PUBLISHED: 13:35 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:35 13 February 2017
Woodbridge is a bustling riverside town full of things to see and do, including some of the most important historical sites in the country, great pubs and restaurants, interesting independent shops, markets and lovely walks
The town by the river
Woodbridge has, for centuries, been shaped by its position on the River Deben. The town has a long history of boatbuilding, sail and rope making that dates back to the Middle Ages, and in the modern age the river provides a focus for locals and visitors alike. Boating, canoeing, and walks along the river into the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) are all great ways to experience riverside life in Woodbridge.
The River Walk and Tide Mill was voted the most loved element of Woodbridge by its residents. You can enjoy a coffee on the Quayside, stroll along the riverside paths looking at boats old and new, and visit the Woodbridge Tide Mill, arguably the town’s most identifiable icon.
The Tide Mill has stood on the banks of the River Deben for over 800 years. The earliest record of a tide mill on this site by the River Deben is in 1170. It was owned by the Augustinian Priors for around 350 years until Henry VIII confiscated it, and for the next 28 years it was in royal ownership. Elizabeth I sold it to Thomas Seckford whose family owned it for over 100 years, followed by several private owners.
When it closed in 1957 it was the last commercially working tide mill in England. It was saved in 1968, carefully restored and opened to the public again in 1973. It is now one of only two tide mills in the country still producing stoneground wholemeal flour. Recently, further protection and restoration work has brought it back into use. A new waterwheel and many fascinating exhibits show what life was like for the miller.
The Tide Mill has publishes milling times on its website and on the Choose Woodbridge website that shows when visitors can watch the historic water wheel in action and see the millers making flour.
T: 01394 385295
Fascinating Sutton Hoo
A short hop across the river takes you to National Trust Sutton Hoo, where you can discover the story of the Anglo-Saxons at the burial ground of kings.
Sutton Hoo is the site of the country’s most significant archaeological discovery. In 1939 an excavation revealed the Anglo-Saxon ship burial of a great king with all his extraordinary treasures, and revolutionised our understanding of the Dark Ages.
Today you can explore the life and story of the Anglo-Saxons in the modern Exhibition Hall, with a reconstruction of the burial chamber, some of the original treasures (others are in the British Museum), hand-crafted replica items made by master craftsmen, dress up as an Anglo Saxon, and more.
For an atmospheric, spiritual experience explore the burial mounds and stand at the very site where the great kings of early England were laid to rest, and sent on their journey into the next world.
In Mrs Pretty’s house you can relax and be transported to the 1930s to learn the story of the famous dig. Find out about the spiritualist landowner Mrs Pretty who instigated the dig, and Basil Brown the self-taught archaeologist who first made the discovery.
Enjoy lunch in the cafe. There’s also a second hand bookshop on site, and 250 acres of beautiful countryside to explore.
Dog friendly, wheelchair accessible.
T: 01394 389714
- Opposite Hamblin Road Car Park (IP12 1BG)- Disabled toilet and baby change facilities
- Jetty Lane, opposite the boat yard (IP12 4BB)- Disabled toilet and baby change facilities
- Station Road Car Park, behind community centre (IP12 4AU) - Disabled toilet and baby change facilities
February 2, 9, 16, 23
Every Thursday at Hamblin Road II Car Park. A wide selection of local produce and goods including fresh fruit and vegetables, seasonal fresh flowers and plants, cheeses and pies, artisan breads, pastries and savouries.
Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations by James Hornsby
February 9, 7pm
Woodbridge Library, New Street, IP12 1DT. T: 01394 446510
Saturdays, February 11 & 25, 9am — 12:30pm
The Community Hall, Station Road, Woodbridge, IP12 4AU