A Guide to the county of Suffolk in England, United Kingdom UK- hubtrail
A little about the county of Suffolk
Suffolk is a county which few think to travel too. I myself had only been too Suffolk on a handful of occasions for day trips to golf courses and never had the opportunity to explore this beutiful county. I had heard very little from others as to its holiday/vacation possibilities until this year when I ventured into Suffolk for an 11 nights camping holiday with my family, and was pleasantly surprised as to the amount to see and do.
Suffolk itself is situated on the east coast of the United Kingdom sandwiched between Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex. It is a relatively quiet county with rolling hills mixed in amongst the forests and open farmlands. If you prefer a quiet holiday then you may find the traditional seaside resort of Southwold, or the historic town of Orford and Framlingham castles more to you likening. However, if you prefer a bit more hustle and bustle then the more modern city of Ipswich may be more your cup of tea.
Places in Suffolk at a glance
Orford Castle and nature reserve can be found here.
Seaside town with pier.
Easton farm park can be found here
Castle can be found here
Suffolk Punch Trust can be found here.
Great for the outdoor person
Places to visit in Suffolk
Once you have arrived in this beautiful county your task will be to decide where to visit, if you haven’t already that is. For many it will always be the seaside, whereas others will prefer to enjoy the hidden history of the county.
Southwold is a tranquil little seaside town with the only amusements for us holiday makers being situated on the Pier. Although small and perhaps resembling what a seaside town set in the past, it still has lots to offer with a working harbour where fresh fish can be brought and the Alfred Corry museum viewed. Well worth a visit for both older and younger couples with or without children.
Woodbridge is a small but relatively busy town that offers much for the tourist from walks along the river Deben to wonderful coffee houses in the town. Here you can find a working tide mill and boating lake, and within 3 miles of this town you can find the National Trust site of Sutton Hoo were archaeologists discovered one of the greatest treasures ever found in Britain. Again this is a town for everyone.
This is a town that is not quite what it seems. You will find the English Heritage site of Orford Castle here and a trip across the river will take you to the National Nature Reserve of Orford Ness, which is now home to rare birds, animals and plants. However this was previously one of the most secret military test sites in Britain. Although this is a lovely little town, it is not really the place to visit if you have small children as it will cost a small fortune with entrance fees too the various attractions.
Ipswich is a town for everyone whether you enjoy the hustle and bustle of shopping or walks along the waterfront, nightlife or culture, you will be able to find something here for everyone. However, no matter what you want from this town, the first place to visit is the tourist information centre, here you will find everything you need for your visit.
Lowestoft is your more typical modern seaside resort with amusements and arcades and with Pleasurewood Hills only a short distance away.
- Rendlesham Forest
Here you can walk through the woods at your leisure listening out for wildlife, a deer or two and who knows you may even sight a UFO. Follow the way-marked tracks or make your own using the abundance of small tracks that are not even on the maps. If walking is not your thing take your bike, there are tracks suitable for all bikes, and even a child's trailer bike can get round using the network of fire roads available. For the more adventurous of cyclists, then there is the bike track which has been specially built to test your cycling limits, with sharp turns and steep slopes to negotiate. Oh and for the families, don't forget to take a picnic, with the picnic tables situated next to one of the playgrounds (which is suitable for all ages) you can relax while the children play.
Some pictures from around SuffolkClick thumbnail to view full-size
Other places to visit in Suffolk
I have listed the main towns that are worth a visit but there are still a few places that need a mention if you are planning on visiting the wonderful county of Suffolk.
Both of these castles are run by the English Heritage so if you are not a member be prepared to part with your money, although money off vouchers can be found for Orford in some county guide books available from the tourist information office.
- Framlingham Castle
A 12th century fortress – a symbol of baronial pride and once the refuge of Mary Tudor who mustered her troops here before being crowned Queen in 1553.
- Orford Castle
Built between 1165 and 1173 by Henry II. This castle allows you to discover what a medieval castle would have been like with it being on of England’s most complete and unusual keeps allowing you to explore its warren of passageways and chambers.
For animal lovers and children
I have visited a few Farm Parks now but by far Easton Farm Park is the best I have seen and a wonderful place for both adults and children alike. Here you can find all the usual animals that you will find on any farm park like rabbits, pigs, and goats, but with the added bonus of various breeds of cow and also fantastic specimens of the Suffolk Punch horse (of which you can get up close) and other pony breeds. You are free to go look at the different animals at your leisure, or you can follow the itinerary for the day, that allows the children to get up close with certain animals and have a ride via different methods. There are cafes where you can get a coffee or have your lunch, or if you prefer to take a picnic there are plenty of tables both indoor and outdoor for you to enjoy. To top it all off even if the weather is a bit dodgy there are indoor play areas for the children as well as the outdoor ones.
- Suffolk Punch Trust
Here you can see this magnificent horse in its natural surroundings doing what it does best. The Suffolk Punch is one of the rarest heavy horses and on the critically endangered list of the Rare Breed Survival Trust. The trust offers a unique view of country life – past, present and future. The new visitors centre offers an exhibition centre and a small coffee and gift shop.
- Suffolk Owl Sanctuary
At the sanctuary you can find over 70 beautiful Owls and birds of prey, as well as Chipmunks, Meerkats and Red Squirrels. There are daily flying displays featuring some of the world’s most beautiful birds of prey. If you would prefer to learn more about these wonderful creatures the sanctuary offers falconry courses and there are junior activities that can be tailored to suit a schools curriculum requirements.
Woodbridge Train Station
How to get around Suffolk
Commuting around the county of Suffolk is quite easy with public transport readily available.
- In car
The main trunk road through the county is the A12. This links with the A14 just east of Ipswich going north up to Lowestoft. From this road you can easily access any part of the county using the smaller ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads.
- By train
The train network is quite good; as it too follows a similar path down the county from Lowestoft to Ipswich, with many stops in between. Ipswich station is located on the Great Eastern Main Line 68¾ miles east of London Liverpool Street heading towards Norwich. Many of the smaller stations are not manned and tickets have to be purchased on the train, however both Lowestoft and Ipswich station are fully staffed stations.
- By bicycle
If your preferred chose of transport is pedal power then you still have many options available to you. One is that you may still wish to commute by train with Suffolk. Ipswich Train Station has the facility to house bikes in lockers on the platforms as well as bike racks in the car park. The national cycle network (Sustrans) has a healthy network of routes going through the county as well as the Suffolk Coastal Route that appears to have been named by Sustrans as Route 41. If you chose to do the Coastal Route it is advisable for you to invest in an up to date map showing the more scenic variations available to you, these are available online or at local tourist information offices,
- By Foot
If you enjoy hours of walking/hiking and rambling then this is also a county that you may find enjoyable. There is a vast network of public footpaths crisscrossing the countryside allowing you to take in some of the breathtaking views. Again it would be advisable for you to invest in an up to date ordinance survey map so that you can take full advantage of these routes.
- By Bus
The bus service appears to be well run, although I did not personally use this method of transport whilst on holiday, I did note regular buses from our local small town going north and south. It would appear that there is a good local bus network running and also national coach and bus services are running as well.
Cycling around Suffolk
Walks in Suffolk
As I have been writing this hub I have realised that even though I stayed in this county for 11nights, there was so much more to see and do. I am thinking that maybe a return visit is needed, perhaps when my family is a little older so that he can appreciate the heritage of Suffolk that little bit more. Suffolk is a county to visit whether you have a young family or not, as there is something here for everyone.
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