With over 45 miles of coastline and countless acres of roaring countryside, Suffolk is a dream holiday destination in the UK. There’s no better place to get in touch with nature, enjoy fine local cuisine, and learn about some of the greatest artists in English history. Visit Suffolk and find out why it’s known as “The Foodie County” of the UK.
Looking to take to the waves or just relax on a sandy beach? Itching to grab your bike for an adventurous ride or wanting to quietly take in the beauty of the countryside? Whatever you’re looking for, Suffolk has a wide range of things to do and attractions to see. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of top activities in Suffolk, so you don’t miss a thing.
Places to Visit
Visit Ipswich to find a wealth of independent stores that bring a local flair to retail therapy. There’s no shortage of locally sourced produce, hand-crafted items, vintage antiques, and market stalls which bring the town to life. For those wanting to work up a sweat, there are leisure parks and sports centres to be enjoyed and even the East Anglian Sailing Trust, which lets you take to the waters of the River Orwell. Ipswich also has an incredibly strong link to British literature, celebrated by the blue plaques installed around the town that highlight the famous authors and illustrators who called Ipswich home during their life. The Ipswich Museum even holds an original letter written by Charles Darwin!
The beautiful beaches of Southwold attract thousands of people every year, giving you the perfect opportunity to relax with serene views from the town’s piers along the shoreline. As the sun goes down, tuck into some fish and chips while enjoying the fresh sea air. A rich history of beer brewing is seen throughout the town, as Adnams beer is found on restaurant tables and at the pub bars across Southwold. Adnams beer has been brewed since 1872 and has become part of the town’s identity, meaning no trip is complete without sampling a taste. The perfect time to grab one is when visiting the brewery itself – take a tour behind the scenes to see how award-winning local beers and spirits are made, and you can even have a go at making your own gin.
Suffolk Wool Towns
Visit some of the most idyllic villages in Suffolk by exploring the Suffolk Wool Towns. These towns can easily be spotted thanks to the timber-framed houses and grand churches that were built when areas such as Hadleigh, Long Melford, and Clare prospered from the production of woollen cloth. Lavenham is the quintessential wool town, containing over 300 listed buildings and known as “England’s Best-Preserved Medieval Village”, while Cavendish is home to the iconic Suffolk Pink houses, an artistic choice that dates back to the 14th century, when natural substances such as berries were combined with limewash to give houses an almost dreamlike pink tint to them.
Suffolk has many options when it comes to getting in touch with local wildlife, with RSPB Minsmere being the most famous. The home of BBC Springwatch from 2014 to 2016, the coastal nature reserve is brimming with woodland, lagoons, and wetland, meaning thousands of birds call the area home. In the spring, sand martins return to nest and dragonflies being to emerge among reed beds, while autumn migration means bearded tits and nightjars pass through the area. It’s the perfect place for photography buffs, and guided tours are available to ensure you don’t miss a thing.
Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival
One of the best things to do on holiday is visit a food festival, letting you indulge in the local cuisine that the area is known for, and even take some home to enjoy afterwards! Suffolk is known as “The Foodie County”, meaning Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival is not to be missed. It’s a two-day extravaganza of everything culinary, including foraging trips, cookery courses, and, of course, a host of local dishes for you to try, each filling the air with their own unique aroma. Whether you’re looking to pick up some bread or pasta making skills from the festival experts, or wanting to expand your palette with local beers and ciders, watch out for this wonderful event every September.
Ickworth House sits at the heart of an impressive estate and is an Italianate palace formally owned by the fourth Earl of Bristol. Learn what it was like working as a servant in the house during the 1930s, before indulging in the beautifully preserved artwork and furniture that populate the eloquent halls and rooms of the house. The Italian inspiration does not stop at the house, however, as the immaculate garden surrounding Ickworth House brings an Italian touch to peaceful strolls, peppered with blooming flora. History can even be felt in the ancient woodland of the area, with some trees thriving there since the 1600s.
Explore Dedham Vale
The inspiration for famous painters such as John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough, Dedham Valley is a picturesque area of English landscape with charming villages and a wealth of countryside to explore. A vibrant farming area, Dedham Vale is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has plenty of footpaths to venture down and tranquil areas from which to enjoy a spot of riding or fishing. You can walk in Constable’s footsteps by journeying along the River Stour to Flatford, or take to the Tudor houses of Stour valley and experience a stunning panoramic view of the area.
With vast areas of beautiful woodland and picturesque scenery, one of the best things to do in Suffolk is to grab your bike and see where the winding paths will take you. There is a great variety of trails to seek out, including the Jockey’s Trail that takes you around the UK’s home of horseracing, Newmarket, and a host of quaint villages such as Rumburgh, South Elham, and Mettisham on the Saints Tour Loop. Whether you’re hunting out the mills that pop up in the Suffolk landscape or seeking the landscape that inspired some of the UK’s greatest painters, there’s no shortage of sights to see, or local cafés to relax and catch your breath at.
Learn About Benjamin Britten
One of the most influential people in 20th-century music, Benjamin Britten was born in the Suffolk town of Lowestoft, and remarkably began composing his first works at the age of five. No matter where his career took him, Britten always returned to Suffolk, taking residence in Snape and then Aldeburgh, where he and his partner lived in The Red House. He even helped found the Aldeburgh Festival, starting as a few local concerts in small venues around the town before he helped build the Snape Maltings Concert Hall. Today, The Red House is open to the public, preserved in its 1960s style and exhibiting works and effects from Britten’s life. Visit Aldeburgh and Snape to gain a wonderful insight into the life and times of one of Suffolk’s most famous residents.
Walk the Gainsborough Trail
Walk in the footsteps of one of the greatest painters in British history by exploring the rural landscapes that inspired Thomas Gainsborough in the town of Sudbury. The Suffolk countryside was frequently the subject of Gainsborough’s work, capturing quiet towns, vibrant fields, and glistening waterways that remain almost untouched to this day. The 12-and-a-half-mile circular route will take you past relics of Sudbury’s industrial past, through areas of diverse wildlife, and to some of the greatest views in the county. Get in touch with your artistic side on this splendid walk that may just inspire you to capture your own favourite spots with a sketch, painting, or photograph.
My Perfect Stay
After living in Suffolk for more than 15 years I just love the beautiful countryside and hidden gems it has to offer. For me there’s nothing better than being one of the first people to see the sun rise on an early morning walk down on the beach.
My favourite place to visit has got to be Southwold, with its quaint pubs and gorgeous restaurants, it definitely has everything you need for that perfect day out! The beautiful thing about Southwold is you can go anytime of the year and it matches the mood, with its Blue Flag Beach and famous pier to walk down, it’s truly a stunning town. Also not forgetting the Adnams Brewery for those who love a drink (or two!) and what better way to end your day than sitting outside a local pub eating a good old fish and chips looking out to sea?
I do love a good deal and High Lodge can certainly offer you that, set within 100 acres of woodland and on the doorstep of Southwold, it has everything to offer for everyone. After a long day exploring there’s nothing better than finishing the evening sitting in a hot tub looking out across the stunning countryside. Now that, is my perfect day.