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Long Melford Heritage Centre

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If you followed the BBC's  “Great British Story” with presenters Michael Wood and Dr Carenza Lewis, you will have seen that Long Melford was featured a while ago. Being involved in the community Big Dig was an exciting time in the village and as a result, two local amateur archaeologists John Nunn and Rob Simpson were inspired to set up the Long Melford Heritage Centre in 2011. Since then a willing band of volunteers has come forward to assist in running the Long Melford Heritage Centre which is situated at the rear of the village hall in Chemist's Lane (opposite the Bull Hotel). Many fascinating treasures were unearthed during the Big Dig, from Long Melford's Roman and Medieval past. The centre is open from April until November and its opening hours are Saturdays 10 am – 4 pm, Sundays 12 – 4 pm and Wednesday afternoons 2 – 4 pm. Long Melford Heritage Centre’s current focus is on the men and women from Long Melford who went off to fight in the First World War. What makes this different from most exhibits is that it is not only the names of the fallen on the village war memorial in the churchyard which feature but also those who returned to Long Melford and whose lives would be changed forever by the conflict. Their stories and photographs have been gleaned from descendants, some of whom still live in the village. Photographic and artefact displays of bygone Long Melford is also on view Read more about the project here and you can also follow the Long Melford Heritage Centre Facebook page. Admission free. Chemists Lane, Long Melford, CO10 9JG Suffolk

Woolpit and District Museum, Woolpit

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The museum was established in 1985 after the local history group found pieces of Roman and medieval pottery and decided to share  their finds with the local and wider community. The museum is in a pretty, 17th century timber framed cottage - it's allegedly the smallest museum in Suffolk - and has a permanent display of brick making.  Other changing displays depicting the life of a Suffolk village and there is also a permanent re-construction of part of a Victorian Kitchen. There is a chair lift available and toilets, including one for disabled visitors. There is also a car park opposite the church and on street parking, refreshments are available nearby and there is an area for picnics. Talks and village tours can be arranged by appointment: The village centre (a conservation area), St Mary’s Church and Ladyswell (both part of the Pilgrim’s route) are of great interest and tours can last from one to three hours over easy ground. Contact Woolpit and District Museum, The Woolpit Institute, The Street, Woolpit, IP30, 9TU T: 01359 240822 W: www.woolpit.org

Wattisham Flying Station Museum, Wattisham Airfield

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The Wattisham Airfield Station Museum opened in November 1991 and is housed in the original station chapel built, buy by the USAAF in 1943. Inside the museum you can see exhibitions relating to the history of Wattisham Station with aircraft, thumb photographs and other memorabilia. You may also visit the museums Heritage Workshop which is in a former Cold War Hardened Aircraft Shelter (HAS) where volunteers are working on refurbishing historic aircraft. Visits by pre-booking only please. Wattisham is an active airbase so photo ID required. Contact Wattisham Flying Station Museum, see Wattisham Airfield, Wattisham IP7 7RA T: 01449 678189 W: www.wattishamstationheritage.org   Photo courtesy of Keith Rimmer

The Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum, Dedham

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The Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum in Castle House, Dedham in the heart of Constable Country and the Dedham Vale (AONB), is the home where Sir Alfred Munnings KCVO lived for 40 years. Sir Alfred Munnings is most well known for his equestrian art, but he also painted a wide range of other subjects and he was an accomplished sculptor. His home showcases his paintings, drawings and sketches representing his life's work and visitors can wander around the house and gardens. There is also a fascinating little studio, where he worked and his paintbrushes and other things have been left as if he has just stepped outside for a bit of fresh air. It's very atmospheric and gives some insight into the artist. Castle House and grounds are open to the public from April – end October  Wednesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays.  Please check the website to confirm opening times before your visit.  There is a small cafe selling a good selection of homemade cakes and light lunches and many events take place at the Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum throughout the year. These events including painting workshops, children's events, Christmas events and even demonstrations of how to ride side saddle! Contact The Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum, Castle House, Dedham, CO7 6AZ T: 01206 322127 W: www.siralfredmunnings.co.uk   Top photo ©David Burton | bottom photo ©Showcapture Save

The Guildhall of Corpus Christi (National Trust), Lavenham

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Lavenham has over 320 buildings of historic importance, discount making it one of the best preserved towns or villages in England. One of the most impressive of these buildings, sick is the splendid Tudor, timber-framed Guildhall of Corpus Christi which is owned by the National Trust in the heart of the medieval village. The guildhall houses a fascinating local history museum (read more about Lavenham and the significance of the wool industry), a small but very pretty and tranquil courtyard garden, a National Trust tea room serving scones, cakes and light lunches and a gift shop. Events take place in the The Guildhall of Corpus Christi throughout the year, including local history lectures, craft shows and the wonderful annual Christmas event. Contact The Guildhall of Corpus Christi, Market Place, Lavenham CO10 9QZ T: 01787 247646 W: www.nationaltrust.org.uk

River Stour Trust Centre, Sudbury

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The River Stour Trust Centre promotes the River Stour Navigation, prostate its importance in Britain’s industrial and cultural heritage, buy and the Trust’s own role in promoting use of this historic waterway. The centre houses the archival records that will provide resources for schools, pills students and researchers and it is a destination for walkers, cyclists and boaters with a footpath and cycleway running alongside the river from the main road. The River Stour Trust operate boat trips using their electric boats Rosette and Francis J, which each accommodate up to eight passegners and operate between Sudbury, Great Cornard and Great Henny. Scheduled trips and private charters are available from Spring until the end of October. The restored John Constable Lighter can accommodate 12 passengers and is available for charters on the Sudbury stretch of the River Stour. The Trust also operates boat trips on the lower river between Stratford St Mary, Dedham, Flatford and Brantham. Contact River Stour Trust, Dove House Meadow, Baker’s Mill, Great Cornard, CO10 0GF T: 01787 313199 W: www.riverstourtrust.org

Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket

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The Museum of East Anglian Life (MEAL) is situated in Stowmarket, Suffolk. It is an open air museum set in 75 acres of countryside, with over 20 historic buildings and collections of over 45,000 objects exploring the rural and social history of East Anglia. There are some fascinating displays including steam traction engines, reconstructed historic buildings and lots of animals, including a Suffolk Punch horse, rare breeds sheep, cattle and pigs. It's also a lovely place to take a picnic and go for a walk with three kilometres of riverside and woodland walks. An extensive programme of events throughout the year will keep the children amused throughout the holidays with welly walks, nature hunts and many special events. There's plenty for adults too, with steam days, music festivals and an annual beer festival. There is also a very nice tea room in the grounds of the museum called The Osier Cafe, which serves excellent coffee and homemade cakes, lunches and other snacks. Don't miss the Abbot's Hall which is open all year round and is free of charge. The Museum of East Anglian Life is open towards the end of March to end of October, Mon-Sat 10-5, Sun 11-5 Contact Museum of East Anglian Life , lliffe Way, Stowmarket IP14 1DL T: 01449 612229 W: www.eastanglianlife.org.uk

Mid Suffolk Light Railway Museum, Wetheringsett

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The Mid Suffolk Light Railway Museum (aka 'The Middy') is a railway station that has been restored by a group of enthusiasts, after nearly 50 years since the original Brockford Station platform and railway building were abandoned. The restoration project started in 1990 and the museum is now home to exhibitions of artefacts, photographs and recollections of the railway. Work goes on today, adding to and improving the infrastructure,  to recreate the atmosphere of an Edwardian country railway station and recently The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway received an award from the Heritage Railway Association for its recreation of a “typical back-water light railway with an authentic back drop.” Some wonderful events take place at The Middy throughout the year, including Steam Days, Santa Rides and historical re-creations. You can also buy gift vouchers and learn to drive a steam engine! Contact Mid Suffolk Light Railway Museum, Brockford Station, Wetheringsett IP14 5PW T: 01449 766899 W: www.mslr.org.uk

