Towns & Villages

/Towns & Villages
­

Shotley

, ,

Shotley is about nine miles to the south of Ipswich, Suffolk’s county town. It lies at the southern tip of the Shotley Peninsula, which itself lies in the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Shotley is steeped in Naval history as it was home to some 150,000 naval ratings who trained at the dry ship HMS Ganges until 1976, when the Naval base closed. The HMS Ganges Association Museum is located at the Shotley Marina with a vast collection of information, photographs and navy and artefacts. Shotley is soon to be a 'Walkers are Welcome' designated village. For more information about what this means for visitors and to download some walks leaflets, please visit the Shotley Open Spaces community website. Image: Holme Oak at Bristol Hill picnic area, Shotley, Suffolk Post Office General store/village shop Tea rooms, restaurants, pubs Holiday accommodation Visitor attraction/s Self-guided walks Childrens play and picnic areas (incl wheelchair access) Tennis court and 5-a-side and basketball court Park and wildlife areas Foot and bicycle ferry to Harwich and Felistowe

Woolpit

,

Woolpit is a very pretty village, the centre of which is a conservation area with many brick-faced, timber -framed buildings. The first documented evidence of Woolpit as a settlement is in 1005. In this lovely Suffolk villlage you will find a range of traditional village shops, pubs and the Woolpit & District Museum, housed in a 17th century timber-framed building, showing a permanent display of brickmaking. Other changing displays depict the life of a Suffolk village.  Visit here for more information. Post Office Shops General store/village shop Tea rooms, restaurants, pubs Holiday accommodation Visitor attraction/s Guided walks  

Wingfield

,

The village of Wingfield lies in the northern part of Suffolk and is widely scattered with many medieval houses. In the 14th and 15th centuries, Wingfield was the seat of one of the most powerful families in England and the remains of the castle are reminders of the days of the De la Poles, Earls and Dukes of Suffolk. The Church of St Andrews is one of the most beautiful in this part of Suffolk. It was built in 1362 as the Collegiate Church of Sir John de Wingfield's Foundation. Wingfield College, now behind a Georgian facade, was built at the same time and is open occasionally as part of the "Invitation to View" scheme. Need to Know... Wingfield Barns is open as an arts centre offering drama, music, cinema, art exhibitions and workshops all the year round. Post Office Shops General store/village shop Tea rooms, restaurants, pubs Holiday accommodation Visitor attraction/s   Photo by Barry Freeman ARPS DPAGB

Sudbury

,

The ancient market town of Sudbury is set in the heart of the Stour Valley, on the banks of the River Stour. The town has Saxon origins and a rich cultural heritage. It is one of the wool towns that Suffolk is so well known for and once enjoyed great wealth, which contributed to the fine architecture which can still be seen today. So significant was this wealth, that in the 14th century,  Sudbury was one of three Suffolk towns (along with Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds) on a list of England's wealthiest towns. This industry declined in the 16th century and many of the smaller towns and villages in Suffolk suffered greatly as a result. Sudbury's diverse economy meant the town was able to withstand most of the economic slump and the town developed in other areas. One of these was silk weaving and since the 18th century, the silk industry has played a key role in the town’s prosperity and today there are four silk weaving factories, manufacturing high quality fabrics. Some of these fabrics have been used to furnish royal houses such as Windsor Castle and royal clothing, such as the wedding dresses of both the Princess Royal and the late Princess Diana. There are lively markets here on both Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the year and a farmers' market takes place monthly along with various craft markets and book fairs. In the Town Hall, there is the Heritage Centre and Museum, with a fascinating historical photo archive of the town. In the evening the thriving Quay Theatre with its bar and art gallery, is a source of continually changing entertainment, including theatre, music, lectures and film. There is a good selection of [...]

