Difference between revisions of "Suffolk"
Revision as of 22:45, 3 December 2012
Suffolk's biggest appeal is its untouched essence. Ignored by tourists, it is perfect for those adventurous enough to get off the beaten track and explore the county.
Full of unspoilt countryside and exquisite beaches, Suffolk is home to a variety of small towns and villages. The capital town is Ipswich, one of England's oldest towns as testament to Suffolk's antiquity . This rural county in recorded just a 668,553 population, and so despite having ample shops and services, it remains the perfect antitote to urban life. Moreover its geographical positioning means it is able to offer visitors a seaside trip at award-winning beaches, a rural retreat to the Norfolk Broads, and a historical haven in the Victorian town of Felixstowe. The coastal area that includes Lowestoft and Southwold is known at the Sunrise Coast .
Whilst Suffolk is by no means densely populated, it enjoys a strong community feel due to its small pockets of close-knit villages and hamlets in the county. In such an environment, meeting people and indulging in the company of others is certainly a fixture despite the lack of bars and clubs outside of Ipswich. Moreover, the busy market towns and the fashionable beaches often draw large crowds, particularly on festival/racing days of which there are many.
Suffolk has many transport available to those visiting the county. Situated just two hours from London, Suffolk is accessible by car, bus and train.
As a large county, Suffolk is accessible from many directions and despite its idyllic isolation, is well connected to the UK motorway system. If you are coming from the North of England or the Midlands the A14 runs from the M6/M1 junction crossing the A1 near Huntingdon, then running near to Cambridge, Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds, and Ipswich before ending at the port of Felixstowe. Just east of Newmarket the A11 heads north past Thetford to Norwich. If you are entering the county from London, there are a number of main motorways that can be used. The A12 runs through Essex to Ipswich and Lowestoft whilst the M11 coming off the M25 runs close to the West of Suffolk through Cambridgeshire.
BoatFelixstowe. Whilst this has not operated in a commercial sense for some time, nearby ports at Harwich, Essex are, and it is still possible to travel by boat from the port to Europe. Stenaline runs regular services to the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.
Being a London satellite area, Suffolk is serviced by the London airports, in particular, Stansted. Stansted Airport is close to the M11 and is served by rail to London (Liverpool Street) and Cambridge, Peterborough and Ely. Stansted is the third largest London airport and has direct scheduled flights to Europe and other parts of the UK. There is also a regional airport, Norwich Airport in neighbouring county Norfolk.
Bus Most bus routes will be to and from London, and most of the major towns and points of interest are serviced. There are occasional direct routes from Birmingham and Northern major cities. Prices vary between operators and time of year.
Formerly run by One Railways, most services in the Suffolk area are operated by National Express East Anglia. Trains from London to Ipswich, Newmarket or Felixstowe run between every 15 minutes to every hour, and are normally around an hour and a half. Prices vary depending on age, time of year, and operator, and usually include a sharp spike in price if tickets are bought on the day of travel.
With some of the most beautiful natural scenes in the country, getting about on foot is a must. Getting muddy in the Norfolk broads, or taking a walk down the beach in Southwold  are popular favourites. Due to the large size of the county, getting to neighbouring towns on foot is virtually impossible. However, towns can be thoroughly explored by foot and most towns are pedestrian friendly. Moreover, larger towns such as Ipswich and ancient market town Newmarket, cater for pedestrians and shoppers.
Buses are operated by First Group Coach Services who run a regular service between towns. Prices vary depending on area and distance travelled, and late services are limited and are only for the large towns. Ipswich also offer a park and ride service to maintain the peacefulness of even its largest town.
There are many train routes running within Suffolk and to neighbouring counties, and most are operated by One Railway. Services by the operator have been criticised highly but are for the most part are regular with tickets available from National Rail. However, such services do not come cheap, with Suffolk train fares the 5th highest  in the country- unusual considering the small population of the county and consequently lower demand.
Suffolk is one of the largest counties in the UK and every town has something incredible to see.
Newmarket is a world unto itself. This ancient market town, has remained faithful to it's regal roots, as the town that Charles II once set up home upon. Building his royal palace here, he established the first horse racecourse in Britain, a tradition that has remained in Newmarket today. Now devoted entirely to horseracing, the area has two racecourses, the July Course and the Rowley Mile- named after Charles II favourite horse 'Old Rowley'.
