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5 Things Ipswich is Famous For

Ipswich is the historic county town of Suffolk, located in East Anglia about 10 miles from the mouth of the River Orwell. It has a maritime history, reminders of which can still be seen today, and it’s one of the oldest towns in England too. Ipswich is a brilliant place to visit if you’re looking for somewhere to have a day out or even if you’re after somewhere to stay for a few days. It’s under two hours from London by car or just over 70 minutes away by train, making it easy to access from the capital. There’s a lot about the town to like, from its history to the culture that you can discover there today. Keep reading to find out more about what makes Ipswich recognisable.

Visit Ipswitch in Suffolk

1) It’s Age

Romans Ipswich

Ipswich is one of the oldest towns in England and could possibly be the oldest. During Roman times, the area around Ipswich was an important route inland to towns and settlements via the Orwell and Gipping rivers. There was a large Roman fort at Walton near Felixstowe, and the largest Roman villa in Suffolk was at Castle Hill in north-west Ipswich. In the Anglo-Saxon era, the modern town began to develop around the Port of Ipswich.

Just nine miles from Ipswich, you can find the important medieval burial site of Sutton Hoo, where King Raedwald, ruler of the English between 616 and 624, is probably buried. Many treasures have been found here too. You can find replicas of the Sutton Hoo treasures at Ipswich Museum.

2) Culture

Aerial view of suburban houses in Ipswich, UK. River Orwell and marina in background. Nice sunny day.
Aerial view of suburban houses in Ipswich, UK. River Orwell and marina in background. Nice sunny day.

Ipswich is a cultural hub, and there’s always something going on in the town. The Regent Theatre is the largest theatre in East Anglia and is over 90 years old, with a varied programme. Other places to watch performances and stage productions include the New Wolsey Theatre, Jerwood DanceHouse, and the Corn Exchange, where you can see your favourite musicians and comedians. Ipswich has some great festivals too, such as SPILL, a contemporary arts festival, PULSE, which promotes new and innovative performances, and Ipswich Maritime Festival.

Ipswich has some great galleries and museums, including Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich Museum, and Ancient House, a Grade I-listed building which has a small gallery in the attic and sometimes hosts exhibits.

3) Ipswich Waterfront

A high viewpoint of the Shotley peninsula coastline taken from cruise ship in Ipswich, England, United Kingdom
A high viewpoint of the Shotley peninsula coastline taken from cruise ship in Ipswich, England, United Kingdom

Ipswich is known for its maritime history, despite being inland, and the town’s waterfront is still a great place to go to today. The waterfront might not have been a bustling port since the 1970s, but it’s still a busy place today. It’s full of restaurants, bars and shops, as well as offices. The 19th-century Old Custom House is still there, and the area’s history is now blended with its modern use. It’s a great place to sit and have a drink or some food, and you can do so while enjoying a nice view. If you want to actually get on the water, you can take a cruise on the Orwell River.

4) Markets in Ipswich

Ipswich Markets

If you like walking through a market, whether it’s just to browse or to buy something, you’re in luck when you come to Ipswich. Ipswich has had a market going for over seven hundred years, with the first market started in 1317. Anyone who visits Ipswich today has a choice of several markets that they can visit for some shopping and browsing. The Ipswich Market offers fresh produce, homemade items and flours four days a week, and is located next to the Corn Exchange. On the first Sunday of every month, you can check out the farmer’s market, or you can explore the independent markets put on by the local businesses in the Saints quarter of the town.

5) Food and Drink

Ipswich Food

People who love exploring a new place through the food and drink on offer will love Ipswich. Suffolk is often called the Foodie County, known for its artisan food and drink producers that have been founded in the last few years. Take a trip to Suffolk Food Hall if you’re looking for a variety of local food to try. In addition to the food hall, which has everything from a butcher to a chocolatier, there’s also a restaurant and lots of events suitable for foodies. You can also find a few microbreweries in Ipswich if you’re a fan of real ale or craft beers.

Ipswich has a big personality for a relatively small town. Its history and culture make the Suffolk town a must-visit for anyone who wants to see more of England.

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