up its sleeve. It is not just the architecture that make this house so stunning but the gardens, re-enactment events and hidden trails that give it so much character.
Nearby, still in the village of Long Melford, is the National Trust’s Melford Hall. The house is now the family home of the Hyde Parkers but over five hundred years ago the estate was owned by the Abbots of St. Edmundsbury. The gardens can be enjoyed throughout the spring and summer months.
Other gardens in the heart of Suffolk include Helmingham Hall Gardens. These Grade 1 listed gardens were redesigned by Lady Tollemache (a Chelsea Gold Medallist). The house (not open to the public) is set in 400 acres of parkland where visitors can often get a glimpse of the herds of red and fallow deer living in the wild.
Helmingham Hall Gardens
2. Enjoy time with friends and at Weavers House Spa
3. Discover the past at The Museum of East Anglian Life
The Museum of East Anglian Life is a hidden gem in the market town of Stowmarket. This 75 acre museum depicts the rural life of days gone by in East Anglia. When walking along the trails through the museum, you will see a varied collection of buildings including a windpump, chapel and blacksmiths’ forge.
Spend a day at the Museum of East Anglian Life
4. Explore the Suffolk Wool Towns
Suffolk Wool Towns are some of the best-preserved historic towns and prettiest villages in Suffolk. Lavenham, Long Melford, Hadleigh and Clare all come under the banner and exploring them feels like stepping back in time to the 15th century, when the wool trade was at its peak. During this time, the Suffolk Wool Towns were among the richest places in the country which can be seen in the majestic churches and other buildings.
Clare – one of the Suffolk Wool towns
5. Treat yourself to afternoon tea at The Swan at Lavenham
6. Full steam ahead at the Mid Suffolk Light Railway
7. Navigate the Waterways
8. Cycle the Painters’ Trail
The Painters Trail is a 69 mile route around some of the most scenic countryside in Suffolk and north Essex. You will come across picture postcard villages and see amazing landscapes, those chosen by the great artist, John Constable himself, to paint. We suggest you take your time to savour the views by taking a few days to complete the trail, enjoying the local food and drink along the way.
There are several routes throughout the area that you can walk and cycle, you can find them all here.
A great way to explore the Suffolk countryside is on two wheels
9. Find the American connections
Many of the early settlers in North America were from East Anglia. In 1942, during World War II, the United States 8th Army Air Force (USAAF) came across ‘the pond’ and set up camp here and so the connection between the two countries continued.
Between 1942 and 1945 there were thousands of USAAF personnel stationed in the county and the impact of this Friendly Invasion was enormous, leaving many lasting links between America and Suffolk, many of them being in the heart of Suffolk. You can visit many of the sites where they were stationed, the bars they drank in, and follow in the footsteps of our friendly invaders.
Discover Suffolk’s links to the Americans’ visit during WWII
10. Stay by the lake
Make your stay in Suffolk one to remember. Wake up to the sound of nothing but nature in a luxurious, lakeside log cabin at The Suffolk Escape. With a wood burning stove in case the evenings get chilly, and with a deck set over the lake and a secluded hot tub to watch the sun rise and set.
This is just one of the excellent choices of accommodation throughout the heart of Suffolk and beyond from boutique hotels, self-catering cottages, bed and breakfasts, camping and glamping.
Escape the Everyday in Suffolk at The Suffolk Escape