10 of Suffolk's oldest pubs you can still get a drink at

Ye Olde Bell and Steelyard has been taken over by Neil Smith MBE and his sons Matt and Dan. L-R Dan

Neil Smith MBE, and his sons Matt and Dan outside their pub The Bell and Steelyard, which is the oldest in Woodbridge - Credit: Archant

Pubs and alehouses have been part of Suffolk's culture for centuries, and many venues in the county have survived the test of time.

Here are ten of the oldest pubs in Suffolk, with some dating back as far as the middle ages. 

1. The Spread Eagle

The Spread Eagle pub in Ipswich re-opens.

The Spread Eagle pub in Ipswich often hosts live music nights - Credit: Phil Morley

Where: Fore Street, Ipswich IP4 1JW

The sole survivor of a group of four pubs which once stood at the junction of Fore Street, The Spread Eagle is thought to date from the 16th century.

Following a restoration in 2015, the pub is now well known as a live music venue and offers six real ales on tap. 

2. The Greyhound

Pettistree Greyhound MyPhotos24 Ref - SP 09 Pett Greyhound 9

The Pettistree Greyhound dates from the middle ages - Credit: Simon Parker

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Where: The Street, Pettistree, Woodbridge IP13 0HP

Dating from the age of the Black Death and Hundred Years War, this pub has been serving up ale to villagers for more than 600 years. 

The modern menu includes pub classics, local game, and fish dishes, all served with the occasional Scottish twist. 

3. The Oyster Inn

Jane Palmer, owner of The Oyster Inn Butley

Jane Palmer, owner of The Oyster Inn Butley - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Where: Woodbridge Road, Butley IP12 3NZ

First recorded in 1732, documents have been found dating the Butley Oyster to even earlier, with the owners finding a license payment to James I from 1617. 

The pub got its name from the Oysters which were cultivated in Butley Creek for centuries. This trade died out in the 19th century, but was revived by Richard Pinney in the 1950s. 

4. The Angel

The Angel in Wangford

The Angel in Wangford - Credit: Nick Butcher

Where: High Street, Wangford NR34 8RL

Thought to have been built as a coaching inn in the 18th century, an advert recorded in the Ipswich Journal shows a hunt was underway for a new landlord for this "ancient, convenient and well accustom'd inn" in 1748.

The pub still offers rooms to this day and is operated by Moss and Co, who serve a combination of classic pub dishes and new exciting flavours.

5. The Lord Nelson

eadt/star newsLord Nelson and HMS Pickle visit to Ipswich.Lord Nelson receives a pint of Adnam

The Lord Nelson, outside the Lord Nelson in Ipswich - Credit: Andy Abbott

Where: Fore Street, Ipswich IP4 1JZ

A small survivor of Ipswich's long gone historic port, the Lord Nelson was originally known as the Noahs Ark, but was renamed when the naval hero was made High Steward of Ipswich in 1800.

Since then, the pub has been refurbished and had a brick frontage added in the 20th century to aid in cleaning up after floods affected the area. 

6. The Old Bell and Steelyard

Ye Olde Bell and Steelyard has been taken over by Neil Smith and his sons Matt and Dan. Picture: Sa

The weighbridge at the Old Bell and Steelyard - Credit: Archant

Where: 103 New Street, Woodbridge IP12 1DZ

Dating from around 1540, this multi-roomed pub is named for the steelyard it was located in and has an impressive 15th-century weighbridge hanging from the front of the building. 

This was nearly destroyed in 2018 when an HGV crashed into it, but repairs were able to be completed. 

Recently, the pub was taken over by the Smith Family, who plan to serve "pub grub, done well".

7. The Four Horseshoes 

Four Horseshoes in Thornham Magna. Landlord Tom Parkhurst, with apprentices Elliot Knight, Sophie Bu

The Four Horseshoes in Thornham Magna is quite possibly the oldest pub in Suffolk - Credit: Greg Brown

Where: Wickham Road, Thornham Magna, Eye IP23 8HD

Thought to date from 1150, The Four Horseshoes is probably the oldest pub in Suffolk.

It looks like it too, with a classic thatched roof and a traditional pink façade. 

The pub was taken over 10 years ago by Thomas Pankhurst, who at 19 years old was then the youngest publican in the UK. 

8. The Rose

The Lindsey Rose in Lindsey.

The Lindsey Rose in Lindsey. - Credit: Su Anderson

Where: The Tye, Lindsey, Ipswich IP7 6PP

More than 500 years old, The Rose has been serving up ale for dozens of generations and has a large number of exposed timbers inside, as well as an open fireplace.  

In the modern-day, it focuses on traditional home-cooked meals and hosting exciting events. 

9. One Bull

Bid for Bury bar/pubs spread in EADT. One Bull.

The One Bull is thought to be the oldest pub in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Gregg Brown

Where: Angel Hill, Bury Saint Edmunds IP33 1UZ

Believed to be Bury St Edmunds' oldest pub, the One Bull has sat while Angel Hill has developed around it, with its street number increasing from 17 in 1844 to 25 in 1891. 

Although the building is thought to date from the 15th century, its exterior was rebuilt in the 1700s.

In 1801 the pub played host to the largest rattlesnake ever seen in England, at 9ft long. 

10. The Cross Keys 

The Cross Keys in Aldeburgh could possibly date from as early as the 15th century

The Cross Keys in Aldeburgh could possibly date from as early as the 15th century - Credit: Google Maps

Where: Crabbe Street, Aldeburgh IP15 5BN

While there is some debate about the true age of The Cross Keys, it is agreed that the pub, located on Aldeburgh's historic seafront, dates back to at least 1769. 

One of the oldest buildings in town, the pub is now operated by Adnams and offers three boutique guest bedrooms.