Despite being a modern town in Suffolk, UK, Ipswich maintains a lot of the old-world charm in its architecture – especially in the downtown area. In addition to being the county seat of Suffolk, Ipswich is conveniently situated close to Bury St Edmunds, Woodbridge, Felixstowe, Stowmarket, Lavenham, Sudbury, Lowestoft, Diss, Beccles, and Aldeburgh. These can be reached easily by bus, train, or car.
Visitors will find plenty of things to do in Ipswich. The River Orwell and Alton Water lake are also both nearby and offer wonderful opportunities to enjoy some waterside fun during the summer months in England. From theme parks, museums, and bars to charming restaurants and fascinating historical sites, Ipswich boasts a wide range of exciting attractions to keep the whole family intrigued.
Explore all of the attractions and fun things to do in Ipswich below to make your trip to this charming town in Suffolk’s countryside worthwhile.
For more information on the town, please see our guide to Ipswich.
Things to do in Ipswich on a Day Out
Jimmy’s Farm & Wildlife Park
Visitors can spend an enjoyable day with the kids at Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Zoo in Ipswich and meet all the animals. The farm is home to both exotic and farmyard species, and there is a coffee shop where visitors can sit back and enjoy the peace of nature. Some of the animals visitors can expect to see here include reindeer, wallabies, alpaca, crocodiles, peafowl, pigs, ring-tailed lemurs, and butterflies.
There is also a farm shop where you can browse for items, and an adventure playground the kids will enjoy. There’s always something to do at Jimmy’s Farm, and they regularly hold events and festivals here as well.
Learn more about Jimmy’s Farm, here!
If you’re fond of go-karting or travelling as a family, there are various places in Ipswich to choose from.
Anglia Indoor Karting offers indoor karting for those looking for a thrill. There are tracks for both adults and younger visitors, and a variety of tracks. In addition to the full-sized racing tracks, the Kubz Karting track caters to visitors of ages 5 to 7, so the whole family will have a blast.
Beacon Rally Karts offers competitive prices and a seven-day-a-week operation in addition to off-road karting near Ipswich.
Read more about Beacon Rally Karts, here!
Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm
Baylham House Farm is a great place to visit with children and was voted Suffolk’s Best Visitor Experience for three consecutive years!
They have both indoor and outdoor activities for all age groups, so it’s a great choice for an all-day outing. The goal of the farm is to assist in preserving the indigenous livestock by breeding them and providing all animals with optimal welfare in a peaceful environment.
Baylham House Farm is the perfect location to have a picnic, meet all kinds of animals, walk along the lakeside and riverside pathways, and spend the day in the fresh air of the Suffolk Countryside. Walk the grounds and feed the friendly farm animals with the provided food as you go.
Fynn Valley Golf Club
Golf lovers will be delighted by the variety of options and stunning views at Fynn Valley Golf Club and Restaurant in Ipswich. The club offers 9-hole and 18-hole courses, practice greens and bunkers, and expert coaching for beginners to the hobby. Members and visitors alike are welcome to the golf courses, often considered some of the finest in the country.
Read more about the Fynn Valley Golf Club, here!
Alton Water Lake & River Orwell
If you’re fond of swimming and being in the water, Ipswich is home to many options.
While you may have to opt for a local swimming pool for most of the year, if you visit Ipswich during the month of June, you’ll be able to take part in the Great East Swim in Alton Water Lake.
Alton Water Lake and the meandering River Orwell are two bodies of water that also provide a wide array of other activities and water sports. If you fancy water sports or sailing, be sure to look into what the Alton Water Watersports Activity Centre has to offer.
Find out more, here!
This 16th-Century gentleman’s manor house was built during the mid-1500s by Edmund Withypoll using Tudor brick. The building is home to a Georgian saloon, an authentic Tudor kitchen, and is considered one of the most breathtaking pieces of UK heritage.
Christchurch Mansion is Grade I listed and today houses an eclectic range of displays. Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable are among the artists whose work is displayed here, in a wonderful collection sure to captivate any beholder. Constable’s paint brushes and palette are among the items on display in the Wolsey Art Gallery, a large room within the Christchurch mansion.
There are many different rooms and collections inside Christchurch Mansion, in addition to a striking glass and china gallery and an intriguing collection of Victorian games and toys in the museum. Many events occur in the grounds of the museum throughout the year, and entry is free, so everyone can explore the enticing history of East Anglia here.
The Ancient House
Another Grade I listed building well worth visiting in Ipswich is the Ancient House. It is also referred to as Sparrowe’s House and dates back to the fifteenth century. The front of the building is home to ornate pargeting, designed as a Tudor representation of continents around the world. These include Asia, Africa, America, and Europe.