Stowmarket

,

Stowmarket is an ancient town, although its exact origins are impossible to date. Its name has pre-Saxon roots and evidence of a Roman settlement has been found close to the town centre. A town trail is available from the Tourist Information Centre, which is based at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Crowe Street. The Parish Church of Saint Peter and Saint Mary is part of the Church of England and has stood in the centre of Stowmarket for over 700 years – although there has probably been a Christian Church here since 637AD. Stowmarket also has a wide selection of shops, cafes, restaurants, a railway station, pubs, cinema, a leisure centre and the River Gipping walk. It is also home to the John Peel Centre for Performing Arts, which has a programme of music and other arts events throughout the year. The centre has been developed in memory of the late John Peel, who lived near Stowmarket and it houses his vast collection of records. Traditional and farmers markets take place throughout the month. Need to Know... Stowmarket is home to The Museum of East Anglian Life. Occupying a  site of  80 acres, the museum has lots of great displays including steam traction engines, reconstructed, historic buildings and lots of farm animals, including two Suffolk Punch horses. There is also a 3km riverside  and woodland walk and the newly refurbished Abbot's Hall which has a range of fascinating display about various aspects of life in East Anglia. Post Office Shops General store/village shop Tea rooms, restaurants, pubs Holiday accommodation Visitor attraction/s Guided walks

Stoke by Nayland

, ,

Stoke By Nayland is a pretty village between Sudbury and Colchester and was a favourite with artist John Constable. He was a frequent visitor there and made many sketches and paintings of the area. He was particularly fond of painting the church in the village and the imposing church tower features in many of his works. Stoke By Nayland is in the Dedham Vale (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and is on the edge of the area often referred to as 'Constable Country'. There are two exceptionally good pubs in the village; The Crown and The Angel as well as a village shop, lots of lovely walks and several places to stay. Post Office General store/village shop Tea rooms, restaurants, pubs Holiday accommodation

Polstead

,

Polstead is a picturesque village across the river Box from Stoke by Nayland at the point where the south Suffolk plateau breaks up into a number of small valleys. The village, which featured in the Domesday Book, derives its name from the ponds which lie at the bottom of a steep hill leading up to the village green on one side with St Mary’s Church and Polstead Hall on the other side. Polstead is a lovely place, extremely pretty and with great community spirit. There is a village community shop, a village hall, which hosts regular film screenings and a village pub. Don't miss the pretty church, just outside the main part of the village and admire the wonderful, uninterrupted view across the valley. Need to Know... Polstead is well known for its delicious cherries and lends its name to the 'Polstead Black'. This is also the village where the Murder in the Red Barn took place of the hapless Maria Marten in 1827. The story goes that the young Maria Marten was involved with a man called William Corder, whom she planned to elope to Ipswich with. They arranged to meet at the Red Barn in Polstead, but instead of eloping, William Corder shot his lover dead. He fled the scene and sent letters to Maria's family claiming that they were together and that she was happy and in good health. Maria's stepmother had a dream that her step-daughter had been murdered and was buried in the the barn and felt so strongly that it was true, insisted that the barn was searched. Sure enough, Maria's body was found and the hunt began for the murderer, William Corder. He was tracked down in London, where he had [...]

Needham Market

,

A pleasant market town in Suffolk, Needham Market has a fascinating history. The town and market were founded in around 1245 to take commercial advantage of the road that goes from Ipswich to Bury St Edmunds. By the 1400s the cloth trade was flourishing and the town remained prosperous with merchants from London and the Continent owning many of the large, timber-framed houses. Needham Market has pubs, cafes, a farmers' market, an antiques centre and several specialist shops. Need to Know... Just outside the town is Needham Lake, which is a pretty  lake and nature reserve suitable for walks and picnics and several events take place here throughout the year. Keep an eye on our events listings to find out what there is to do here and in the rest of the Heart of Suffolk. Nearby is Alder Carr Farm with its farm shop, flower and plant centre, pottery, gift shops and cafe/restaurant selling delicious homemade cakes and light lunches. Post Office Shops General store/village shop Tea rooms, restaurants, pubs Holiday accommodation Visitor attraction/s

