Summer guide to days out in Suffolk - free entertainment, family-friendly festivals and adrenalin-pumping fun

An archer launches his arrow at Framlingham Castle's Bloody Mary living history weekend.

An archer launches his arrow at Framlingham Castle's Bloody Mary living history weekend. - Credit: Su Anderson

The school holidays are just a week away and while children look forward to a six-week break from school, parents will be scratching their heads over how to entertain them.

Beccles Lido

Beccles Lido - Credit: Archant

See our summer guide for rainy days ideas, fun in the sun, days on the cheap and ways to get your adrenalin pumping.

Music, theatre and festivals

Jimmy’s Harvest Festival of Sausage and Beer, Jimmy’s Farm - July 23 to 24

Beccles Lido

Beccles Lido - Credit: Archant

One of Suffolk’s favourite events of the year is back....Jimmy’s Harvest Festival of Sausage and Beer! The weekend promises fantastic live music, a range of local food and drink and something for everyone in the family.

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So whether you’re in the mood for some delicious gourmet dishes, or would prefer a wander around the arts and craft stalls or a Science and Nature Trail to keep the kids entertained, this is the place to start the summer holidays in style.

Tickets are on sale now. See hereSaxmundham Music Festival, July 22 and 23

This is an event for the whole family to enjoy and entry is absolutely free! Music, rides, food stalls, arts and crafts, what more could you want? Friday is appropriately themed ‘Roots’ as local folk, country and reggae bands take to the stage.

Lions enjoying the sunshine at Africa Alive , Kessingand - Lauren Steel

Lions enjoying the sunshine at Africa Alive , Kessingand - Lauren Steel - Credit:

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If that’s not quite your cup of tea, head down on Saturday as a fantastic full five-piece Robbie Williams tribute band, ‘JK as Robbie’, takes the stage.

While this event is free, no alcohol is to be brought into the festival, but there are two fully licensed bars on site.

Theatre in the Forest - July 26 and August 28

“O, brave new world that has such people in’t”

Shakespeare has made his way to Jimmy’s Farm as Theatre in the Forest starts at the end of July. After much success last year, The Red Rose Chain is bringing another Shakespeare classic to life, this year it’s The Tempest.

If you fancy a night out watching Shakespeare under the stars, performances will run Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm with matinee performances also available on Saturdays.

Book your tickets hereRainy days

Southwold’s Model Railway Exhibition, August 6 and 7

Whether you’re a fine scale modeller or have a child who loves toy trains, Southwold’s Model Railway exhibition has something for all model train enthusiasts. This is the largest and only two-day exhibition of model trains and railways in all of East Anglia.

Throughout the weekend there will be demonstrations of modelling techniques, trade stands and even a live steam train. The event, which will be held at the Saint Felix School, is free for kids under 11.

Ipswich Transport Museum

This local museum has been home to a range of different transport and engineering items since 1965. The exhibits, which celebrate Ipswich’s history, have all either been made or used in or around Ipswich.

Opening times and prices do vary so have a look on their website to check when is best for you.

Snakes and Ladders

If the weather is looking a little unpredictable, then Ipswich’s Snakes and Ladders is a great place to take the kids. Not only is there indoor play but also a discovery centre with over 30 interactive science exhibits to explore.

If you’re looking for an educational day filled to the brim with fun this is the place for you. Snakes and Ladders is open 7 days a week but prices can differ depending on age and what time you go. Check online for further detailsFun in the Sun

Suffolk Coast Bike Ride - August 7

Get your cycling gear on and get ready for the Suffolk Coast bike ride. The cycle ride, which starts between 8-10am, begins and ends at the gorgeous Elizabethan Mansion Glemham Hall.

Not only will you get to see stunning views of Suffolk’s coastline, but you will also be raising money for The Down’s Syndrome Association. There are two routes available; for all you cycling pros there’s a 60 mile course and for those who’d prefer a more leisurely ride, there’s a 35 mile route.

Under 16’s will need to be accompanied by an adult. You can sign up online hereSouthwold Maize Maze

Put your navigational skills to the test as you try to make your way out of Southwold’s Maize Maze. Entry price is £6 for adults and £5.50 for children. This price also includes other activities on site including taking a ride on the pedal cars and tractors, reaching for the heights as you jump on the bouncy pillow and racing around the maze in go karts.

The maze is open from July 16.

Beccles Outdoor Swimming Pool

Is the hot weather taking its toll? How about a dip in Beccles Outdoor Swimming Pool. This traditional pool features a kiddies adventure play area, a slide and canoes for hire. There’s also a toddler pool and baby pool as well as a pool bar. So get ready to make a splash as this day out is sure to be fun for the whole family.

