Summer 2013

Summer has arrived in Suffolk and now is the time to make the most of this glorious county of ours.

Already Suffolk is proving popular with tourists, with hotels and B&Bs around the county reporting an upturn in bookings.

So what is it that brings people to East Anglia, and in particular Suffolk and north Essex?

Well, it is obvious – the miles of stunning coastline, our rich heritage, our first class tourist attractions including Colchester Zoo and Sutton Hoo burial ground, and the favourable climate.

What’s more, the flat landscape that East Anglia is famed for makes it ideal for campers, walkers and cyclists.

We are here this summer to help you make the most of your weekends and holidays, and point you in the direction of our top beaches, country parks and attractions.

Andrew Harrison, managing director of Stansted Airport

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In Suffolk alone the coastline stretches along 45 miles of golden sands and rolling shingle. Either side of the county, there is even more stunning coastline waiting to be explored – from Lowestoft’s Blue Flag sandy beaches to the delights of Martello Bay in Clacton. There are various awards bestowed on beaches, or the authorities that manage them.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Good Beach Guide ranks beaches according to water quality, those recommended by the society have excellent water quality. Guideline beaches still have high quality bathing standards. Blue Flags, issued by Keep Britain Tidy, are awarded to those beaches with top notch facilities, those that are litter free and have high standards of water quality.

Lowestoft North/South- Sandy beaches appeal to visitors and locals alike

The beaches at the maritime town of Lowestoft are recognised in the Good Beach Guide for their excellent water quality, and the South beach has also been awarded a Blue Flag this year.

Located either side of Claremont Pier, the sandy beaches are enjoyed by both visitors and residents alike. Beach chalets sit alongside the lifeguard station – which is manned between 10am and 6pm from June to August.

Lowestoft seafront offers a variety of amenities including crazy golf, restaurants and takeaways, amusements, ice cream kiosks and adventure play areas. There is also ample parking, toilet facilities and seafront hotels and guest houses.

Aldeburgh- Take a stroll along the prom

Listed in the Independent’s top 50 beaches guide last summer, Aldeburgh is well-known for its great landmarks. The guide said: “Follow in the footsteps of composer Benjamin Britten along this slope of pebbles, which he often used to walk, to The Scallop, a sculpture made in his memory.”

Walking along the beach promenade you can take in many of the town’s distinctive attractions including The Moot Hall, lookout towers and lifeboat station. Fishermen still pull up their boats onto the shingle and sell their catch from nearby huts and there are also sandy areas of the beach which are particularly exposed at low tide.

There are council-operated car parks at either end of the beach.

Dunwich- Unspoilt stretch of Suffolk coastline

If you are looking for a quiet retreat, away from the usual holidaymakers, family daytrippers and sun worshippers, Dunwich could be the answer.

This long stretch of shingle beach has nothing more than a small café and a collection of fishermans huts.

The waters are untested so it does not appear in the Good Beach Guide but that doesn’t mean this hidden gem isn’t worth exploring.

Dunwich is home to a bird-nesting site, so take your camera along.

Southwold- The traditional seaside town that takes you back in time

Blessed with golden sands and excellent bathing waters, as recognised by the Good Beach Guide, plus a lifeguard service operating throughout the summer, Southwold Pier beach more than earns its place in our top beach guide.

Along with neighbouring Southwold Denes beach, it was awarded a Quality Coast Award last year, recognising the work of the beach managers to create a true visitor experience.

Southwold is famed for its time-honoured beach huts, award-winning pier and working lighthouse, which all create a traditional British seaside feel

Felixstowe North/South- Don’t forget to pack your bucket and spade

It might be best known for its thriving port, but there is more to Felixstowe than meets the eye. Felixstowe has a vast expanse of beach lined with amusements, beach huts, fast-food outlets and even a sports centre, making it ideal for a day of family fun.

A mix of sand and shingle, the beach at Felixstowe slopes gently towards the sea and is an ideal playground for the bucket and spade brigade.

The two-mile promenade is level with the beach and there is plenty of seating, both here and within the gardens behind. The water quality is classed as excellent by the Marine Conservation Society.

Dovercourt Bay- Life is a beach for watersports fans

Surf, swim or jetski off the Essex coast at Dovercourt. The gently-shelving sand and shingle beach is ideal for launching small boats.

The waters come recommended by the Marine Conservation Society and the beach is recognised with a Blue Flag.

A lifeguard is on duty during high season and the beach is cleaned daily, plus there is excellent parking facilities – including some free spaces, and toilets.

Plus there is a model yacht pond, skate park and boating lake located just behind the beach and just a short stroll along the seawall is a nature reserve with resident seals.

Clacton- Busy day out for the whole family

Clacton is the largest and busiest of the Essex Sunshine Coast's resorts with a fun-packed pier and beach-side attractions and kiosks.

A Blue Flag flies above the beautiful golden beaches at Martello Bay, just one of the gently shelving beaches in the area.

Clacton’s bathing waters make the recommended list in the Good Beach Guide but the Martello Tower and Clacton Groyne 41 are slightly below the top standard.

All of the beaches in the area benefit from a free child safety wristband scheme to assist parents.

Frinton- Peaceful day of sand sculpting

Frinton has one of the widest, flattest and firmest beaches in East Anglia thanks to the timber groynes holding it in place.

The quiet resort is family-friendly and with little to distract from the peaceful seascape, you can turn your full attentions to creating a magnificent sand sculpture.

