Things to do in Suffolk
Suffolk boasts an exciting range of attractions and activities for every preference and budget. We designed this guide to provide you with things to do for couples, individuals, and families, which are a bit more relaxing than our Days Out Guide, as well as our Kids Days Out in Suffolk guide for younger children. We also offer a guide to Rainy Day activities in Suffolk and an all-encompassing what’s on in Suffolk guide with an updated list of all the current and future events.
Suffolk in East Anglia is home to a great number of historical sites and wonderful museums, but Sutton Hoo, where Anglo-Saxon kings were buried, is one of the most significant places to visit. There is so much to explore in Sutton Hoo, one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in the UK, which is managed by the National Trust and offers an exhibition hall with an interesting video and a ship burial chamber reconstruction, in addition to offering special events and enticing guided tours during the warmer summer months. See Sutton Hoo for current opening hours and information.
This magnificent Tudor house in England boasts Norfolk Horn sheep, Suffolk Punch horses, British White Cattle, Long Horn cattle, and the rare Baudet du Poitou donkey, among other animals (see picture above). The beautiful gardens include a peaceful pond housing wildlife and age-old yew trees decorated with a ‘Pied Piper’ hedge (see picture above). Kentwell Hall holds a variety of special events each year, including Tudor re-enactments, Magical Weekends, Kentwell through the Ages, and the Scaresville.
For more fun with horses, The National Horseracing Museum at Newmarket offers hours of fun for the whole family. The sport originated in Newmarket, where races are mentioned as early as the 12th century. The Jockey Club, the governing body for English horse racing, is headquartered right in the town.
Framlingham Castle & Orford Castle
Framlingham Castle and Orford Castle (pictured above and below, respectively) are two of the best-preserved and most impressive castles in Suffolk. Orford was the keep of Henry II, while Orford Castle is a maze of passageways and rooms that you may enjoy exploring daily. You may also find the sights of Orford Ness fascinating.
Colne Valley Railway
If you’re travelling to Essex from Suffolk, visiting Castle Hedingham to see Colne Valley Railway will undoubtedly be worth your time. One of Essex’s top-rated Visitor Attractions, Colne Valley is a beautiful line decorated with station buildings, bridges, and signal boxes that were all wonderfully restored. Be sure to check out the Travelling Post Office Exhibition and the Garden Railway during your visit. On warm days, visitors can enjoy a stroll around the Farm park to take in 30 acres of the tranquil countryside next to the River Colne. Beyond the abundance of well-known farm animals, you may also be lucky enough to witness Woodpeckers, Herons, Moorhens, Kingfishers, and Dragonflies.
The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway
The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway is Suffolk’s only active heritage railway with a standard gauge. discover more about the rich history of the unused tracks as you take a train ride in an authentic Victorian four-wheeled coach. The Middy also has an excellent museum with original structures, vehicles, artefacts, and exhibits. Throughout the summer season, the Middy hosts numerous special events, including bank holidays and school vacations. For more information, please see the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway.
There are many National Trust sites in Suffolk that range from the breathtaking heather and beach at Dunwich Heath to the fascinating Guildhall in Lavenham. Check out The National Trust in Suffolk to find more information about some of these Suffolk locations and what’s happening there.
East Anglia Transport Museum
Take a trip on one of the museum’s working trams, trolley buses, and narrow-gauge railways to get a taste of East Anglian transit history. The museum displays trams, trolleybuses and motor buses from different areas of the country, including Eastern Coach Works vehicles, which were made in Lowestoft. Other vehicles on display include old cars, trucks, vans, and taxis, some of which are still being restored. Plenty of seating is available around the site, in addition to two picnic areas, one located at the tram stop in the woods. Toilets with baby-changing and disabled facilities are also available. All proceeds from the museum are reinvested in operating costs or preservation efforts, as all staff members are volunteers.
In Suffolk, there are a lot of historical and enchanting villages to discover. Given many of the wool towns telling the tale of Suffolk’s rich history in the wool industry, Constable Country paying tribute to the life of the famous artist, Christchurch mansion speaking volumes of years long past, and so many other sites abundant in social history, it comes as no surprise that Suffolk boasts a myriad of historically significant areas for visitors to enjoy. Lavenham, for example, is a medieval village filled with historical significance, offering every visitor a chance to step into the past. You can gain a sense of Suffolk’s wool legacy at Lavenham Guildhall, which is one of the National Trust sites, and Lavenham Little Hall, a historic house from the late 14th century found on the village’s main square that is now a quaint and interesting museum. To find more details on Lavenham, click on the provided link, and click here to learn more about Suffolk museums. Bury St Edmunds is a wonderful historic town offering an array of shops, restaurants, and cafés, as well as an ancient abbey that is situated among the beautiful Abbey Gardens. For more things to do in Bury St Edmunds, check out our guide to Bury St Edmunds here.
