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Beach huts on Southwold Beach, Suffolk
Beach huts on Southwold Beach, Suffolk

Things To Do In Suffolk

In Castle on the Hill, which Ed Sheeran wrote about growing up in Framlingham, he sang that he "can't wait to go home". Suffolk has that effect on people. It feels like home, even if you have never been there before.

Sunshine, Sand, and Stunning Countryside - a Suffolk Holiday Has it All

You're never too old for a holiday by the seaside! Suffolk caters for every type of visitor. Families who want to treat their kids to the same sort of traditional bucket-and-spade holiday they enjoyed in their youth, friends catching up for a weekend over fresh crab and local beer, and couples seeking a relaxed location where they can push the outside world away and focus on each other, all love a Suffolk holiday.


Discovery Days

Discovery Days in Suffolk
Aldeburgh Beach

Hit the Beach

One of the biggest draws to Suffolk is the 50 mile stretch of coastline, much of which is protected as a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). You could easily visit a different beach every day of your holiday and not run out of new places to discover.

Bikes on Southwold Pier
Discover Southwold Pier...on bike!

Some of the best Suffolk beaches include Lowestoft, which has excellent amenities and a nice clean stretch of sandy shoreline, and Aldeburgh whose beach is a mix of shingle and sand. Southwold has a fantastic pier and is very popular all year round. Make sure you visit The Clockhouse for a proper cup of coffee and some yummy cake, or the Beach Cafe (our personal favourite!) for the best fish and chips. Walberswick and Kessingland are also ideal if you'd prefer to exchange amenities for fewer people.

The Brecks

The area known as The Brecks is on the border between Suffolk and Norfolk. It is a strange and beautiful landscape unlike virtually anywhere else in Britain. The Brecks have one of the driest climates in England and are a haven for a multitude of species of plants and wildlife, some of which are exceedingly rare.

There is nowhere else in the UK with inland sand dunes, and Thompson Commons is one of the few locations where you can see a pingo - a pond formed from ice caps that melted after the Ice Age. The Brecks is so unique and valuable that nearly half of it is protected. Explore on foot, by bicycle or on horseback.

Stoke-by-Nayland and Constable Country

Many Suffolk vistas were immortalised in paint by one of Britain's most revered romantic painters, John Constable, who loved the Stour Valley and Dedham Vale. Some of the scenes which inspired his works remain virtually unchanged from the late 1700s when he grew up in and around East Bergholt, a traditional village on the banks of the River Stour. The countryside is stunning and easily appreciated on one of the area's many footpaths, including the 60 mile Stour Valley Path. Dedham Vale is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and this status protects the area and the wildlife and plants that live there.

Discover Constable Country - Flatford Mill
Flatford Mill, made famous by Constable

Stoke-by-Nayland is an extremely pretty village in the heart of the Dedham Vale AONB. The church, St Mary's, featured in several of Constable's paintings, and the village is a good choice for lunch. The food at the Angel Inn is excellent but if it is a nice day, find a sunny spot to sit outside and appreciate the timber buildings and pretty surroundings of the village. You can buy picnic supplies from Pippin Gift Shop at the Stoke By Nayland Hotel and Spa or the village store on Park Street.


The attractive market town of Sudbury is ripe for exploration. Evidence of the success of past silk and wool industries shows in the beautiful buildings, and a glance in the window of the local estate agents will have you dreaming of a Sudbury home complete with original features and country views! Amble along Market Hill where historic buildings are now independent boutiques, or take a step back in time walking along Friar's Street. If you miss the nod to Thomas Gainsborough in the museum and street named after him, you can't miss the statue of the acclaimed artist in front of St Peter's.

There are lots of lovely cafes to refuel, but a favourite (especially if you like a good all day breakfast) is Twenteaone on North Street. If it's a nice day, try Painters of Sudbury on Gainsborough Street for their private and sunny courtyard.

Lovely Lavenham

Suffolk's fortunes were built on the back of the wool trade. Wool is the reason behind its splendid churches, extravagant country houses, and fancy buildings in historic town centres. The most important Wool Towns were Lavenham, Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury, Ipswich, Long Melford, and Hadleigh. Though the booming trade in wool has faded, evidence of the prosperity it brought to Suffolk remains in buildings which are still very much relevant to everyday life.