As well as coming recommended by the Good Beach Guide, the beach also holds a Quality Coast Award from Keep Britain Tidy.

Walton- Designated site of scientific interest ideal for walkers

The central beach at Walton is lively and commercialised, with the UK’s third longest pier. It is popular with families in the summer months and has a lifeguard on duty to look over swimmers. Toilets are located along the beach and there is deckchair hire, first aid and pushchair access to the beach.

The waters are again Marine Conservation Society recommended and the beach boasts a Quality Coast Award.

Further along the coast are quieter beaches while Walton-on-the-Naze is a designated site of scientific interest, which is popular with walkers and wildlife enthusiasts. There is a pay car park and toilets here.

Brightlingsea- Watery adventures await at Blue Flag beach

Canoeing, sailing, windsurfing and jet skiing are all popular off the coast of this seafaring town. Beach huts and a promenade line the child-friendly beach, from which dogs are banned. And there is a slipway for those wanting to venture further along the River Colne or out into the Blackwater Estuary and into the North Sea.

The beach boasts a Blue Flag, although the water quality is not on the recommended list. There is some free parking available close to the beach and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to sample.

East Anglia is full of beautiful and varied countryside from the heritage coast to inspiring Constable Country to the wilds of the Brecks. The county is blessed with large swathes of forest and woodland, acres of heathland and a wealth of country parks – all just waiting to be explored.

Rural Suffolk and north Essex are surrounded by lush, open countryside but even in the more densely populated areas of our region you can find a little oasis of green space to enjoy.

Whether you are looking for a forest stroll or a picnic spot, somewhere for the children to climb and play or a peaceful retreat, there is a perfect corner of parkland for you.

The Green Flag Awards, run by Keep Britain Tidy, recognise well-managed parks and open spaces and last time around, eight were handed out in Suffolk. There are a further six flying in north Essex.

Christchurch Park, Ipswich- Steeped in history and fun for all the family

One of Suffolk’s Green Flag parks is Christchurch Park, situated at the heart of the county town of Ipswich. It is a hub of activity in the summer months with children playing, families having picnics and pop-up football matches. It also plays host to a string of summer events including Ipswich Music Day in July and elements of the Ip-Art Festival.

The park first opened to the public back in 1895 and still includes important and fascinating historical features including shelters, water fountains and an ice house. The vast park has a varied landscape from rolling hills, ponds and wooded areas to grassy expanses. More modern attributes include a fantastic playground for children, tennis courts and toilet facilities.

Don’t forget to pay a visit too, to Christchurch Mansion, which sits within the park.

Opening times: 7:00am to dusk (8:15pm - 9:00pm seasonal)
Facilities: Tennis courts, croquet lawn, bowling green, duck ponds, children's play area.
Other info: There is a tea room that adjoins the Mansion.

Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds- A typical Victorian country estate

Nowton Park is another of Suffolk’s Green Flag-winning parks. It retains its original Victorian charm thanks to the maze, folly, walled garden and arboretum.

A variety of circular walks are signposted, taking you on routes between half a mile and two miles and you will find lots to explore, from ponds to the wildflower meadow. An all-weather sports pitch, two grass football pitches and a busy events programme broaden its appeal, and make it the perfect park for the whole family.

Opening times: 8.30am to dusk (6pm to 9pm seasonal).
Facilities: Children’s play area (including a wheelchair accessible swing), parking for 200 cars and picnic area.
Contact: Ranger service: 01284 757098.
Other info: Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead.

Elmhurst Park, Woodbridge- The jewel in the crown of Woodbridge

This award-winning park sits in a magnificent and unique setting, overlooking the world-famous Sutton Hoo burial ground on one side and the historic River Deben and the picturesque town centre on the other. It is considered one of the town’s most enjoyable attractions, and is often referred to as the jewel in the crown of Woodbridge.

The park covers nearly two acres and is attractively enclosed within boundary walls, with levelled paths running through it making it wheelchair friendly. The park is a hotspot for families and each Easter plays host to the popular egg hunt. However, the peaceful Scouts Corner is is much used by the older generation, meaning this Green Flag park really does have something for everyone.

Elmhurst is home to two sundials, the first a traditional horizontal sundial and the second an unusual equatorial sundial, while the maritime theme flagpole and Napoleonic cannon reflect the town’s history.

Facilities: Children’s play area, public performance area, seats and benches and toilets.

Nicholas Everitt Park, Oulton Broad- Sunday afternoon concerts

With crazy golf, trampolines, a museum and a host of water-based activities, Nicholas Everitt Park is a one-stop shop for summer fun. The park offers the perfect gateway to stunning Norfolk Broads, and visitors can hire a canoe, or watch sailing and motor boats cruise past. Or you can simply enjoy this green oasis with its waterside wildlife.

This summer traditional bands will be playing on the bandstand between 2pm and 4pm each Sunday, Creating a feeling of nostalgia in this Green Flag awarded parkland.

Opening times: Until dusk each night.
Facilities: Tearooms, bowling, tennis, fishing access, toilets, disabled friendly.
Other info: Free short-term parking available in The Crescent.

West Stow Country Park, Bury St Edmunds- Nature lover’s paradise

West Stow Country Park is located alongside the River Lark and adjacent to lakes and heathland providing a varied and fascinating day out. Set in 125 acres of unspoilt countryside, there is plenty to do for the whole family. And last year the park was officially recognised with a Green Flag award from Keep Britain Tidy.

The park offers nature trails that run along the river, over the heath and through the woods. Each uses natural paths with benches along the routes for those needing a short rest.

