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Ipswich town centre

Ipswich is the county town of Suffolk, set on the River Orwell, and is one of the oldest towns in England. Soaked in history, and with plenty of places to eat, drink, shop, and visit!

Ipswich has many beautiful historic buildings- if you walk to the waterfront you might stumble across Wolsey’s gate which has stood in the town since its construction in 1528. Take a stroll around the town centre (make sure you look up aswell!) to spot the historic architecture, the Ancient House is a real treat.

Ipswich town centre
St Nicholas Street, Ipswich

Ipswich has plenty of entertainment on offer, with several venues hosting a variety of performances and events through the year. The New Wolsey Theatre, the Cornhill Exchange, and the Ipswich Regent Theatre to name a few. Combined, these offer an eclectic programme including music, drama, comedy, amateur dramatics, cultural events, pantomimes, and much more!  If you are interested in learning more about the history of Ipswich, the museum is free to visit and hosts many brilliant exhibitions – it is also the home of Wool-I-Am, a life-size Woolly Mammoth model! 

By far one of the most popular attractions in Ipswich is Christchurch Mansion. This beautiful Tudor property is rich with history and has a fine collection of paintings to gaze at; including the biggest collection of Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable paintings outside of London. Take a walk around the beautiful grounds and at the very top of the park you might even see Mabel the Tawny Owl sitting in her favourite tree! This park really comes alive during the summer, with family picnics, sports, music events, and is such a great place to walk the dog.

Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich
Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich

The shopping scene in Ipswich has been evolving over many years, with big high street brands and an increasing presence of independent shops. This includes clothing boutiques, galleries, music shops, florists, crafts and gifts; take a walk down St Peter’s Street in the direction of the Waterfront to get a taste of what there is on offer, although these little independent gems are scattered all over the town!

Ipswich has an incredible range of places to eat, including an array of independent cafés such as the lovely Green Room which is just down the road from Christchurch Park, and there is also a growing number of Vegan/Vegetarian eateries. There are so many restaurants that Ipswich can cater for almost every culinary desire; Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Turkish, Indian, European, and good old fashioned pub grub! One of Ipswich’s most highly rated restaurants is the Mariners, docked on the Ipswich Waterfront Marina, this is a remarkable dining experience. The waterfront is also a brilliant place for a drink, with many places to sit and eat outside – Isaacs is extremely popular during the summer and has a fantastic atmosphere.

Hot Chocolate at the Green Room, Ipswich
Hot Chocolate at the Green Room, Ipswich

Ipswich is a lovely place to spend some time; explore the historic town centre, support some of the independent shops, have a picnic at Christchurch, take a stroll along the Waterfront, or just enjoy a delicious meal out!

As a town that is only a mere twenty minute drive from our Barns to rent in Suffolk, it will likely come as no surprise to discover that we’re fairly well clued up on the best things to do in Ipswich. If you’re new to the area, and looking for a spot of inspiration to get you excited about a visit to the town when taking a holiday at one of our Barns and Barges for rent, we’ve got you covered with our following recommendations:

  • Take a tour of St Peter’s Brewery

We’re fairly well spoiled with breweries in Suffolk. Indeed, we’ve got Greene King in Bury St Edmunds, Adnams in Southwold, and in Ipswich, we’ve got St Peters. Defining itself as a “traditional Suffolk brewery”, St Peter’s offers visitors an opportunity to take a tour and sample a range of their beers when visiting the town. 

  • Visit the Tudor House on the Waterfront

Another thing we’re very fortunate to have in Suffolk is a large number of expertly-preserved historic buildings. In Ipswich, the 16th century Tudor House located along the waterfront has been superbly transformed into a museum which reveals a great deal about how life was in Ipswich when it possessed a great maritime significance in Tudor times.

  • Enjoy an evening at the theatre

As well as historic buildings and fantastic breweries, Ipswich is also home to a thriving arts and culture scene. From regular live music events to stand up and festivals, you can safely rely on being thoroughly entertained when visiting the town. Perhaps the most reliable way to ensure that you have an enjoyable night out in Ipswich is to pay a visit to the New Wolsey Theatre. Hosting shows, plays, comedies and musicals, there’s certainly something for everyone at this fantastic theatre.

  • Take a boat tour

Whilst there’s plenty to see out and about on foot in Ipswich, there’s also the option of taking a boat tour along the River Orwell to see a selection of the sights from the waterway. With many operators available, it couldn’t be easier to explore the waterways and surroundings of Ipswich by boat.  

  • Explore Christchurch Mansion and Park

Though you may think that featuring one 16th century building would be sufficient in a list like this, the fact that Ipswich has more than one worth visiting is deserving of a mention. Unsurprisingly located in Christchurch Park, the aptly named Christchurch Mansion features a rich collection of art to view as well as a beautifully designated park area to unwind in when all you feel like doing is relaxing.

Altogether, Ipswich is a fantastic town to explore when visiting Suffolk for a holiday at one of our Barns and Barges for rent. We also have plenty of up to date blogs should you require any recommendations about where’s best to eat and drink.

Last Updated on April 25, 2023 by Ollie Pearson