Long Melford

,

Set along a broad, tree-lined street over a mile in length, Long Melford contains a delightful spread of 18th and 19th century fronted shops and houses, interspersed with the occasional original Tudor building. The village has become a major centre for the antiques trade and also has many lovely small shops, galleries, pubs and some fabulous restaurants. It's a vibrant village with lots of events taking place throughout the year including book fairs, antiques fairs, farmers' markets and several street fairs. The church is magnificent and regular concerts are held there, including weekly lunchtime recitals organised by Melford Music. These popular lunchtime recitals start at 1.10pm and last for 30-40 minutes. These events, which run from May to the end of September, are free of charge and light refreshments are available.  Do keep an eye on our events list for further information. For more information on the village, please visit the Long Melford website. Need to Know... The village is unusual perhaps, in that it has two stately historic houses open to the public. The magnificent Kentwell Hall is a moated mansion approached via a long, tree-flanked drive. Restored in the 1970s by the current owners, it is open to the public and plays host to historic re-creations, open air theatre and opera and many other events. Melford Hall, owned by the National Trust is also in the village and is open to the public during the summer season. This too, hosts many major events throughout the year. Post Office Shops General store/village shop Tea rooms, restaurants, pubs Holiday accommodation Visitor attraction/s Guided walks

Laxfield

,

Laxfield became a settlement on the edge of some flat land where there was a stream big enough to support it. The village secured a charter for markets in 1226 and managed to secure Saturday, the best day for a market. Now there is a monthly produce, craft and flea market on the first Saturday of every month from 10am until 12.30pm. There are usually between 20 and 30 stalls selling a wide variety of goods in and around All Saints Church and the Royal Oak pub next to the church. You will also find  a shop, two pubs and a fascinating local history museum housed in the guildhall. The guildhall is a stunning, half-timbered building and the parish council decided to establish a museum here in 1971. In order to encourage people to attend an exhibition about it, they were asked to bring something old that might be suitable for the museum. People were so enthused by the idea and brought so many interesting objects, that the exhibition continued for several days. The museum's extensive collection includes early 20th century shop interiors (together with window displays), costumes, artefacts from life from the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well as objects relating to the Mid Suffolk Light Railway, which terminated in Laxfield; objects from farming and rural life in Suffolk and local 'field finds', including fossils. Post Office Shops General store/village shop Tea rooms, restaurants, pubs Holiday accommodation Visitor attraction/s Guided walks

Lavenham

,

Lavenham is often called the finest medieval town in England and is perhaps the most famous of the Suffolk wool towns. Lavenham once enjoyed such a high standing that in the reign of Henry VIII, it was ranked as the fourteenth wealthiest town in England. For at least 500 years, the manufacture of various kinds of cloth and the preparation of wool and yarn were the main source of this wealth.  The appearance of the town has changed little over the years: half-timbered houses lean merrily over the narrow streets while the magnificent Swan Hotel, a mass of wooden beams, now encompasses several surrounding cottages. The Church of St Peter and St Paul is huge, given the size of the town and this is a sign of great wealth during its wool town heyday. The church is open to the public and once a year, the tower is also open for those with a head for heights, offering lovely panoramic views of the town. The Lavenham Sinfonia performs regularly in the church so do keep an eye on our events listings for the Heart of Suffolk for more details. The famous Lavenham Guildhall, built in 1529 by the Guild of Corpus Christi, is perhaps the town's most prominent feature.  It is owned by the National Trust and is open to the public. Little Hall, on the east side of Market Place, is the headquarters of the Suffolk Preservation Society and is also open to the public. The "finest medieval town in England" has more than 300 buildings listed as being of architectural and historical interest.  The town also has an a wonderful selection of art galleries, independent shops, tearooms, restaurants and several superb hotels. There are also regular farmers' markets and craft [...]

Hoxne

,

Hoxne is a beautiful and historic Suffolk village and well worth a visit. It is the place where King Edmund was martyred at the hands of the Danes at a site just yards from the market's venue. The village is also well known because of the so-called Hoxne Hoard which was discovered by a metal detectorist in 1992. It is the largest hoard of Roman silver and gold discovered in Britain. The treasure consists of 14,865 Roman coins in gold, silver and bronze from the late fourth and early fifth centuries, and approximately 200 items of silver tableware and gold jewellery. These items now reside in the British Museum in London.  In 1993, the items found were valued at £1.75 million, equivalent to around £2.66 million today. A fascinating account of the discovery of the Hoxne Hoard or Treasure, can be found on Wikipedia. Hoxne today is a busy, friendly village with a good community spirit plus a great village post office and shop and an excellent public house with restaurant. More information can be found on the village website and the Hoxne Heritage Group website, which also has a walking map. Post Office Shops General store/village shop Tea rooms, restaurants, pubs Holiday accommodation Visitor attraction/s Guided walks   Photo by Alister Leith