Bird hides and a bird feeding and viewing area make it ideal for nature lovers while children will love the excellent play area with its climbing wall and scramble net.

Opening times: 9am to 5pm in winter and 9am to 9pm in summer.
Facilities: Parking (pay & display), wheelchair accessible toilets, café, museum (charges apply), picnic area, play area.
Contact: 01284 728718,

Needham Lake, Needham Market- Recommended by streetlife community

Part of a local nature reserve, Needham Lake teems with wildlife in the summer. From native birds and small mammals to dragonflies – there are lots of species to see here in the warmer months, as well as wildflowers growing in the fields and meadows.

The lake itself is stocked with fish and popular with anglers, and it is also used for sailing model boats. Around the lake is a surfaced path, which makes for a pleasant walk, while there are also picnic and play areas to enjoy.

When we asked users on the hyper-local social networking site,, for their top days out in Suffolk, Alan, from Stowmarket, said: "The lake at Needam Market is very popular for all ages."

Opening times: Open at all times.
Facilities: Nature reserve, picnic areas, childrens play area, lake.
Contact: 01449 724639.
Other info: Free parking, permits needed for fishing and model boating. Regular guided walks and activities for children take place all year round. Toilets are available and staff are present on site most days.

Lukeswood, Elmswell- Community haven that has to be discovered

If you are looking for an unspoilt, wildspace that is at the heart of the community, try Lukeswood in Elmswell. This newly-established community space is managed by a local group called ElmsWild, who won a People’s Million grant in 2009 to enable them to secure the green space.

They have worked with the Wildspace Users’ Group to plant 1,683 trees – one for every resident of the village, and carry out nature surveys.

They want to improve wildlife habitats and conserve a group of rare black poplars, as well as giving local residents somewhere they can feel proud of.

There are activities hosted throughout the year from an Apple day to picnics and barbecues and even Guide and Scout days. The latest development has seen the group raise enough funds to buy an adjoining plot which they will turn into a community orchard, planting starts this autumn.

Lukeswood may not have a Green Flag but Keep Britain Tidy has awarded the team a Community Award for their hard work.

Opening times: Open at all times.
Facilities: Nature reserve, picnic areas, childrens play area, lake.

Castle Park, Colchester- Historic features at every turn

Steeped in 200 years of history, Colchester's Castle Park is a site of national importance.

Its landscape has been shaped over generations and it is a key indicator of Colchester’s Victorian heritage. The park is situated in the grounds of Colchester Castle and the Hollytrees Museum, and is divided into an Upper and Lower Park by the Roman Town Wall. The 24-acre park is designated Grade 1 on the register of Historic Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England. As well as being an important historical site, the park plays host to a string of events each year from the Tour Series to the medieval festival and Children’s World.

Castle Park is a fully licensed premises and has water and electric supplies. More than one million visitors are drawn to the Green Flag-winning park each year, taking advantage of the children’s boating lake, crazy golf course and traditional café.

Opening times: 7:30am to 9pm.
Facilities: Electric and water supplies, licensed premises, three toilet blocks, children play area.
Contact: Tel: 01206 282962, Email:

Seafront Gardens, Clacton- Mini golf and cafeteria popular with visitors

Tendring District Council is currently completing its bid to retain Green Flag status for Clacton’s Seafront Gardens 2013. The Green Flag area runs from the Memorial Gardens to the mini golf range and cafeteria, bringing together three popular attractions.

The gardens were created more than 100 years ago and still retain much of their original design, although the adjacent Mediterranean Garden was created during the late 1990s.

There is plenty to do along the seafront gardens, making it an action-packed day out – why not try your hand at the mini golf course, take a stroll through the sensory garden or follow one of the cycle routes.

Opening times: Dawn to dusk all year.
Facilities: Childrens play area, sensory garden, cycle routes, golf/crazy golf , public sculpture, walking routes, rose garden.
Events: Clacton air show 22-23 August.
Contact: Tel: 01255 686643.

Notley Country Park, Braintree- Adventure is free at this playground

Great Notley Country Park is best-known for its extensive adventure play trail, suitable for young and old alike. Spread along a mile-long trail, the giant timber play equipment emphasises the natural levels of the country park – with rope trails set in valleys and huge tyre swings on the crest of the hills, to make you feel like you really are on top of the world.

Children can play a tune as they leap from key to another on an over-sized piano made of railway sleepers, or simply dig in the sand beneath the climbing frames. And as they run from one exciting piece of apparatus to the next, they can see the diverse wildlife of this relatively new parkland.

Great Notley Country Park is linked by bridleway to the Flitch Way providing a safe cycling environment across the north of Essex and for those unable to bring their own, bicycles can be hired.

After all that adventure, visitors can have a well-earned cup of tea and some cake in the Discovery Centre bistro whilst looking out on the view across the park – and admiring the wind turbines. The country park has won three Green Flag awards and sees around 200,000 visitors per year.

Opening times: 8am to dusk.
Facilities: Refreshments, toilets, picnic area, cycling, dogs allowed, parking – charged at £3 per day in summer, horse riding, football pitches, orienteering, geo-caching.
Contact: Tel: 01376 347134.
Price: £3.50 per person

Steeped in a wealth of history, and home to England’s Oldest Town, there is more to Suffolk than meets the eye. And neighbouring Essex is equally as rich in heritage.

Discover more about this fascinating region by visiting one of the many cultural attractions on offer.

