English Heritage exists to protect and promote England’s spectacular historic environment and ensure that its past is researched and understood. The English Heritage sites in Suffolk range from fantastic castles to humble bridges, all set in Suffolk’s beautiful countryside. Many English Heritage sites offer events throughout the year, browse below to find out more.
Moulton Packhorse Bridge
The English Heritage site of Moulton Packhorse Bridge is a pretty four-arched late medieval bridge, spanning the River Kennett on the old route from Cambridge to Bury St Edmunds, near the charming village of Moulton. Moulton pre-dates the Doomsday book of 1086, making it an older village than Newmarket. It’s open year round, and free to the public.
Framlingham Castle is a magnificent example of a late 12th-century castle. Architecturally, the castle is notable for its curtain wall with mural towers, an early example of this design. Today the imposing stone walls and crenellated towers with their ornate Tudor chimneys dominate, while the grassy earthworks around the castle are subdued reminders of its outer defences. To the west, the Mere provides a stunning setting. See our Framlingham Castle display for more information on opening times and costs.
Bury St. Edmunds Abbey
Bury St. Edmunds Abbey features extensive remains of the wealthiest and most powerful Benedictine monastery in England, shrine of St Edmund. They include the complete 14th-century Great Gate and Norman Tower, and the impressive ruins and altered west front of the immense church. While the Saxted Green Post Mill was one of many built in Suffolk from the late 13th century. Though milling ceased in 1947, it is still in working order. Climb the stairs to various floors, which are full of fascinating mill machinery.
One of Suffolk’s most impressive monastic ruins, Leiston Abbey, formerly known as St Mary’s Abbey, was founded in 1182 at Minsmere by a powerful lawyer named Ranulf de Glanville, Lord Chief Justice to King Henry II. The order of the Abbey was a House of Augustinian Canons Regular who followed the Premonstratensian rule. Unlike monks, their main duties were preaching and pastoral work. Find out more about Leiston Abbey
The unique polygonal towerkeep of Orford Castle stands beside the pretty town and former port which Henry II also developed here in the 1160s. Both exterior and interior survive almost intact, allowing visitors to explore the basement with its vital well, and the lower and upper halls – the latter the principal room of the castle. Round these polygonal rooms is a maze of passages, leading to the chapel, kitchen and other chambers in the turrets. From the roof there are magnificent views seaward to Orford Ness National Nature Reserve
Felixstowe Museum features fourteen display rooms of local social and military history, housed within the 1878-built submarine mining establishment. Shop, tearoom. Special exhibitions for 2008 commemorating the 90th anniversaries of the formation of the RAF and the end of World War 1.
Landguard Fort is the site of the last opposed invasion of England in 1667 and the first land battle of the Royal Marines. The current fort was built in the 18th century, and modified in the 19th century with substantial additional 19th/20th-century outside batteries. Guided tours and audio tours of the fort are supplemented by a DVD presentation of the site’s history, and by guided tours of the outside batteries. A new guidebook tells the fascinating history of the Fort. The nearby submarine mining building houses Felixstowe Museum’s Collections of local interest.
St James’ chapel
St James’ chapel in Lindsey lies on the road to Kersey. St. James’s Chapel is a pretty thatched 13th-century chapel with lancet windows which in its heyday served as a chantry to nearby Lindsey Castle. All that survives of the castle today is the traces of the motte and bailey earthworks, but this chapel survived the Reformation to become a barn, a use to which it was put for nearly 400 years. St. James’s is open year-round and is free of charge.
Why not check out some other Things to Do in Suffolk. Or look up What’s On Suffolk for other great Suffolk activities and ideas.