Savour the flavours of autumn food and drink in Britain

From sizzling sausages to charming chocolates and tasty treats, south-east England is home to an array of awesome autumnal foodie experiences. Join top chefs as they reveal the secrets of their culinary masterpieces at food festivals, enjoy hands on demonstrations and tasting sessions, and discover where to find some of the region’s finest food this autumn.

Canterbury Food and Drink Festival

Around 150 stalls are packed into Dane John Gardens for the Canterbury Food and Drink Festival, featuring an exciting mix of trade exhibitors, live entertainment and foodie workshops. Don’t miss the Produced in Kent area, with 40 stalls selling the region’s finest foods and crafts, or the Green Hops Beer Tent, which celebrates the Kentish harvest by serving Green Hop Beers straight form the cask. There’s a funfair to keep the children entertained and a craft area showcasing everything from jewellery and woodwork to contemporary fashion. The festival is free to attend but some Urban Food Tour events are ticketed and prices vary.

When? 26-28 September

Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival

Now in its 14th year, the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival welcomes more than 100 producers from across Suffolk to showcase their foodie creations. Embark on a culinary adventure and take in tastings and demonstrations from chefs, authors and presenters at the Tiptree and Co-op Stages over the weekend, before sampling the Adnam’s Drink Experience. With a daily programme of events showcasing how drinks are made and how best to serve them, expect an exciting cocktail of drinks demonstrations and discussions. The Wild Suffolk area highlights the best naturally grown produce from across Suffolk while the Hillfarm Family Meadow has an array of fun and games to keep children entertained. A set of Masterclasses, including chocolate tasting and kids’ cookery sessions, also run across the weekend although spaces are limited. Day tickets for the festival are priced at £9 each, while a weekend ticket covering both days costs £16. Children aged 15 and under go free.

When? 28-29 September

Broadstairs Food Festival

Celebrating Kent’s best food and drink, Broadstairs Food Festival has something for all the family to enjoy. Set in the picturesque coastal town of Broadstairs, in east Kent, the festival features three jam-packed days of food demonstrations, tasting sessions and trade stalls selling an array of delectable produce from across the region. As well as talks and tastings in the Theatre Marquee, more than 100 stalls will be present, alongside a pop-up tea room, festival bar and Cider House. Entry to the festival is free, although many of the festival’s events need to be booked in advance and spaces are limited.

When? 4-6 October

The Great Framlingham Sausage Festival

A celebration of East Anglian sausage producers, The Great Framlingham Sausage Festival takes over the small Suffolk market town in October. Regional producers sizzle an array of mouth-watering sausages for visitors to try, while competing to be crowned Best Classic Pork Sausage or Best New Taste Sensation. There’s also a host of foodie workshops, live music and entertainment to enjoy at different venues around the town. Take part in sausage making workshops, try delectable local beers and ciders, or enjoy the latest comedy in the Fresh Talent performance area. Keep a look out for the festival’s mascot too – Teddie the adorable Dachshund (sausage dog)! If the sausages are not enough, the town also has a medieval castle to explore, as well as beautiful historic architecture and numerous cafes and coffee shops. Day tickets cost £3, or £6 including a tasting pass. A group or family ticket is available for £20.

When? 13 October

Hampshire Chocolate and Treats Fair

Welcoming an abundance of artisan chocolatiers and bakers to the south coast, the Hampshire Chocolate and Treats Fair has unique treats for the taste buds. As well as luxury festive chocolate, fudge and sweets, the Locks Heath Shopping Village in Southampton will also host several drinks providers, ensuring a great selection of cakes, biscuits and sweet treats. Entry to the fair costs £1 for adults and 50p for those aged 12 and under.

