Coast’s Choice: Suffolk

After our brief visit to Norfolk we’re now moving to its sister county, Suffolk, for our next edition of Coast’s Choice.

Here are some of the team’s favourite places to visit whilst passing through this part of East Anglia:

Jimmy’s Farm

Rare breeds farmer Jimmy Doherty shot to fame when his Essex Pig Company farm and free range meat production firm became the subject of a fly on the wall documentary series for BBC2. After several follow-up programmes on BBC1 and Channel 4, the farm is now famous across the country and welcomes visitors seven days a week.

Its nature trails, woodland walks and butterfly house are the perfect places to help you feel at one with nature, while you can support ethically and local produce by dining at the farm’s restaurant or field kitchen. There is also a butchery and farm shop if you wish to take away a tasty treat to cook up in your caravan or motorhome!

Entry to Jimmy’s Farm is free, however the venue does host special events such as comedy nights, butchery courses and craft fairs where ticket entry may apply. Click here to find out more.

Nearest caravan site: 2.9 miles

Long Shop Museum

The Industrial Revolution was a significant historical watershed for the whole of the UK and its effect on Suffolk is celebrated at the Long Shop Museum near Aldeburgh.

Its wonderful collection of memorabilia from 200 years of Suffolk life includes full-size steam engines build by local firm Richard Garrett & Sons, the UK’s earliest purpose-built production lines, fire engines and objects from everyday life through the ages.
The Grade II listed building also houses exhibits examining the area during World War II, including a tribute to the American 357th Fighter Group that was based at Leiston airfield, and the Theberton Zeppelin crash.

Long Shop Museum is open from 31st March – 31st October, entry costs £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. Further details are available at the museum website.

Nearest caravan site: 1 mile

National Horse Racing Museum

East Anglia has a rich racing heritage as the royal origins of the sport are believed to hail from Newmarket. The National Horse Racing Museum is located in part of the Subscription Rooms, a building where gentlemen would meet in the 19th century to place bets on their favoured phillies.

Today, the museum tells the history of horse racing from the Bronze Age to the modern era through paintings, sculptures and historical documents. From the racing silks worn by famous jockey Frank Buckle in the 1790s to specialist exhibitions on all aspects of horse racing, there is something to get every equine enthusiast’s juices flowing!

Tickets for the National Horse Racing Museum cost £6.50 for adults and £3.50 for children. The museum is open seven days a week – click here for opening times. 

Nearest caravan site: 5.6 miles

Somerlyton Hall

This Victorian mansion is a magnificent example of Anglo-Italian architecture, with its opulent carved stonework exterior and intricate interior design. Designed by John Wentworth in the 17th century and embellished by Prince Albert’s favourite sculptor, John Thomas, during the Victorian era, Somerlyton Hall is owned by the Crossley family – descendents of a Yorkshire carpet manufacture who made his fortune in the mid 1800s.

The house itself has many intricate design features, from the green-veined marble panels and coloured stained glass domed ceiling in the entrance hall to the enormous alabaster fireplace in the library. It is also decorated with priceless paintings and carvings.

Somerlyton Hall’s gardens are equally impressive, spanning 12 acres encompassing a yew hedge maze and a large lake. Visitors are invited to hire rowing boats or explore the tunnel garden, which contains the Bygones Museum -  a small collection of gardening memorabilia

Somerlyton Hall is open to the public on Tuesday-Thursday along with Saturdays during the height of summer. Admission costs £9.95 for adults and £4.95 for children and includes entry to both the hall and gardens.

Nearest caravan site: 2.8 miles

Wool Towns

In Medieval times, Suffolk played a key role in the booming textile trade with weavers travelling from all over Europe to the towns of Cavendish, Clare, Long Melford and Lavenham in order to share their expertise. This generated a great deal of wealth in the area, meaning even today some grand examples of Medieval architecture are on show.

Lavenham in particular is awash with period buildings and is thought by many to be the country’s best presevered Medieval village. Guided walks are available to explain the rich history and architecture of the area, while the National Trust often performs live spinning and weaving demonstrations at the Guildhall of Corpus Christi.

Those of you with a passion for history might be interested in printing off the Heritage Trail, which includes the wool towns in its recommended places to visit.

Nearest caravan site (to Lavenham): 7.8 miles

Before you set off for Suffolk or any other destination, make sure you have a valid caravan insurance or motorhome insurance policy. If your caravan cover is due for renewal, call us on Freephone 0800 614 849 for a competitive caravan insurance quotation.