Suffolk Country Towns to Discover
Suffolk is a county full of character, with a patchwork of agriculture dotted with small villages, market towns and a natural coastline and wide skies. Tucked away amidst this lowland landscape you’ll find some charming country towns, each with their own identity and character.
Bungay (pictured) is a fine example of a thriving Suffolk community, which is ideally placed within the Waveney Valley and a short trip to the coast. We visited while the annual gardener’s market was in full swing and the small town was buzzing. Plant stalls and a host of local food producers and artisan craftworks lined the streets. We met a local couple who had walked up from neighbouring Earsham and they told us how Bungay has become a bit of a hub for artists of various types. Apparently they’re attracted by the light, landscapes, and local creative scene. This was in the very popular Earsham Street Cafe, where we picked up a useful guide showing three different walks around the town, finishing up at the cafe of course! The river Waveney borders Norfolk and Suffolk and there are many attractive public footpaths crisscrossing the meandering waterway.
Heading south from Upthorpe Lodges and close to the opposite county boundary of Essex, you’ll find the slightly larger town of Sudbury. The town boasts a local market every Saturday in the large central market place overlooked by the impressive St Peter’s church. Once the home of silk mills, and the Suffolk artist Thomas Gainsborough, you’ll find traces of both without looking too hard. This town is also along a river, the Stour, made famous by another world re-known East Anglian artist, John Constable. Like Bungay, Sudbury has a local theatre with frequent productions and touring artists.
A short trip along the A14 will get you to the central Suffolk town of Stowmarket. Although surrounded by a lot of modern housing (partly due to the main Norwich-London line), Stowmarket is particularly worth a visit because of the Museum of East Anglian Life, with its entrance central to the town. Spread over several acres, the museum’s various buildings house fascinating collections of remnants from Suffolk’s past which is not just a tale of agriculture, but industrial and social history too.
There are plenty more towns and villages to explore while staying at our lodges, and inside each lodge there’s a collection of guide books, local maps and leaflets. So if you can tear yourself away from the ‘chill zone’ of the lodges, there’s plenty to discover.