Bury St Edmunds is another medieval market town known for its medieval ruins made up of a monastry destroyed by Henry VIII. It also is home to the awe-inspiring 16th Century Cathedral of St.Edmundsbury, a well preserved cathedral worthy of study. The market still runs today and sells local produce from the fens in keeping with the county's authentic traditionalism.
Lavenham is perhaps the most picturesque of all the villages. Suffolk as a whole is known for its beautiful village houses of pink walls and black thatch, and Lavenham is the epitome of this. Especially popular with painters, Lavenham has over 300 listed buildings, most of them authentic medieval buildings, whilst being home to one of Britain's WW2 airfields. Now deserted with the natural landscape typical of Suffolk, it remains a thought-provoking and beautiful sight.
Felixstowe is known as the 'Garden Resort of the East Coast' due to its exquisite seafront garden areas. The gardens are in many respects, a national treasure and they are recognised on the English Heritage Register.Orford is home to Orford Castle, a well-preserved medieval fortress built in the 12th century.
The Sunrise Coast is the name given to the East Anglian Coast of North Suffolk. It includes within this title, beaches, the Norfolk Broads National Park and some of the market towns. Lowestoft is home to two of the award-winning beaches in the area, whilst trendy beach Southwold offers a more classical beach holiday.
Ipswich has a rich history despite often being overlooked for its strong links with London and more commercial nature. Nonetheless, the town is very much a thriving part of Suffolk, with Christchurch Mansion presenting a superb art collection including paintings by Constable and Gainsborough of the local area.
John Russell Gallery'  is a perfect combination of tradition with a modern twist. Displaying art from East Anglian artists - most of which is focused on the landscape - this gallery specialises in the contemporary art sphere.
Despite Suffolk's relaxed environment, with its royal history and devotion to heart-warming countryside tradition it is a treasure trove of activity begging to be discovered.
Attending Newmarket on race day is an essential part of a trip to Suffolk. Take a 'flutter' and place a bet on some of the best horses racing in the country. The town is also a thriving shopping centre, with a wealth of eateries, shops and even overnight accommodation.
Southwold is home to Adnams brewery , a local brewer making beer and wine. This established and acclaimed brewer have attracted fame for their dedication to traditional brewing and high standards of drink. The products of the Adnams brewery rarely leaves the borders of Suffolk due to deterioration in taste, so find out how these drinks are made with the brewery guided tour in Southwold.
Suffolk is the festival hotspot of the country. Suffolk offers a number of cultural, traditional and family-oriented festivals. The most famous of these is Latitude festival , a popular music, arts and comedy festival held at Henham Park . Other festivals include Aldeburgh Festival - a festival of classical music set up by Benjamin Britten in the trendy/affluent area of Aldeburgh- and the two Southwold and Laversham Literature festivals.
For sports fans, going to see a match can be thrilling. Ipswich Town Football Club  currently play at Portman Road Stadium. Competing in the Football League Championship Ipswich have a very respectable record of wins and are sure to get pulses racing. For cricket lovers, Suffolk County Cricket Club  compete in the Minor Counties Championship, and also have a successful track record of three championship.
Crabbing isn't just a hobby in Suffolk- it's a life. Check out the British Open Crabbing Championship  held each year in Walberswick, growing in size each year, it is not uncommon for the event to attract over a thousand entrants.
Visitors often take advantage of the beautiful River Ore boat trips- a favourite with the residents is the Orford quay to Richardson's Smokehouse  trip, an excursion where patrons can sample freshly smoked fish and meat from a local family who have run the company for three generations.
In Felixstowe, The Spa Pavilion Theatre  caters for spectators all year round, with a variety of shows from pantomime to ballet. At Felixstowe Ferry, travellers can take a trip across the estuary to Bawdsey, and find out about the place where radar began.
For budding historians, there is nothing much more historical than Sutton Hoo . This national trust site served as a burial ground for Anglo-Saxon kings, and today there are various tours around the chamber.
Orford is also home to , the former abode of Henry II. Explore the maze-like building itself, and compare to nearby castle, Framlingham Castle .