From birdwatching to historic houses, museums and castles, there is plenty to occupy the whole family during your staycation this summer.

Sutton Hoo, Woodbridge- One of the greatest archaeological discoveries

Sutton Hoo is home to Anglo-Saxon burial mounds, each one of the mounds being the grave of an Anglo-Saxon noble. The first mound held a 90ft boat holding swords, spears, shields, helmets and exquisite jewellery of garnet and gold made of the highest quality.

There is also the summer exhibition this year at Sutton Hoo called Hidden Hoo. In the year 2000, when archaeologists excavated a corner of Sutton Hoo in preparation for the construction of the Exhibition Hall and the visitor’s service buildings, a new discovery was found which would create a new chapter in Sutton Hoo’s history.

Visit the Edwardian Tranmer House and step back in the past and imagine life just before the Second World War.

Opening times: 10.30am to 5pm.
Admission: Adult: £7.50, Child: £3.70, Family: £18.50, Group adult: £6.40, Group child: £3.15.

Orford Castle- One of Suffolk’s best-kept secrets

The pretty town and neighbouring port were created by Henry II and are overlooked by the polygonal tower keep. The castle is remarkably still very much intact allowing visitors to explore at all levels.

You can delve deep in the basement, or stroll through the upper and lower halls to the roof.

From there you can admire the amazing views to Orford Ness. There is also a kitchen, a chapel and more chambers, all leading off a maze of passages.

Opening times: 10am to 6pm.
Admission: Adult: £6.20, Child (5-15 years): £3.70, Concession: £5.60, Family(2 Adults, 3 Children): £16.10

Minsmere- There’s a lot to see and hear at Minsmere

Wonderful wetland, woodland and coastal scenes, rare birds breeding and popping in on their migrations, shy wildlife like otters, beautiful bugs and colourful wild flowers. You’ll find plenty to enjoy at Minsmere whenever you visit.

Choose an excellent walk or go to the coastal lagoons to see an incredible variety of birds, check the reedbeds as well, perhaps there’s an otter there? Visit the visitors centre, there’s a Discovery Centre and Wild Zone for families, and also guided walks.

Opening times: 10am to 5pm.
Admission: RSPB members and Under 5's go free. Non-member adults: £8, Children (under 19): £4, Concessions: £5.50, Family offer: one child free with two paying adults.

Ickworth House, Bury St Edmunds- An amazing architectural oddity

See how one mans eccentric passion for art, Italy and parties led to the construction of this incredible house and its renowned collection of portraits, paintings, furniture and other treasures. Learn about the servants and workers who kept the estate running and hear their memories.

Discover what ‘upstairs downstairs’ life was really like in the Rotunda basement or walk through one of the finest, and maybe earliest, Italianate gardens in England.

Opening times: See site for opening times
Admission: Park and gardens only: Adult: £5.40, Child: £2.70, Family: £13.50, Group adult: £4.80. Whole Property: Adult: £12.60, Child: £6.35, Family: £31.55, Group adult: £11.

Ipswich Museum- All you want to know about England’s Oldest Town

See the woolly mammoth, the famous Rhino and take a journey from the Iron Age through to the arrival of the Saxons as you explore the past of Ipswich.

You can learn about the history of other cultures as well, and visit the Egyptian Gallery.

Opening times: Tuesday-Saturday: 10am to 5pm, Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Admission: Free.

Christchurch Mansion- One of the most iconic sights in Ipswich

Christchurch Mansion was built in the 1500s and bought by the town in 1895. Inside the mansion there is an extensive collection of art to view with fine art from the Tudor and Stuart period, collections of art from lesser known Suffolk artists such as John Moore, Alfred Munnings and Thomas Churchyard, and collections of modern art.

Christchurch Park surrounds this mansion with 70 acres of parkland making a perfect destination for a family day out.

Opening times: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am to 5pm, Closed Mondays.
Admission: Free.

The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway Museum- A great family day out

At Brockford not only will you find a full size collection of locomotives but also the museum exhibition hall which is home to a collection of smaller artefacts, models and documents which tell the story of the building, operation and decline of the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway Museum, or Middy for short.

There are photographic displays that span the Middy’s existence from its early days to the present.

Opening times: 11am to 5pm.
Admission: Non-event days season ticket: Adults: £2.50, Concession: £2, Child: £1, Family (2 + 2): £6. Event days season ticket: Adults: £6, Concession: £4.50, Child: £3, Family (2 + 2): £15.

Framlingham Castle- 800 year old fortress

Framlingham Castle, built in the 12th century, has a very colourful history. Did you know Framlingham Castle used to be the home of Mary Tudor before she was made Queen in 1553?

With trails and audio tours you will be able to learn everything about this fascinating historical attraction, at your own pace.

There are also spectacular views along the Mere and on the wall-walk.

Opening times: 10am to 6pm everyday.
Admission: Adult: £6.90, Child (5-15 years): £4.10, Concession: £6.20, Family (2 Adults, 3 Children): £17.90

Hollytrees Museum, Colchester- A fine Georgian Building.

Hollytrees has played a key part in Colchester's history over the past 300 years. Discover how the rich and the poor used to live side by side in this Roman town. Or dress up as a servant and try out a dolly peg.

See the dolls houses and find out more about the origins of the nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which is linked to Colchester.

Opening times: Monday-Saturday: 10am to 5pm, Closed Sundays.
Admission: Free.

Natural History Museum, Colchester- Biodiversity and wildlife habitats.

