Where to go for Heritage Open Days in Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 12:58 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:04 05 November 2020
September is the month for Heritage Open Days, free opportunities to discover more about the people and places that have shaped Suffolk through the ages
Heritage Open Days, England's largest festival of history and culture, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, with thousands of free events taking place over 10 days from September 13-22. It's a fabulous opportunity to explore places, some of them not normally open to the public, and learn more about the fascinating heritage of our region.
Inspired by positive changes in the past, a special programme of People Power themed events will highlight historic and contemporary communities, groups and people who have made positive change, buildings saved, greenspaces created, friendships forged, campaigns fought and voices heard.
Last year, more than 3 million visitors attended 5,500 events, helped by more than 40,000 volunteers, but many people still aren't aware of Heritage Open Days and the huge range of events on offer.
So, Heritage Open Days hopes to use the 25th anniversary to find ways to connect with different communities and individuals, and to encourage them to take part, volunteer or visit. So, here are just some of the events and places you can visit in Suffolk.
For details of all the events visit heritageopendays.org.uk
Flint House, 80 High Street, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 1XN
Creative interpretations and displays using the research work done by volunteers during the Scores Project. Trail maps and tours, opportunities for visitors to share their scores stories.
The Lowestoft Scores Project aims to enhance and improve some of the 11 scores that have been subject to anti-social behaviour, neglect and decay and bring a new focus to these important areas.
September 14, 15, 21 & 22: 10am-3pm. No booking required
The Parcel Rooms, Lowestoft Central Railway Station, Denmark Road, Lowestoft, NR32 2EG
A series of fascinating illustrated history talks by a line up including experienced valuer and auctioneer Elizabeth Talbot.
2.30pm The Life of Nicholas Everitt by Rodney Duerden
3.30pm Stranger on the shore: The Riddle of Lowestoft's Unknown German airman by Bob Collis
4.30pm Up Before the beak by Janis Kirby
5.30pm TBA by Elizabeth Talbot. All above times September 14. No booking required
East Anglia Transport Museum, Chapel Road, Carlton Coalville, Lowestoft, NR33 8BL
Take a nostalgic trip back in time by hopping on board an historic Lowestoft bus for a free tour of the town and surrounding area.
September 14: 10.30am-4.30pm. No booking required
The Red House, Golf Lane, Aldeburgh, IP15 5PZ
Special events include a screening and talk, Benjamin Britten and Film, half-hourly guided visits of the private rooms of Britten's and Pears' home and an exhibition about shopping trends on Aldeburgh High Street from the 1940s to 1970s. Benjamin Britten was one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. He wrote a vast amount of music and wanted everyone to enjoy it - professional and amateur musicians, music enthusiasts, children and families.
He was born in 1913 and raised in Lowestoft, and Suffolk was the backdrop for nearly his entire life. At The Red House in Aldeburgh he lived with Peter Pears, his muse and life partner, for nearly two decades until his death in 1976. As well as exploring Britten's music, visitors to The Red House can find out more about his life with Pears. The house, with its classic 1950s/60s interiors, is a mix of formal and cosy, with an eclectic range of books, art, and furniture. The large gardens are for wandering around and enjoying the peace and quiet of this corner of Suffolk.
September 21 & 22: 1pm-5pm. No booking required
Slaughden Road, Aldeburgh, IP15 5NA
The largest and most northerly of the chain of towers built by the Board of Ordnance against invasion by Napoleon. Built in the shape of a quatrefoil for four heavy guns, nearly 1 million bricks were used in its construction.
It stands at the root of the Orford Ness peninsula, between the River Alde and the sea, a few hundred yards from Aldeburgh.
The Landmark Trust acquired the Martello Tower in the 1970s when it was in a poor state of repair and extensive repairs were carried out.
September 14 & 15: 10am-4pm. No booking required
Station Building, Station Road, Woodbridge, IP12 4AU
From Saxon foundation parish church to non-conformist chapels to Catholicism restoration and Victorian expansion, this walk visits places of Christian Worship, led by the Rotary Club of Woodbridge.
September 14: meet at 10 am, tour from 10:20am-12.30pm. No booking required
Bawdsey, Woodbridge, IP12 3BA
The restored 1937 Transmitter Block is filled with the stories and voices of the women and men who worked at Bawdsey in top secret in the years leading up to and during the Second World War.
Discover how their work to develop operational radar helped win the war. Exhibition, displays and a boffin trail.
September 22: 11am-4pm. No booking required
Overlooking the Orwell Estuary, Landguard has been an important site for coastal defence, defending Harwich and Ipswich for over four centuries.
Free tour, history spanning the Civil War to the Cold War, Georgian and Victorian Fortresses. Pre-booking for the Outer Battery Tours (adults only).
September 15: 10am-4pm. No booking required
View Point Road, Felixstowe, IP11 3TW
Housed in Britain's only remaining purpose-built Submarine Mining Establishment. Military, aviation, naval and social history of the area. Trewick Owl Trail and children's dressing up area.
September 15: 12pm-4.30pm. No booking required
College Street, Ipswich, IP4 1BF
An historic mariners' church with links to Thomas Wolsey. Heritage displays, about the church from the 12th century to the present day.
Home to the Ipswich Charter Hangings, created to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the granting of the Royal Charter to Ipswich by King John in 1200, depicting Ipswich through the ages from the pre-Viking period.
September 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20: 10am-4pm
September 18: 10am-2pm. No booking required
Friars Street, Ipswich, IP1 1TD
Built in 1699 and one of the architectural gems of Ipswich. Original box pews, a magnificent pulpit carved in the style of Grinling Gibbons, Dutch 17th century candelabra and an even earlier clock.
September 14: 10am-5pm
September 15: 12pm-4pm. No booking required
7 Wherry Quay, Ipswich, IP4 1AS
Learn about the history of Isaacs on the Quay, a Grade I and Grade II listed site located on the Ipswich Waterfront, dating back to the early 15th century. Visit the fully restored corn-dressing machinery room and see it in action.
September 15: 11am & 12pm. No booking required
University of Suffolk, Waterfront Building, 19-21 Neptune Quay, Ipswich, IP4 1QJ
Suffolk Archives has launched a free app of historic trails, unlocking points on a treasure-hunt style walk.
Learn about key sites in Ipswich, answer quiz questions. Downloaded on September 14. Self-guiding or guided walk from the university building.
September 14: 2pm. No booking required
Quay Place, St Mary At The Quay, Key Street, Ipswich, IP4 1BZ
Discover Quay Place and the people who made and saved this 600-year-old medieval church.
September 13, 16, 17, 18, 19: 10am-4pm
September 14: 11am-3pm
September 20: 10am-3pm
September 21: 10am-12pm. No booking required
15) Willis Towers
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Friars Street, Ipswich, IP1 1TA
Tour Lord Foster's famous building, a milestone in the career of the world famous architect, opened in 1975.
September 15: 11am-4pm. No booking required
Corn Exchange, Town Hall, Ipswich, IP1 1DH
Guided tours by the Town Sergeant of Ipswich, including the Town Hall, Mayor's Parlour and Corn Exchange.
High ceilings, marble pillars and grand staircases give a magnificent backdrop to civic life. Paintings and artefacts of the town's history.
September 14: 10.30am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2pm
September 15: 11am, 12pm. No booking required
Key Street, Ipswich, IP4 1BY
The Old Custom House will be open on the ground floor. Special display of local maritime heritage images and artefacts.
September 14 & 15: 11am-4pm
18) Broomhill Pool
Sherrington Road, Ipswich, IP1 4HT
One of 17 Listed lidos in Britain, the Modern style pool building is one of the most attractive Lido style open-air pools in Britain, and has an unrivalled position on the edge of Broomhill Park.
The pool is expected to be enhanced, fully restored and reopened by 2021.
September 14 & 15: 10am-4pm. No booking required
St Peter & St Paul, Bardwell, Bury St. Edmunds, IP31 1AH
Grade I listed, the church dates from the 15th century and has many nationally important heritage features, including a hammer beam roof with original medieval painting, 87 feet tower, an angel boss dated 1421, medieval stained glass windows, one of which is Sir William de Berdewell.
September 14: 10am-4pm, tour 11am & 2pm
September 15: 12.30pm-4pm, tour 2pm. No booking required
Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham, IP30 9HZ
An introductory historical talk by George Agnew in the Meadow Room at Blackthorpe Barn, followed by a two-hour walk to the ruins of Rougham Hall and back, seeing parts of the old parkland and gardens.
September 15: 10am-1pm. Booking: 01284 758000
Bury St Edmunds, IP29 5QE
An Italianate Palace in the heart of an ancient deer park. Formal gardens, and pleasure grounds, expansive Suffolk landscape and woodlands for gentle strolls or long walks, runs, bike rides and picnics.
Explore the impressive Rotunda, a magnificent showcase commissioned by the 4th Earl of Bristol. Experience 1930s domestic service in the restored servants' basement, sharing the real stories and memories of former staff who kept this country estate running.
September 13 & 14: 10am-5pm. No booking required
The Keep, Out Risbygate, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3RN
The Keep, built in 1878, is the only surviving building from the former Suffolk Regiment Depot.
The building now houses the award-winning Suffolk Regiment Museum telling the story of the regiment from its foundation in 1685 to amalgamation with the Royal Norfolk Regiment in 1959.
This is the only occasion visitors will be able to enjoy the view across the local area from the roof of the historic building.
September 14,15, 21, 22: 9.30am-3.30pm, roof access 10.30am-3pm. No booking required
War Memorial, Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds
Civil unrest, rioting in the streets, even bloody violence. Enjoy stories from 1100s, when the Abbey ruled every aspect of life, through the turbulent events of the next seven centuries during which the expression 'Bury Stirs' was coined.
September 14 & 22: 10.30am. Book: 01284 758000
King Street, Mildenhall, IP28 7EX
Something for everyone from flints and fossils to the 1950s. View the Anglo Saxon Lakenheath Warrior, his horse and artefacts from the grave of about AD500.
Discover the 1934 Air Race from Mildenhall to Australia, Roman treasure and the strategic Second World War airbase. Guided walk from the museum to the 14th century church via the Market Place.
September 15: 2pm-4.30pm. Book the walk: 01638 716970
Chedburgh, IP29 4UG
Two breeds of Heavy Horse, primarily the Suffolk Punch and the Shire. Horse drawn vehicles and harness room, fauna and flora conservation.
September 16 & 18: 10am-12pm. Book: 01284 758000
101 High Street, Newmarket, CB8 8JL
Guided tour of the rooms and collection of sporting art and memorabilia, learn about the illustrious history of The Jockey Club.
September 14: 10am & 11.30am. Book: 01638 663101
47 Gregory Street, Sudbury, CO10 1BA
Simon of Sudbury was Archbishop of Canterbury before meeting a messy death at the hands of a London mob in the Peasants' Revolt in 1381. Simon was at the Tower of London where he was decapitated by the peasants. The rest of his body lies at Canterbury Cathedral.
Climb the 102 steps of the tower and for views over the River Stour, Sudbury and beyond.
September 21: Church & Simon's Head 10am-5pm. Tower 10am-12pm. No booking required
28) Buzzards Hall
Friar Street, Sudbury, CO10 2AA
Buzzards Hall dates from the 15th century and in the 18th century was the home of Thomas Gainsborough, uncle of artist Thomas Gainsborough.
He gave Thomas money to go to London so he could pursue his career as an artist. The building is now a restaurant but the owner has given access to see the large inglenook fireplace, fine panelling and carvings.
September 21: 10am-12pm, 3pm-4pm. No booking required
Malting Lane, Clare, CO10 8NW
Explore the park and the centre of the medieval town of Clare. See the refurbishment of the Old Goods Shed from Clare's railway heritage, part of a major National Lottery Heritage Fund project.
Archaeological and other displays, tours of the newly extended Town Trail, Ancient House Museum open, visit to the top of the castle motte and the moat. Visit an archaeological dig in the park led by Suffolk Archaeology. Platform One café open all day.
September 20 & 21: 10am-4pm
September 22: 10am-3pm. Town Trail Tour 11am & 2pm , Park Tour 10.30am & 1.30pm . Book tours: 01284 758000