Suffolk has a tasty selection of well-known restaurants serving a range of cuisine. It is particularly noted for its gastropubs, establishments adhering to the sumptuous tradition of the English pub, with an emphasis on brilliant cuisine.
The Anchor Inn a fine selection of speciality beers and wine, with traditional pub food, at low prices Main Street, Walberswick, nr Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6UA Tel 01502 722112
The Swan Inn being by the coast it’s no surprise that fresh fish is a popular choice for diners. A restaurant for fishermen at reasonable prices Swan Lane, Barnby, nr Beccles, Suffolk NR34 7QF Tel 01502 476646
152 Aldeburgh Local food at low prices in this restaurants calendar-correct menu 152 High Street, Aldeburgh, Suffolk IP15 5AQ Tel 01728 454594
The White Hart an adorably anarchic village pub as they should be. Enjoy fine food next to the loyal followers or the knitting circle or local crabbers group Helmingham Road, Otley Suffolk IP6 9NS Tel 01473 890312
The Station Hotel see the castle, then eat like a king in this relaxed eating establishment Station Road, Framlingham, Suffolk IP13 9EE Tel 01728 723455
Maison Bleue Suffolk might be quintessentially British, but some French charm does not go amiss with a delightfully fishy menu 30-31 Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1RG Tel 01284 760623
Crown and Castle Modern buzzy restaurant with eclectic menu Orford, Near Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 2LJ Tel 01394 450205
The Swan Hotel Lavish restaurant with a good choice of wine by the glass and choice of food for vegetarians High Street, Lavenham CO10 9QA Tel 01787 247477
Hintlesham Hall Dress up for an impressive dinner served in a sixteenth century manor house. Choose from the most delectable dishes, including cream of Jerusalem artichoke & watercress soup, all using fresh local produce Hintlesham, Ipswich IP8 3NS Tel 01473 652268
Fredericks at the Ickworth Feast not only your appetite, but your eyes on the decadent architecture and interiors of the Ickworth. With local food given an extravagant twist by up and coming chef Lee Childs Horringer, Bury St Edmunds 1P29 5QE Tel 01284 735350
If you are looking for a drink, check out one of Suffolk’s renowned traditional pubs. You will be spoilt for choice in Suffolk with these establishments, serving drinks the way all pubs should.
The Crown, this former hotel comes with a fine wooden and red leather decor, several types of local beer on tap, alongside a very respectable 20 wines by the glass. 90 High Street, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6DP (01502) 722275
The Kings Head Inn, Dating back to the 16th century, the King's Head Inn adheres to a unique tradition of serving beer straight from the casks of the tap room rather than from a bar Orford IP12 2LW 01394 450271
The Ship, a traditional family pub with Mauldon’s on tap from unique handpumps St. James's Street, Dunwich, Suffolk, IP17 3DT
The Anchor, a friendly pub with a range of unique and rare beers and wine- including some from the pub’s own vineyard 1 Court Street, Nayland, Suffolk, CO6 4JL
The Golden Key This is a pub with a landlord willing to go the extra mile. Local beer, and evenings to meet your winemaker Priory Lane, Snape, Suffolk, IP17 1S, (01728) 688510
The Anchor, Log fires and over 20 wines by the glass The Street Walberswick Suffolk IP18 6UA The Plough, a new pub with a lot of passion. This establishment even hosts its own beer festival in July The Street, Wissett, Suffolk, IP19 0JE (01986) 872201
As a large county, areas vary in different ways in terms of safety. As with most commercial towns, Ipswich has been known to become rowdy on Friday on Saturdays, particularly around pub/nightclub close. Nonetheless, with frequent taxis available, visitors can feel secure provided they plan ahead. In other areas, staying safe against the elements becomes more pressing. If you are driving, make sure to drive slow on frosty days, or days with poor visibility, as Suffolk has many country lanes that are regularly used by drivers. If visiting the coasts, or the broads, be sure to tell someone where you are going, and ideally to reserve these areas for daytime.
London is just a two hour journey away from capital town, Ipswich if you crave the hustle and bustle of the big smoke. Trains normally run well into the evening so you can enjoy the city at your own pace.
Sealand occupies an unusual position both geographically and politically and is well worth a visit. A kingdom in it's own right with it's own currency and flag, this tiny 'island' is the coast's most enthralling secret.