When? 19 October, 11am-3pm

Vegfest UK London

Olympia London hosts one of the largest vegan lifestyle shows in Europe in late October, when Vegfest UK comes to the capital. Dubbed the ‘ultimate vegan experience’, with 325 stalls offering everything from food and cosmetics to fashion items, visitors can also enjoy live demonstrations by vegan experts and indulge during taster sessions by 25 specialist caterers from around the world. The festival, now in its seventh year, will feature a cinema screening vegan documentaries, an art exhibition and live music from two stages, as well as panel discussions and entertainment in the auditorium. Discover what can be done with plant-based ingredients in the Living Raw Zone or relax with a yoga or qigong session. Tickets cost from £13.20 when purchased in advance (including booking fee).

When? 26-27 October

Kent Food Trails

Discover delights from across Kent during the autumn as part of a Kent Food Trail, a delightful range of itineraries featuring some of the county’s delicious treats. One great example is Canterbury to Wye – from Cheese to Wine. Travel from the magical city of Canterbury to Wye, taking in cheesemakers, vineyards and farm shops en route, or plan an exciting itinerary from the range of foodie businesses based all over Kent.

Discover English wine at some of the UK's best vineyards

Britain is home to an incredible selection of thriving vineyards that produce deliciously tempting wines. From the greenery of Kent and Dorset to the rolling hills of Yorkshire, a visit to one of the wineries can add some sparkle to the summer in more ways than one.

English Wine Week, running from 25 May to 2 June, promotes the nation’s wine industry and will see many vineyards opening their doors to welcome visitors with tours, tastings and special offers. English Wine Tasting and Tours also operate from central London to wineries in Kent and Sussex, meaning English wine remains incredibly accessible.

With award-winning wine offerings in a number of counties, it’s time to explore Britain’s vineyards and raise a glass to a blossoming industry.

Langham, Dorset

Occupying 30 acres at Crawthorne Farm, the Langham Wine Estate takes a ‘low-intervention’ approach to its growing process in a bid to limit its environmental impact. What results is a mix of terroir-driven sparkling wines from hand-picked grapes that are processed on site. Visitors can be talked through the entire process during a two-hour guided tour and tasting. Alternatively, they can embark on a self-guided tour, before treating themselves to lunch or afternoon tea in the Vineyard Café, set in a former 19th-century milking parlour.

Rodington, Shropshire

Hidden away in the heart of picturesque Shropshire is Rodington Vineyard, a family-run 10-acre site that offers an abundance of fine wines. Their Blue Tractor Wines are internationally recognised for their quality and visitors can arrange tastings and a visit to the vineyard during its opening hours – 10am to 4pm daily (closed Wednesdays) – to find out more.

Giffords Hall, Suffolk

Renowned for its array of sparkling wine, rosés and reds, Giffords Hall in Hartest, Suffolk is set on the clay soils of a former glacial riverbed. Taking advantage of its geographic location, it produces quality grapes that are high in both natural sugars and acids – a fantastic combination for both sparkling and dry aromatic wines. Visitors can take part in private or group tours and dogs are also welcome, although they must be kept on a lead to protect the vineyard’s collection of free-roaming lambs and chicks. Grand Tours of the vineyard also take place on selected dates throughout the summer, featuring a guided tour and tasting session with 3 wines and 3 liquors.

When? Grand Tours at 11am on 6 May, 27 May, 22 June, 13 July and 26 August.

Three Choirs, Gloucestershire

With a unique microclimate that is perfectly suited to grape growing, the Three Choirs vineyard and brasserie is found amid the scenic beauty of the Cotswolds. Having first been planted in 1973, the 75-acre site near Newent is among England’s oldest vineyards and is best explored via a guided tour. Visitors can also stay among the vines in one of the luxury vineyard lodges, which offer verandas on two sides for soaking up the sun and the scenery. The Brasserie has a menu packed with country classics and plates that are designed around the seasons using fresh ingredients from the region. Booking in advance for tours and tastings is a necessity.

