Halesworth is a town rich in heritage and history dating back to the Middle Ages. Granted market town status in 1222, Halesworth reached the peak of its prosperity when the River Blyth, on which it sits, was made navigable in 1756. This breakthrough greatly increased the town’s trade particularly for the maltsters and brewers.
The historic wealth of Halesworth is clear in the many fine buildings in the town, ranging from a Tudor rectory, an Elizabethan almshouse and Gothic House, home of the Bedingfield family from 1540 with a jetted first floor, hooded windows and unusual Jacobean porch.
Halesworth today is a friendly and welcoming place to spend a weekend or holiday, as it is small enough to get to know quickly, but large enough to offer a range of things to do, and only 15 minutes to the beach at Southwold.
Two excellent shops for you to visit when out and about in Halesworth are Focus Organic and Focus Boutique. In the Organic shop you will find an impressive stock of food & drink, jewellery, clothes, furnishings, plus a deli and a cafe. In the Boutique shop you will delight in the range of clothes and accessories, such as hats, scarves and bags, available. Both shops are great places to stop and buy for an ice cream or yummy snack, or to pick up a gift for someone special – or for yourself!
The Thoroughfare is the pedestrianised main street that leads to the marketplace where markets take place every Wednesday. A Country Market is held on Fridays in St Mary’s Church Hall. There is a library and art gallery in the Dutch-gabled former Cary Almshouses, built in 1686.
A visit to Halesworth should also include the Museum, housed in the town’s Victorian Railway Station. The museum exhibits artefacts from local history and geology, and has a special emphasis on the railway.
The Cut houses the vibrant community Arts Centre and is located in a former 19th century malting building. The Cut offers a full programme of exhibitions, dance, theatre, music, workshops and courses.
There is plenty of choice for dining out and accommodation in the town. In the 19th century Halesworth became a major centre for the brewing and malting industries, so you can expect some good ale here! The 16th century Angel Hotel has two bars and an excellent Italian restaurant so is well worth a view. The White Hart in Thoroughfare Way is also well worth investigating.
Halesworth boasts the largest green in the UK, consisting of a staggering 43 acres! This is grazing land that is part of the Blyth Valley Environmentally Sensitive Area, and is a haven for wildlife. In fact, the Blyth Estuary is one of the best spots around for birdwatching in Suffolk.
Halesworth offers something for everyone from nature and wildlife to history, architecture, and shopping. Browse the businesses below for more inspiration on what to do in and around Halesworth.
Things to do in and around Halesworth
You may also be interested in the following related guides: