Our rich past … 10 heritage attractions to visit in Suffolk and Essex this summer – Latest Ipswich News

PUBLISHED: 12:43 31 July 2017

There’s plenty of activities for youngsters who love history across Suffolk and Essex during the school holidays. Picture: ANDREW MAYBURY

Copyright 2016 Andrew Maybury, all rights reserved.

Families with a love of history have ample opportunity to delve into the past and explore the two counties’ heritage during the long school summer holidays. Here are 10 of the best attractions.

Sutton Hoo. Picture: ALISON CONNORSSutton Hoo. Picture: ALISON CONNORS

Sutton Hoo’s burial mounds are a strange sight in the landscape, creating an eerie atmosphere and allowing visitors to step back 1,400 years to a time of Anglo-Saxon royalty. The excellent National Trust exhibition explains all – how the site’s treasures were unearthed and the lives of those who lived there. The site is open 10.30am to 5pm daily.

Leiston Long Shop MuseumLeiston Long Shop Museum
Framlingham CastleFramlingham Castle

The Long Shop Museum at Leiston is a chance to explore Suffolk’s industrial past. The museum looks at the history of the Garrett Engineering Works in the world’s first purpose-built assembly line building, and features a variety of events, including Workshop Wednesdays for youngsters, steam days, talks and exhibitions. Visit for details.

Mid Suffolk Light Railway: Picture: MSLRMid Suffolk Light Railway: Picture: MSLR
Landguard Fort at Felixstowe. Picture: PETER WILESLandguard Fort at Felixstowe. Picture: PETER WILES

Framlingham Castle has undergone a £1.2million improvements project with a new cafe, gift shop and exhibition space this summer. The castle – where Mary Tudor was proclaimed Queen of England – is probably Suffolk’s best known and has a variety of activities and living history events this year. Full details at

Orford Castle. Picture: EMANUEL RIBEIROOrford Castle. Picture: EMANUEL RIBEIRO
Tv personality Griff Rhys Jones at the unveiling of the Roman chariot racing mosaic at Colchester Abbeyfields. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGETv personality Griff Rhys Jones at the unveiling of the Roman chariot racing mosaic at Colchester Abbeyfields. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Affectionately known as the Middy, the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway is Suffolk’s only standard gauge heritage railway museum – and runs regular steam days enjoyed by enthusiasts of all ages. The MSLR is open on every summer Sunday and Bank Holiday until August 28 from 11am to 5pm.

Kentwell Hall in Long Melford. Picture: PHIL MORLEYKentwell Hall in Long Melford. Picture: PHIL MORLEY
Ipswich Waterfront. Picture: JOHN FIELDIpswich Waterfront. Picture: JOHN FIELD

Landguard Fort at Felixstowe was the site of the last opposed seaborne invasion of England in 1667. It is open daily from 10am to 5pm. People can also visit Felixstowe Museum in the fort’s Ravelin Block on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays in August, and there are also the added attractions of a nature reserve, cafe and the port viewing area.

West Stow Anglo Saxon village.

 Picture: DENISE BRADLEYWest Stow Anglo Saxon village.


Orford Castle is one of the most striking monuments on the Suffolk coast – and from its roof on a clear day you can see as far as Felixstowe. The 12th century polygonal keep houses Roman and medieval artefacts and Orford Museum, and audio tours are available. Visit for full details.

Colchester’s Roman past is brought to life at the town’s castle, the site of the Temple of Claudius attacked by warrior queen Boudica. There are also other sites to visit around the town – including the remains of a Roman theatre, guided tours every Saturday of the Roman Circus chariot racing site, and the site of the earliest known Christian church. Find out more at

Kentwell Hall at Long Melford has several special events this summer including living history days with more than 200 costumed Tudors on site to recreate the everyday life of this great house in the 1500s, plus a chance to see the gardens and farm. Visit for a full programme of opening times this summer.

One of the best ways to explore Ipswich’s history is on one of the many themed guided walks on Tuesdays and Thursdays, plus occasional evening and weekend walks. This summer’s include Ipswich Goes to War, Blue Plaques, Blackfriars to Waterfront, and I’ve Never Noticed That Before. For a full programme visit

The recreation of an Anglo-Saxon village on the exact site of an original settlement at West Stow is a fascinating day out. As well as exploring the huts, dressing up as an Anglo-Saxon and meeting rare breed pigs and chickens, there is the chance to take part in an archaeological mini-dig. For details of opening times – and special events – visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

twenty − nine =