The Natural History Museum gives you a fascinating insight into how the natural world works. You can discover more about the diverse creatures that used to roam in Colchester, learn about the salt marshes, and the earth beneath you.

There are also plenty of hands-on activities for youngsters.

Opening times: Tuesday-Saturday: 10am to 5pm, Sunday: 11am to 5pm, Closed Mondays.
Admission: Free.

See a Suffolk Punch horse Suffolk Regiment Museum Ipswich Town Football Club Suffolk Show
A visit to Leiston Ipswich Transport Museum RSPB Minsmere Beccles Lido
Watch the Sunrise Framlingham castle Abbey Gardens Felixstowe viewpoint
Orford Ness Thorpeness The Scores trail Thumb wrestling
Southwold pier Aldeburgh fish and chips Suffolk walking festival Power boat racing
Owl at Christchurch Park St Edmundsbury Cathedral music Peasenhall pea festival The Nutshell pub
Crabbing in Walberswick Woodbridge Tide Mill Enjoy a pint of local beer Covehithe beach
Sudbury Water Meadows Newmarket gallops The Sailors’ Reading Room Hoxne
Electric Picture Palace The Aviation Museum, Flixton Mid Suffolk Light Railway Lavenham
The Norfolk Broads East Anglia Transport museum Walk from Snape to Iken New Wolsey Theatre
Folk East Helmingham Hall The Butt and Oyster pub Access all Eras
Shingle Street Flatford Mill UFO Walk Alton Water
  Sutton Hoo Ipswich Music Day  

See a Suffolk Punch horse
See a Suffolk Punch horse
No visit to Suffolk would be complete without seeing the magnificent Suffolk Punch horse - the symbol of our proud county.

The Suffolk Punch, also historically known as the Suffolk Horse or Suffolk Sorrel, is an English breed of draught horse. The breed takes the first part of its name from the county of Suffolk in East Anglia, and the name "Punch" from its solid appearance and strength.

The Suffolk Regiment museum
The Suffolk regiment museum
The Suffolk Regiment was an infantry regiment of the line in the British Army with a history dating back to 1685.

It saw service for three centuries, before being amalgamated with the Royal Norfolk Regiment as the 1st East Anglian Regiment (Royal Norfolk and Suffolk) in 1959. Its lineage is continued today by the Royal Anglian Regiment.

Ipswich Town Football Club
Ipswich Town football ground
Ipswich Town Football Club also known as Ipswich, The Blues, Town, or The Tractor Boys) are an English professional football team based in Ipswich, Suffolk.

As of the 2013–14 season, they play in the Football League Championship, having last appeared in the Premier League in 2001–02, making them the league's longest-serving club.

The Suffolk Show
The Suffolk Show
The Suffolk Show is an annual show that takes place in Trinity Park on the eastern edge of Ipswich in the Purdis Farm area of the English county of Suffolk.

It is organised by the Suffolk Agricultural Association (established 1831, registered charity no. 288595).

Visit Leiston
Visit Leiston
Leiston is a town in eastern Suffolk, England. It is situated near Saxmundham and Aldeburgh, about 2 miles from the North Sea coast and is 21 miles northeast of Ipswich and 90 miles northeast from London.

The town had a population of 6,240 at the 2001 Census.

Visit Ipswich Transport Museum
Visit Ipswich transport museum
The Ipswich Transport Museum is a museum in Ipswich, Suffolk, England devoted principally to the history of road vehicles as represented by those used or built in its local area.

The museum collection was commenced by the Ipswich Transport Preservation Group in 1965. In 1988 it obtained use of its present premises, the old Priory Heath trolleybus depot in Cobham Road, and has been opened to the public since 1995.

Visit RSPB Minsmere
Visit RSPB Minsmere
RSPB Minsmere is a nature reserve owned and run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) at Minsmere in the English county of Suffolk.

It lies on the North Sea coast around 6 miles south of Southwold and 7 miles north of Aldeburgh within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Suffolk Heritage Coast area.

Beccles Lido
Beccles Lido
Beccles Lido is an open-air pool at Puddingmoor, Beccles, Suffolk, on the banks of the River Waveney.

The lido is 33 x 16 metres with a diving board, paddling pool and sunbathing area.

It is normally open from late May to early September. It was closed throughout 2009 but reopened August 2010 following a change of ownership and subsequent refurbishment.

See the sunrise at Britain’s most easterly position - Ness Point
See the sunrise at Britain’s most easterly point
The most easterly location in Britain, Ness Point, offers a beautiful coastal view and you can view the sunrise before anyone else in Britain, it’s a sight you’ll never forget.

Ness Point is a favourite destination of Lowestoft. Ness Point is becoming a leading area for renewable energy in the UK, with the UK’s largest wind turbine called “Gulliver” and the newly constructed OrbisEnergy Centre.

Framlingham Castle
Framlingham Castle
Framlingham Castle is a castle in the market town of Framlingham in Suffolk in England. An early motte and bailey or ringwork Norman castle was built on the Framlingham site by 1148, but this was destroyed by Henry II of England in the aftermath of the revolt of 1173-4.

Its replacement, constructed by Roger Bigod, the Earl of Norfolk, was unusual for the time in having no central keep.

Abbey Gardens
Abbey Gardens
The Abbey Gardens is owned by St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

However, because it covers the major part of the precinct of the medieval abbey of St Edmund, it is under the guardianship of English Heritage as a scheduled ancient monument.

