EXPLORE: Heart of Suffolk
Pretty market towns and unspoilt villages, set among rolling countryside
Mid Suffolk is a wonderful place to explore, a rural heartland, rich in agricultural heritage, studded with market towns and unspoilt villages, amid rolling countryside and meandering rivers. Take a drive along quiet country roads, stop for a delicious lunch at a cosy pub along the way, and don’t forget to pack your boots – there are some great walks in mid-Suffolk. Hadleigh, Needham Market, Stowmarket, Debenham.
Hadleigh is a charming Suffolk Wool Town with all the hallmarks of medieval wealth including half-timbered merchants’ houses – Hadleigh has 246 historic listed buildings – a fine 15th century guildhall and a magnificent medieval church.
North of Hadleigh is Stowmarket, an ancient town on the River Gipping and an excellent starting point for river walks. Stowmarket is home to the Museum of East Anglian Life, 80 acres of farmland, historic Abbott’s Hall, Alton Watermill and other buildings that house collections and artefacts telling the story of East Anglia’s rural past. eastanglianlife.org.uk
Needham Market is a picturesque little town, a perfect destination for walkers and cyclists, with many local shops, pubs and restaurants, and a beautiful lake. It’s church boasts one of the finest doublehammerbeam roofs in the country.
Nearby Debenham is another picturesque village which became wealthy as a result of the medieval wool trade. It’s
full of 14th century merchants’ houses and is surrounded by wonderful countryside
– a great place as a base for a short stay in this part of the county.
Magnificent Helmingham Hall is a beautiful moated house that has been the private home of the Tollemache family for centuries. Between May and September you can visit the spectacular gardens and enjoy a delicious lunch or cream tea at the Coach House. Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 11am-4.30pm. Full wheelchair access, dogs welcome on a lead. Helmingham Hall also hosts several events throughout the year, including heritage plant fairs, classic cars and Walk with a Fork for charity (September 16). helmingham.com
Spread across 2,000 acres of parkland, farmland and woodland, the beautiful Thornham Estate, has been the home of the Henniker-Major family for over 250 years. There are over 12 miles of well-established permissive walks, known as Thornham Walks, a cafe, restaurant, walled garden, fishing lakes, holiday properties and a campsite. thornhamestate.com
Suffolk Day celebrations at the Museum of East Anglian Life.
Helmingham Hall will open its gardens in winter for the first time
Stonham Barns Adventure Golf