Why I Love Suffolk: Chris Kelly

Chris Kelly

Chris Kelly - Credit: Contributed


Suffolk is full of special memories for me. The day I remember most was getting married in Bury St Edmunds on a sunny day in early April. We were married in St Mary’s Church on Honey Hill, travelled back to the Angel Hotel in a horse drawn carriage for the reception, and later had an evening event in the Athenaeum. When I go past St Mary’s and see the cherry tree in bloom, I am instantly taken back to that very happy spring day.


We often used to visit Thorpeness when my daughter was younger to go rowing and explore the Meare. Seeing the House in the Clouds appearing above the treetops always intrigued me. Years later I was lucky to have the opportunity to celebrate a special birthday weekend by staying in that quirky landmark building with friends.


There is a very special walk in Walberswick. It starts by crossing the river from Southwold on the rowing boat ferry, then along the beach, before heading inland through the marshes and back to Southwold along the old railway line. If you’re lucky you might stumble across the reed cutters with their scythes in a scene reminiscent of a Thomas Hardy novel.


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Southwold is my favourite seaside destination in Suffolk at any time of the year. When we first used to stay at the Swan Hotel it was magical to go to sleep with the sound of the sea and wake up to the sound of horses’ hooves as the dray crossed the courtyard. On a cold windy evening, the sound of the pub sign creaking in the wind and lights glowing inside draws you into the Lord Nelson for a cosy beer. If you stop on the pier to read the plaques, you might spot mine.

Place to eat

My regular lunchtime destination is Wright’s Café, just across the road from my office in Bury St Edmunds. Their toasties deserve to be world famous and are worth travelling just to try one. The coffee comes from Butterworths the local roasters and flat whites are so good they remind me of holidays staying with my family in New Zealand.          


Suffolk is blessed with many great pubs and my current my favourite is Oakes Barn in Bury St Edmunds. It is so welcoming, full of events and a great place to relax and while away a few hours with friends


We are very lucky to have The Apex in Bury St Edmunds, a great venue with an amazing programme of events. Two highlights for me have been seeing Mumford and Sons in such a small venue and Dexys’ theatrical performance of the concept album One Day I'm Going to Soar.


Ipswich Town’s promotion in 2020 was Suffolk’s best event of (almost) recent times in my opinion. It was a fantastic trip to Wembley with what seemed like most of the population of Suffolk and the boost lasted for months afterwards. Automatic promotion in 1992 was a highlight but achieving it at the old Wembley was extra special. Ipswich are now one of only eight football leagues teams that haven’t appeared at the new Wembley, so the good times can’t be far away!


Visiting Clarkes of Walsham in Walsham le Willows is a favourite local shopping experience. In the country clothing store the staff are knowledgeable and helpful and I always come away pleased with my latest purchase. Most recently it’s a pair of Dubarry boots which I now always seem to be wearing.


Adnams produces excellent beers and spirits. Sustainability has been fundamental to the way they have operated for years, and I think the first time I heard the term carbon neutral was in reference to Adnams beer. I think this makes them very worthy examples of the best of Suffolk exports, and the produce is great too – my favourite is Old Ale.

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