Historic Suffolk Guide
by Ben Johnson
Facts about Suffolk
Famous for: Heritage coastline, being one of the flattest counties in England
Distance from London: 2 hours
Local delicacies: Suffolk Rusks, Suffolk Fish pie, Kersey Pudding
Airports: None (close to Stansted though)
County town: Ipswich
Nearby Counties: Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex
Welcome to Suffolk. This is ‘Constable Country’, named after the artist John Constable who loved to paint the area around Dedham Vale in the Stour Valley. Born in East Bergholt, Constable’s famous works include ‘The Hay Wain’ and ‘Flatford Mill’.
Thomas Gainsborough was another famous painter from Suffolk, Born in Sudbury, he too painted the landscapes of his home county, although he is most famous for his portraits.
Suffolk was also the centre of the lucrative English wool trade. The wool towns of Lavenham, Long Melford, Cavendish and Clare are famous today for their beautiful buildings, many built by wealthy medieval wool merchants. Lavenham in particular attracts thousands of visitors who come to enjoy the glorious medieval and Tudor architecture, including the simply stunning Guildhall.
The Suffolk Heritage Coast runs from the charming seaside town of Felixstowe in the south, up towards Lowestoft in the north. On this coast there is something for everyone, whether it be wild and windswept beaches or resorts with beach huts, piers and promenades. Orford boasts a castle and a lighthouse, although this once-bustling port is now separated from the sea by a huge shingle spit called Orford Ness.
Further up the coast you find Aldeburgh and Southwold, a sailing and fishing centre with lovely beaches. This coast is also home to several nature reserves such as Walberswick, Minsmere and Dungle Marshes.
Suffolk boasts an impressive range of castles, ancient sites and grand stately houses. Sutton Hoo, perhaps the most famous of all Anglo-Saxon sites in England, is near Woodbridge in the south of Suffolk. Kentwell Hall near Long Melford is a beautiful moated Tudor mansion which hosts historical re-creations throughout the year.
A coastal county, Suffolk is proud of its seafood. Other local delicacies include Kersey Pudding, a boiled pudding with raisins, Suffolk Rusks served with butter and jam, and Suffolk Swimmers or dumplings.