Why I Live In Suffolk: 'We're no longer a sleepy back water'

Photo of Bury St Edmunds cathedral in the summer sunshine, with an inset pic of Katy Stephenson

St Edmundsbury Cathedral with gardens in the foreground and, inset, Katy Stephenson, associate director at Savills Suffolk - Credit: Getty Images/Savills

As part of our new series we’re asking YOU about life in Suffolk, from your first home to why you moved here.

This week, Katy Stephenson, associate director of residential sales at Savills in Suffolk, shares her story.

RMG Photography - February 2022Savills (UK) Ltd - Ipswich staff portraits.Pic - Richard Marsham

Katy Stephenson, associate director within the residential sales team at Savills in Suffolk - Credit: Savills

How long have you lived in Suffolk? 
I have lived in Suffolk on and off since I was five years old. We moved here as a family when my father joined a local doctor’s practice in the 1980s – specifically Bury St Edmunds.

Describe your first home in Suffolk.
We lived in a lovely Grade II listed mill house which had about an acre of land, a tennis court and the old mill to one side.

Have you stayed in the same area? 
As I grew up I moved away, going to University in Oxford where I studied English and History and then moving to London for work. But I moved back in my 30s to settle down, get married and have children.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral with flowers in foreground

Katy moved to Suffolk when she was a child, after her father got a job in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Why did you choose Suffolk to move back to? 
I realised having lived elsewhere that Suffolk was a great place to raise a family so decided to come back to settle here.

I was living in London at the time so it was more affordable to buy a property, schools were better and I was also moving back to be closer to family.

What do you think has changed the most? 
To its benefit I think there are now far more things going on. That’s true right across the county. 

Boats in the harbour of Ipswich water front on a bright sunny day

Katy says there's much more going on in Suffolk than when she grew up, partly thanks to the regeneration of towns like Ipswich - Credit: Charlotte Bond

You’ve obviously still got the beautiful coastal areas and peace and quiet of the rolling countryside, but on the other hand you also have the regeneration of towns such as Ipswich and Felixstowe, while the likes of Bury St Edmunds, Hadleigh, Needham Market, Stowmarket and Sudbury have plenty happening.

They all have great communities and there’s so much to do – we’re no longer a sleepy back water. 

There is something for everyone – music and food festivals, art and literature, craft fairs, exhibitions and much more besides. The last two years in particular have brought Suffolk onto even more people’s radar.

What do you like most about life in Suffolk? 
You can take life at a gentle pace but at the same time there is lots to get involved in if you want that too.

There’s also plenty of good schools and opportunities for young people, which has been great for raising a family. It’s also easy to get to London and other parts of the UK and abroad.

Getting ready for customers on a hot sunny day at the Stowmarket Food Festival on Saturday. Picture:

There is something for everyone, says Katy, from music and food festivals - like Stowmarket Food Festival, pictured here - to art and literature, craft fairs and exhibitions - Credit: Archant

What advice would you give to someone looking to relocate here? 
Do your research and view as many properties as you can.

Drive around and spend weekends in the areas you are thinking about living in – the more time you spend investigating schools, work opportunities, etc, the better informed you are to make the right choice.

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If you would like to share your story, get in touch with me at rebecca.macnaughton@archant.co.uk