Sea forts, old-world abbeys and quaint market towns decorate the bucolic topography of this East Anglican county. Bury St Edmunds may sound like an order, but it’s actually a town, and one of the highlights of the county at that. You’ll pass through Felixstowe, Kesgrave, Lowestoft and plenty of other medieval-sounding named towns, burrow through the markets of Sudbury and Eccles, and wolf down fish and chips on the coast of Aldeburgh and the surrounding villages.
Being perched out on the eastern promontory of England, it has the advantage of being pretty unspoilt and quiet compared to the rest of the country. You can really lose yourself in the countryside… and perhaps choose to never return to the chaos of the cities. All those darn people. Although, if you do feel the urge to visit a city, you can’t go wrong with Ipswich, because the county capital still feels pretty rural. And we would definitely recommend a stay in one of our exclusive homes too, because here at Plum Guide we guarantee quality with every single property, accepting only the top 3% of homes onto our site. Anyway, for now, here is our list of places to visit in Suffolk.
The Sunrise Coast
Southwold Beach, Suffolk, England
Perched on the eastern edge of the country, Suffolk is one of the first parts of England to see the sun each day. A quick Google search has even revealed that we’re correct about that, which is why the area is known as the Sunrise Coast. Travel to Lowestoft and stroll around the tranquil town centre. Sunbathe (if you’re lucky with the weather) and work on your tan on one of the Green Flag and Blue Flag beaches. Who doesn’t love a flag? Spot Europe’s largest wind turbine, Gulliver, and stand on Ness Point, thought to be England’s easternmost… point. Lowestoft is also known for being a gateway to the Norfolk Broads, but we won’t talk about places outside Suffolk, even those that are rife for puns. Not far from the town lies Southwold, with its lovely set of shops on the coast. Stroll out along the pier and take in the views in this sleepy town. Wake up, town, we want to explore all of your charming boutiques and cafés. Oh, and watch the sunrise, that was the whole point.
Bury St Edmunds
Ruins of The Abbey, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK
OK, so who was St Edmunds? Apparently, he was a martyr (bit scary) and was king of East Anglia in the 9th century. He was initially buried here (after he died, of course), but the shrine was destroyed during the English Reformation of the 16th century. That’s enough history for now… well, not quite actually, because there are all these historical artefacts and vestiges to explore in Bury St Edmunds. Check out the ruins of the Bury St Edmunds Abbey, with crumbling walls set in a green park. Let your kids frolic in the Abbey Gardens playground, amid the scenic floral displays. Then, memorise the above information about St Edmunds and tell your partner or kids, ‘Um, I think he was a saint… I read about him on the Plum Guide but forgot the details. Something to do with someone called Marta.’ They’ll be impressed for sure. Explore the market and admire the medieval architecture of the town centre. Take a look around the St Edmundsbury Cathedral and learn about the local history in the Moyse’s Hall Museum.
As discussed, Ipswich is the county capital, but doesn’t feel like a big, horrible city. It's actually one of the more interesting places to visit in Suffolk and there are plenty of things to do there. Watch a game (of football) at Portman Road Stadium, where Ipswich Town play. With luck, you’ll be there when they take on Norwich, their fiercest rivals. Hit up the restaurants and bars in the Waterfront Entertainment District and rummage through the market in the town square. Notice the bizarre mix of 1960s tower blocks, Saxon half-timber cottages and Victorian townhouses in this eclectic hodgepodge of East Anglia. Walk by the docks and inspect the boats, and learn about the culture and history in the Ipswich Museum.
The market towns
One of the best things to do in Suffolk is visit one of the county's chocolate box villages. Suffolk is absolutely packed with quaint little towns and their markets. One of them even has the word in its name, Newmarket. It’s actually the headquarters of the Jockey Club, so it’s a big horseracing place. Find out all about that in the National Horseracing Museum and the National Stud (not an exhibit on handsome men). Chat to the vendors to get a sense of the local culture in Sudbury, Beccles and Debenham (which is also the name of a famous department store).
The picturesque villages
Felixstowe is often called (by themselves) the Garden Resort of the East Coast. To be fair, it’s got some top-notch gardens skirting the coast, so aspiring botanists should put this at the top of their list of places to visit in Suffolk. Travel through Orford - that’s a place, not a misspelling of Oxford - and marvel at the 12th-century fortress. And Lavenham is one of the prettiest villages of all, with its pink walls and black thatch making for quite the uniform layout. You’ll be painting your own home pink in no time after viewing these beauties.