Review: West Stow Anglo Saxon Village

Ella Jarvis and Amber Runnels-Moss at West Stow

Ella Jarvis and Amber Runnels-Moss at West Stow - Credit: Archant

This summer is a year of firsts for me. I’ve vowed to visit places in Suffolk I’ve never ventured to before – and there are many!

Ella Jarvis and Amber Runnels-Moss at West Stow

Ella Jarvis and Amber Runnels-Moss at West Stow - Credit: Archant

So, it was, on a humid Sunday afternoon that I took myself, my daughter Ella, her best friend Amber, and my mate Sarah off to West Stow Anglo Saxon Village.

Ella and Amber have been learning about the Anglo Saxons during the last term of year three at school, and both were keen to go.

Found minutes from Bury St Edmunds, deep in 125 acres of countryside, the village is a recreation of an Anglo Saxon settlement discovered during excavations.

After parking up (only £2 for the whole day), we entered the site and were thrown back in time. Chickens clucked in the woodland, there was a vegetable garden, and in a clearing stood a clutch of Anglo Saxon dwellings, meticulously put together to replicate what once would have resided there.

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During our visit a re-enactment group were in situ and could be found sipping water out of horns, turning wood and stoking fires. The girls were fascinated by their stories – and even had the chance to lie down in a coffin-like Anglo Saxon bed.

The group performed a three act production based on the stories of Beowolf which, again, the girls had learnt at school, and they were delighted to see the tale brought to life. While it wasn’t exactly a West End-style show, and ‘special effects’ were missing, it was a charming way to pass the time.

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Back in the museum and reception building, and there were lots of collections of arrowheads, jewellery, coins and more that Ella and Amber got very excited about indeed.

And they were even more over the moon when we got to the gift shop, where prices were refreshingly low and many items priced at around £1 to £2 – great for parents who want to treat their children to a memento of their day without breaking the bank.

There’s a café at West Stow for cakes, sandwiches, ice cream and coffee, and it too wasn’t expensive.

From the car park a play area and West Stow Country Park can be accessed. Both are just superb. The playground was so clean and filled with soft sand, which makes a much softer landing ground for younger visitors!

There’s slides and swings, a climbing wall, den building, a climbing net, wobbly bridge, sand raising equipment and more.

Beyond, the incredible walks around the country park take you through fields and woods, and alongside the River Lark, where you’ll catch a glimpse of neighbouring Lackford Lakes.

Sarah, an avid Springwatch fan, was in her element pointing out all the varities of butterflies, damselflies, birds, bugs and plants we saw along the way. I’ve never seen nature so active. Everywhere we walked we were surrounded by living things basking in the sun.

A really great wild day out.

Tickets are £15 for a family or £30 for a family heritage pass which gives unlimited entry to West Stow and Moyses Hall Museum for one year and other benefits.


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