There are so many things to do and enjoy when you visit Suffolk that one trip won’t be enough. We recommend you keep coming until you’ve completed our 50 must things to do when you visit Suffolk. Then you can say you really know our fabulous county!
To make it easier for you, we’ve split the activities into the various destinations…
50. Enjoy a stroll on the waterfront – maybe sit outside one of the many restaurants, pubs and cafes and take in the vibe. Squint and you might think you’re in Monaco. Admire the Neoclassical Custom House. If you really like it, why not stay at the Salthouse Harbour Hotel.
49. Visit the handsome and much-restored Tudor Christchurch Mansion and Wolsey Art Gallery with its collection of Constables and Gainsboroughs. It’s set in 33 acres of wonderful parkland.
48. While you’re exploring the town centre, don’t miss the statue of ‘Grandma’ which is based on the character created by cartoonist Ronald ‘Carl’ Giles. Rather touchingly, ‘Grandma’ looks up at the office window where Giles worked for many years, as if waiting for him to peer out and wave!
47. Take a river cruise aboard the Orwell Lady. There are basic trips, one to Pin Mill, another to Harwich as well as cream tea cruises and themed evening cruises. Or you can go on the Victor sailing barge. By the by, Eric Blair’s name didn’t excite his publisher so he renamed himself George Orwell, yes, him of Animal Farm and 1984, after seeing the estuary name on a map.
46. Like vintage trams, buses, milk floats, and fire engines? Then you’ll love the Ipswich Transport Museum. You can even see a Sinclair C5 electric car, long before Tesla came along.
45. Have a tipple at The Swan and Hedgehog, a live music pub where Ed Sheeran cut his musical teeth.
44. Just outside Ipswich, visit Jimmy’s Farm with its rare breeds, tapirs, raccoons, wallabies and more. Yes, you know Jimmy, Jimmy Doherty, mate of Jamie Oliver.
43. And nearby is The Suffolk Food Hall, with a butchers’, deli, bakery, restaurant, garden shop, kids’ playground and a beautiful setting overlooking the Orwell Estuary by the majestic Orwell Bridge.
Heart of Suffolk
42. In Sudbury, don’t miss the revamped and extended Gainsborough’s House, where a new three-storey wing has created the largest gallery in Suffolk. See Gainsborough masterpieces, exhibitions of international appeal, contemporary art from East Anglia and a landscape studio with panoramic views.
41. Moated Kentwell Hall in Long Melford has a brick-paved maze, camera obscura, rare breeds farm and wildflower meadow, plus a programme of shows and events from sheep-shearing to medieval banquets. While you’re here, don’t miss the superb Holy Trinity church, perhaps the most beautiful in Suffolk.
40. The Food Museum at Stowmarket, formerly the Museum of East Anglia Life, is set in 75 acres of countryside right in the middle of town and has 40,000 objects and 17 buildings to explore. It’s the UK’s only food museum!
39. The most magnificent of Suffolk’s Wool Towns, Lavenham looks like it was set in aspic in medieval times with its fabulous timber-framed houses, not least the Guildhall on the triangular Market Place. The town featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The Church of St Peter and St Paul is worth a visit too.
38. Not far away, picture perfect Kersey is worth a visit – perhaps the most photographed village in the whole county.
37. For some relaxing down time, enjoy a nice stroll around Clare Castle Country Park – there’s the castle remains, the old railway station and a priory.
36. Talking of famous artists like Gainsborough, visit Dedham Vale, otherwise known as Constable Country after the painter John, who was born at East Bergholt and immortalised the local countryside in his work. Don’t miss National Trust Flatford Mill, once owned by Constable’s father and where the artist painted his most famous work, The Hay Wain.
35. Remember the times when the US Eighth Air Force were in Suffolk in huge numbers during the second world war at The Red Feather Club at Horham, home of the 95th Bomb Group.
34. The 390th Bomb Group Memorial Air Museum pays tribute to the 740 servicemen killed or ‘Missing in Action’ from Parham Airfield and the further 754 who were taken as Prisoners of War.
33. Take a tour and tasting at Giffords Hall Vineyard where they produce some of the region’s best-regarded wines.
32. Enjoy the Heritage Walk around Hoxne (pronounced Hoxon) and you’ll see the place where Anglo-Saxon ruler of East Anglia, King Edmund, was betrayed and the Danes tied him to a tree and shot him full of arrows. Saint Edmund became the patron saint of England, until St George came along.
West Norfolk – Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket
31. The world’s home of flat horseracing, Newmarket’s season runs from April to November. Look out for racing dates.
30. If there’s not one on during your stay, take a tour of the National Stud at Newmarket on foot and by bus. Or choose another from Discover Newmarket.
