Ed Sheeran trail in Suffolk - 9 places to visit linked with the star
PUBLISHED: 19:00 10 June 2019 | UPDATED: 20:12 10 June 2019
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If you are heading to Ed Sheeran's concerts in Ipswich in August, we've drawn up a Suffolk trail of nine "Perfect" places to visit which have links with the superstar.
Christchurch Mansion and Christchurch Park: A great place to start the trail. The Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition will run for nine months in the mansion from August 20 until spring 2020. It will feature photos and personal items portraying the journey from Ed's school life in Suffolk to international stardom.
The exhibition, organised by Ipswich Borough Council, opens just days before the singer-songwriter's four homecoming concerts at the climax of his world tour. Ed played at Ipswich Music Day in Christchurch Park in 2009 and 2010, and there are videos of him performing there on YouTube. Since 2013, the event has included an Ed Sheeran stage, named in his honour. This year's event is on July 7, but, even if you aren't around then, there is plenty to see in the park.
Framlingham Castle: The most instantly recognisable spot associated with Ed, the castle featured in his video The Castle on the Hill, along with other Suffolk scenes including Boyton Marshes, Felixstowe and Mildenhall Stadium.
Visitor numbers soared in the wake of the release of the song, described by Ed as a "love song for Suffolk", at the start of 2017, The castle invested in a couple of cardboard cut-out Eds to give him a presence.
The historic building is run by English Heritage, and after paying the admission charge you can tour round the site, including its famous wall walk. There is exhibition space where you can find out more about the castle's history.
The Moon and Mushroom Inn, Swilland: This country inn is where it all began - as the pub says Ed's very first gig was performed there, back in 2006! The Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition will include a photograph of the 15-year-old Ed performing on a truck at Moon fest, organised by the pub, watched by a single toddler.
Ed's father, John, who has curated the exhibition, says this is one of his favourite photos of Ed performing in his teenage years. Ed also posted the image on Instagram to promote the exhibition.
If you visit the Moon and Mushroom, it is known as a food pub, and you can sit and relax in its patio areas.
Steamboat Tavern, New Cut West, Ipswich: The iconic pub has long been known for its live music. Ed played there before he became a global superstar, and returned in 2014 to play an intimate secret acoustic gig, with the location only being revealed at the last minute. The set was only half an hour long, and just 50 pairs of tickets were available. Ed said at the time: "Playing this venue for me, I feel very comfortable here. I've played it a bunch of times."
The pub has recently undergone a full-scale renovation and has plenty of gigs, so visitors are likely to be able to enjoy some music - even if they sadly won't be likely to catch another secret gig!
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The Swan, King Street, Ipswich: This historic pub, sadly now closed, was another Ipswich town centre venue for Ed, and is well worth visiting on your pilgrimage. He can be seen in old YouTube footage performing original versions of his hit songs 'The A-Team' and 'You Need Me' in the pub in 2010. The gig ended up being taken out onto the pavement outside, with a small band of fans following as he performed more songs.
The Swan, which has also hosted other famous names such as Mumford and Sons and Slaves, closed last year, and is currently being marketed by Everard Cole.
So, for any Ed Sheeran fans who want to run their own pub linked to the superstar, this could be an option!
The Halberd (formerly McGinty's), Northgate Street, Ipswich: This is another of the music venues around the area where the young Ed played while he was making his name.
He headlined a gig in McGinty's music venue The Blue Room when he was only 17, early in 2009, as a favour to a friend.
Now rebranded as The Halberd - a return to its former name - the historic pub has regular live entertainment including open mic and karaoke nights, so you could perform at the same pub where Ed once took the stage!
Ipswich Town Hall: Ed took the stage here in 2015 for a rather different reason from usual, as he was awarded an honorary doctorate from University Campus Suffolk, now the University of Suffolk.
The honorary degree recognised his outstanding contribution to music, and he addressed the 108 graduates, watched by his parents, John and Imogen.
The town hall is one of the most iconic buildings in Ipswich, and marked its 150th birthday last year. Many events and exhibitions are held at the town hall and Corn Exchange over the year, and you can also enjoy a cuppa in the Coffee Cat cafe there.
The Hot Sausage Company, Cornhill, Ipswich: If you want to try one of Ed's favourite foods, he recommended the hot dog stand in Ipswich in a promo video on Instagram last year.
He said: "If you go to Ipswich on a Saturday, on the main high street there's a hot dog man that grills these huge frankfurters - now that's a hot dog."
The hot dog company just celebrated 30 years of trading on the Cornhill and having sold more than a million sausages, by giving away 1,000 sausages - though sadly the freebies are now all gone and eaten!
Framlingham Fish Bar, College Road: Another of Ed's favourite Suffolk eateries which you can visit is the fish and chip shop in the town where he grew up. Ed took to Instagram earlier this year to show his love for the fish and chips, describing it as "as amazing as ever". The post was liked more than 500,000 times by people from around the world!