10 of the prettiest villages in Suffolk
- Credit: Ryan Newton
Today is Suffolk Day, a day dedicated to celebrating the wonderful county we live in. To mark the occasion we take a look at some of the prettiest villages in Suffolk.
In the wonderfully wonky medieval village of Lavenham you’ll find quiet country roads lined with pretty Tudor cottages and snug little redbrick terraced homes. This prosperous wool town has preserved much of its cultural heritage - even many of the telegraph poles were taken down in 1967 and replaced with underground wires to preserve the historic look of this charming village. It is home to The Swan Hotel and Spa, a spot where guests can enjoy luxurious long lunches in the British brassiere or dine al fresco on the courtyard terrace on warm evenings.
Thorpeness is renowned for being home to some of the quirkiest buildings in the country including the ‘House in the Clouds’, an old water tower disguised as an overgrown house now used as self-catered holiday accommodation. It is a whimsical seaside village with an unusual past, once a small fishing village it was bought in 1910 by wealthy Scottish businessman Stuart Ogilvie. Ogilvie transformed Thorpeness into a private fantasy village with buildings based on mock Tudor and Jacobean architecture. An artificial lake known as ‘The Meare’ was dug and it is believed to have inspired J.M Barrie’s Pater Pan. Today, Thorpeness is no longer private and whilst there is a bustling tourist trade in the summer, the village is quiet for the majority of the year. House hunters need to have big budgets and keep an eye on the market as properties are not on sale for very long.
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The chocolate box village of Cavendish is nestled in the scenic Stour Valley. It is well known for its pretty pink thatched cottages with manicured front gardens set against the backdrop of St Mary’s church. Cavendish has a true English village atmosphere with lots of local clubs to get involved in. From badminton and the WI, to football teams and the horticultural society, there is plenty of fun to be had and friends to be made. Don’t miss the annual bonfire, when the whole village congregates to enjoy a spectacular firework display.
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Kersey is a quintessential English village in the Babergh district of Suffolk with lots of narrow winding roads and beautiful historic properties. Despite its small population, Kersey has a vibrant and lively community centred on its school, church and real ale pub, The Bell Inn. In Kersey you’ll also find the Kersey Mill – a venue set in an outstanding area of Suffolk countryside with lots of rare birds and wildlife. Make sure you don’t pass up the opportunity to get a picture with or in the famous splash, a small ford crossing the main road through the village.
For peace, tranquillity and a slice of the rural life, Shottisham has a tiny population of approximately 200 people and is surrounded by miles of picture-perfect countryside. The village is populated by tiny cottages with thatched roofs and colourful doors, while the wider community is incredibly tight-knit. Make the most of the bucolic location by enjoying a peaceful G&T in the garden, or a long dog walk in the surrounding fields.
Set on the banks of the pretty River Stour on the border of Essex and Suffolk, it’s home to Kentwell Hall and Long Melford Hall, two of the county’s finest stately homes. The houses in Long Melford bare the tell tale signs of medieval wealth, with large timber-frames, a grandiose church and spectacular Tudor architecture. The village is also full of fairytale stories to discover, involving well known characters such as Beatrix Potter and Lovejoy. Local foodies will love The Bull Hotel nestled in the heart of the village: built in 1450, it’s a charming location to enjoy a spot of fine dining and cask ales. For something a little sweeter, Fanny Anne’s Vintage Tea Room is the ideal spot to while away an afternoon with tea, cake and great company.
The pretty hamlet of East Bergholt is one of the largest villages in the Stour valley and it was once home to painter John Constable. It doesn’t take an art expert to see why the rural beauty of this village was a strong influence in his work. Take a lazy Sunday stroll at Flatford Mill and the surrounding grounds and you’ll be enchanted. In the village you’ll find several pubs perfect for catching up with the other villagers over a pint of cask ale and a bowl of chips. You could try a village pub crawl but it probably wouldn’t last very long.
Polstead is a typically Suffolk village with lots of colourful thatched cottages, wide open greens and country houses on the banks of the River Box. The village is one of the largest hamlets in Suffolk, with a total population of approximately 820 people. Polstead is very close to the spectacular views of Box Valley, which are worth exploring on the weekends with a picnic on the Box Valley walk. It’s a popular place for walkers, nature lovers and dog owners alike, as the ancient woodland that surrounds the area is a wonderful place to spot wildlife. On the green at the heart of the community there is a local shop and post office, pub, and the village hall with lots of regular events such as Pilates, the WI and village lunches held several times a year. The traditional 17th century pub, The Cock Inn, offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, whether it be a beer at the bar or a delicious home cooked meal in front of the roaring log fire in the winter months. There is also a beer garden overlooking the village green to be enjoyed when the great British weather allows.
The pretty village of Somerleyton is situated on the Norfolk/Suffolk border just a few miles from Lowestoft and Beccles. Many of the houses and thatched cottages consist of what was the model village, built around a green that belongs to the Somerleyton Estate, set along leafy lanes and a delightful village duck pond. The village has a primary school, a thatched combined post office and a useful village shop. The local pub, The Dukes Head, is a restored barn on the Somerleyton Estate and it’s renowned for a flavoursome, fresh and seasonal menu as well as an excellent variety of real ales. Perhaps what the area is best known for is the Somerleyton Estate’s pleasure gardens: open to the public and a joy to explore, you can discover the ornate iron and glass greenhouses and the 70ft pergola, home to wisteria, roses, clematis and vines. You’ll also find some of the finest yew hedge mazes in Britain, dating back to 1846.
Tucked away in the heart of Suffolk, Coddenham is renowned for its excellent countryside walks and picturesque views. The Mill Hill walk is a relaxing route that is maintained by village volunteers. In the spring you can spot bluebells and snowdrops from the footpath. Despite its rural location, Coddenham is just a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Ipswich, meaning access to the town’s independent shops, bars and restaurants is incredibly easy. If you don’t want to travel too far, Coddenham Food Store provides fresh and locally sourced meats, cheeses, bread and vegetables. The village has plenty of community spirit and Coddenham Country Club – equipped with darts, pool and snooker – often hosts themed evenings and a beer festival.