Camel Valley, Cornwall

Nestled in the spectacular Cornish countryside in Bodmin is Camel Valley, developed by husband and wife pair Bob and Annie Lindo. They’ve been making wine at the site for two decades and possess a Royal Warrant for their sparkling wine from the Prince of Wales. All of the wines produced at Camel Valley are sold in the onsite shop too, meaning visitors can sample the flavours even when Grand Tour tastings are fully booked. Sit back and relax on the terrace or follow the Camel Trail through the farm to the picturesque sandy beaches of Padstow. The Grand Tour details the entire process of winemaking and is accompanied by a taster session when visitors can try the highly acclaimed Cornwall Brut.

When? Grand Tours take place at 5pm on Wednesday evenings between April and October, with additional tours at the same time on Thursdays throughout August. Guided Tours also take place at 2.30pm, Monday to Friday, between April and September.

Chapel Down, Kent

Using locally sourced fruit and mirroring the Traditional Method that is used to create Champagne, Chapel Down vineyard is notorious for its still and sparkling wines. Now covering hundreds of acres of prime Kentish countryside, the vineyard is open all year round to visitors, with gift experiences, tutored tasting sessions and guided tours all available. Chapel Down supplies iconic British institutions including The Royal Opera House and No. 10 Downing Street, while its wines are also popular with leading chefs Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver. Visitors can also enjoy modern British cuisine in the Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded restaurant The Swan, with its spectacular outdoor terrace that overlooks the vineyard.

When? Guided tours run throughout the year, and booking in advance is recommended.

Greyfriars, Surrey

Occupying close to 50 acres of the Surrey North Downs, Greyfriars is another vineyard that mixes traditional methods with modern wine making technology to create a delightful array of English sparkling wines. Reflecting the unique soil conditions and climate of the region, the wines have won numerous international accolades for owners Mike and Hilary Wagstaff. Tours and tastings run on most weekends, while Greyfriars also hosts open days with free entry on selected days throughout the year.

When? Open days on Saturday 8 June and Saturday 14 September 2019. Booking in advance for tours and tastings is recommended.

Hush Heath Estate and Winery, Kent

Hidden away amid scenic Kentish countryside, the Hush Heath Estate and Winery is home to the award-winning Balfour Brut Rose. Alongside the winery is a picturesque Tudor-framed manor house, glorious gardens and acres of ancient orchards and woodlands. Visitors can embark on a self-guided tour at their own pace after picking up a map from the Cellar Door, taking in the spectacular scenery and wildlife on the way before finishing up with a complimentary sample of wine, cider or beer in the tasting room. There’s an option to add more tastings for an additional fee. Tutored tasting tours, full estate tours and private group tours are also available, but must be booked in advance.

When? Tours take place all year round when the winery is open.

Kingscote, West Sussex

Developed to be a wine tasting break, Kingscote in West Sussex offers not only vineyard tours and tastings, but an all-encompassing countryside experience. The 150-acre estate is also home to Tithe Barn, a spectacular venue used for weddings and corporate events. Visitors can fish at two picturesque lakes known as Leggett Lakes or join one of the public footpaths that meander their way through the estate to discover other attractions in the 2,000-acre Kingscote Valley. Guided tours of the site take in the vines, winery, Tithe Barn and the shop and feature a tutored tasting of 2 of the vineyard’s award-winning wines. Vineyard tours with lunch or afternoon tea are also available, as well as a Gourmet Vineyard Tour option.

When? The vineyard shop is open daily from 10am to 5.30pm. Tours run from the start of April to the end of September and must be booked in advance.

Wyken Vineyards, Suffolk

With its country lanes, tall hedgerows and patchwork fields, the 1,200-acre farm of Wyken is characteristically Suffolk. The 7-acre winery, first established in 1988, produces several award-winning wines that are sold via the shop and the on-site Leaping Hare restaurant. Housed in a 400-year-old barn, the Bib Gourmand awarded restaurant serves a delightful mix of British and European dishes, while Wyken Farmer’s Market runs adjacent to the restaurant on Saturdays, selling an array of local goods, delicious food, alcohol, plants and sculpture. Visitors are encouraged to walk to the vineyard through the grounds of the estate. Alongside the Elizabethan manor house Wyken Hall there is a set of formal gardens that can also be explored.

