Four Ipswich sites among Suffolk's top 10 parks on TripAdvisor

Holywells Park. Picture: BARRY PULLEN

Holywells Park is one of the four Ipswich parks included in the list. - Credit: Archant

Visiting parks and green spaces on our daily exercise has become the highlight of most people's days during lockdown. So where are the best parks to visit in Suffolk?

According to the review website TripAdvisor some of the most highly-rated parks in the county can be found in Ipswich, with the likes of Holywells Park, Chantry Park and of course Christchurch Park. 

Under the current lockdown restrictions people are being asked to minimise time spent outside of the home, but you can still leave your house to exercise.

This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

Unlike in Tier 4, parks are allowed to remain open under the lockdown rules, meaning none are off-limits; however, many cafes and indoor areas will be closed. 

With that in mind, here are the top 10 parks on your doorstep here in Suffolk if you are looking for a change of scenery. 

Craig Robinson and Dudley enjoying the snow in Christchurch Park, Ipswich

Even the recent snow didn't deter people from enjoying Christchurch Park. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

1. Christchurch Park

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Christchurch Park was the first public park in Ipswich, opening in 1895. It extends over 33 hectares of picturesque grounds right in the heart of the town.

It has been ranked as the number one park in Suffolk, with reviewers raving over its "amazing mansion" and array of wildlife. 

One reviewer, who visits the park on their daily walk, said: "It has a lot of paths to meander along and many different things to see. Several ponds, lots of birds, an arboretum, a mansion, a café and a brand new playpark for kids."

Families headed to the slopes in Christchurch Park to do some sledging.

Families headed to the slopes in Christchurch Park to do some sledging - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

2. Holywells Park

Also in Ipswich is Holywells Park, which extends over 28 hectares of stunning grounds and history dating back to medieval times. 

Holywells Park. Picture: BARRY PULLEN

Holywells Park in the summer. - Credit: Archant

The open space features hundreds of trees and ponds, but also a green hub for the community. 

It is also a County Wildlife Site, a Conservation Area with two listed buildings – the Stable Block and Conservatory – and is on the English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest.

Beau Ellis (1) and mum Naomi Pettitt from Ipswich enjoy the fountains in Holywells Park, which is on

Beau Ellis (1) and mum Naomi Pettitt from Ipswich enjoy the fountains in Holywells Park. - Credit: Archant

One visitor said: "Lovely park. Especially entered from Myrtle road - the sweep of the hill and glint of Autumn morning sun on the cobbles is memorable.

"It has plenty of history boards around to explain why and what. The park has everything; hills, wonderfully varied trees, ducks, playpark, historic buildings and wild gardens but all tucked away so the nature takes precedence."

3. Brandon Country Park

Third on TripAdvisor's list is Brandon Country Park on the border of Suffolk and Norfolk.

The park is made up of over 30 acres of managed parkland, 'haunted' mausoleum, lawns and pond, historic walled garden and miles of nature trails.

The toilets are open at the park for people completing their daily exercise, but the café is closed.

One reviewer described it as "the best signposted National Park" they had seen around the UK.

Brandon Country Park.

Brandon Country Park. - Credit: Archant

4. Clare Castle Country Park

Fan-favourite number four is Clare Castle Country Park, which is a beautiful and quiet area to relax, play, get close to nature and learn about Clare’s fascinating history and heritage.

The park contains the remains of the 13th century stone castle keep which is set upon its 60ft high motte overlooking the town, as well as its inner and outer baileys which are ideal areas for recreation and picnics.

Away from the open green areas visitors can find the footpaths through the trees and along the banks of the River Stour and along the old railway line.

Clare Castle Country Park.

Clare Castle Country Park. - Credit:

It was described by one visitor as a "hidden little gem" of a park.

5. Nowton Park

In the middle of the top 10 Suffolk parks is Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds. 

According to reviewers, Nowton Park is the perfect place for a dog walk or a family day out (once restrictions are eased).

Nature lovers can visit the unique arboretum which is home to trees from around the world such as eucalyptus from Australia, paperbark maple from China and Kentucky coffee trees from North America.

The park remains open, but its popular maize is now closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

Spring has sprung in Nowton park, Bury Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Playing in the flowers at Nowton Park. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

6. Chantry Park

Another Ipswich park has graced the list - and this is the biggest of all the town's parks. 

It extends over 124 acres of parkland and wildlife areas on the western edge of town and has hosted a number of huge events such as Ed Sheeran's homecoming gigs. 

Police, fire crews and an ambulance were called to Chantry Park on Monday night Picture: ARCHANT

Chantry Park in Ipswich hosts a range of events. - Credit: Archant

The park was designated a Conservation Area in 2005 and contains a County Wildlife Site. The grounds around the ‘Chantry’ Mansion were laid out in an Italianate style and are on the English Heritage register of historic parks and gardens.  Plans to restore many of the original features are progressing.

Children building a snowman in Chantry Park in Ipswich

Building a snowman in Chantry Park in Ipswich - Credit: Charlotte Campbell

7. Long Melford Country Park

At Long Melford Country Park you’ll find over eight hectares of grassland, woodland and lakes to explore. There’s plenty of space for your tots to run around and play, as well.

You can take a long stroll on the Melford Walk which takes you along a former railway line, past old bridges and wooded valley. 

8. Martello Park Felixstowe

This leisure and recreation space between the Martello Park housing development and the sea runs from Sea Road to Manor Terrace.

Martello Park in Felixstowe Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Martello Park in Felixstowe - Credit: Charlotte Bond

It has been described as a great place to spend an hour or two, with the grassy park offering play, picnic and wildlife areas, walking and cycling routes.

9. Bourne Park

Bourne Park is a great open space with a newly refurbished play area and paddling pool, both of which officially reopened in May 2018.

The park is a hit with Ipswich families, with one mum saying: "I have lived near this park all my life and it is a lovely place to take the kids."

In the summer it is a great place to relax and enjoy its wonderful facilities. 

10. Nicholas Everitt Park Oulton Broad

Located in Oulton Broad, Nicholas Everitt Park is a wonderful place to have fun, relax and experience the Broads Magical waterway.

The park is surrounded by stunning gardens with views over the broads.

Nicholas Everitt Park, Oulton Broad

Nicholas Everitt Park, Oulton Broad - Credit: Nick Butcher

Once restrictions ease, children will love the play equipment which caters for a wide range of ages, along with the boating lake, trampolines, crazy golf and the open space is ideal for family picnics or to enjoy ball games.

The views of the broads provide the perfect base to watching sailing once life returns to normal. 

Is your favourite park on the list? Let us now in the comments below.

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