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Ipswich Maritime Festival - everything you need to know

PUBLISHED: 11:42 18 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:42 18 August 2018

One of Suffolk’s biggest summer events takes to the water this weekend. Here’s your guide to what’s in store at Maritime Ipswich 2018.

When: August 18-19.

Where: Ipswich Waterfront, including part of the island site for the first time.

Opening times: Saturday: 10am-10pm, Sunday: 10am-6pm.

Is there an entry charge?: No, Ipswich Maritime Festival is a free event.

Parking/transport: There will not be a special event car park, but you can use car parks around the town centre. To help transport guests around the site, this year there will be a land train, and a foot ferry to get you from one side of the site to the other. The ferry and land train are both free, but capacity is limited.

How many people are expected? Last year’s event attracted 65,000 unique visitors across the two days, but Ipswich Borough Council and main sponsor Isaacs on the Quay are predicting that this year’s festival will be even bigger.

What is the theme?: Pirates are the theme for this year’s event, and visitors are being encouraged to get in the mood by wearing their best buckaneer outfits and eye-patches. Pirate crews, Georgian-style sailors and craft activities will all feature.

What are the main attractions?

There will be all kinds of things to do and see, but here are some of the main events and attractions to look out for.

Live entertainment

A wide range of live acts will be performing on the Maritime Festival Stage over the two days, with BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Stephen Foster as compere.

Music will run from 11am onwards on Saturday and 11.30am on Sunday, with acts including No Drama, Hot Tramp, Albion Mills, The Outlines, Salamander, Lucky Number 7, The Super Things, Hurricane Alley, Hot Rocks and many more.

There will also be street entertainers along the Waterfront, including stilt walkers and Dream Team Princesses.

Historic vessels and re-enactments

Ships and boats are always at the heart of the Maritime Festival. Among the vessels taking part this year are The MT Kent, the Sailing Barge Victor, The Laura Moncur and more. You will be able to climb aboard some vessels to look around, and trips on the Orwell Lady are also available.

As well as admiring the ships, you will also be able to see some historic re-enactments, involving longships arriving full of soldiers! And watch out for Matt Harris, Maritime’s answer to Captain Jack Sparrow.

Ipswich Beer Festival

The beer festival is returning to the Maritime Festival and will be next to the ABP Haven Marina Offices. As well as a range of beers to try, it will feature music from local bands and artists. The beer festival opening times are: Friday: 6-10.30pm, Saturday: 11am-10.30pm. Sunday: 11am-7.30pm

Craft stalls

Local traders will have a wide range of craft stalls for you to visit.

Children’s entertainment

During the festival, Quay Place will be organising sea-themed craft activities for children aged two to ten at St Mary on the Quay Church, from 11am to 3.30pm.

Youngsters (and everyone else!) can also enjoy funfair rides, and have their photos taken with giant inflatables, including an octopus and a shark’s head.


There will be two spectacular firework displays on Saturday, a daytime firework show at 3pm, and an evening event at 9.45pm.

Food and drink

There will be a wide range of food available, including food stalls with delicacies to sample from around the world. The festival will also include a fully licensed bar with real ales as well as soft drinks.

For more details and a full listing of the live entertainment, see the Ipswich Entertains website.

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