Magnificent winter locations in Suffolk: 9 you must visit this Christmas
- Credit: Archant
Are you searching for places to go this winter? Suffolk has some truly magical places simply perfect for a day out with the family that are sure to get you feeling festive. Here are 9 locations you have to visit over the Christmas holiday
1. Framlingham Castle
This beautiful 12th Century castle is surrounded by parkland and gardens sitting alongside the Framlingham Mere. It is said by many that this backdrop is the most breathtaking view in all of Suffolk. Throughout November and December the castle is only open at weekends but for a few days over the Christmas break it is only closed on Tuesday. Its walls and the surrounding grounds make for a spectacular walk; taking in the fantastic views of the frost covered countryside and discovering its incredible ancient history make it well worth a visit.
2. Sutton Hoo
The awe-inspiring Anglo-Saxon royal burial ground near Woodbridge is the site of two 6th and early 7th century cemeteries, one being an undisturbed ship burial concealing a vast wealth of artefacts as well as incredible archaeological discoveries - perhaps one of the most important in Suffolk to date. The Hoo itself will only be open on weekends this season but the estate can be enjoyed daily where guests can explore the mysterious 7th Century burial mounds and the surrounding woods. There will also a superb selection of historical and festive events taking place including a Christmas fayre, wreath making and Winter Solstice walks. A list of all of the events can be found here.
3. Ickworth House
This magnificent Georgian rotunda commissioned by the 4th Earl of Bristol set in an idyllic countryside landscape is perfect for a family day out. Appreciate the exquisite architecture and fascinating Hervey family eccentricities throughout the House and Italianate gardens. Maybe enjoy a tranquil stroll through the estate's parkland and after take tea in the café before finishing with a browse in the gift shop. Ickworth will be hosting an abundance of Christmas events this season such as wreath making workshops, Christmas craft-making, mince pie workshops and even the incredible 'Living History' transporting you back to life as a 1930's servant at the Estate.
If we're lucky enough to see a bit of winter sunshine then Christchurch Park - spanning an amazing 33 hectares in the heart of Ipswich - will make an ideal destination for a day out. It was the first public park to open in the town in 1895 but has recently undergone a £4.5 million restoration providing play-areas, tennis courts, table tennis tables and bowling greens. The park is perfectly located to be able to enjoy an astounding selection of events in Ipswich including the Ipswich Christmas Market, Christmas tree festival in St Mary-le-Tower church and numerous other shows, exhibitions or festivals.
5. The Broads
The Broads are Britain's largest protected wetlands, home to over a quarter of the rarest plants and animals in the United Kingdom. If you're looking to take the family back to nature this Christmas then the Broads are the place for you. Perhaps hire a boat and explore the miles upon miles of navigable lakes and rivers making it the ideal spot to kick back and catch some fish as the waters are home to a wide variety of species. Maybe even go for a winter walk along one of the areas numerous footpaths and admire the breathtaking vistas - your options are nearly endless.
6. Kentwell Hall
Despite what many believe, Kentwell is not a stately home but very much a family abode - and has been for nearly 500 years. Visitors to this resplendent Tudor house are free to explore the rooms - many featuring very obvious signs of family use, or walk through the ancient gardens featuring a moat, wildlife ponds, ancient trees and beautiful flowers. This year, Kentwell will be taking guests back in time to Christmas 1869 where they can meet the Bence family and their staff, enjoy some Christmas music, or just relax in the Tavern or Tea Room.
Situated within the heart of charming Suffolk town Bury St Edmunds, the Abbey was at one time among the richest and most powerful Benedictine monasteries. Although it's now in ruins, its remains are substantial and definitely worth exploring. Weather permitting, the internationally renowned Abbey Gardens are perfect for a more relaxing meander to admire the stunning rose garden while the kids enjoy the play area. The Abbey and its gardens are open every day during daylight hours and are free to enter.
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This charming hamlet tucked away in the idyllic Dedham Vale was said to be the inspiration behind a lot of artist John Constable's most famous works and after spending a little time exploring, it's very easy to see why. There are few things more relaxing than strolling alongside the banks of the River Stour, admiring the beautiful Flatford mill or exploring Willy Lott's House. Flatford's Valley Farm is a popular National Trust site and we recommned taking on their 4-7 mile walk to really get a taste of Suffolk's part of Constable Country.
9. Ipswich waterfront
The Waterfront boasts a relaxed atmosphere in a beautiful location with a wonderful selection of cafes and restaurants to choose from. Enjoy a stroll along the cobblestones watching the boats on the harbour, or perhaps take a sightseeing trip on the water yourself with a barge trip - there are a few different companies to choose from! Or, just sit back and relax with a coffee from one of the many coffee shops and cafes, you could even treat yourself to afternoon tea at the Salthouse Harbour Hotel.
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