Things to do in Suffolk this weekend with friends and family

Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival celebrates Suffolk produce at Snape on September 25-26

Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival returns this weekend to Snape Maltings - Credit: AFDF/Alistair Grant of Bokeh Pho

VW camper vans will descend on Suffolk this weekend for the Retro Dub Suffolk VW Festival while X factor star Joe McElderry will be performing live at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds.

Here is our guide to what's on in Suffolk this weekend.

Meet an array of authors with engaging stories to tell at the Bury St Edmunds Literature Festival
Unitarian Meeting House, Churchgate St, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1RH
When: Thursday to Sunday September 23-26
Authors at this year’s Bury St Edmunds Literature Festival include former police helicopter pilot Adrian Bleese who will talking to audiences about his eye-opening career in the skies of Suffolk working for Suffolk Constabulary and the National Police Air Service.

Other speakers include historian Dr Francis Young, comic writer Simon Edge,  UK river explorer and nature writer Matt Gaw,  former music journalist and now crime writer William Shaw, Bury born Nicola Upson, who will be discussing her latest Josephine Tey novel and celebrating one of the Queens of the Golden Age of crime writing, historical novelist  Liz Trenow, George Orwell biographer D J Taylor, East Anglian author Julia Blackburn and UEA lecturer Rachel Hore will be revealing the previously unknown story of 1930s superspy Olga Gray.

Former EADT journalist Matt Gaw, who now works for Suffolk Wildlife Trust, has written a book that i

Former EADT journalist Matt Gaw, who now works for Suffolk Wildlife Trust, has written a book called The Pull of the River.about exploring the UK rivers by canoe - Credit: Gregg Brown

The festival will end with An Evening with Jan Etherington, the Suffolk-based multi-award-winning comedy writer, who penned the Radio 4 comedy Conversations From A Long Marriage starring Joanna Lumley and Roger Allam.

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Tickets for the events are available in advance from The Apex or on the door.

Author Liz Trenow will be speaking at the Bury St Edmunds Literature Festival

Author Liz Trenow will meeting fans of her books at the Bury St Edmunds Literature Festival over the weekend - Credit: Archant

Get in the groove with a retro vehicle rally and music festival
Trinity Park, Ipswich IP3 8UH.
When: Friday to Sunday September 24
The Retro Dub Suffolk VW Festival, which describes itself as an old-school camping and live music weekend for all ages, is back in party mode this weekend.

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Now in its sixth year, this chilled-out show, offers a genuine VW camping festival experience with the added bonus of great live music, children’s entertainment and delicious food.

On the Saturday, Norfolk and Suffolk Retro Riderz are hosting a bike show and shine with various trophies up for grabs. All old-school rides are welcome, be it chopper, cruiser, BMX or trike – turn up on the day.

Sunday is the VW show and shine, where if you enter with a cool vdub, you could be in with a chance of winning a unique trophy. No pre-registration is required to enter and is just £1 to participate, with all the money raised being donated to charity.

The sponsors area will be full of invited guests from Europe along with top show cars, drag cars and some specialist traders. Tickets are available online 

The Horseboarding UK Championships will take place at the East Anglian Game and Country Fair 2021.

The Horseboarding UK Championships will take place at the East Anglian Game and Country Fair 2021. - Credit: Andrew Perkins

Immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of the East Anglian countryside
: Euston Estate near Thetford IP24 2QH
When: Saturday to Sunday September 25-26
The East Anglian Game and Country Fair is an annual two-day celebration of East Anglian farming and countryside pursuits.

Attractions in the main arena include the Broke FMX motocross stunt display team, the Horseboarding UK Championships, which is a mix between wakeboarding and scurry racing, and fishing demonstrations with world champion fly caster Hywel Morgan.

There are lots of things for children to do, including a funfair, fishing and clay shooting competitions and climbing walls. There will also be the opportunity for youngsters to get hands-on with animals with donkey rides, alpacas and a petting farm.

The Broke FMX motocross stunt display team will be at the East Anglian Game and Country Fair 2021.