Felixstowe viewpoint
Felixstowe viewpoint
Located between Landguard Fort and the Port of Felixstowe is the John Bradfield Viewing Area. 

From here you can enjoy stunning views across the estuary to the Shotley Peninsula and the towns of Harwich and Dovercourt (both in Essex).If the weather is really clear you can even see the off-shore wind turbines beyond The Naze.

Orford Ness
Orford Ness
Orford Ness is a cuspate foreland shingle spit on the Suffolk coast in Great Britain, linked to the mainland at Aldeburgh and stretching along the coast to Orford and down to North Wier Point, opposite Shingle Street.

It is divided from the mainland by the River Alde, and was formed by longshore drift along the coast. The material of the spit comes from places further north, such as Dunwich.

The village was originally a small fishing hamlet in the late 19th century, with folklore stories of it being a route for smugglers into East Anglia.

However in 1910, Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie, a Scottish barrister who had made his money designing railways around the world, bought the entire area from north of Aldeburgh to past Sizewell, up the coast and inland to Aldringham and Leiston.

The Scores Trail
The Scores Trail
The Scores are a unique feature of Lowestoft. They are a series of narrow lanes created over the years by people wearing paths in the soft, sloping cliff as they travelled between the historic High Street and the Beach Village.

The origin of the word 'score' is thought to be a corruption of 'scour', or possibly from the Old English 'scora', which means to make or cut a line.

Lowestoft thumb wrestling
Lowestoft thumb wrestling
Held in Lowestoft and following the incredible success of 2013′s World Championship – which saw American newcomer Tiger Monkey storm the mens’ tournament and the legendary Big Digit successfully defend the womens’ title for Britain – the organisers of the World Thumb Wrestling Championship are looking forward to another great event.

Southwold Pier
Southwold Pier
Whilst many English seaside piers are in decline, Southwold Pier is enjoying renewed popularity. It includes a collection of modern coin-operated novelty machines designed and constructed by the inventor Tim Hunkin.

The pier was built in 1900, when it extended for a distance of 270 yards and finishing with a T-shaped end. The pier end was practically destroyed by a gale in 1934, with the T-shaped end being swept away.

Aldeburgh fish and chips
Aldeburgh fish and chips
Aldeburgh Fish and Chip Shop is widely regarded as one of the best Fish and Chip Shops in the UK thanks to fresh fish, locally grown potatoes and their way of frying which has remained unchanged since 1967.

The delicious fish and chips are served in 4 different locations across Aldeburgh, each with their own unique character.

The Suffolk Walking Festival
The Suffolk Walking Festival
In 2014 the 7th Suffolk Walking Festival will take place which has been developed over the years from its beginning in 2008 as the South and Heart of Suffolk Walking Festival.

It is now supported by all the local authorities in Suffolk: Mid Suffolk, Babergh, Forest Heath, Waveney and Suffolk Coastal District Councils and St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Borough Councils.

Power boat racing at Oulton Broad
Power boat racing at Oulton Broad
A wonderful area of suffolk close to the popular seaside town of Lowestoft. Oulton Broad is one of the finest stretches of inland water in the UK and forms the southern gateway to the Broads National Park.

Oulton Broad is a very popular place to come for watersports such as; sailing, canoeing, rowing & boating.

Mabel the owl at Christchurch Park
Mabel the owl at Christchurch Park
Most people would say Hedwig, faithful post-carrying companion of Harry Potter from JK Rowling’s best selling books.

But if you’re a regular visitor to Christchurch Park you might decide to plump for Mabel. The tawny owl has made local and national headlines for several years because of her surprisingly prominent appearances during daylight hours.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral music
St Edmundsbury Cathedral music
The Cathedral is open to visitors every day from 8.30 6.00 p.m. throughout the year. Entry is free but there is a suggested donation of £3.00 per adult and 50p per child.

Visitors are welcome to look around the Cathedral on their own. A free introductory leaflet is available in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Polish. Visitors are most welcome to attend any of the daily services.

Peasenhall pea festival
Peasenhall pea festival
Peasenhall’s unique Pea Festival is a great day out for all the family, including dozens of pea themed events.

Celebrate this village’s pea heritage by competing in the World Pea Podding Championships or try your luck at obtaining the National Pea Throwing title.

The Nutshell pub
The Nutshell pub
With a bar that measures just 15ft by 7ft, The Nutshell proudly holds the title of smallest pub in Britain as confirmed in the Guinness Book of Records.

Located in the heart of the historic Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, The Nutshell has been proud to serve customers jostling for a place at the bar since it first started serving beer in 1867.

Crabbing at Walberswick
Crabbing at Walberswick
The Georgian town of Walberswick is completely charming and the perfect setting for your day out in the East of England, surrounded by protected marsh and heath lands.

The beach at Walberswick is long and sandy, backed by grassy dunes.

Woodbridge Tide Mill
Woodbridge Tide Mill
When tides permit the five metre English oak waterwheel will turn the machinery, and grain will be milled to produce flour.

An imaginative timeline records the Tide Mill’s long history and fascinating owners and is complemented by interactive models, audio stations, videos, display panels, life-size cut-outs of the miller’s family and cats. There's also a children's corner and dressing-up box.

Enjoy a pint of local beer
Enjoy a pint of local beer
Adnams brew a distinctive range of authentic beers which reflect our heritage as a brewer but also challenge conventions.

Each one has its own unique and vibrant character that will appeal to the most discerning drinkers – drinkers who cherish individuality and seek out brands with personality and style.