Iconic cottages in Lavenham
Historic cottages in Lavenham

Lavenham is the archetypal Suffolk Wool Town. Its wooden buildings, many of which date back 500 years, are extremely well preserved, and you can witness the wealth of some of its more prominent past residents in the Church of St Peter and St Paul and in Lavenham Guildhall, which is managed by the National Trust.

Rainy Days

Westleton Heath
Misty morning, Westleton Heath, Suffolk

The Brecks may be one of the sunniest places in England, but that doesn't apply to the rest of Suffolk. If there is rain on the horizon, switch your plans indoors and try one of these great rainy days out in Suffolk.

Explore the Past

Suffolk has a wealth of museums and galleries. Ipswich Museum is a particularly good example with an abundance of exhibits and artefacts. It is a good place to find out about local culture, but it is the museum's natural history collection that people tend to remember - it's hard to forget a woolly mammoth! Suffolk is packed with specialist museums such as:

  • Sutton Woo
  • Christchurch Mansion
  • Landguard Fort
  • West Stowe
  • The National Horseracing Museum
  • East Anglia Transport Museum
  • Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum
  • Lowestoft Maritime Museum

Learn a New Skill

Spend a wet day absorbing a new skill, and you will come home from Suffolk with more than merely wonderful memories. If browsing antique shops and stately homes makes you want to revive an antique chair, Perkins and Gibbs run regular courses suitable for all abilities.

Put your camera aside and create your own visual record of Suffolk with the help of artist Sandra Pond, who runs regular afternoon and evening painting classes around Suffolk. The small classes are very popular, so book in advance to avoid disappointment.


Ipswich has claimed the title of England's oldest continuously inhabited town. There are nearby links to the Romans, but it was the Anglo-Saxons who really put Ipswich on the map, by turning its port into a major trade hub. You can learn more about Ipswich's fascinating history at the Ipswich Museum which is full of artefacts ranging from Egyptian treasures to stuffed rhinos.

Ipswich Marina
Ipswich Marina

The museum is a good place to go if it's raining, but if it is sunny then treat yourself to a walk through Christchurch Park or Holywells Park. A stroll along the waterfront offers a choice of places to eat and drink to suit any taste and budget, although if you want a vegetarian meal then try Maharani at 46 Norwich Road, which services delicious authentic Bangladeshi food for weekend lunches and weekday dinners.

The shopping opportunities in Ipswich will leave your wallet whimpering with their great mix of style, eclecticism and high street names. The Saints area is best for independent boutiques and is ideal for a leisurely browse. Just outside Ipswich is Jimmy's Farm and Baylham House Farm. Both are good choices for a family day out with lots to keep the kids happy, especially in spring when there are baby animals to see.

Avoid the Crowds

Felixstowe beach huts
Beach Huts in Felixstowe

In Britain, we know that it doesn't have to be sunny to be a great day for the seaside. Felixstowe's beaches are a mix of sand and shingle which makes them eminently suitable for building sandcastles and collecting interesting stones. There's no point in getting drenched for the sake of it, so hire one of the colourful wooden beach huts where you can retreat in comfort and tuck into a paper-wrapped packet of steaming hot chips while watching the weather. One of the highlights of a day in Felixstowe is a trip to Manning's Amusement Arcade. Opened by the legendary Billy Butlin in 1933, it provides as much fun for day-trippers today as it did 80 years ago.

Snape Maltings

Snape Maltings is the home of the Aldeburgh Music Festival which takes place in and around the venue every June. The rest of the year is filled with a calendar of audible treats, while a gallery of independent boutiques provides a welcome antidote to the harsh and impersonal high street shopping experience. The building, whose original purpose was to malt barley for use in brewing beer, is built beside the River Alde in Snape and there are several lovely walks in the area. Snape is also on the Suffolk Coastal Cycle Route 41 and is a wonderful destination for a ride or a place to stop off as part of a longer route.