The Broke FMX motocross stunt display team will be at the East Anglian Game and Country Fair 2021. - Credit: Supplied

There will also be a fun dog show running at 1pm on both days, and for foodie fans, there will be a series of talks and watch demonstrations from renowned local chefs Roger Hickman, Iain McCarten and Andrew Jones in the Game Fair County Kitchen. 

Advance day tickets for adults cost £17, children are £7 (aged five to 16), with under-fives free, and a family ticket (two adults, two children) is £45. Tickets are available online 

Get up close and personal with some of the most iconic trucks on the road
Stonham Barns, Stonham Aspal, IP14 6AT
When: Saturday to Sunday September 25-26, 2021
Swedefest Truck Show is an annual event that celebrates two marques Scania and Volvo.

Last year 267 trucks travelled hundreds of miles to attend the show offering visitors a great selection of Scania and Volvo trucks.

There will be trade stands, food available throughout the day, picnic tables, children’s play zone, and disco Saturday night with the bar open in the Barn throughout the weekend.

Tickets are available on the gate. A weekend wristband is £5, children under 16 are admitted free.

Lose yourself in the countryside and in great art that celebrates the Suffolk Punch
White House Farm, Great Glemham, IP17 1LS
When: Until October 17, 2021
Plomesgate Fair is a new event, run by Jason Gathorne-Hardy and the team behind the highly successful Alde Valley Spring Festival, celebrating rural life in the beautiful Upper Alde Valley in East Suffolk. 

This new autumn programme brings together a rich variety of folk music, visual arts, crafts, rural writing and local foods– all rooted in the East Suffolk landscape. There are four exhibitions celebrating Suffolk life including a rare opportunity to view some historic works by Suffolk artist Harry Becker who spent his career capturing traditional farm life and immortalising The Suffolk Punch at work.

Other featured artists include Jason Gathorne-Hardy, Sarah Butters, Alice-Andrea Ewing and Jennifer Hall. A pop-up autumn shop and Woodland Nature Walk are also open. 

Covid regulations and guidance apply for all visits. Children must be accompanied at all times and dogs are not permitted on site. There is free parking and free entry.

Get to see X Factor golden boy Joe McElderry performing live on stage in Suffolk
: The Apex, Charter Square, Bury St Edmunds IP33 3FD
When: Sunday September 26 at 7.30pm
At just 18 years old the golden voiced Joe McElderry auditioned for ITV’s X Factor and not only bowled the judges over with his rendition of Luther Vandross’ ‘Dance with My Father’ but won the hearts of the nation as well.

Joe McElderry who is appearing in concert at The Apex on September 26

X Factor winner Joe McElderry will be performing at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds on Sunday September 26 - Credit: The Apex

Joe also impressed Whitney Houston who appeared as a guest mentor and he performed a brilliant duet with George Michael on the live semi-final and went on to be crowned the winner of X Factor 2009.

In 2015 he moved into musical theatre playing the lead in Joseph and His Technicolour Dreamcoat before touring in 2019 with the 1980s musical comedy Club Tropicana, playing lead role, Garry.

Joe is emerging from lockdown with a new tour celebrating not only the richness of his voice but the diversity of his career to date.

Tickets are available online  or ring 01284 758000.

Sample some of the best food and drink from local producers at Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival
: Snape Maltings, Snape Bridge, IP17 1SP
When: Saturday to Sunday September 25-26, 2021
One of the highlights of the Suffolk culinary calendar, Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival is a celebration of Suffolk’s thriving food & drink scene. It brings together a host of local producers and growers and allows them to interact with the people who buy their produce.

Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival is at Snape on September 25-26

Visitors can savour the atmosphere while sampling delicious food at the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival at Snape Maltings this weekend. - Credit: Andy Abbott

The Festival will have a very relaxed feel with plenty of space for visitors to move around and enjoy what’s on offer. 

New features this year will include interactive family area with family stage, Saturday Kitchen-style panel, food photography and wild cooking with the kids. The Festival stages will feature live cooking demonstrations, talks, debates and discoveries. New events will also take a look at other areas associated to food such as technology, health & wellbeing and farming.

As always there will also be live music. Tickets are available online

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