Discover Suffolk’s past by exploring the county’s ancient sites, castles, museums and stately homes.
Surrounded by parkland and a picturesque lake, Framlingham Castle was once a stronghold of the powerful earls and dukes of Norfolk.
Visitors can embark on a journey of discovery around the magnificent wall walk. At over ten metres high, the castle’s curtain wall has stood for more than 800 years and boasts spectacular views of Framlingham and the surrounding countryside.
Take a look inside Framlingham’s workhouse, the only building remaining inside the castle walls today. Built around the shell of the castle’s medieval great hall, the workhouse provided work and lodgings for the town’s paupers from the 17th to 19th centuries. There is also an interactive exhibition where you can discover more about the history of Framlingham Castle and its former residents, including Mary Tudor who was proclaimed Queen of England at the castle in 1553.
Ickworth, Bury St Edmunds
Ickworth house, with its classical Rotunda, forms the centrepiece of the Ickworth estate. It was built as an 18th-century palace to showcase the many treasures and art collected by the flamboyant 4th Earl of Bristol. Head into the Rotunda see Ickworth’s array of treasures and follow the eccentric Hervey family’s history through portraits by Gainsborough, Hogarth and Reynolds. Downstairs, you’ll find the 1930s servants’ basement, restored using real stories and memories of former staff who kept this country estate running.
The immaculate Italianate gardens surround the Rotunda. The earliest surviving example of their kind, the 1st Marquess designed the gardens as pleasure grounds for his family and guests to enjoy. There are also acres of parkland and a new all-weather path to enjoy. Visit for free from 9 to 18 September as part of Heritage Open Days. nationaltrust.org.uk
Kentwell Hall, Long Melford
Kentwell Hall is an impressive Tudor house that stands within an extensive moat and almost 30 acres of stunning gardens and parkland. The Hall showcases Tudor portraits, interesting artefacts and historic tapestries while its moat house, a rare survivor of a 15th-century service building, contains a working dairy, bakery, brewhouse and stillroom.
Kentwell is renowned for its living history events and this autumn’s highlight is the Tudor Michaelmas Weekend & Apple Days on 24 and 25 September. Don’t miss the fully interactive experience with crafts, cooking, music and dancing with a whole community going about everyday life, as if you had travelled in time back to the year 1549. Kentwell’s garden team will also be on hand to tell you all about the many varieties of apples and pears in Kentwell’s Walled Garden. kentwell.co.uk
East Anglia Transport Museum, Lowestoft
A living museum where visitors can not only view vehicles of yesteryear but also ride on public transport from the earlier part of the 20th century. Hop aboard the working trams, trolley buses and narrow-gauge railway and experience the atmosphere of days gone by with a walk through the period street scenes.
The museum accommodates examples of trams, trolleybuses and motor buses from various parts of the country, with a number of examples of motor buses built at the Eastern Coach Works in Lowestoft. Other vehicles include vintage cars, lorries, vans and taxis, some in various stages of renovation. Hear the swish of trolley poles, the purr of the diesel engine and the rhythmic hiss of steam, making this a real trip back in time.
Visits are free on Saturday 10 September as part of the Heritage Open Days eatransportmuseum.co.uk
Sutton Hoo, Woodbridge
This beautiful 255-acre estate, with far-reaching views over the River Deben, is home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time, an Anglo-Saxon royal burial site. Visitors can walk around the site and discover the incredible story of the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon king and his treasured possessions before heading into Tranmer House to find out about the archaeological work that took place at Sutton Hoo.
A fascinating exhibition brings together original treasures from the Sutton Hoo Great Ship Burial alongside objects from the Stafford Hoard – the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver ever found. Swords of Kingdoms: The Staffordshire Hoard exhibition runs until 30 October 2022.
The estate also offers several walking trails including the River View Walk which takes you through tranquil woodland with a sculpture trail, featuring beasts of Anglo-Saxon design.
Halesworth Airfield Museum
During its short four-year run of active service, Halesworth Airfield played host to some of World War Two’s most influential participants. The airfield was mainly used as an American base and both the 56th Fighter Group and the 489th Bomb Group stayed there. Towards the end of the war and afterwards, the base took on a rescue and training function before finally closing in February 1946. The Airfield Museum houses an extensive collection of World War Two memorabilia
Visit during Heritage Open Days when free talks will be given about the airfield, the ground-breaking Market Garden raids and the development of the Long-Range Fuel Tanks first used at Halesworth so that the fighters could escort the bombers to the target and back.
Other events are planned in Halesworth and the surrounding villages for Heritage Open Days when you can visit Holton’s Grade II listed Windmill, Walpole Old Chapel, and join in with the Halesworth to Southwold Narrow Gauge Railway Society’s open day at Blythburgh Station. halesworthairfieldmuseum.co.uk
To find out more and discover events near you, visit heritageopendays.org.uk