Framlingham Castle
Framlingham Castle

Snape is near Alderburgh and is a fantastic base for a self-catering holiday in Suffolk. From here, you can easily reach the coast as well as other lovely villages like Thorpeness, Orford and Walsberswick, and attractions like Framlingham Castle and Tunstall Forest which has good mountain biking trails.

Adventure Days

Climbing Nets in Suffolk
Go Ape in Thetford Forest, Suffolk

Suffolk may seem laid back on the surface, but a little scratch soon reveals a rich seam of adventure that will leave your heart racing with excitement!

Newmarket Races

Horseracing is as thrilling as ever at Newmarket Races. There's nothing to beat the fun of shouting encouragement as your chosen horse crosses the line! Newmarket has been renowned for the quality of its racing since the late 1500s, and it now hosts nearly a quarter of Britain's annual Group 1 races.

Climbing, Archery, Go-Karts and More!

Test your mettle at Sparrowhawk where you can shoot clays and arrows, and even learn how to throw axes and knives! Sparrowhawk is no ordinary activity centre - it combines archery with golf and clay pigeon shooting for a fun challenge, and also provides wall climbing at Copleston Sports Centre in Ipswich.

Sparrowhawk organises group activities so is perfect if you are on holiday with friends or family and want to try something different. If there are just a few of you, Wild Tracks near Newmarket has a good choice of activities, and Fritton Lake Outdoor Centre has an excellent calendar of child-friendly events like den building and bushcraft which runs during school holidays.

Sailing and Fishing

With all the coastline and waterways around Suffolk, it is not surprising that sailing is a highly popular sport with some excellent clubs to support enthusiasts. There are lots of places you can jump in a dingy or charter a yacht for a day of adventure on the water. Viking Mariners is near Ipswich and offers half or full sailing days on the River Orwell all year round, but there are some other providers who can also help you set sail, including East Coast Sea Fishing in Lowestoft, Dawn Raider Charters (Felixstowe) and Waveney River Tours.

River Deben
Felixstowe Ferry, River Deben

Go Ape in Thetford Forest

Thetford Forest is enormous. Woven through more than 47,000 acres of pine forest are incredible mountain biking, walking and running trails, many of which centre on the High Lodge activity centre run by the Forestry Commission. The cycling is especially good with well-designed trails that suit all abilities. Bike Art cycle shop has every spare you could need. They can hire bikes for all the family and happily provide guided rides and courses to help you enjoy the forest and improve your skills. Also at Thetford is Go Ape with tree-top climbing activities that give you a bird's eye perspective of the beautiful trees.

Thetford itself has several interesting museums, and the romantic ruins of what was once a very wealthy priory for those happy to cross the border and venture into Norfolk for the day.

Suffolk Leisure Park in Ipswich

You probably don't plan a holiday at the seaside with the view of improving your skiing, but that is just what you can do at Suffolk Leisure Park. The venue has a fantastic dry ski slope where you can ski and snowboard, as well as ski lessons for those who want them. You can also toboggan, practice your swing at the golf range, or climb the high ropes.

Lazy Days

Read a Book on Aldeburgh Beach
Relax on Aldeburgh Beach

Holidays need to be a balance, so even out the adrenaline and adventure with a lazy day or two.

Spa Day

Treat yourself to a spot of pampering in one of the several great spas in Suffolk. The most luxurious of these is the award-winning Spa at Bedford Lodge in Newmarket. Situated in an elegant Georgian home, The Spa offers a variety of treatments and packages, including some specifically created to get you race-day ready. Its name may not suggest it, but The Ickworth is another luxurious venue where you can have your cares massaged and soothed away. The country house hotel is extremely family friendly and day passes are available for the use of the swimming pool.

Spa Day
Enjoy a Spa day in Suffolk

RSPB Minsmere

You don't have to spend a fortune at RSPB Minsmere. Regularly featured on BBC's Springwatch, Minsmere offers the perfect mix of lazy and activity with plenty on offer to keep the younger ones entertained.

RSPB Minsmere
See the majestic Herons at RSPB Minsmere

Whether you fancy countryside, coast or the dappled shade of woodland, there are trails for all to enjoy with some of the country's rarest birds and wildlife to spot along the way. The staff run a programme of guided walks and events that are both fun and informative and there is a café for refreshments as well as a picnic area if you prefer to bring your own.


