Come to your senses.
ooking for the perfect English break? Then have the butler pack your trunk, order up the handsome carriage and thrash the thoroughbreds in the direction of Suffolk. Stuffed with market towns, ancient abbeys and award-winning beaches, it's the perfect county in which to pick up a few locally-produced pickles, quaff a few ales in a buzzing pub garden and feel rather English - even if you’re not. What ho!
Arts and Culture
“I see Gainsborough in every hedge and hollow tree,” said John Constable of Suffolk’s landscape, neatly linking the two artists to this beautiful county. Visit the beautiful Flatford Mill , scene of arguably Constable’s most famous painting The Hay Wain, or try Ipswich’s Christchurch Mansion , home to the largest collection of the artist’s work. And if your own juices have been stirred, take an art class near Dedham, a favourite haunt of Thomas Gainsborough, whom Constable so admired.
History and Heritage
A trip to the Saxon burial site of Sutton Hoo , or the 12th-Century Framlingham Castle is a must for history buffs. Mustang Sallys might wish to see the airfields, memorials and control towers left by ASAAF after World War II, while the well-titled Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury has works and the life story of the artist.
Must See Attractions
To visit Southwold Pier is to immerse yourself in a world of seaside kitsch, quaint, crafty shops, and proper, old-school fish and chips - all with a thoroughly modern twist.
Food and Drink
It’s at the table where Suffolk truly excels. The county’s most famous exports are Branston Pickle, Greene King Ales and Adnam’s Beers, proving that the county’s produce is stalwart British grub at its best. Discover local sausage producers, jam makers and fish-smokers at the regular farmer’s markets, or drop into one of the many quaint, foodie pubs, where the competition to serve the best locally-sourced food is yet to be resolved. And long may it continue.
Cerebral cherubs might enjoy a trip to Melford Hall , where Beatrix Potter stayed and wrote some of her well-loved books, and where Jemima Puddleduck still resides. Grubbier, action-loving kids might prefer Thetford Forest ’s mountain bike trails, or Go Ape forest rope walks, which are - literally - up there. And if they’ve still got some energy left, the Pleasurewood Hills Roller Coaster Park is home to the 5-Gs-pulling ride, The Wipeout.
Haymarket is the spiritual home of horse racing, and horse-lovers should head there to see a race, peruse the Horse Racing Museum , or catch famous jockeys at the National Stud , the world centre for thoroughbred breeding. Water lovers should make a beeline for the Sunrise Coast - from Southwold to Lowestoft - home to some great surfing, dinghy sailing and kite-surfing around the award-winning beaches of the UK’s most easterly point: Lowestoft Ness .
The Latitude Festival sums up the county perfectly. Great music draws a heavy-duty festival crowd, topped up with literary, opera and contemporary dance and theatre productions.
If crowds aren’t your thing, try the ‘meare’ or shallow lake near Thorpeness , a day out regularly enjoyed by Peter Pan author JM Barrie. Hire a rowing boat and drift dreamily along, or unfold a picnic on the idyllic waterside bank and watch the world float by.
For a more fast-paced adventure, wave your pipe and doff a cap to those blooming brave chaps and chapesses of the RAF Red Arrows in full display at the annual Lowestoft Air Festival , held every August. Hurrah!
Psst... Handy Hints
From the Capital
London's Liverpool Street Station is only a 90-minute train ride away from the heart of Suffolk.
Pack the Clubs
The Suffolk Coastal District is home to some fantastic golf courses set in some of the most idyllic surroundings.
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