Haughley

,

Haughley developed within the outer bailey of a Norman castle. This gives the village its distinctive shape. Only the earthworks remain (a privately owned and protected site). The ancient heart of Haughley is now a Conservation Area and contains many pretty, story timber framed-cottages. Haughley Park nearby opens its bluebell woods for two Sundays in the spring. The house is open by appointment only. There are village shops, doctor a pub and a restaurant in Haughley. Post Office Shops General store/village shop Tea rooms, restaurants, pubs Holiday accommodation Visitor attraction/s Guided walks

Eye

,

The pretty Suffolk town of Eye derives its name from the old English word for 'island' and it's believed that the first settlement on the site where the village now is, was once surrounded by water and marshland. Eye has a fascinating history and there are many timber framed buildings, lovely thatched cottages and the stunning Church of St Peter and St Paul. It even has a castle ruin with some splendid views from the top of the hill where it stands. In the past Eye has had at various times a deer park, theatre, leper hospital, work house, gaol, coaching inn, guildhall, 52 pubs (!) and an airfield which was occupied by USAAF during World War II. In the magnificent church, the 15th century wooden rood screen with its intricate carving and painted saints, kings and bishops is well worth a visit. A town trail can be found locally as well as the "Cycling around Eye" booklet. Eye has a good choice of traditional shops, a pub, cafes and restaurants and an award-winning, weekly country market is held in the town square on Wednesday mornings. The village is surrounded by lovely countryside and close to Thornham Walks, on the 2,000 acre Thornham estate. Here you can enjoy walking along 12 miles of waymarked walks and also visit the Thornham walled gardens, which are designed to provide a therapeutic environment and promote well being. For more information about Eye, please visit the village website. Post Office Shops General store/village shop Tea rooms, restaurants, pubs Holiday accommodation Visitor attraction/s Guided walks

East Bergholt

, ,

East Bergholt lies in the heart of the Dedham Vale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the area often referred to as 'Constable Country'. It is the birthplace of John Constable and you can still see (from the outside) his studio and the place where his house once stood. His birthplace was destroyed by fire, but a plaque on some iron railings shows the place where it was. Although the village of East Bergholt is one of the largest in area, the centre of it is very small with a grocery store and post office and a couple of other shops, pubs and a tea room. It's also very picturesque. There is the Old Hall, a large building with over 60 rooms, which is now a small community of people who live together and farm the land, growing organic produce. In the past, this building has been at various times, a nunnery, a manor house, army barracks and a friary. The Church of St Mary the Virgin is well worth a visit and is open to the public for teas. It was built in the 15th and 16th centuries and has an interesting history. It famously has no tower to house its bells, because Cardinal Wolsey's fall from grace halted construction of the church in 1530 and so a 'temporary' wooden structure was built for the bells until funds could be raised to build the tower.  Funds were never raised however, and so the tower was never built.  The wooden structure still stands and still houses the heaviest bells that are rung by hand, rather than ropes and wheels. The five bells have a combined weight of 4.25 tons and are still in regular use. Although [...]

Debenham

,

Debenham is a Suffolk wool town in the heart of the countryside, just over 11 miles north of Ipswich. It lies near to the source of the River Deben and is a large, peaceful village with a rich past as a thriving wool centre. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and its name is thought to mean 'the village in a deep valley'. Evidence of wool trade is all around in the timber framed merchants' houses dating from 14th century. There are many delightful shops, cafes, pubs and a leisure centre in this pretty, historic village. Arable farming is one of the area's main industries with crops consisting of barley, flux, rape seed and root vegetables. In the 1970s,  the centre of the village was designated as a conservation area, being described as “unspoiled without being a showcase.” More information is available from the Debenham village website. Post Office Boutiques, gift shops, art galleries, antiques shops General store/village shop Tea rooms, restaurants, pubs Holiday accommodation Visitor attraction/s Guided walks

