Just 2 miles from Kersey Hadleigh is a charming market town, with traditional colour-washed houses. At the heart of Hadleigh is the impressive 14th century church. It was built in medieval times with donations from wealthy wool merchants and has a wood and lead spire. There are lots of interesting shops in Hadleigh, most of them independently owned rather than chains, including the famous Partridges, a hardware shop that has an endlessly extensive range of goods for the home and garden. Of the 137 properties on the High Street 90% are listed! So even if you don’t go into the shops you’ll still have plenty of interesting sights to see. There is a fantastic choice of restaurants, pubs and cafes; a pretty riverside walk and railway walk as well as the guildhall/and 15th century deanery tower complex.
Perhaps the most famous of the wool towns, Lavenham once enjoyed such a high standing that in the reign of Henry VIII it was ranked as the fourteenth wealthiest town in England. For at least 500 years, the manufacture of various kinds of cloth and the preparation of wool and yarn were the main source of this wealth. The appearance of the town has changed little over the years: with more than 300 listed buildings, half-timbered houses lean crazily over the narrow streets while the magnificent Swan Hotel, a mass of wooden beams, now encompasses several surrounding cottages. The famous Lavenham Guildhall, built in 1529 by the Guild of Corpus Christi, is perhaps the town's most prominent feature. The building is owned by the National Trust and is open to the public. Little Hall, on the east side of Market Place, is the home of the Suffolk Preservation Society and is also open to the public. A must see is the Church in Lavenham. Church of St Peter and St Paul as it is more like a cathedral and is probably the last of the great Suffolk 'wool churches' to have been completed by 1530 just before the reformation. The town also has an abundance of art galleries, boutique shops, tearooms, and restaurants.
The ancient market town of Sudbury is set in the heart of the Stour Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Dating back to Saxon times, for centuries the weaving and silk industry has played a key role in the town’s prosperity and its many fine buildings. The Market Hill, an architectural gem, is the main shopping hub. There are lively markets here on both Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the year. Gainsborough's House is the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough, where the artist’s life is commemorated. Here you can also enjoy the garden, café and shop. In the evening the thriving Quay Theatre with its bar and art gallery, is a source of continually changing entertainment. You will find plenty of cafés, restaurants, pubs and a club or wine bar, or two, to help occupy your evenings. The River Stour and the famous water meadows that half encircle Sudbury provide a source of relaxation, with walking and cycling routes as well as boating and fishing.
Long Melford contains a delightful spread of 18th and 19th century fronted shops and houses, interspersed with the occasional original Tudor building. The village has become a major centre for the antiques trade and also has many lovely small shops, pubs and some fabulous restaurants. Nearby is the magnificent Kentwell Hall, a moated mansion approached via a long, tree-flanked drive. Restored in the 1970s by the current owners, it is open to the public and plays host to historic re-creations and other events. Melford Hall, owned by the National Trust is also in the village and is open to the public.
Situated in the beautiful, rolling Suffolk countryside you will find the old wool town of Clare. The town has a fascinating history, many interesting and compelling places to visit, and offers a wide range of shops, antiques outlets and high quality local cafes and pubs.
Lying in the Brett Valley, Chelsworth is the quintessential English village with thatched cottages, pretty church and cosy village pub and is surrounded by lovely countryside. The village is well known for having homes with beautiful gardens which are open to the public for one Sunday a year. Chelsworth lies on the Cycle South Suffolk route and is perfect for a village walk.
Bury St Edmunds is an important market town with a richly fascinating heritage, the striking combination of medieval architecture, elegant Georgian squares and glorious Cathedral and Abbey gardens provide a distinctive visual charm. With prestigious shopping, an award-winning market, plus variety of attractions.
Ipswich is steeped in history. From its town centre medieval streets and churches to fine buildings such as the Ancient House, Christchurch Mansion, Isaac Lord Merchant's House and the timber-framed Unitarian Meeting House. Just minutes’ walk from the centre of town, Ipswich’s historic Waterfront is undergoing an exciting renaissance. Where once industrial mills and warehouses stood, restaurants and bars now spill out onto a quayside where an array of yachts and cruisers are moored. Ipswich is architecturally rich, with a fascinating mix of old and new.