When? The restaurant is open daily between 12pm and 3pm for lunch, and from 7pm on Friday and Saturday for dinner. The café is open from 10am to 6pm from Sunday to Friday, and from 9am to 6pm on Saturdays. The Farmer’s Market runs from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. The Gardens are open daily from 2pm to 6pm but are closed on Saturdays.

Sharpen Wine and Cheese, Devon

Producing more than a dozen wines, many of which have won awards internationally, as well as unpasteurised cheeses, Sharpham offers an array of exciting tours and tastings opportunities. Visitors can explore the site overlooking the River Dart as part of a self-directed vineyard walk, or can take part in a Vine to Wine Tour that takes in the vineyard and the winery with expert guidance. The Cellar Door Kitchen, an on-site alfresco kitchen café, is open throughout the season and features local ingredients and those picked from the estate itself.

When? Vine to Wine tours run from April to October at 3pm on weekends. Booking in advance is a must.

Ryedale Vineyards, North Yorkshire

The UK’s most northerly commercial vineyard, Ryedale Vineyards is a small family-run business near Malton at the foot of the North Yorkshire Wolds. Enjoy informal tours and tastings, or relax with a stay at the small B&B at the vineyard farmhouse. The 7-acre vineyard, established in 2007, produces an array of white, red, rosé and sparkling wines, as well as cider and apple juice.

When? Tours and tastings take place on selected days at 3pm between April and October, and must be booked in advance.

Rathfinny Estate, West Sussex

A relative newcomer to the English wine scene, having been founded in 2010 by husband and wife team Mark and Sarah Driver, the Rathfinny Estate occupies exceptionally beautiful countryside in the South Downs. With vines separated by rows of wildflowers, the picturesque site has glimpses of the Sussex heritage coast and features an abundance of tour opportunities. The state-of-the-art winery on the estate is capable of producing one million bottles of sparkling wine annually, a process that is explained as part of an exclusive tour and tasting experience that includes food at the site’s Tasting Room restaurant. Visitors can also stay at the Flint Barns or explore the Rathfinny Trail, a pathway that weaves its way through a mosaic of habitats, presenting numerous opportunities to spot plants, flowers and wildlife.

When? Tour, Tastings and Lunch, and Afternoon Tour and Tastings run on selected days between May and September and must be booked in advance. The Rathfinny trail is open daily, but can be closed at short notice for vineyard works.

Accommodation Update - May 2018

Read on for the latest Accommodation Update, brought to you by VisitBritain's Destination PR team.

 

Recently opened

AC Hotel by Marriott Belfast, Northern Ireland
April 2018

Connect to the city in a new way at AC Hotel Belfast, an urban retreat in an exceptional riverside location. Explore Belfast on foot with Titanic Belfast, City Hall, Belfast Waterfront, SSE Arena and the shops of Victoria Square a short walk away. Guests can enjoy an AC Fitness Room, 24hr room service and can opt for a delicious continental or cooked breakfast. With two meeting rooms, an AC Lounge, riverside terrace and all-day dining, the hotel provides the perfect co-working space. When day turns to night, the restaurant “Novelli at City Quays” will excite as multi-Michelin-starred chef Jean-Christophe Novelli brings his flare to the dining experience and expert bartenders serve up local knowledge with craft beer and cocktails.

 

Crowne Plaza and Staybridge Suites, Manchester, England
August 2018
The first dual-branded (‘double decker’) hotel in the north of England will boast a 212-room Crowne Plaza and a 116-room Staybridge Suites. Crowne Plaza will feature an upscale restaurant, seven meeting rooms, catering for over 200 delegates and a gym. Staybridge Suites will be located on the upper eight floors and will offer a warm, social and home-like environment through a mix of studio and one bedroom suites.

