The 10 best things to do in Suffolk

Diversity is the name of the game in Suffolk, with a surprisingly wide range of attractions and experiences within its small borders – from boating in the southernmost reaches of the Broads National Park to visiting an icon of the Industrial Revolution (incidentally located not far from one of the country’s largest nuclear reactors). In between, you can choose between nature in Minsmere, culture in Aldeburgh and drink in Southwold.

For more inspiration, explore our guide to Suffolk and the area’s best hotels, restaurants and nightlife.

Find what to do by area

Inland Suffolk

Get out on the water in Beccles

Beccles is a pretty Georgian town high above the river on the Suffolk/Norfolk border, and definitely worth a visit. But it’s also the southernmost navigable point of the Broads National Park, and so a perfect place to pick up a day boat or canoe and get out on the water. That’s exactly what you can do at the family-run Hippersons Boatyard in the city, or at Rowan Craft or Three Rivers, both in nearby Geldeston. The latter has its own floating wood-fired sauna, if you want something else afterwards.

Insider tip: If you’d rather let someone else drive, take the Big Dog Ferry to the excellent Locks Inn for a pint or two.

The Broads, Beccles, Suffolk

The Broads are a perfect place to spend a day on the water – GuruJosh

Swing through the trees in Thetford Forest

Right on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, Thetford Forest was made for Go Ape’s ziplines and rope bridges, and luckily there’s a branch of the treetop adventure park on hand. Bring the whole family and enjoy a forest adventure – not only at Go Ape, but also on several hiking and cycling trails through the forest. Book in advance and check first that your children are old enough (and big enough) for the main Tree Top Adventure.

Insider tip: Enjoy a before or after meal in the Elveden Inn or the excellent Courtyard Restaurant – both part of the extensive Elveden Estate.
Price: ££

Thetford Forest, SuffolkThetford Wood, Suffolk

Discover the beauty of Thetford Forest as you weave through the trees

See the sights in Lavenham

Perhaps the most idyllic of central Suffolk’s wool towns – and certainly the best known and most visited – Lavenham is the jewel in the crown of inland Suffolk: a small town with more creaky, crooked half-timbered houses than you can count. The main market square is the center of it all and is home to the city’s National Trust-run Guildhall, where you can view an exhibition about the city’s history. You should also visit the church of St Peter & St Paul on the hill – as good a testament as any to the wealth and piety of 16th century Lavenham.

Insider tip: Among Lavenham’s many good choices, the brasserie in the historic Swan Hotel is a good place for lunch, serving an excellent two-course lunch for £22.50.

Lavenham, SuffolkLavenham, Suffolk

Idyllic Lavenham is famous for its crooked half-timbered houses – This content is copyrighted./Jon Arnold

Discover one of the best places to live in Britain

Framlingham is regularly voted one of the best places to live in Britain. Framlingham’s main attraction is the castle, home to Mary Tudor in the 1550s, which dominates the town from the top of the hill and is referenced by the local boy, Ed Sheeran. You can walk around the 12th-century defensive walls, still topped with their Tudor-style chimneys, and enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.

Insider tip: Be sure to visit the impressive medieval church of St. Michael, which is located next to it. This church is worth a visit for its collection of the most beautiful grave monuments in the world.
Price: £

Framlingham Castle, SuffolkFramlingham Castle, Suffolk

Walk the walls of Framlingham Castle with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside – Photography

The Suffolk coast

Try making gin

It’s not often you come across a working brewery in a city centre these days, but that’s exactly what you’ll find in Southwold, which despite its tidy reputation is still engulfed in the beery fumes of the long-established local Adnams Brewery every day. There are regular tours which are very popular, and they last around an hour to see the main features of the brewery and sample a few beers. They’ve also started distilling gin, so you can take a tour of the distillery too.

Insider tip: Keep an eye on the website, because on certain days you can make our own gin.

Price: €£

Adnams Brewery, Southwold, SuffolkAdams Brewery, Southwold, Suffolk

Stroll through the beer-hazy town of Southwold – James Bedford/Adnams

Go Twitching in Minsmere

It may seem hard to believe now, but the sleepy seaside town of Dunwich was once a large and important medieval seaport before the sea swept it away. You can enjoy a visit to the ruins of a monastery, a visit to the local museum or even exploring some of the underwater ruins just off the coast, but the real draw to this town is the wonderful RSPB bird sanctuary at nearby Minsmere, where visitors can stroll through the lagoons, watch the birds and perhaps spot the odd otter among the reeds.

Insider tip: If you get hungry, you can also enjoy the excellent fish and chips at Flora Tea Rooms in Dunwich, or pop into the cozy Ship Inn for a pint or a snack.

Price: €

Minsmere, SuffolkMinsmere, Suffolk

Spend time at Minsmere Ornithological Harbor – This content is copyright./FLPA/Paul Sawer

Discover one of England’s most famous composers

Situated on the outskirts of the city, the Red House was once the home of Benjamin Britten and is now home to a museum filled with artefacts relating to England’s most famous 20th century composer. Among several outbuildings you can also see the library, still filled with Britten and Pears’ collection of furniture, books and paintings, and the studio where he composed ‘War Requiem’ and other late works.

Insider tip: Try to combine your visit with a tour of the house, which is filled with Pears and Britten’s extensive collection of 20th-century art.

Price: €

Red House, SuffolkRed House, Suffolk

The Red House, home of Benjamin Britten, is packed with curiosities related to the famous composer – PHILIPVILE/PHILIPVILE

Dive into Anglo-Saxon history

Sutton Hoo is perhaps the most important Anglo-Saxon archaeological site in the country: the burial place of a warrior king who was buried in a forty-oared ship with a wealth of possessions in the early seventh century. You can see the main burial mound along with several others, a mock-up of the ship and a short film, and sadly only a handful of the major finds, as most are in the British Museum.

Insider tip: Tranmer House is a late 1940s building used by the Women’s Army of the Land Army during the war. The graffiti on the building still proves this.
Price: €

Experience Suffolk’s Industrial Revolution

The mundane town of Leiston is not generally considered one of the best places to visit in Suffolk. That’s a shame, because the Long Shop Museum is home to an authentic and atmospheric icon of the 19th century, the Leiston Works, which produced steam-powered machinery and exported its products around the world. Not only that, but the founder’s daughters, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Millicent Fawcett, became two of the most famous and influential women of their time.

Insider tip: Walk to Sizewell and enjoy a hot drink in the shadow of the nuclear power station at Sizewell Tea, a real beach cafe with good food too.

Price: €

Visit a city forgotten by time

Orford is nestled in a quiet corner of the Suffolk coast, protected by the long spit of Orford Ness. It is one of those places where the road seems to end: a sleepy village/town split between a market square and 12th-century castle keep, and a quayside from which you can take trips to both the Orford Ness National Nature Reserve and the RSPB reserve on nearby Halvergate Island.

Insider tip: Make sure you come hungry: there are a number of dining options on the main square. You can also stop for some fish and seafood to take home at Pinney’s on the harbor.

Orford, SuffolkOrford, Suffolk

Spend some time in the peaceful town of Orford on the Suffolk coast – This content is copyright./Jon Gibbs

How we choose

Every attraction and activity in this curated list has been tried and tested by our destination expert, to bring you their insider perspective. We cover a range of budgets and styles, from world-class museums to family-friendly theme parks – to best suit every type of traveler. We update this list regularly to stay informed of the latest vacancies and to provide current recommendations.

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