If you are visiting Suffolk and you are interested in learning more about the county’s history, you may also want to read our guide to Martello Towers in Suffolk, or our guide to Suffolk Museums.
A fine Tudor mansion built between 1548 and 1550 with later additions. A good collection of furniture, panelling, ceramics, clocks and paintings from the 16th-19thC.
Christchurch Park, Ipswich 01473 433554
A Norman motte-and-bailey with medieval walls and a Victorian folly. The castle has always had close associations with royalty since the Norman conquest.
Eye 01449 724636 – read our guide to Eye here.
A magnificent example of a late 12th-century castle. Built by Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, the castle, together with Framlingham Mere, was designed both as a stronghold and as a symbol of power and status – as befitted one of the most influential people at the court of the Plantagenet kings. Architecturally, the castle is notable for its curtain wall with mural towers, an early example of this
design. Walk around the impressive wallwalk, explore the mere and admire the fine castle gatehouse. It was here that Mary Tudor waited to hear whether she or Lady Jane Grey had been declared Queen after the death of Edward VI. A new introductory exhibition in the Poorhouse tells the story of the people
who lived in the castle through its long and varied history.
An elegant, red brick Elizabethan mansion surrounded by 300 acres of parkland situated between Woodbridge and Saxmundham. Glemham Hall was built circa 1560 by the de Glemham family, who took their name from nearby Great (Magna) and Little (Parva) Glemham. After a varied history, the Cobbold
brewing family purchased the house in 1923; it became the home of Captain John Murray Cobbold – founder and first chairman of Ipswich Town Football Club as a professional club – and his wife Lady Blanche, a daughter of the 9th Duke of Devonshire. The 3,000 acre estate now hosts a variety of events
including a country fair, open air opera and theatre.
Little Glemham, Woodbridge. Click here to read more on Glemham Hall.
A medieval timber-framed complex, Grade I listed dating from 15th century. There is a timbered guildroom, an old town hall which has a fine crown-post roof, a Georgian assembly room and a Victorian ballroom. Small walled garden with medieval features.
Market Place, Hadleigh 01473 823884
Holton Saint Peter Postmill
A restored postmill, dating from the mid-18th Century, on a 2-storey roundhouse. There are displays on the history and workings of the mill.
Holton St Peter, Halesworth
One of the finest timber-framed Tudor buildings in Britain, with tearoom, shop
and children’s guide. Click here to read our guide on Lavenham.
One of Suffolk’s most impressive monastic ruins of a 14th century abbey with a 16th century brick gatehouse.
Romantic Tudor mansion, home of the Hyde-Parker family. New interpretations,
craft displays, special events.
The Malthouse Project
A unique attraction providing a Heritage Centre, café and guided tours. The Project is a restored old maltings, which dates back to the 17th Century. Elsey’s Yard, Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds 01284 732550
The unique polygonal towerkeep of Orford Castle stands beside the pretty town and former port which Henry II also developed here in the 1160s. His aim was to counterbalance the power of turbulent East Anglian barons like Hugh Bigod of Framlingham, and to guard the coast against foreign mercenaries called to their aid. An 18-sided drum with three square turrets, and a forebuilding reinforcing its entrance, the keep was built to a highly innovative design. Climb its spiral staircase leading to a maze of rooms and passageways and visit the museum in the upper hall.
St Edmundsbury Cathedral
There has been a church on the site of Suffolk’s Cathedral for nearly 1000 years. Once part of the great Abbey of St Edmund, St James’ Church served the people of the town. The nave of today’s church, started in 1503, is the successor of that church. Though little remains of the Benedictine Abbey,
following the Dissolution in 1539, St James’ Church has continued to grow over the centuries. In 1914 St James’ became the Cathedral church of the Diocese of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich. The last 40 years have seen several additions to the church and its associated buildings, culminating in the recent Millennium Project. The striking Millennium Tower, completed in 2005, is now the crowning glory of St Edmundsbury Cathedral.
Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds – 01284 754933.
Saxtead Green Post Mill
This corn 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.
Somerleyton Hall & Gardens
Home of the Crossley family since 1844, the Hall was remodelled from an original Jacobean Manor. 12 acres of beautiful gardens with famous 1846 Yew Tree Maze. Guided tours of the hall, garden trail, Walled Garden and special
events. Somerleyton, Lowestoft 0871 222 4244
Enjoy a tour of this marvellous operational landmark, first lit in 1889. Stradbroke Road, Southwold 01502 722576. Read our overview of Southwold here.
This working mill dates from 1803 and is a Visitor Centre for Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Uplands Road, Thorpeness
West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village
Unique reconstructed Anglo-Saxon Village built on an original settlement site, giving visitors the opportunity to touch and experience Anglo-Saxon houses as we imagine them to have been one thousand five hundred years ago. Visitors can also see the archaeological objects excavated from the site on display in a specially built centre.
West Stow, nr Bury St Edmunds
Woodbridge Tide Mill
By the early 1950s Woodbridge was home to the only surviving tidal mill in the country. It is now fully restored and working.
Tide Mill Way, Woodbridge
Suffolk retains many fine examples of Medieval, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian architecture, for example, the Tudor Manor house Melford Hall. Holy Trinity Church nearby is Medieval, and there are several lovely private residences in Long Melford dating from the Georgian and Victorian times. (see Long Melford for more information on this picturesque village, one of the prettiest in Suffolk)
Guildhalls reflect Suffolk’s trading history and fine examples can be found in Lavenham and Hadleigh. These are superb timber framed buildings containing exhibitions on local history and the history of the cloth industry which was an important contributor to Suffolk’s wealth creation. Also in Lavenham is the Little Hall – a 14C house restored in the 1930s and now a museum
Euston Hall is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Grafton but it is open to the public to view their unique collection of paintings of the Court of Charles 11, including works by Van Dyck and Lely. (tel 01842 766366)
For a fascinating history of local lad Gainsborough’s life, Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury is the place to be. This is probably the only museum dedicated to an artist who actually once resided in the same house! Read more about Gainsborough and Constable here.
Otley Hall is a beautiful Grade 1 listed moated hall and gardens, formerly the home of the Gosnold family. In 1607 Bartholomew Gosnold founded Jamestown, the first English speaking community in the USA. The Hall has formal gardens, including a medieval herb and knot garden, and holds several Open Days and events during the year. Click the link above to find out more.
Somerleyton Hall and Gardens is an early Victorian ‘Anglo-Italian’ house, home to the Crossley family. You can take a guided tour of the Hall and enjoy 12 acres of beautiful gardens, which include a famous yew hedge maze dating back to 1846. (tel 0871 2224244).
South Elmham Hall and Minster – this is a medieval manor house built by the Bishop of Norwich ca. 1270 with walks through peaceful parkland. Discover the ancient and mysterious ruined Minster, and enjoy delicious food in a barn conversion set in landscaped gardens. (tel 01986 782526).
The National Trust have many sites in Suffolk ranging from the glorious Ickworth Park and Gardens, the historic Guildhall in Lavenham, Dunwich Heath with its magnificent heather and beach…..and lots more. For a full description see The National Trust in Suffolk.
Suffolk is also home to some interesting historical railways – see our guide to railways and steam trains in Suffolk for details.
Above are just some of the highlights of historical Suffolk. History is everywhere, featuring in the everyday life of villages and towns.
Have a fantastic time exploring and absorbing.