Clare

,

Situated in the lovely Suffolk countryside in the Stour Valley, is the Suffolk wool town of Clare. The town has a fascinating history and several interesting places to visit. There are art galleries, second hand bookshops, antiques shops and also the large antiques warehouse,  some lovely boutiques selling gifts, handbags, jewellery and homeware and some great places to eat or enjoy a cup of coffee. Clare is a small country town but still has many historical gems including a 13th century Augustinian Priory, Clare Castle Country Park, the ruins of Clare Castle, which dates back to William the Conqueror, a Mediaeval church, and the Ancient House Museum. You can cycle or walk along the disused railway line, feed the ducks in Clare Castle Country Park and admire the Victorian Railway Station building that still stands. See here for walks details: clarewalks.co.uk Make sure you clamber to the top of the hill to look around the castle ruins and don't forget to look out for cricket bat willows. Their wood is tough, pliable and light, which makes them perfect for producing cricket bats. The annual Clare craft fair, which takes place in the grounds of the priory is a perfect opportunity to stock up on handmade goodies and to walk around the lovely grounds of the priory. Keep an eye on our events page for details of the event, which normally takes place in July. Clare was the Suffolk Village of the Year 2010 - 2012 which means it is not only a lovely place to visit, but also a good place to live with a strong sense of community. Need to Know The norman motte and bailey castle was once home to the de Clare [...]

Chelsworth

,

Lying in the Brett Valley, cialis Chelsworth is the quintessential English village with thatched cottages, sale a pretty church and cosy village pub and is surrounded by lovely countryside with plenty of footpaths and opportunities for walking. The village has been much admired over the years and a view of it, which is felt by many, is summed up by the great grandson of Queen Victoria’s poet laureate, Julian Tennyson, who said: “I have a perfect village of my own finding…….it is Chelsworth and lies completely hidden in a little valley. Its cottages are irregular, very well kept and finely timbered. It borders a stream, whose banks are lined with rich, gigantic trees. I can’t tell you why I think it’s perfect, perhaps it is because Chelsworth has been left to itself“ This is very true and photographs from the 19th century, show how little the village has changed over the decades and centuries. Need to Know... The village is well known for having homes with beautiful gardens which are open to the public for one Sunday a year. Keep an eye on our events listings page for the event which usually comes up at the end of June. The gardens are fabulous, some of them large and graceful, others small and crammed full of gorgeous flowers as befits a cottage garden. Chelsworth Open Gardends day is also a chance to get close to the architecture of the houses and enjoy sitting in some lovely surroundings, enjoying a cup of tea and homemade cake that will be on offer in some of them. Village pub South Suffolk Cycle Route  

Hadleigh

,

A charming market town, Hadleigh has an interesting history. It is one of the first towns in East Anglia that prospered from the cloth/wool industry and is known as one of Suffolk's 'Wool Towns'. It has some wonderful architecture, including the fabulous 15th century guildhall and a total of 246 listed buildings. The town is well known for its pargeting, so when you walk down the High Street, make sure you look up and take note of the front of the buildings. Hadleigh has a lovely choice of individual shops and boutiques, including the famous Partridges, a hardware shop that has an endlessly extensive range of goods for the home and garden; there are a variety of restaurants, pubs and cafes; a pretty riverside walk and railway walk as well as the really beautiful church/guildhall/deanery tower complex. Make sure you make a short detour off the High Street to see it! It's also home to the popular Hadleigh Show in May, one of the oldest country shows in East Anglia and a traditional agricultural show about farming, local produce, crafts and there are lots of shows and demonstrations showcasing the best of what the local area has to offer. The well know artist Cedric Morris established an art school in Dedham in the 1930s with Arthur Lett-Haines. The East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing in Dedham, just over the border into Essex, burnt down and a new home for it was found in 1939 at Benton End, a rambling 16th century house and garden on the edge of Hadleigh. The two men ran a non-traditional art school, allowing students a great deal of freedom of expression and teaching was kept to a minimum. The school [...]