Why I Love Suffolk - Judi Newman

St Elizabeth Hospice CEO Judi Newman

St Elizabeth Hospice CEO Judi Newman - Credit: Mike Kwasniak

Memory 

Whenever I visit Snape Maltings, fond memories flood back of standing beside my children when they were little and we would go to see Santa emerge from the Snape reeds from a Thames barge. The anticipation of seeing the barge slowly crawl up the estuary was magical for them, and signalled the start of Christmas for us all.  

Landmark 

I love Orford Ness. It is a place that has made a deep impression on me over the years and thinking of Orford Ness always transports my mind to windy dog walks along the coastline, totally immersed in the stunning Suffolk landscape. It truly is the ultimate stress relief and even if the car park is full, you are quickly on your own.  

Beach 

In our family there has always been a big debate to which beach we would go to. My children loved the sand and amusements of Southwold, while my husband, Andrew, and I are very fond of Aldeburgh. Both beaches are lovely in their own right, but now my children are grown up we can enjoy Aldeburgh all to ourselves. Every time I visit Aldeburg I am reminded of seeing Benjamin Britten’s opera, Peter Grimes, on the beach in 2013 as part of the Aldeburgh Festival. It was an unforgettable performance and to this day when I stand on the shingle I can still hear the music playing in the wind, when the stormy weather joined in the opera.  

Town or village

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I have lived in four different towns and villages in Suffolk, but I am a homing pigeon when it comes to Woodbridge. Even though we are now living in mid Suffolk surrounded by horses and a beautiful landscape, Woodbridge always pulls me back, like a magnet, and I still love a coffee in New Street Market or Honey + Harvey.  

Even if you live in Woodbridge, it still feels like a holiday when you arrive at the train station and hear the clinking and chiming of the boats’ sails in the wind. After a day in London, that sound means home.  

Place to eat 

As a family with two vegetarians in our household the place we most regularly visit is The Walnut Tree in Thwaite, which has a lovely warm atmosphere and a 100% veggie menu. 

For special treats, however, I always enjoy visiting The Bildeston Crown. It’s a great combination of high-quality London food served in a welcoming Suffolk pub setting and never disappoints   

Pub 

I will always have a soft spot for The Oyster Inn at Butley since my husband and I helped restore it back to life as a community pub after it had been derelict for a number of years. We installed a mini cinema, small community shop and even a microbrewery.  

The Butley Oyster has been a much loved Suffolk pub for hundreds of years and we have enjoyed watching it come back to life again, now with a fresh chapter and new owners.  

Attraction or day out 

Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival is always a highlight and something I look forward to every year. It is full of amazing food and local people who are passionate about their products – a great atmosphere and another excuse for a trip to Snape Maltings.  

As a member of the East of England Co-op’s board of directors, I am really passionate about the Sourced Locally products from across the region. It has been brilliant to see many of the local producers develop into significant brands, and the Festival has played its part in championing them. 

Event 

St Elizabeth Hospice’s annual Suffolk Remembers is a very poignant event and it is also where I made my first public speech as CEO in 2021. It is such a special evening, showing the strength and sense of community Suffolk has in supporting one another. 

As a family, we have enjoyed so many memorable weekends at Latitude. When we still lived in London, we would come up with friends to Latitude when the children were so small that they slept in wheelbarrows by our sides during the evening sets so that we could wheel them back to the tents when it was finished.  

This year was the first time my daughter went by herself with friends, so I didn’t go as she didn’t want to have the embarrassment of bumping into mum round the corner. 

But I have told her next year I will be going back as I missed the mix of music, comedians, poets and artists and stumbling across a hidden gem across the site. We never follow the schedule, we just wander around and I am at my happiest.  

Shop 

The hospice’s very own Heath Road Coffee Shop is perfect for a coffee or delicious cake at lunch, with a great choice of books and preloved items in the retail shop. If someone hasn’t visited one of our two larger retail centres in Martlesham or Ipswich, I always recommend them – you would be amazed at the range and quality of what you can find and you are helping to support a very special Suffolk charity. 
 
Closer to home near Stonham Aspal, I’m so fortunate to have the Hog and Hen Farm Shop on our doorstep, with their homemade cakes, coffees, gifts and plant nursery. Each Christmas, virtually all the items on our table, from turkey to Christmas pudding, come from here.

Export  
Although relatively new, Fishers Gin is definitely my Suffolk ‘one to watch’. A fantastic marriage of great branding and amazing product with all the magic of Aldeburgh.  

For the working day, Paddy and Scott’s coffee is a great Suffolk export and I loved seeing their café in Durham this summer. As well as being great coffee, they are one of Suffolk’s most energetic brands with fantastic values and ethos.