Covehithe beach
Covehithe beach
Covehithe is a hamlet and civil parish in the Waveney district of the English county of Suffolk. It lies on the North Sea coast around 4 miles north of Southwold and 7 miles south of Lowestoft.

The coastline in the Covehithe area suffers from the highest rate of erosion in the UK, and the settlement has suffered significant loss of land and buildings in the past. It is located within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB.

Sudbury Water Meadows
Sudbury Water Meadows
Sudbury's renowned water meadows are perhaps the jewel in the town's crown and have been immortalised by the works of Gainsborough and Constable.

The meadows are carefully maintained by the Sudbury Common Lands Charity.

Newmarket Gallops
Newmarket Gallops
Extending to over 2,500 acres (1,000 ha), Newmarket Heath provides 50 miles (80 km) of turf gallops and canters.

The Heath is split in two by the town, Bury Side (to the east of Newmarket) and Racecourse Side (to the west).  Ground on each side is divided into three main categories - Winter (and Yearling) Ground, Spring Ground and Summer Ground.

The Sailors’ Reading Room
The Sailors’ reading room
The Southwold Sailors' Reading Room was built in 1864 as a refuge for fishermen and mariners when not engaged at sea, as an endeavour to keep them out of the pubs and encourage them in Christian ideals.

Displays of a seafaring nature line the walls and fill glass cabinets. Pictures and portraits of local fishermen and seascapes, model ships and maritime paraphernalia offer a fascinating history of Southwold's connections with the sea.

Hoxne is situated in the beautiful Suffolk countryside not far from the towns of Eye and Diss.

As well as being a picture postcard village with a thriving community, Hoxne is an absolute treasure trove of history.

Electric Picture Palace
Electric Picture Palace
The Electric Picture Palace was opened by Michael Palin in May 2002. It is named after the first Southwold cinema which began to operate in 1912 (in York Road where the Surgery now stands) and follows the style of this period.

It has 68 authentic cinema seats, a box office, kiosk, circle, organ, air-conditioning, etc.

The Aviation Museum, Flixton
The Aviation Museum, Flixton
The Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum, recognised as East Anglia's Aviation Heritage Centre, is run entirely by volunteers, with one paid staff member. It is a Registered Charity, a Limited Company and an Accredited Museum.

The collection early in 2014 comprised 66 aircraft (including cockpits), and more than 30,000 smaller artefacts.

Mid Suffolk Light Railway
Mid Suffolk Light Railway
The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway, known affectionately as 'The Middy', was a classic case of a rural railway that never paid its way. Built in the Edwardian era, it was a late-comer to the railway scene, at a time when mechanized transport was making an appearance on the roads.

It effectively went broke before it opened but still managed to struggle on for almost 50 years!

Lavenham is an ideal place to visit and indulge yourself - It has a fantastic calendar of events and festivals, award winning places to eat, great galleries and shops to browse and plenty to do and explore nearby.

Perhaps the most famous of the 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.

The Norfolk Broads
The Broads
The Norfolk Broads are a series of rivers and broads (lakes), most of which are navigable. 

The square area of the Norfolk Broads totals 303 kilometres, most of this is in the County of Norfolk, and just over 200 square kilometres of these waterways are navigable, covering seven rivers and 63 Broads. The depth of these waterways is usually less than 4 metres deep.

East Anglia Transport Museum
East Anglia Transport Museum
The East Anglia Transport Museum is an open air transport museum, with numerous historic public transport vehicles (including many in full working order).

It is located in Carlton Colville a suburb of Lowestoft, Suffolk. It is the only museum in the country where visitors can ride on buses, trams and trolleybuses, as a well as a narrow gauge railway.

Walk from Snape to Iken
Walk from Snape to Iken
The River Alde at the Maltings is a haven for birdlife with its expansive estuary. Being tidal it’s a place of glistening mud and shallow open water, filled twice a day by the incoming tide and rich in wildlife during migrating months.

Everyone is welcome to enjoy walks along the Alde Estuary following the choice of footpaths on both river banks from the Maltings. We also have regular guided walks of the area.

New Wolsey Theatre
New Wolsey Theatre
A 400-seat theatre in the heart of Ipswich, Suffolk's county town, The New Wolsey Theatre was established in 2000, building on the foundations of the regional repertory company that had opened the theatre in the late 1970s.

The New Wolsey also co-produces and collaborates with leading UK producing theatres and companies and engages extensively with a wide range of people through its creative learning work.

Folk East
Folk East
Folk East is a folk festival for East Anglia with a capacity of 10,000 per day, held over the August bank holiday weekend at Somerleyton Hall on the Suffolk, Norfolk borders.

The festival also offers camping, workshops, quality food, circus style entertainment and traditional dancing.

Helmingham Hall
Helmingham Hall
Helmingham Hall is a moated manor house in Helmingham, Suffolk, England. It was begun by John Tollemache in 1480 and has been owned by the Tollemache family ever since.

The house is built around a courtyard in typical late medieval/Tudor style.

The Butt and Oyster pub
The Butt and Oyster pub
The Butt & Oyster is one of the best known public houses in Suffolk renowned for its good beer, good food and great views, situated in the hamlet of Pin Mill on the River Orwell.

You can watch the changing tides on traditional timeless shores and enjoy the finest Suffolk ales whilst being tempted by the wonderful aromas which welcome you.

Access All Eras
Access All Eras
The Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds has had a long, chequered and very interesting past which this tour, Backstage Past – Access All Eras, fully explores with fascinating and fine detail.