For details of other Historic Sites and properties, please see Historical Places to Visit in Suffolk. Many historically significant sites in Suffolk, such as Landguard Fort, are regarded as English Heritage sites and are well-preserved to keep the stories of earlier times alive. For more information on English Heritage in Suffolk, see English Heritage, Suffolk.
Enjoy spending time in the great Suffolk outdoors? Check these out –
Outdoor Sports in Suffolk
Outdoor Activities in Suffolk
Check out Half Term Activitiesto get more information about events and things that are happening in Suffolk during the school holidays that all the family will enjoy. From theme parks like Pleasurewood Hills to fascinating animals in a lovely Suffolk nature reserve, you are sure to find something to your liking.
We at the Suffolk Food Hall are pleased to offer two enigmas: solving the mystery of Professor Campbell’s disappearance or escaping the Gamekeeper’s Bothy. Our adventure rooms combine traditional scenery with local Suffolk themes. Located in the farm buildings of the Suffolk Food Hall, under the Orwell Bridge, our adventures honour the site’s and the area’s agricultural history and are appropriate for all ages. Check out Puzzle Rooms for more info.
Glass & Craft Workshops
Glass & Craft Workshops, which is near the lovely town of Ipswich, Suffolk, provides a multitude of fun craft pursuits for everybody, from babies to seniors. There are activities such as ceramic and glass painting, mosaics, decoupage, sand art, fabric fun, wood painting, and bear building, just to name a few. It is best to schedule during school breaks and weekends, but booking is not required. throughout the warm summer months, there’s a playground open for all kids.
The Suffolk Escape Room
Area 51-themed adventures are available at Saxmundham’s Suffolk Escape Room. The authentic Nissen Hut can be found on the outskirts of an American-inspired Trailer Park, immersing 2 to 8 players in a wartime experience. Players must locate and solve complex puzzles to escape, but they must do it within 60 minutes. This adventure is suited for all ages. The escape room is completely wheelchair-friendly, but at least one team member has to be able-bodied in order to solve the puzzles adequately.
The Suffolk Punch Trust
A visit to the Suffolk Punch Trust close to Woodbridge is a great way to spend the day with your family. The Suffolk Punch is a local draught horse breed named after the county in which it was developed and “Punch” for its massive muscular appearance. This is a big animal that was developed for agricultural work, particularly ploughing, and always has a chestnut coat. These hulking animals are becoming increasingly rare, but you can still catch a glimpse of them where they originated. The Suffolk Punch Trust maintains the world’s oldest Suffolk Punch stud farm, which has been in operation since the 17th century. The Trust conserves this unique breed, and here you may also see Suffolk sheep, cattle, and yearlings, as well as the renowned Large Black Pigs. There is a cafe and a visitor centre, a heritage garden filled with varieties of local horticultural, demonstrations, an activity play area, and so much more. With regular events and festivals open to the public, discover what’s on at Suffolk Punch Trust here to experience it all.
There is a myriad of things to do and see at Stonham Barns, set in the heart of the beautiful Suffolk countryside. Visitors can enjoy a range of leisure activities, retail shops, Fit Club, Garden Centre, fishing lakes and the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, where visitors may hold mesmerising owls. Stonham Barns is situated on the east side of Stowmarket on the A1120 and guarantees a wonderful time. Parking and admission are completely free throughout the year. Want to learn more? Check out Stonham Barns Leisure and Retail Village.
Stargazing Ceramic Painting and Clay Studio provides a fantastic day out for the entire family. If the sun is out, you may dine on the roof terrace at the Suffolk Food Hall’s top. During this course, you will learn simple yet insightful techniques like line drawing and surface printing that will guide you to produce something truly unique.
Check out our guide to some of the most eventful and adventurous Days Out, as well as Kids’ Days Out in Suffolk to find some great ideas for family days.
