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Holidays in Ipswich

A town thought to be the oldest in the country, now a hub of arts and culture

UK | East of England | Suffolk | Ipswich
Ipswich harbour

Ipswich is the county town of Suffolk and is situated on the estuary of the river Orwell. The town has been continuously occupied since the Saxon period and its port has always been considered one of the most important in England. It is thought to be the oldest town in England although it has battled for some time with nearby Colchester for the title!

Ipswich has a vibrant art scene with many galleries and resident artists. Christchurch Mansion in Ancient House and the Artists’ Gallery in Electric House are well worth a visit.

The town is also home to lots of interesting sculptures and promotes the creation of new works of art, all available to the public. The three main museums are Ipswich Museum, Christchurch Mansion, and the Ipswich Transport Museum. The New Wolsey Theatre is great to catch up on the latest plays and shows.

The Ipswich Arts Festival, Ip-art, is a popular summer arts festival that has been going for nearly fifteen years and offers a variety of film, music, literature and different performing and visual arts. There is a new jazz festival which is also gaining ground, with not only jazz but art and photography as well.

Ipswich harbour

The waterfront area, a former industrial dock, is now a thriving centre and home to lots of coffee shops, bars and restaurants. It is lovely to just sit and watch the yachts sail in and out of the harbour. You can also do a spot of shopping here and watch some live music of an evening.

On the opposite side of the harbour is the ‘island site’ which houses The Last Anchor bar and restaurant. If you want to do more than just watch the boats, why not take a trip out on the water – there are lots of boat trips, including the Orwell Lady and the Allen Gardiner which is a restaurant too.

"The spectacular waterside area is perfect for watching yachts sailing in and out of the harbour."

Ipswich centre is great for shopping. Boasting quirky independent boutiques nestled in between high street shops, you will also find little artisan delis and coffee shops dotted in between the larger shops.

Hopefully you will be in Ipswich when the annual Suffolk county show takes place; this is a good time to catch up on the lovely animals native to the area including the masterful Suffolk Punch horses, the black faced Suffolk sheep and the Red Poll cattle.

All around Ipswich is the most stunning countryside and miles and miles of beautiful coastline. Gorgeous parks and nearby long sandy beaches compete for visitors, but the parks seem to win as there are so many to lose yourself in. Most are great for dogs and children with lots of expansive green spaces and playgrounds and you will see lots of wildlife around the woods and ponds.

There are also lots of trails and rides to try if you are in the mood for going further afield! One park not to miss is Christchurch Park which is home to Christchurch Mansion, a Tudor house which is now a museum open to the public. It houses one of the most important collection of Constables in the country so is great for art lovers.

While you’re there

Christchurch Mansion

Pay a visit to this Tudor House, now a museum open to the public.

The Suffolk County Show

Meet some of the native livestock such as the Suffolk Punch horses.

The Ipswich Museum

A great opportunity to view curiosities from the natural world.

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