This tour is as interesting and entertaining for locals as well as people visiting Suffolk on holiday.

Shingle Street
Shingle Street
Shingle Street is a small coastal hamlet in Suffolk, England, at the mouth of Orford Ness, situated between Orford and Bawdsey.

Shingle Street was originally a home for fishermen and river pilots for the River Ore. Early in the 19th century a Martello tower was built, and was later home for coastguards.

Flatford Mill
Flatford Mill
Flatford lies in the heart of the beautiful Dedham Vale.

This charming hamlet was the inspiration for some of John Constable's most famous pictures, for example, the Hay Wain or Boatbuilding near Flatford Mill among many others. Wandering beside the River Stour or looking at Flatford Mill and Willy Lotts House you can feel as if you are actually walking through one of his paintings.

UFO Walk
UFO Walk
In December 1980 several sightings of a UFO were reported in Rendlesham Forest.

Many people think these mysterious events are the most significant UFO incident to have occured in the UK. There is no tangible evidence on the ground, but following the trail and using your imagination, an intriguing picture can be painted.

Alton Water
Alton Water
Alton Water (or Alton Reservoir) is a manmade reservoir. It is the largest in Suffolk, with a perimeter of over 8 miles

Due to a shortage of water in the Ipswich area in the 1960s, a list of 20 potential sites for reservoirs was made, with Alton being the chosen site. The land was mainly farmland, but was also home to a mill and Alton Hall. The mill was dismantled and reconstructed at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket.

Sutton Hoo
This hauntingly beautiful 255 acre estate, with far-reaching views over the river Deben, is home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time.

Walk around the ancient burial mounds and discover the incredible story of the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon king and his treasured possessions.

Ipswich Music Day
Ipswich Music Day
The Music Day is a family event and showcases many of the brightest and best acts on the local music scene, with several stages set in the surroundings of Christchurch Park and Mansion.

This event is part of the Ipswich Arts festival, IpArt, which hosts a wide variety of events incorporating film, theatre, poetry, and arts-orientated workshops as well as music.

Days out

We asked users on the hyper-local social networking site for their recommendations, and here is what they had to say.

Map of East Anglia Blakeney
Wider afield are the seal trips, a very friendly family run business

Caroline B

Castle Acre
If it’s not explicitly for children, then Castle Acre and the Priory is very pleasant. The village is a 'chocolate box' traditional, old English village. The entire place is very photogenic. Very quiet with a few pubs and shops


I recommend Gressenhall museum in Dereham. We spent the whole day there with granddaughters (aged six and three). Lots to do, farm animals, art and craft activities as well as the museum in the old workhouse

Wendy B

Bury St Edmunds
Abbey Gardens: Safe, clean and a nice venue for a picnic

Andrew H

Bury St Edmunds
Cannon Street Brewery: Good food, nice atmosphere

Andrew H

Farmers Market: Once a month

Andrew H

Hollow Trees is always a popular day out

Katrina B

We like going to Thornham walks especially now the play area is improved

Katrina B

I can confidently recommend The Cotton Mechanical Music Museum.

Roy M

The Museum of East Anglian Life

Darren D

Needham Market
If you like walking and birds then try Needham Lake

Tony B

Stonham Aspal
Stonham Barns is a nice day out, especially for children, you can watch the bird display or browse around in the shops, and have something to eat and a drink as well

Trish S

Easton Farm Park: A great family place to visit

Mandy P

Ipswich Museum: A great family place to visit

Mandy P

Deben Swimming Pool: A great family place to visit

Mandy P

Perhaps have a fun day out bowling at Kingpin

Jean G

East Bergholt
If you like walking and birds then try Flatford Mill

Tony B

If you like walking and birds then try Alton Water

Tony B

Jimmy's farm. I went there last summer for a day out with my little boy, who was 18 months, and he loved it he loved all the animals and the butterfly house. Really good value as well, and you can take your dog, they have lovely walks as well

Kirsty G

The Southern Comfort cruise boat, a very friendly family run business

Caroline B

Bewilderwood is perfect for whole family

Sandie T

I would suggest Caister Castle Motor Museum. A nice day out

Roy M

Great Yarmouth
We took our seven-year-old granddaughter to the Time & Tide Museum and to Sealife, this was a bit expensive but you could stay all day. Both were interesting and educational

Margaret R

Redwings Horse Sanctuary, Caldecott Hall. Beautiful place to visit. Great work done by all to give abused and abandoned horses and donkeys a happy and loving home. Ideal for all ages

Sharon W

Pleasurewood Hills - lovely day out for all the family. I’m taking my niece and nephew today hope the sun stays out

Lisa H

Lowestoft Maritime Museum would be an excellent entry

Gill L

There’s also the Africa Alive wildlife park. It’s probably a bit expensive but a wonderful experience for children


Lowestoft Transport Museum, somewhere for lovers of various types of transport, from days gone by. The opening times are a bit erratic, as it is manned totally by volunteers, I believe

Den M

A charming town, good places to eat, lovely little shops, the river, and the ferry over to Walberswick, another charming place is Southwold Pier


I'm a volunteer at the Longshop Museum, in Leiston. The museum has the history of the Garrett family who were involved in creating steam farm equipment and lots more from the 17th century. It's educational and we are developing more towards families and hold events for the families during school holidays

Julie F

On the boating lake, great fun for young and old

Kitty Bank

Aldeburgh Lifeboat: A great family place to visit

Mandy P

Another charming place is Snape Maltings