Mechanical Music Museum & Bygones, Cotton

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Enter this enchanting museum and you enter a magical world, an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of musical items and memorabilia. The museum opens on Sundays and visitors can enjoy looking at working mechanical music devices from music boxes to fairground organs and everything in between. There are also regular live performances on the splendid Wurlitzer cinema organ and events throughout the year. The collection also houses an extensive collection of novelties creating a 'musical maze of mesmerising entertainment' with sheet music as wallpaper, gramophone discs and penny slot machines…the list goes on! Contact Mechanical Music Museum & Bygones, Blacksmith Road, Cotton, nr Stowmarket, IP14 4QN T: 01379 783350 W: www.mechanicalmusicmuseum.co.uk

Little Hall, Lavenham

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A stunning timber framed wool merchant's house with 14th century origins, Little Hall is a hall house with an imposing crown post roof. Built in the 1390s for the Causton family of clothiers the house was enlarged and improved in 1425-50 and then ‘modernised’ in Tudor times, when a fireplace was built in the upper floor in the hall. The Gayer-Anderson brothers, who were both soldiers and artists, shared an interest in art, Egyptian art in particular, and collecting  antiques, pictures, books, china and decorative art. They rescued Little Hall in the 1920s and 30s and made it their home. Their  collection of furniture, pictures, sculptures and ceramics is on display in this wonderful building they called home. Contact Little Hall, Market Place, Lavenham, CO10 9QZ T: 01787 247019/ 01787 247554 (groups) W: www.littlehall.org.uk

Laxfield and District Museum, Laxfield

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In 16th century Guildhall. Geology, viagra natural history, here farm and domestic tools. Victorian kitchen, prostate village shop, displays and costume room. Open 30th April-2 Oct, Sat/Sun/BH MOn, 2-5. Groups at other times by arrangement. Contact The Guildhall, High Street, Laxfield, IP13 8DZ T: 01986 798531

HMS Ganges Association Museum, Shotley

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There was a special poignancy when the command ‘eyes right’ was barked on the parade ground at HMS Ganges 40 years ago, as it marked the end of an era. In June 1976, the last recruit graduated from the Royal Navy training establishment known as Ganges and the place still holds special memories for many today. Although the base was subsequently used as a sports camp and then by the Police, who practiced their riot techniques there, Ganges will forever be best known the world over for the tough, uncompromising training, which turned raw young civilians, some as young as 15, into disciplined men, fit to serve on Her Majesty’s ships. The base at Shotley Gate is awaiting development, but the memories live on and the base is now the HMS Ganges Museum, next to the Shotley Marina. Filled with artefacts given by ex-Ganges boys, or their relatives and families over the past 20 years, the museum has become a mecca for all those with any sort of connection or interest in Ganges and its colourful and important history. The museum holds memorabilia from the old shore establishment including honours board, figurehead and clocks. It is also home to a very large collection of photographs and original documents relating to life in Shotley and a small number of documents relating to old 'Ganges' when when it was afloat. Run entirely by volunteers, the ex-Ganges personnel open the museum at weekends, passing on their knowledge and experiences to visitors. The museum is open from March through to the end of October each weekend and bank holiday from 11am - 4.30pm. Entry to the museum is free.  Special arrangements can be made for opening outside of these [...]

Hadleigh Guildhall, Hadleigh

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A fine Grade I listed, Medieval timber-framed guildhall built when Hadleigh was one of the most important woollen cloth towns in England. Teas and guided tours are on offer where you can see the inside of this magnificent building and learn all about its fascinating history, its occupants and it's place in the history of Hadleigh. At the end of your tour, you are invited to relax in the peaceful and beautiful garden and enjoy a delicious cream teas. Please note that these tours must be pre-booked and are only available for parties of ten people or more. Did you know? Hadleigh Town Hall & Guildhall Complex is also a wedding venue and is suitable for other events too. Various rooms and the secluded garden are available for hire. Contact Hadleigh Guildhall, Market Place, Hadleigh IP7 5DN T: 01473 822544/823884 E: info@hadleightownhall.co.uk W: www.hadleightownhall.co.uk

Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury

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This is the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough RA (1727-88) and the house dates back to the 16th century. Now a museum and gallery, the house has many of the original works of Thomas Gainsborough, more than any other gallery outside of London, and some memorabilia from his life. There is an attractive walled garden with a wonderful, 400 year old mulberry tree. There is a varied programme of exhibitions of both historic British and contemporary art and a print workshop which is open to the general public and where you can learn some new skills on courses that run throughout the year. There is a gift shop and coffee shop and tea may be taken in the garden when the weather is fine. Gainsborough's House is open all year Monday - Saturday, 10-5. Closed Suns, Good Friday and 24th Dec - New Year inclusive. Contact Gainsborough's House, 46 Gainsborough Street, Sudbury CO10 2EU T: 01787 372958 W: www.gainsborough.org

Framsden Windmill, Framsden

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This post mill was built in 1760 and the roundhouse was added in 1836. The mill stopped work in 1930 and became derelict, illness after which it was restored by a group of volunteers in the late 1960s and now houses a country bygones exhibition. Opening times are by appointment only on Saturdays & Sundays between March and October. Photograph © Robert Edwards Contact Grid reference: TM 192 598 OS sheet: 156 Postcode: IP14 6HB About 9 miles N of Ipswich on B1077. Access is via a small lane beside the road. T: 01473 890328

Bridge Cottage, Flatford

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Set in the glorious landscape of the Dedham Vale (AONB), the 16th century Bridge Cottage houses an exhibition about the life and work of John Constable. There are guided walks in the summer with National Trust guides who will show you the sites of some of Constable's most famous paintings. You can walk up the lane to look at Flatford Mill (not open to general public, but you can attend a course there on art, conservation and photography) and to see where the Hay Wain and Willy Lott's Cottage were painted. The area is remarkably unchanged since the time John Constable lived there and you can see why he loved the area so much and found so much inspiration here. You can row a boat along the River Stour to the nearby village of Dedham, in the summer or you can take the same route that the young John Costable took when he walked across the fields every day to school. For opening times of Bridge Cottage, please visit the National Trust website. Contact National Trust, Bridge Cottage, Flatford Lane, Flatford, East Bergholt, CO7 6UL T: 01206 298260 W: www.nationaltrust.org.uk Additional information Wheelchair access, Electric buggy available, National Trust tearoom and shop

95th Bomb Group Red Feather Club, Eye

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The Red Feather Club, medicine operated and managed by the 95th Bomb Group Heritage Association, cialis (95th BGHA) is the official UK museum of the 95th Bomb Group. The award-winning museum in a former NCOs’ club houses uniforms and memor­abilia relating exclus­ively to the 95th Bomb Group and has been described by visitors as “stepping back in time”. The museum is continually being updated as new addi­tions are donated or acquired. It aims to tell the story of the 95th from their early days in the US to their return home after the end of the war through displays, films and the first hand accounts of locals and servicemen. Open from around 10:00am on the last Sunday of every month between April to October, The volunteers who run the museum are often doing with renovation work on Saturdays too, so if you see the flag flying, pop in and see them! Contact 95th Bomb Group Red Feather Club, Denham, Eye IP21 5EU T: 01728 860930/01379 384472 W: www.95thbg-horham.com

95th Bomb Group Hospital Museum, Eye

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The Hospital buildings were purchased from a local farmer by Tony and Val Albrow with the view to restoring them as a museum dedicated to The 95th Bomb Group. The buildings have been used for different things since their original use during WWII; firstly as chicken sheds, decease then as a pig unit, doctor a grain store and finally as a mushroom farm for 18 years. The buildings have under gone a ten year restoration which has been privately funded and are now open to the public. The restoration is ongoing and fourteen of the fifteen rooms are now open with many displays. Some rooms are restored to their original state as if the 95th were still an operating group. Others have exhibits and displays to view. Open May - October, last Sunday in each month, 10-4. weekdays by appointment. Contact 95th Bomb Group Hospital Museum, Shingle Hill, Denham, Eye IP21 5EU T: 01379 870514 W: www.95thbghospitalmuseum.co.uk