Official Visitor Website

Top 10 things to do in the Heart of Suffolk

You won’t have to travel far to fill your days with fun and exciting things to see and do in the heart of Suffolk.  Here are some of our favourites to wet your appetite.

Visit Needham Lake

Needham Lake is a popular year-round destination.  Take a walk around the perimeter of the lake and spot the variety of wildlife both on and off the water.  There’s plenty for the children to enjoy here too with an adventure playground, stepping stones, and a newly opened cafe.  Close by is Needham Market high street, where you can find hidden treasures in the many used furniture and antique shops.

Get lost in history at Kentwell Hall

Between 13th and 21st August, spend a day stepping back to the year 1549, where you will find out that history is anything but boring at Kentwell Hall!  The skilled living-history experts will provide you with a fully interactive experience, with activities which are spread throughout the house, gardens, farm, and woodlands.  Enjoy crafts and cooking, music and dancing, and meet a whole community going about everyday life, as if you really had travelled back in time.

Talk to the animals at Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park

At Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park, you will get to see up close an eclectic mix of animals from around the globe including rare and exotic breeds.  Meet the cheeky meerkats, see camels and get to stroke the guinea pigs, you may even get to see Jimmy, one of tv’s best-known farmers.

See where the great painters got their inspiration

With such an abundance of beautiful landscapes, it’s no coincidence that writers and artists galore flock to the area with their creative inspiration.  The area has been made famous by two of these such artists, John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough.  From their early careers as artists they were in awe of the Suffolk landscapes before them and created their now world-famous pieces of art.

Walk, eat and drink local ale

There are plenty of ways to get out and enjoy the countryside, towns and villages in the heart of Suffolk and one of the best is on foot.  With hundreds of miles of waymarked footpaths and walking routes to explore, and once finished, there’s nothing better than to sit down with some pub food and local ales.

Take to the water

River estuaries, valleys, lakes, and peninsulas help form the character of this area of Suffolk.  From the famous Stour Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the man-made lake at Alton water there are plenty of places to hire a rowing boat or take out a paddle-board or windsurf.  If you would rather let someone else take the helm, you can take a River cruise from Sudbury or the Dedham Vale and sit back to enjoy the views and tranquility.

Discover the Wool towns


Some of the best-preserved medieval buildings in Britain can be found in the heart of Suffolk.  As you walk through the street of Lavenham, you will get a sense of how much wealth these towns had, all down to the wool trade.  Look out for villages with magnificent churches, all these are a sign of how affluent the area was.  Today, these towns and villages are still bustling with regular markets, independent shops, and plenty of places to eat and drink.

Test your tastebuds at the Food Museum

Get your tastebuds ready for a visit to The Food Museum, formerly the Museum of East Anglian Life, in the very heart of Stowmarket.  At this 70 acres site in the centre of the town you can learn about cheese-making to brewing, historic breads to seasonal eating, the heritage of food, and the communities who grow and make it, all told through stories and hands-on experiences.

Explore glorious gardens

Suffolk is lucky enough to have one of the sunniest climates in the UK which all helps to create some of the most beautiful gardens.  Throughout the heart of Suffolk, down country lanes, you can find hidden gems of country houses with their gardens open to the public.  Alongside these, there are the magnificent ones too, including Helmingham Hall Gardens.  These gardens are designed to give a breathtaking display throughout the summer months and can be enjoyed on their own or whilst attending one of the many events hosted here throughout the season.