Rich in maritime history, Ipswich is Suffolk’s county town and one of the oldest places in England dating back to the seventh century. The waterfront on the banks of the River Orwell is the perfect place to appreciate this history with the mixture of old and new architecture, shops, restaurants and bars, alongside cobbled streets leading to medieval churches. There is something for everyone to enjoy as Ipswich is also home to many artists and galleries, with a thriving theatre and dance scene. And if you’re a foodie, then there are plenty of options with festivals, farms and a food hall in the area!
From the waterfront quay you can even take to the water on a cruise or have a go at learning to sail on a yacht- look out for the Orwell Bridge spanning the river. The Maritime Festival takes place annually with nautical themed events and activities as well as markets, street entertainment and historic vessels sailing to the marina.
There is plenty more history to discover in the town, sites such as Unitarian Meeting House - one of the oldest surviving buildings, right next to one of the newest buildings - the Willis Building designed by Norman Foster. There are also 12 medieval churches in Ipswich, Wolsey’s Bells that still toll in St Lawrence Church today are the oldest church bells in the world. Take your pick of museums from Ipswich Museum with its own woolly mammoth, or the Transport Museum which is home to the largest collection of vehicles from one town, with an old fashioned bus which will take you free of charge from the train station to the museum. Christchurch Mansion is also well worth a visit where this Tudor mansion with beautifully ornate rooms and a gallery boasts a fine collection of Constable and Gainsborough paintings.
Theatre-goers are spoilt for choice in Ipswich, with the New Wolsey Theatre providing a varied programme of comedy, musical, classics and contemporary works. Ipswich also has the Red Rose Chain Theatre, featuring a local group who perform in and around Ipswich including an annual performance in the woodland at Jimmy’s Farm. For a chance to see world class dance performances head to DanceEast on the waterfront.
Local food produce is what it’s all about in Suffolk with farmers and artisans providing a wealth of delicious produce, which you can find in many of the local markets, cafés and restaurants as well as the Suffolk Food Hall. Jimmy’s Farm is a great day out for the family, where you can pet the farmyard animals on a nature trail, sample the sausages and cider in the restaurant or go and see a band play at one of the music evenings.
An apartment provides the perfect base whether you’re in Ipswich on business or keen to explore all that this ancient and vibrant waterfront town has to offer.
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