Relaxing Suffolk escapes: 11 of the best places to unwind

PUBLISHED: 10:52 03 January 2017

'Dunwich Heath', Nick Rowland, Flickr CC 2.0

'Dunwich Heath', Nick Rowland, Flickr CC 2.0


With stunning villages, medieval towns, 50 miles of coastline and incredible scenery, Suffolk is a perfect destination for a relaxing weekend away. Here are our favourite ways to unwind in Suffolk, and the best places to do them

1. Aqua Sana Elveden Forest

Right in the heart of rural Suffolk, Aqua Sana Elveden Forest is the perfect place to go for complete relaxation and spiritual, physical and emotional revitalisation.

Book a spa day, a longer spa break, spa experience or a single treatment. From outdoor heated pools, stunning gardens, steam rooms and even an ice fountain, Aqua Sana has everything you need for a solo or couple’s escape from reality, and to spend some time revitalising your body and mind ready to head out feeling fresh and stress-free.

2. Riverhills

Riverhills is a health club and boutique spa found in Ipswich, which offers a range of indulgent Day Spa packages, perfect for you and a group of friends to unwind and spend some quality time together.

Spa Day Packages come in a range of prices from just £45, and offer a variety of luxurious treatments. From facials tailored specifically to you and your skin type, to full body massages, manicures, deep tissue massages, and even a pamper session with tea for two. Riverhills has something for everyone.

3. The Gainsborough Health Club & Spa

The Gainsborough Health Club & Spa is nestled away in the stunning Suffolk village of Cavendish, the perfect location for a stress-free getaway. The Gainsborough’s Spa is a wonderful destination for couples and groups, hen parties and proms. Whether it be for a full day or half-day visit.

Choose from a range of massages, facials and body treatments, and take full advantage of the ‘Free Mud Serail for Two’ offer when you book a Full Spa Day package. The spa also provides a fantastic Twilight Experience on weekdays, allowing those who struggle to find time to go to the spa to have an evening of relaxation with a 30-minute treatment, and full access to the Spa facilities between 4pm-8pm.

4. Newmarket Thai Spa

The unique Newmarket Thai Spa, found on Newmarket’s high street, offers a wide range of authentic Thai treatments in a traditionally decorated Thai Spa setting. Designed to ‘relax, energise, and help maintain good health, good looks and ease minor ailments’.

The Newmarket Thai Spa is an ideal choice for couples, who can enjoy a massage or Thai foot massage together before making use of the sauna, Jacuzzi and other facilities. Treatments include Traditional Thai Massage, Aromatherapy Massage, Thai Head Massage, and a range of facial and body treatments. Alternatively, you can book a Spa Package for a relaxing Spa session lasting from 50 minutes, up to 4 hours.

5. Abbey Gardens

Abbey Gardens, found in the centre of Bury St Edmunds, draws in over one million visitors each year, from locals to tourists. The unique, beautiful gardens provide a place of peaceful respite and a place to stroll and contemplate.

With an array of unusual trees, floral displays and incredible architecture, the Abbey Gardens also boast an aviary and a play area for small children. The gardens are a beautiful place to spend a day out, whatever the weather, and also holds public events year-round. These events include concerts, parades, festivals, fairs and fireworks. The fascinating ruins of the 11th Century Benedictine Abbey are also found within the gardens, drawing in hundreds of tourists, along with the Cathedral nearby.

6. Minsmere

RSPB Minsmere is a stunning nature reserve found on the coast of Suffolk between Dunwich and Sizewell. A fantastic spot for families, it is packed full of wildlife year-round. There is something at Minsmere for everyone, from short walks with buggy-friendly paths for those with young children, to longer, wider trails for keen walkers.

A Wild Zone for children features child-sized bird nests and sand martin tunnels, with plenty of space to build dens in the woods. You can also visit the café, which sells meals, childrens’ lunchboxes and snacks, as well as the gift shop where you can pick up treats and resources for attracting wildlife to your own garden.

7. Felixstowe Seafront Gardens

True to its name, Felixstowe Seafront Gardens is situated right on the coast at Felixstowe, with stunning views of the sea and beach below. The site features eight gardens, which have recently been refurbished, and date back to the 18th century.

The Gardens boast stunning plants and trees, various spots for visitors to take in the views, and fresh springs which are believed to give numerous health benefits to the host. They have been given Grade II Registered Garden of Special Historic Interest status and are incredibly popular with couples and tourists. They provide a beautiful space for a day of reflection and relaxation.

8. Crock-N-Roll Studio

The Suffolk market town of Saxmundham is home to the unique Crock-n-Roll Studio, where visitors can spend time getting creative and painting ceramics.

Crock-n-Roll provides a really special place for people of all ages to bring ceramic pots, coasters, animals, plates and so much more to life, and all from as little as £3! The Studio then dries and fires your designs in their specialist kiln, before it cools the items ready for staff to call you and let you know your masterpiece is ready for collection.

9. Glass and Craft

Glass and Craft based in Kersey Mill near Hadleigh, Ipswich is another fantastic place to visit in order to release your inner child and relax. The establishment offers a range of craft activities and workshops to suit all ages, from glass and ceramic painting, to bear building, Sand Art and Mosaics.

The two dedicated studios are also available for family groups, children’s parties, hen parties, school groups and so much more. The studios are beautiful, playful spaces, which are perfect for getting your creative juices flowing.

10. Dunwich Heath and Beach

What could be more English than a Heath on the coast? Dunwich Heath and Beach is a stunning English gem, where you can meander along the coastal paths, indulge in a cream tea in the Coastguard Cottages tea rooms, bird watch or take your furry friend for a walk and paddle along the seashore.

Both spots are known for their stunning views and incredible natural sites and have been developed in some beautiful ways with the help of the National Trust. You can now even borrow a GPS unit to take you along one of three stunning geocaching coastal trails along Dunwich Heath estate in a search for hidden treasure.

11. Orford Ness National Nature Reserve

Be enchanted by the Orford Ness National Nature Reserve in Orford, reachable by boat, and the largest shingle spit in Europe. The reserve boasts trails which take you through some incredible natural and historical sites which are linked to 20th Century military history.

The Ness is an internationally important site for nature conservation, where breeding and migrating birds can be spotted among the specialised plants and other wildlife, including brown hares, Chinese water deer, barn owls and more.

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