Located close to central Ipswich, this historic area is home to woodland, arboreta, and rolling lawns that make it an ideal attraction for nature lovers. Children’s play areas are also well-provided at Christchurch Park.
There are tennis courts, bowling greens, and croquet lawns, as well as space for traditional play. The site has been holding the Green Flag Award for seven years and counting – a testament to its popularity!
Throughout the year, many events and activities take place at Christchurch Park. Wildlife and Education Rangers have plenty in store for children of all ages, including nature walks, storytelling, arts and crafts activities, and trails.
Find more information, here!
If you’re looking for a relaxing activity while visiting Ipswich, why not stop by the Pennikkity Pots ceramic painting café? There are a variety of options to choose from, including décor items and functional pieces, and visitors don’t have to make a reservation ahead of time. It comes as no surprise that this is often considered one of the best things to do in Ipswich!
Learn more about it, here!
Suffolk Craft Society
Founded in 1970, the Suffolk Craft Society aims to promote excellent designer crafts and support local artists and craft-makers. There is a variety of craft and art pieces on display and for sale at any given time, including furniture, sculpture, prints, ceramics, jewellery, and textiles.
If you plan to spend your day out shopping in Ipswich, the Society is an excellent place to start.
Read more about the Craft Society, here!
Fans of performance entertainment will be thrilled to discover that Ipswich has a lot to offer! From theatre entertainment to live music with your friends and family, everyone will find something to their liking in Ipswich.
The Red Rose Chain can take you on a journey through a magical forest where you can experience quality theatre, including classics like Shakespeare and Wuthering Heights.
Additionally, there are always new performances and events at The Ipswich Regent Theatre and The Corn Exchange. The New Wolsey Theatre also offers programmes and guarantees an unforgettable experience.
Wild Raspberry Ceramic Cafe
Wild Raspberry Ceramic Cafe is a great place to sit and paint textiles or ceramics, with plenty of guidance. This activity is suitable for children and adults of all ages! It’s enjoyable, imaginative, and relaxing.
Visit their website to find out how both adults and little ones can have a great day here, or contact their company number to reserve your spot in their unmissable workshop at 07776 062872.
Suffolk Ski Centre
There’s lots of fun to be had at the Suffolk Ski Centre, where you can experience a challenging yet rewarding activity that strengthens both your body and mind. Children also benefit from taking part in skiing, as it is a satisfying and developmentally advantageous activity that makes for the perfect adventure for birthday parties.
Through race training, kindergarten ski play, snowboard parties, and ski toboggan, as well as a Saturday workshops to build skill levels, skiing is made accessible to visitors of all ages at the Ski Centre.
Founded by a local industrialist in the mid-1800s, the Ipswich Museum first functioned as a site for scientific study and public improvement and debate. By the late 1800s, it had moved to its current location and became a hub for science, the arts, natural history, and learning.
During this time, it was considered a leading museum and gained a high reputation nationally. Today, it is home to more than 200,000 objects and extensive collections, including installations like the Egyptian Gallery.
Note that the museum is currently undergoing refurbishments and new developments, but will open its doors to the public once again in 2025.
Keep up to date on Ipswich Museum’s latest developments, here!
Ipswich Transport Museum
Another museum well worth visiting is the Ipswich Transport Museum, where visitors can learn more about the history of transport and engineering in the Ipswich area. The museum is home to over a hundred historic objects, including cars, bicycles, and buses.
Located at the heart of this historic town, the Waterfront is perhaps one of the most popular areas in Ipswich. It is known for its rich history and variety of attractions and activities to be enjoyed. It is also home to the University of Suffolk (Ipswich Campus).
Many events and festivals are held here each year, including SPILL, PhotoEast, and the Ipswich Maritime Festival.
Be sure to explore the Waterfront next time you’re visiting Ipswich.
The local community in Ipswich is fanatical about good food, so you’ll be spoilt for a choice of places to eat when you visit.
There are a great number of cafés and restaurants in the area, and everything from burgers and hot drinks to fine dining is on the menu. There is even a waterfront dining experience aboard a century-old Dutch boat at Mariners Restaurant in Ipswich Marina, a short drive from Ipswich Town Centre.
There is also the Suffolk Food Hall, offering delicious meals made from local produce and other tasty treats.
Find more of Suffolk’s best dining options, here!
Accommodation in Ipswich
Spending the day in Ipswich might be so enjoyable that you wish to return for a longer stay. There are various campsites, B&Bs, and hotels to choose from, including the beautiful Hintlesham Hall Hotel in Ipswich.
Find more great accommodation options, here!