Sizewell B Visitor Centre
If you’re looking for a more modern adventure, check out the Visitor Centre found at Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station close to Leiston. You will learn about how nuclear power stations operate and how electricity is produced by means of nuclear power. Visitors can enjoy site tours, provided they booked beforehand.
Food and Eating Out
After many hours of exploring all the attractions and partaking in the exciting activities in Suffolk, you are likely to crave a satisfying meal.
Find all the must-visit dining spots in Suffolk in our Eating Out in Suffolk guide, and find more details on all the wonderful Farm Shops and Farmers’ markets here.
Events – music, theatre, art exhibitions and more
Suffolk always hosts a wide collection of exciting events. Ensure you don’t miss out on some of them by exploring Suffolk Event, including art exhibitions and art and music festivals.
Looking for something to do? Find what’s on in your area –
For all the music enthusiasts out there, Suffolk houses a wide variety of concerts year-round, ranging from world-renowned professionals performing in the concert halls of Snape Maltings to amateur choirs making their voices known.
For a guide to all musical Festivals happening in Suffolk, please see Suffolk Festivals and for concerts, see Music in Suffolk
Throughout the year, Spinning Wheel Theatre provides a variety of activities for aspiring artists of all ages during the school holidays. In addition, they offer impressive professional performances that often tour Suffolk.
The Greene King Brewery and Museum is a must-see during your time in Bury St Edmund. Furthermore, a wonderful National Trust Property, Ickworth House, Park and Gardens boasts stunning Italian Gardens as well as the UK’s last working water mill found at Pakenham Water Mill. Check out our Guide to Bury St Edmund along with Days Out in Bury St Edmunds to find out more
The Suffolk Coast
There are numerous beaches to choose from should the weather be nice enough to invite you to the beautiful Suffolk Coast. There is adventure everywhere in Suffolk; you can see a great range of wildlife roaming free in safari parks and other wildlife areas, or rent a pastel beach hut on the North Sea and enjoy all that a Suffolk seaside holiday has to offer. In the lovely seaside town of Southwold, you’ll also find the Amber Shop and Museum, which tells the captivating story of Suffolk amber and displays a variety of stunning amber carvings and artefacts from countries all around the world.
Consisting of wide stretches of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it comes as no surprise that Suffolk boasts extraordinary natural beauty, both naturally occurring and somewhat domesticated. Suffolk has several noteworthy gardens, and Helmingham Hall, which has been in the possession of the Tollemache family for five hundred years, is probably the most well-known. The Halls’ extensive gardens, which are open to the public, reflect the Tollemache family’s dedication to making them beautiful. The Tudor moated Hall, which is situated in a four-century-old deer park, is surrounded by lavish gardens. The awe-spiring gardens are further complemented by the perfect balance of natural beauty and modern elements that are inspired by a Chelsea Gold Medal Winner and famous garden designer Lady Tollemache. Here, you can find more information about Helmingham Hall, Suffolk Gardens, which are open under the National Garden Scheme, and the many other Gardens in Suffolk that are open to the public.
If you have a passion for antiques and discovering hidden treasures, attending one of the regular auctions at Mander Auctioneers in Glemsford will make for a great day out. At a Manders auction, you can find an array of furniture, silver, pictures, ceramics, jewellery and more. Auctions are held on Saturdays, with the Friday before being a viewing day – so you can decide which item you want to snap up in advance! For more information and a list of auction dates, please click on the link above. Also, take a look at Yoxford Antiques Centre & Gardens and Woodbridge Antiques Centre if unearthing hidden treasures is your thing!
Courses are a great way to spend time in Suffolk and get to know the area.
Assington Mill offers an eclectic mix of over 50 short rural skills and crafts courses throughout the year, which include beekeeping for beginners, hen keeping, storytelling, upholstery and a wealth of others, so if you fancy trying something a bit different, click the link above to find out more.
This is just a small flavour of the fantastic courses and educational days out you can find in Suffolk – please see Courses in Suffolk for much more!
Find more things to do in Suffolk by clicking on the links below –
- Days Out in Suffolk
- Suffolk Tourist Attractions
- What’s On Suffolk
- Suffolk Attractions
- Beaches in Suffolk
- Walking in Suffolk
- Cycling in Suffolk
- Current Art Exhibitions
- Horse Riding in Suffolk
- RSPB Minsmere
- Fishing in Suffolk
Find information on Attractions, Festivals and Days Out in Suffolk