The pool is open until early September and prices can vary so check online hereGo wild at a wildlife park

Baylham Rare Breeds Farm

If the sun is shining why not go for a wander around Baylham Rare Breeds Farm. Set in the middle of Suffolk’s picturesque countryside, this livestock farm is home to a number of rare breed farm animals. You’ll be able to meet and greet all the animals and if you’d like, help feed some of them!

The farm is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am. Entry for children (4-16) is only £3.

Africa Alive

The African Savanna has landed in your back garden! Lowestoft’s Africa Alive allows visitors to embark on a walking safari set over 100 acres of land. Formerly Suffolk Wildlife Park, Africa Alive opens its doors daily from 9.30. Go and explore the African plains and see what animals you discover.

Adult tickets are £19.95 while child (3-15) tickets are £14.50.

Oasis Camel Centre

Did you know that the wild camel is the eighth most endangered mammal on the plant? This Halesworth park looks after these friendly creatures and is the only one in the UK where you can touch, ride and get up close with the camels! Not persuaded? There are also llama walks, a meerkat encounter and donkey ride opportunities.

Head off to Halesworth to support these critically endangered species. The park is open 10:30am – 5:00pm with both adult and child tickets under £10.

Free days out

Pigs Gone Wild Trail

Pigs are on the loose! If you haven’t seen them already, Ipswich has been taken over by 69 individually decorated pigs in aid of the St Elizabeth Hospice. Maps are available from the hospice and you have until the 2nd of September to complete the trail. You never know you may explore and discover parts of Ipswich you never knew existed!

Don’t forget to share your pig selfie’s! #pigsgonewild

Free Family Fishing Day - August 22

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to the fishing game, there’s fun for all abilities at Suffolk Water Park on Saturday the 22nd of August. The Bramford event runs from 11am – 4pm and all you need to do is turn up! Fishing tackle is provided, and for beginner fishermen there are licensed instructors who will be there at the park to help on the day.

Other activities will be taking place throughout the day and free refreshments will be available.

Holywells Park

This local Ipswich Park is spread out over 28 hectares of beautiful countryside. Not only is it a county wildlife site and conservation area but also home to an open air theatre and 20 pieces of play equipment for younger members of the family. In particular the galleon structure is a big hit with kids.

As summer has arrived the water play facility has now opened! With sheltered picnic areas and a visitor café available on the grounds, this truly can be a great cheap day out for everyone.

Adrenalin pumping days out

Circus Hassani- July 26 to August 31

Popular demand has brought Circus Hassani back for its third summer in Southwold.

Feel your heart race as you watch trapeze artists fly across the tent, hold your breath while Salvatore hangs from aerial chains and join in the fun with hilarious clown Sidney. This must see show is on from the July 26 to August 31, with tickets starting at £10.

Book your tickets herePleasurewood Hills

Suffolk’s own theme park Pleasurewood Hills truly has something for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a thrill seeker and want to take on ‘Wipeout’ or prefer lighter entertainment like the sea-lion show, Pleasurewood Hills caters for all. There are also a wide range of kiddie rides so the whole family is welcome.

The Lowestoft based theme park is open daily from 10am with adult tickets at £16.50 and under 11’s at £14.50.

Area 25 Martlesham

Any budding Tony Hawk’s? Area 25 is an indoor skate park that caters for BMX bikes, scooters, skateboards and inlining. For less confident skaters or younger riders there is a mini-ramp section as well. Parents who don’t wish to skate are welcome to sit in the viewing area where refreshments are available.

The skate park, which has been open since February 2013, is open every week Tuesday to Sunday with prices varying depending on how long you wish to stay the park for.

Best of the rest

Congo Rapids Lost World Adventure Golf, Ufford Park, Woodbridge

This fun family golf course is truly out of this world.

Modelled on Florida-style adventure golf courses, the journey starts on a self-propelled boat across the first of the water lagoons. Visit the Congo Jungle plane crash and the cannibal cooking pot.

Pass through the abandoned temple and ride on a raft into the Lost World where you are greeted by life sized dinosaurs, an erupting volcano and a giant dinosaur claw, before you head back to the Congo jungle.

t’s spectacular fun for all ages, just turn up, pay and play.

Framlingham Castle

Get ready to experience a little bit of history as you explore Framlingham Castle and complete its famous wall walk. This local gem is hidden within Suffolk’s beautiful countryside and is the perfect day out for the whole family. Over summer various events and exhibitions will be taking place at the 12th Century castle including ‘Meet the Normans’ and ‘Heroes and Villains’.

The Castle grounds are also perfect for a summer picnic so don’t forget your strawberries! Framlingham Castle is open daily from 10am – 6pm and English Heritage members have free entry.

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