* That’s Frequently Asked Questions. We get lots of email queries to firstname.lastname@example.org from around the country, and indeed from abroad as well. They range from ‘what’s the number of the Lowestoft-Southwold bus?’ (99 via Pakefield and Kessingland) to ‘Is the Broads National Park in Suffolk?’ (yes, the River Waveney is part of the Broads Authority area).
So we’ve compiled a list of the top ten questions we get asked…
Are there any cities in Suffolk?
Vastly over-rated, cities. Lots of traffic, people too busy to care about you and homogenised shopping. No, what you want is welcoming, picturesque, vibrant towns with lots of history, culture and great local independent shops… and walkable. In which case, you’ve come to the right place. Explore waterfront Ipswich, riverside Woodbridge, Bury St Edmunds with its Abbey Gardens and Georgian and Regency buildings, Beccles and Bungay in the Broads National Park, Stowmarket with the quirky Food Museum, Sudbury, home to Gainsborough’s House, Framlingham dominated by its Norman castle, and Newmarket, the world HQ of flat horseracing.
So no, Suffolk doesn’t have any cities.
Where did Constable paint The Hay Wain?
The great Suffolk artist John Constable painted his most famous work on the River Stour at Flatford, near East Bergholt. Featured in the painting is Willy Lott’s Cottage, which is now Grade I listed to reflect its importance as part of the Flatford Mill group and significance in Constable’s work.
Willy (1761-1849) was a tenant farmer who worked the 39 acres around Flatford that made up Gibeon’s Gate Farm and legend has it he only spent one night of his 88 years away from the house. When you live as somewhere as picturesque as this, why would you?
By 1925 the house was in such a state of disrepair that it was given to the National Trust, who do a jolly good job looking after it to this day.
What is Ed Sheeran writing about in ‘Castle on the Hill’?
Although not mentioned specifically, Framlingham Castle is the star of the hit song about Ed’s teenage years in the eponymous market town where he grew up. Originally a Norman motte and bailey castle from the 12th century, the Earl of Norfolk Roger Bigod rebuilt it as a curtain wall castle with no central keep – highly unusual for the time.
Now run by English Heritage, the castle hosts medieval jousts and fairs, but is worth a visit at any time – as well as the castle, enjoy walking around the ramparts and the view of the mere.
Were Suffolk’s Wool Towns made of wool?
Is the moon made of cheese? No, but seriously, the Wool Towns were built from the riches merchants made from the textile trade and are now some of the best-preserved medieval towns in the country with timber framed houses and grand churches.
Lavenham has close to 350 listed buildings, Kersey has been named in the top 10 chocolate box villages in Britain, and Cavendish is renowned for its ‘Suffolk Pink’ cottages (they used to mix pigs’ blood in with the lime wash… honestly!)
Can you take dogs on Suffolk beaches?
Yes, you certainly can! The county has just shy of 50 miles of coastline and between our estuaries you’ll find fine sand and shingle beaches to take your pooch walkies.
Some of the more popular family beaches like Southwold, Lowestoft and Felixstowe have seasonal restrictions in certain areas but there are still parts where your four-legged friend is welcome – just look out for advice signs.
Is Suffolk really flat?
We’d prefer to say it’s gently undulating, making it perfect for walkers and cyclists, and for seeing the horizon and where you’re going. So no, you won’t need mountaineering equipment when you visit Suffolk.
Should you wish to get high in Suffolk, try the Go Ape aerial trapeze at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, climb to the top of Framlingham or Orford Castles or head to the highest point in Suffolk, Great Wood Hill. Near Chedburgh on the Newmarket Ridge, the summit is in the middle of the wood near Rede village and stands at a vertigo-inducing 128 metres (420ft).
What does Suffolk mean?
Simple! Suffolk and Norfolk are the south folk and the north folk of the East Angles when this was one of the most prominent kingdoms in the country and we were forever being attacked by those ruffians from the Nordic lands.
If you want to see how life was in those post-Roman, pre-Norman days, best take yourself along to National Trust Sutton Hoo, burial place of Raedwald, King of East Anglia, who died around 625 and was buried in his 90-foot long ship. You may have seen it in the Netflix movie The Dig with Ralph Fiennes.
Where’s the best place in Suffolk?
That’s like asking a parent who their favourite child is! We’ve got the fabulous Suffolk coast punctuated with seaside towns like Felixstowe, Aldeburgh, Southwold and Lowestoft. Ipswich is a fabulous waterfront town. West Suffolk includes world horseracing HQ Newmarket and historic Bury St Edmunds. And the Heart of Suffolk goes from Constable Country in the Stour Valley up to the Waveney Valley via the Suffolk Wool Towns and chocolate box pretty villages.
Is it easy to get to Suffolk?
You’ve got two- and three-lane carriageways pretty much from anywhere in the country all the way to Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds. After that, reset your mind and learn to relax on our lovely country B-roads and lanes.
Who are Visit Suffolk?
We’re the official tourist board and website of Suffolk, with a role to promote one of the best tourist destinations in the UK. It’s our job to support tourism businesses and encourage more people to visit the county throughout the year. There couldn’t be a better job!