Debenham lies in the heart of the Suffolk countryside near to the source of the River Deben, a large, peaceful village which belies its past as a thriving wool centre. Evidence of this trade is all around in the timber framed merchants houses dating from 14th century. You will find delightful shops, cafes, pubs and a leisure centre in this pretty, historic village. A village trail can be found locally.
East Bergholt is the birthplace of John Constable and you can still see (from the outside) his studio and the place where his house once stood. The church is open to the public for teas and it is worth taking a look at the church bells, which are considered to be unique in this country. They are housed in a bell cage, separate from the church and are rung by hand. Shops/post office/pubs/tearoom. Free parking. East Bergholt lies on the Cycle South Suffolk route.
In Eye you will find timber framed buildings, pretty thatched cottages, the stunning Church of St Peter and St Paul and splendid views from the castle ruin. In the Church, the 15th century wooden rood screen with its intricate carving and painted saints, kings and bishops is alone worth a visit. Eye has a good choice of traditional shops, a pub, cafes and restaurants.
Flatford lies in the heart of the Dedham Vale and is the wonderful place where John Constable lived and did some of his best loved paintings. It is a small site in the heart of what is known as "Constable Country" and has Bridge Cottage, owned by the National Trust, a tearoom and gift shop; the Flatford Field Studies Centre where you can stay and learn to paint, take nature study courses, photography etc and the Flatford Visitor Information Centre. Close by is Dedham (a charming walk along the river and across the fields - Constable did this very walk every day to go to school!) which is another delightful village with Castle House, home of Sir Alfred Munnings open to the public and a lovely choice of small shops, restaurants and the stupendous Dedham Parish Church. Flatford lies on the Cycle South Suffolk route.
With its famous seaside towns (Dunwich, Aldeburgh, Southwold, Walberswick to name a few) the beautiful Suffolk coast is within a 60 minute drive. A highly recommended day out is the Dunwich museum, followed by crabbing in Walberswick.
South Suffolk is not only the perfect base to explore the county; it is also within easy access of Norwich, Cambridge and London.
Norwich - With a back drop of 32 medieval churches, 2 cathedrals and a Norman castle shopping in Norwich is a rather unique experience. High street stores, designer brands, independent shops and quirky goods are all on offer in this city listed as one of the top 10 places to shop in the UK.
Cambridge - Cambridge is merely 1 hours’ drive from Kersey just off the A14. We recommend that you do Park and Ride which is extremely reasonable. With buses going to and from the centre of Cambridge at regular intervals. Cambridge, home of Cambridge University, not only offers you a fantastic relaxing shopping experience with quaint passages set around the historic market place and colleges, the city also has many beautiful, historical buildings, museums and art galleries, pubs, restaurants and cafes.
London - You can be in central London under 2 hours from Kersey. Regular trains run from Colchester Station - (30 min drive from Kersey) - Liverpool Street Station. The train journey takes around 50 mins.
Ickworth House, Park & Gardens (National Trust) - 2 miles south of Bury St Edmunds, is a house with a fascinating history, exquisite collections and enchanting gardens. It was built by the eccentric 4th Earl of Bristol and houses an important collection of Old Master paintings.
Kentwell Hall - a lived-in and loved family home, something it has been for over 500 years. The public see much of the House, including rooms used by the family - usually with obvious signs of use. With its beautiful gardens, tea room and rare breed farm it is definitely worth a visit.
Melford Hall (National Trust) - For almost five centuries the picturesque turrets of Melford Hall have dominated Long Melford's village green. Devastated by fire in 1942, the house was nurtured back to life by the Hyde Parker family and it remains their much-loved family home to this day. Don't miss Beatrix Potter's Jemima Puddleduck toy and her bedroom
Lavenham Guildhall (National Trust) - Lavenham was once one of the wealthiest places in the country and is famed for its wealth of surviving timber-framed buildings, which make it one of the best-preserved medieval villages in England. One of the finest of these buildings is the Guildhall of Corpus Christi. Inside, you can follow the changing fortunes of Lavenham’s cloth industry, local families, as well as its farming heritage and agricultural roots.
Sutton Hoo (National Trust) - home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time. Walk around the ancient burial mounds and discover the incredible story of the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon king and his treasured possessions.
Gainsborough's House - houses a large collection of his paintings, drawings and prints.
Orford Castle (English Heritage) - The unique polygonal tower keep of Orford Castle, stands beside the pretty town and former port which Henry II also developed here.