29. And to learn more about the sport’s history book a visit to The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art in the town. It’s actually housed on the site of Charles II’s original palace – he moved his court here once or twice a year to enjoy his passion.
28. There’s a fine collection of art at National Trust Ickworth House, surrounded by acres of parkland and best-known for its Italianate rotunda.
27. It’s not all about wine at Wyken Vineyards. Shetland sheep, woodland walks, Red Poll cattle, formal gardens surrounding the Elizabethan manor house, farmers’ market on Saturdays. Oh, and a vineyard!
26. If you want to see how the Anglo Saxons lived, head to West Stow where there’s a dozen re-created houses on the site of what was a late iron Age village. The attached West Stow Country Park has nice walks and a lake with bird hides.
25. Take a walking tour of Bury St Edmunds and you won’t miss a thing: Moyse’s Hall museum, Neoclassical Corn Exchange, National Trust-run Theatre Royal, the last surviving Regency-era theatre in the country, Angel Hill, St Edmundsbury Cathedral and the Abbey Gardens and ruins.
24. Oh, and while you’re in Bury, take a brewery tour at Greene King.
The Suffolk Coast
23. Spend some time exploring the National Trust Sutton Hoo, the burial site of Raedwald, 7th century Anglo Saxon ruler of East Anglia, and focus of the Ralph Fiennes’ Netflix movie The Dig.
22. The tiny village of Pin Mill has a busy boatyard and a popular pub, the Butt and Oyster, and you can stroll along the riverbank or explore the network of criss-crossing footpaths up the hilly woodland.
21. The reedbeds, heath at woodland at RSPB Minsmere. Premium League birdwatching. Enough said.
20. Or take the Felixstowe Ferry across the River Deben to Bawdsey.
19. Take the rowing boat ferry across the River Blyth from Walberswick to Southwold and explore the fresh fish stalls. Have lunch at the Harbour Inn and marvel at the high tide marks on the wall.
18. Explore the heathland at Dunwich and then go to the museum where you can see a diorama of the town in medieval times, when it was one of the largest and most important ports in the country… until the sea took over.
17. Framlingham Castle is the best castle in Suffolk and it’s a proper classic, with crenelations and all. You might remember it from Ed Sheeran’s hit ‘Castle on the Hill’. Fram’s market town centre is well worth a walk, as is The Mere in the shadow of the castle.
16. Take a rowing boat out on the Mere at Thorpeness, a quirky mock-Tudor Edwardian resort village, have a picnic on one of the islands and stare up at the House in the Clouds.
15. Look for the nail marks on the door at the Holy Trinity Church, Blythburgh made by legendary Black Shuck, damage done by Cromwell’s Roundheads who used the church as a stable, and the memorial to Joe Kennedy Jnr, the man who should have been President of the United States. Yes, really!
14. Hire a day boat on the River Waveney at Beccles and you’ll be enjoying the Broads National Park. Take a picnic and if you fancy a tipple, we recommend the Geldeston Lock pub. Try Hippersons for boat hire or you could even stay in their luxury pods and houseboats.
13. Close to Oulton Broad and Lowestoft, Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve had a £4m investment in the 1000 acres of wildness allowing nature to take over again. Endorsed by Sir David Attenborough, so must be good.
12. Wander around the charming village of Orford and discover the 12th century castle. Across the water is the National Trust-owned nature reserve Orford Ness, the largest shingle spit in Europe. Eat at the Butley Orford Oysterage, or buy some fresh or smoked seafood from Pinney’s.
11. Wander the promenade at Aldeburgh with an ice cream and choose some fresh seafood from the fish huts. Or get in the queue for fish and chips on the High Street.
10. Discover the amazing wildlife at Africa Alive!
9. Visit Landguard Fort to appreciate Felixstowe port and harbour. There’s a nearby nature reserve too.
8. Take a walk around the charming waterside town of Woodbridge. Voted one of the top foodie destinations in the UK by Country Living, it’s an easy-going place with lots of independent shops and good pubs, and don’t miss the Tide Mill.
7. Not far from Woodbridge is Easton Farm Park, a popular day out for families.
6. Go line crabbing in the Dunwich River at seaside Walberswick. And don’t miss the lovely sandy beach.
5. Enjoy the sunset sitting outside the Ramsholt Arms on the River Deben – scenes from the Danny Boyle film Yesterday were shot here.
3. To see how pubs used to be, head to The King’s Head at Laxfield. Otherwise known as The Low House, the pub has lots of settles and cosy dining rooms, and beer served from barrels in the back room. There’s a large beer garden too. Also in the village are the 16th century Guildhall and 15th century All Saints Church.
1. If you’re in Southwold, don’t miss the Victorian Pier with its ingenious waterclock and Under The Pier Show, a series of quirky handmade amusements.