Rebalance your chakras with a session of yoga. The Suffolk Yoga studio is near Ipswich waterfront and has a full weekly schedule with classes to suit all abilities, while The Self Centre runs regular yoga, meditation and pilates classes in Bury St Edmunds.

Browse in Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds is a lovely town for a lazy day of browsing, snacking and sightseeing. Abbey Gardens is pleasant at any time of year but especially in late spring when the flower beds are in full bloom. There are flat walking paths, a children's play area, a small aviary, and a cafe. The gardens are next to historical Bury St Edmunds cathedral where St Edmund was crowned King of East Anglia in 855. The cathedral and gardens are only a short walk from the central part of town where there is a plethora of shops and cafes.

Bury St Edmunds, Abbey Gardens
Bury St Edmunds, Abbey Gardens

If you fancy something stronger than tea, then take a tour of the Greene King Brewery and enjoy a tutored tasting at the end, or just pop into one of Bury St Edmund's many welcoming pubs where they will happily pull you a pint of locally brewed beer or ale. A Greene King tour has the bonus of fantastic bird's eye views of the entire town from the roof.

Finish your day with a delicious meal made from local ingredients that you can find at Bury St Edmund's Farmer's Market that happens in the Traverse on the second Sunday of every month, or why not forage for your own? Alternatively, book a table at one of the town's excellent restaurants like Maison Bleue, which serves award-winning French cuisine (with prices to match), or the more affordable but equally professional Bury Fish and Chip Shop on St Andrews Street South, where queues are regularly out the door.

Weekenders' Guide

Scallop Shell on Aldeburgh Beach
Admire the art installation on Aldeburgh Beach

Essential Guide to Suffolk
A whirlwind tour of Suffolk

Here are some places and activities which will give you a flavour of Suffolk life even if your time here is limited to a weekend.

Eat Fish and Chips on Aldeburgh Beach

There's nothing more satisfying than rummaging around a paper packet for the crispy bits of chips and fish batter. You may feel like you're full but the sight of those salty treats is too much to resist, and you always manage to find room for a bit more. The best chips are from Aldeburgh Fish & Chip shop on the High Street.

Have a Drink in Britain's Smallest Pub

Tucked away in the heart of Bury St Edmunds, the Nutshell holds the claim to Britain's smallest pub. It can fit up to 15 (slim) people, which makes the 1984 record of 102 people difficult to believe!

Scare Yourself Silly in Felixstowe

Suffolk's long history has led to many tales of ghostly hauntings, none more so than Landguard Fort in Felixstowe. Ghostly visions have included a coach and horses that crossed a ditch where a drawbridge once was, an English soldier believed to have been killed there in 1667, a sailor, and the Portuguese widow of a paymaster sergeant who was executed against a fort wall for apparent desertion.

Walk in the Footsteps of a Great Artist

Constable has made the beauty of the Suffolk countryside famous around the world. See his views through your own eyes on a walk through Flatford and Dedham Vale using this map from the National Trust.

Watch the sunrise at the Edge of the England

Ness Point in Lowestoft is the most easterly point of mainland England and therefore the first part of the country the sun touches in the morning. Pack a blanket and flask of tea in the car and start the day before anyone else.

Last Minute Offers in Suffolk

Thinking of a break in Suffolk? Let us tempt you with a selection of our best last minute offers. Remember, we don't charge a booking fee, so the price you see is the price you pay.

Did you know?

Lavenham was the inspiration for Godric's Hollow - the birthplace of Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. Ralph Fiennes, who played Voldemort in the Harry Potter films, was also born in Suffolk.

Lavenham is the birthplace of stars of another sort. Jane Taylor wrote "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in 1806 when she was living in Shilling Street.

Orford Castle cost £1,413 when it was built by Henry II between 1165-73. It has one of England's oldest and most complete castle keeps and is managed by English Heritage.

The world's oldest surviving horse race is the Town Plate which has been run at Newmarket since 1665.

There are more pigs than people in Suffolk. Some of these live at Jimmy's Farm in Wherstead near Ipswich, where they breed rare Essex pigs along with Gloucester Old Spot and Middle Whites.