7 reasons why we love Suffolk

Sunrise at Southwold Pier in UK

A beautiful sunrise at Southwold Pier - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

With Valentine's Day around the corner, there's no better time than now to show our love for the beautiful county we call home.

Heathland at Dunwich Heath Picture: Archant Archive/National Trust/Justin Minns

Heathland at Dunwich Heath - one of the stunning spots of natural beauty that can be found throughout Suffolk - Credit: Archant Archives/National Trust

The scenery in Suffolk is like no other 

One of the most obvious reasons why we adore this great county is thanks to its stunning, natural beauty. From stretches of gorgeous coastline, to swathes of rolling countryside and some of the best forests around, we really are spoilt for choice.  

While lockdown has unfortunately meant we’re not able to go as far as we usually would, we can’t wait until we’re able to go exploring again. Whether you’re into birdwatching, gently meandering down one of our many rivers on a boat, or hoping to catch a glimpse of some deer, we’re lucky enough that all of those outdoor activities and more can be done right on our doorstep. 

Old Ruins of a Benedictine abbey in Suffolk

The ruins of Bury St Edmunds Abbey, which date back to the 11th century - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Suffolk has a fascinating history 

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There’s no denying the fact that Suffolk is one of England’s most exciting counties when it comes to history. With a timeline that can be traced all the way back to the Anglo-Saxon era in the 5th century, Suffolk has its fair share of historical relevance, lore and legend.  

For instance, there’s a number of ancient ruins and monuments scattered across the county that can still be seen today, including Greyfriars in Dunwich, the ruins at Bury St Edmunds cathedral and the remains of Clare Castle to name a few.  

Tranmer House from the mounds at Sutton Hoo. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Tranmer House from the mounds at Sutton Hoo - Credit: Paul Geater

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And who could forget when Basil Brown and his cohort of archaeologists uncovered Anglo-Saxon ship remains and an abundance of treasure at Sutton Hoo, which ended up becoming one of most significant discoveries unearthed from British soil.  

For those who are more into their paranormal, Suffolk was once again put in the global spotlight just 40 years ago thanks to the Rendlesham Forest incident. Dubbed ‘Britain’s Roswell’, a series of unexplained lights were spotted near Rendlesham Forest, which have become synonymous with UFO sightings in the UK. 

Latitude festival. Pic: Victor Frankowski.

Latitude Festival, one of Suffolk's most popular events - Credit: Victor Frankowski/Archant Archives

Suffolk’s contribution to the arts is world-class 

Suffolk may be one of England’s least populated counties, but that hasn’t stopped it producing some of the world’s biggest and best talents in a variety of fields. From writers and painters, to musicians and actors, we’ve contributed our fair share to the world of arts and entertainment.  

For instance, Framlingham’s very own Ed Sheeran has sold over 150 million records globally, making him one of the planet’s best-selling musical artists – and on top of that, was named the second most-streamed artist on Spotify, beaten only by Canadian rapper Drake. Not bad for a Suffolk boy.  

Ed Sheeran, one of Suffolk's most successful musical exports

Ed Sheeran, one of Suffolk's most successful musical exports - Credit: GREG ALLEN/PA IMAGES

Other musical artists who have achieved superstardom include famed musician and producer Brian Eno who hails from Melton, iconic metallers Cradle of Filth, and Lowestoft composer Benjamin Britten to name but a few. And don’t forget that tens of thousands of music fans flock to Suffolk every summer to attend one of the UK’s top music festivals – Latitude, which has been based at Henham Park since its inception in 2006. The annual three-day event has hosted the likes of Grace Jones, Lily Allen and The Killers across its stages.    

Ipswich-born Ralph Fiennes, portraying archaeologist Basil Brown in The Dig, a Netflix adaptation of the events that took...

