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Where in Suffolk is open for a family day out?

PUBLISHED: 07:58 20 June 2020 | UPDATED: 22:12 20 June 2020

An ice cream from Southwold's Gun Hill beach kiosk is hard to beat on a summer day Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

An ice cream from Southwold's Gun Hill beach kiosk is hard to beat on a summer day Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Lockdown may be easing, but many of Suffolk’s top family attractions are still closed - so where can you go?

Some family days can be as simple as a kick about in Christchurch Park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSome family days can be as simple as a kick about in Christchurch Park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Some of the best spots for a day out in Suffolk currently open are free to enter and easy to stay socially distant in.

Others are now accepting bookings and many will require tickets to be purchased before attending:

Jimmy's Farm and Wildlife Park opens on June 25 Picture: JAME AGERJimmy's Farm and Wildlife Park opens on June 25 Picture: JAME AGER

Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park

Jimmy’s Farm is reopening on June 25 with new ‘Covid-secure’ measures and a limit on the number of people in the park. You can buy food and drink across the farm and park and some retail outlets will also be open.

Needham Lake is welcoming guests again Picture: PAUL NIXONNeedham Lake is welcoming guests again Picture: PAUL NIXON

Needham Lake and nature reserve

The park close to Needham Market is accepting visitors again, with free entry and free parking. You can bring a picnic or get refreshments at their kiosk.

Visitors will not be able to meet Easton Farm Park's piglets up close, but the farm's adventure trails open in July Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNVisitors will not be able to meet Easton Farm Park's piglets up close, but the farm's adventure trails open in July Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Easton Farm Park

The farm has undergone big changes ahead of opening to the public on July 6. Season ticket holders can return from July 1. The ‘hands-on’ animal experiences have been stopped and families are invited to follow their trails and take part in safe activities. All outdoor areas except the play area will be open. You can also stop for takeaway food and drink and use the farm’s family seating area.

Hollow Trees Farm is allowing customers into their shop and will soon open their farm to families looking for a day out Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNHollow Trees Farm is allowing customers into their shop and will soon open their farm to families looking for a day out Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Hollow Trees Farm

The farm and farm shop outside Ipswich reopens its farm trail on June 24. Children under two go free and tickets and animal feed are available to purchase on the day. The Hollow Trees Farm Shop is still open and takeaway food and drink are available.

A little boy playing in the sunshine in Christchurch Park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA little boy playing in the sunshine in Christchurch Park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Parks in Ipswich

The Christchurch Mansion Tea room is open every day serving ice creams and hot and cold drinks. The Holywells Park cafe, located near the cliff lane entrance, is also open for takeaway service.

The Abbey Gardens are open to visitors Picture: GETTYThe Abbey Gardens are open to visitors Picture: GETTY

Parks in Bury St Edmunds

The Abbey Gardens cafe is currently closed, but as the town centre reopens you can enjoy your food and drink in the historic park. If you are trying to shop local then nearby independent business, the Really Rather Good coffee shop, hopes to reopen in July.

Southwold's beach is open to visitors Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSouthwold's beach is open to visitors Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Aldeburgh, Southwold and Felixstowe beaches

Now that nonessential retail has reopened, Suffolk’s beaches and seaside towns can offer even more than their beautiful coastline. Shops have introduced social distancing measures to keep customers safe and members of the public may have to queue outside, but day trippers are now able to buy an ice cream while they sit on the beach. Southwold Pier has reopened. You can get fish and chips at Felixstowe’s Pier Fish Co, but the rest of the pier remains closed.

The River Deben in Woodbridge. A walk from the town to nearby Melton makes a lovely day out Picture: NIGEL PICKOVERThe River Deben in Woodbridge. A walk from the town to nearby Melton makes a lovely day out Picture: NIGEL PICKOVER

Woodbridge and Melton

If you are heading out for a walk between the two along the River Deben, you can stop for takeaway food and drink at the Honey+Harvey coffee shops in each town as well as several essential food shops.

Colchester Zoo is now able to let families feed their elephants and giraffes Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNColchester Zoo is now able to let families feed their elephants and giraffes Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Colchester Zoo

It may be over the border in Essex but the zoo opened on June 18. Some buildings are closed but almost all of the animals can be seen, and there are plenty of spots to stop for a picnic or an ice cream.

Red deer at Minsmere Picture: CHARLES CUTHBERTRed deer at Minsmere Picture: CHARLES CUTHBERT

RSPB Minsmere

The nature reserve has limited opening hours and all the buildings and hides are currently closed, but birdwatchers are still welcome to come and see what they can see some of the UK’s rarest wildlife.

Sunrise over Dunwich Heath and beach Picture: RICHARD SCOTT/NATIONAL TRUST IMAGESSunrise over Dunwich Heath and beach Picture: RICHARD SCOTT/NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES

Dunwich Heath and Beach

The National Trust site is open for visitors and is also selling light refreshments from their lifeguard kiosk. Buildings on the site are currently closed and although the car park is open you will need to book a place before you visit.

Country homes and gardens

The grounds of almost all of Suffolk’s stately homes can only be accessed with a pre-booked ticket and you may have to attend in a specific time slot. Check online to make sure you have everything you need before travelling:

Helmingham Hall

The stately home near Stowmarket has now reopened its garden but the hall remains closed. The shop is now also open and has a maximum capacity of two people. There are no refreshments available at Helmingham Hall.

Ickworth House and Gardens

The National Trust site near Bury St Edmunds has reopened its gardens. You can also get hot drinks and light snacks from their outdoor trailer, but the designated seating areas are closed for the time being.

Kentwell Hall

While the hall near Long Melford remains closed, the grounds and garden are open. The house and moat house are closed until further notice, meaning light refreshments will not be available.

Somerleyton Hall

The stately home will remain closed to the public, as will the tea room, but the gardens reopened to visitors on June 18. The gardens are open Thursday and Sunday, 11am-4pm. New safety measures are in place and some parts of the garden where social distancing is not possible are still closed. The plant sales area is open and purchases must be paid for by card.

Framlingham Castle and Audley End House & Gardens

These two are among the English Heritage sites due to open on July 4. The wall walk will be open at the castle. The cafe will also open for takeaway with a new one-way system. Audley End house will stay shut but the gardens will be open and the cafe will also be open with a new one-way system.

Do you see somewhere missing from this list? Email us and we will update this list as Suffolk comes out of lockdown.


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