The port town of Ipswich is thick with history. It began life as a trading settlement in 600 AD, and by the Middle Ages, it was rich from the wool trade. By the reign of Queen Victoria, Ipswich had become the main county town of Suffolk.

Today, Ipswich retains this position, combining historic buildings with a flourishing town centre. Packed with restaurants, pubs and generous shopping facilities, Ipswich has something for everyone.


Take time to view the Ancient House, one of the oldest buildings in the town. Built in 1567, it is heavily decorated with ancient carvings. According to a local legend, King Charles I stayed there.

Christchurch Mansion is well worth a visit. Surrounded by a beautiful park, this is now a museum heaving with an old world atmosphere.

The more culturally minded tourist may also visit the Ipswich Museum, or perhaps wander round one of the town’s ancient churches.

The John Russell Gallery will please those with a taste for modern art, while the summer visitor will take delight in the annual Art Festival.

Sport fans will already know the Portman Road Stadium, home to Ipswich Town Football club. Alf Ramsey (whose England squad won the 1966 World Cup) was once a manager here. Why not book a seat for the next game?


Shopping in Ipswich is not a facility but an attraction in itself. The town boasts a number of independent shops situated in its historic streets and alleys. These include The Walk, a charming row of delicatessens and specialist food shops.

Tower Ramparts and the Butter Market are the two main undercover shopping malls, both conveniently situated in the town centre. The main department stores are also to be found in the high street.

Visitors heading towards the old docks will discover rare booksellers, music shops and a host of specialist retailers.

Out-of-town shoppers wanting DIY and electronic goods should head for Anglia Retail Park.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Ipswich’s central position makes it a magnet for the county, and the weekend social scene is busy. Along with six nightclubs, the town centre is packed with bars and pubs.

Restaurants and bistros are in plentiful supply, offering everything from home cooked pub food to foreign cuisine.

The old docks are being developed as a modern waterfront and seafood lovers should book a table at one of its gourmet restaurants. Visitors heading that way should check out Cardinal Park, the brand new entertainment complex. This is home to a number of eateries, as well as nightclubs, bars and a cinema.

For a dramatic evening out, the Wolsey Theatre produces a number of critically acclaimed shows. Independent theatre and music concerts are also staged in some of the town’s churches and public venues.

Tourist Information

Ipswich Tourist Information Centre, St Stephens Church, St Stephens Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 1DP Tel. 01473 258070 www.visit-ipswich.com


London Stansted is the nearest big airport, and is just an hour's drive away.

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