Framlingham Castle (English Heritage) - a magnificent 12th century fortress. The castle was once the refuge of Mary Tudor before she became Queen in 1553 and visitors can now explore over 800 years of life at Framlingham Castle in the ‘From Powerhouse to Poorhouse’ exhibition.
Audley End House and Gardens (English Heritage) - Audley End is a magnificent house, built to entertain royalty, and includes a Victorian Service Wing complete with kitchen, laundries and a dairy. With beautiful grounds to explore, including an impressive formal garden, children's play area and the working Organic Kitchen Garden.
Hedingham Castle - Come and enjoy one of the exciting Jousting Tournaments or other entertainments. www.hedinghamcastle.co.uk. About 8 miles south east of Haverhill.
West Stow Country Park and Anglo-Saxon Village - The Anglo-Saxon Village is set in 125 acres of country park with woods, a river & a lake. Children's play area, Nature trail and Picnic area. About 5 miles North West of Bury St Edmunds.
Colchester Zoo - With over 270 species to see, set in 60 acres of beautiful parkland and lakes, Colchester Zoo is well worth a visit. There are over 40 daily displays, an undercover soft play area, 4 adventure play areas, The Lost Madagascar Express road train and much more!
Suffolk Owl Sanctuary -Stonham Barns - provides a delightful place to watch study or simply enjoy the company of Owls and other birds of prey.
Thetford Forest - Britain’s largest lowland pine forest and makes a great day out for all the family. At Thetford Forest's GO Ape you can experience swinging through the trees. High in the canopy you will experience breathtaking scenery while negotiating aerial walk ways via tree-top wires.
BeWILDerwood - is a wild and imaginative adventure park with magical treehouses and a hint of intriguing characters, bringing a curious difference to the Norfolk Broads.
Felixstowe - is a well loved resort known for its Blue Flag quality sand and shingle beach, long promenade, perfectly kept seafront gardens, old fashioned beach huts and seaside attractions. North of the town centre is the fishing village of Old Felixstowe and, at the mouth of the River Deben, the hamlet of Felixstowe Ferry with its gallery, golf course, cottages, boat yard and riverside inns. Here you can explore coastal paths, see the Martello Towers, pick up fresh fish at The Shed fish stall, enjoy excellent fish and chips at the Ferry Café and catch the small ferry boat across the estuary to Bawdsey.
Languard Fort- Originally built at the behest of Henry the Eighth, this fort in Felixstowe is the only fort in England to have repelled a full scale invasion attempt.
Pleasurewood Hills Leisure Park - A small theme park suitable for all ages on the Norfolk / Suffolk Border. About 2 miles north of Lowestoft.
Dinosaur Adventure - Dinosaur Adventure is Norfolk’s top theme park with over 100 acres of woods and parkland, containing animals from the Jurassic Period all the way through to the present day.
Jimmy's Farm - home of The Essex Pig Company, owned and run by Jimmy Doherty. A great family day out including a nature trail, adventure playground, working farm, shops, butchery, cafe, garden shop. Jimmy's Farm also hosts special events and courses throughout the year.
Newmarket Racecourses - Newmarket is both the historical home and the current powerhouse of British horseracing. The town houses over 2500 racehorses, some 70 licensed trainers and more than 60 stud farms. www.newmarketracecourses.co.uk.
Imperial War Museum - Duxford - set within the spacious grounds of the famous former First and Second World War airfield, IWM Duxford is home to an impressive collection of over two hundred aircraft as well as tanks, military vehicles and boats.
Snape Maltings Concert Hall - Snape, near Aldeburgh, IP17 1SR, Tel: 01728 687 110, www.snapemaltings.co.uk Music for those of you with a musical ear, the concert hall of Snape Maltings is of great interest. This old converted malt house accommodates a large audience for many classical music events held by Aldeburgh Music, especially the year-round Aldeburgh Music Festival, featuring a wide range of musical genres.
Let Iceni Tours show you Suffolk - Iceni Tours specialise in bespoke, chauffeur driven, guided tours of Suffolk's glorious Heritage Coast and its Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You'll visit the sites and sights you decide upon, staying as long as you want to. For more details, please contact - Iceni Tours. 27 Stone Street, Hadleigh, IP7 6DN, Tel: 01473 808826 /0770 967 4514.