Ipswich-born Ralph Fiennes, portraying archaeologist Basil Brown in The Dig, a Netflix adaptation of the events that took place at Sutton Hoo - Credit: LARRY HORRICKS/NETFLIX/ARCHANT ARCHIVES

A handful of Suffolk’s finest have also made a name for themselves on the silver and small screen, including Ipswich’s Ralph Fiennes, the late Bob Hoskins who was born in Bury St Edmunds and Eastenders actress June Brown who hails from Needham Market.  

In addition, two of England’s most famous painters – John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough – were Suffolk born and bred, with their surroundings heavily influencing their work.  

The picturesque town of Dedham Vale

The picturesque town of Dedham Vale - Credit: Getty Images

Suffolk is one of the best places to live in the UK 

Year on year, Suffolk consistently ranks as one of the country’s most desirable places to visit or live - and it’s not hard to see why. In a 2020 poll conducted by TripAdvisor, Ipswich was named as one of the world’s top emerging destinations – and the only UK entry in the top 25. Similarly, a 2020 list collated by The Times entitled ‘Best Places to Live in Eastern England’ saw Suffolk’s very own Bury St Edmunds, Woodbridge and Dedham Vale make the cut, thanks to its quality of life, schools, and commuting times.

In addition, with seaside towns such as Southwold, Aldeburgh and Felixstowe becoming increasingly popular locations for second homeowners, it seems everyone wants a slice of that Suffolk pie – and who could blame them. 

Portman Road, home of Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town sold around 9,000 season tickets for 2020/21. Photo: Archant - Credit: PA

Suffolk has produced some top sports teams and athletes  

While the Summer Olympics were unfortunately unable to go ahead in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic, we were still able to look back and reminiscence over some of Suffolk’s proudest sporting achievements. We’ve produced some of the world’s best athletes, including Olympic medal-winning swimmer Chris Walker-Hebborn, powerlifter Zoe Newson and Lowestoft’s very own boxing titan Anthony Ogogo to name a few.  

In terms of football, Suffolk is home to none other than the mighty blues themselves, Ipswich Town. The League One wonders not only won the FA Cup in 1977-78 and the UEFA Cup in 1980-81, but have never lost a game at home in European competition – defeating the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and A.C Milan. 

Vines at Dedham Vale Vinyard, one of Suffolk's many wine producers

Vines at Dedham Vale Vinyard, one of Suffolk's many wine producers - Credit: Dedham Vale Vineyard/Archant Archives

Suffolk is home to some of the country’s finest food and drink 

If you consider yourself a foodie, then you’ll know how good Suffolk is for food and drink. The county is home to a number of award-winning pubs, restaurants and cafes, all serving some of the finest fare around. Whether you’re after authentic vegan cuisine, a classic Sunday roast with all of the trimmings, or something a bit more adventurous, you won’t have to search far to find it here in Suffolk.  

Our county is also world-renowned for its producers and suppliers, who work tirelessly to make some of the finest cheeses you’ll ever taste, and brew some of the best beers you’ll ever drink. We even have a handful of vineyards producing delicious wines, thanks to our dry climate that’s ideal for growing and harvesting grapes. In fact, if you were to challenge yourself to only eat and drink produce from Suffolk for a month, you certainly wouldn’t struggle.  

Thorpeness' The House in the Clouds

Thorpeness' The House in the Clouds - Credit: citizenside.com/Archant Archives

The architecture is awe-inspiring  

Suffolk is home to some beautiful buildings and monuments, making it one of the most picturesque counties around. If you’ve ever been to Lavenham, then you’ll be more than familiar with the town’s colourful Tudor homes. Villages such as Thorpeness, Pakenham and Bardwell are home to some impressive windmills that have become icons in their own right, and Woodbridge is where you’ll find Tide Mill, which has stood on the River Deben’s banks for around 800 years.

One of Suffolk’s most quirky buildings though has to be the House in the Clouds, a 20th century water tower that looks like it’s ‘floating’ above the trees – it's almost as if it was taken straight out of a fairytale book. And don’t forget the large number of towering churches and cathedrals, stately homes, and castles you can find dotted throughout the county. 

What do you love about Suffolk? Share your stories and pictures with danielle.lett@archant.co.uk 

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