 

Cow Hollow Hotel, Manchester, England
May 2018
A restored turn-of-the-century textile warehouse has now opened as the Cow Hollow Hotel following a long-running labour of love from married owners Mujtaba and Amelia. High-tech but with a touch of colonial Victorian majesty, the hotel has 17 rooms and is situated on Newton Street within Manchester’s vibrant Northern Quarter. A stay at Cow Hollow includes a range of complimentary features including an evening champagne and antipasti cart.

 

The Saint George Hotel, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England

April 2018
The Saint George hotel has opened as the only coast & country hotel in the North. This Edwardian Hotel is an iconic building in the centre of Harrogate and comprises of 81 modern bedrooms including a swimming pool, spa, sauna, steam room and fitness room with weights – perfect for those who like to keep active during those leisurely evenings away from home.

 

West Stow Pods: New Pod Hollow, Suffolk, England

5 May
West Stow Pods is a family-run glamping site in the heart of Suffolk’s scenic countryside, situated roughly four miles from East Anglia’s historic town of Bury St Edmunds. West Stow Pods offers a range of lodging styles including four cosy MegaPods and their newest development, the Pod Hollow, a Halfling-inspired subterranean dwelling nestled in the side of a grassy knoll. Guests will have a unique and tranquil glamping experience in Suffolk’s picturesque woodlands.

 

New holiday homes in the woodland retreat of Sandy Balls Holiday Village in the New Forest, England
April 2018
£1 million has been invested in creating the Zen, an innovative new type of caravan that has been designed so people can escape their busy lives and tune out from digital noise and the stresses. Hidden among the trees within the beautiful and relaxing setting of Sandy Balls, the Zen offers a calming and peaceful escape away in the woodlands.

 

Relaunches and Refurbishments

Hotel du Vin at the Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol, England

June 2018
Perched on the edge of rocky Avon Gorge, this classic Victorian hotel enjoys a fabulous location overlooking the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It was recently acquired by the Hotel du Vin group and is currently being upgraded in line with a rebranding. The stylish, new-look rooms are complete and the restaurant, reception and terrace are still a work in progress.

 

Opening Soon

Crowne Plaza London
18 June 2018
Crowne Plaza London - Albert Embankment will be the first luxury hotel to open in the Albert Embankment area, offering breath-taking views over the Thames, including the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. The hotel will have 142 bedrooms, a state of the art gym, an American lobby bar and a rooftop terrace.

 

Native Glasgow
August 2018
The first Native foray in Scotland sees the opening of Native Glasgow, located in a fabulous Art Deco office building built in 1906 as the former headquarters for the Anchor Line Shipping Company. The building has been restored with many of the original features retained; the ornate wood panelling, feature fireplaces and crystal glazed windows give the statement rooms a touch of the elegance found on the grand ocean liners of the time.

Native Glasgow are working with the appointed interior architects, ICA, on this multi-million-pound refurbishment programme to create 64 studio, one bedroom and penthouse apartments.

 

Hampton by Hilton Belfast City Centre, Belfast
August 2018
Located in central Belfast, Hampton by Hilton Belfast City Centre offers modern rooms with free WiFi and secure discounted parking beside the hotel. Travellers of all types will appreciate our proximity to the main road networks and public transport hub making, Belfast City Airport (BHD) and SSE Arena within easy reach.

The hotel is within walking distance of the fashionable Victoria Square shopping centre and many of the city’s attractions. The Grand Opera House and the Lyric Theatre are less than two miles away. Walk to Great Victoria Street railway station for easy access around the city and the surrounding areas. After a busy day, unwind in your spacious room with a clean and fresh Hampton bed™.

Best Spring Breaks For English Tourism Week

The spring equinox (Tuesday 20 March) marks a time to celebrate woodlands bursting with daffodils, fields filled with adorable animals and long, warm, country walks. To celebrate, take advantage of the offerings for English Tourism Week (17-25 March), where a wide variety of local and national events, discounts and special offers are being made available. See below for a round-up of new season openings and offers across the country, for the perfect spring break in England.

 

FLOURISHING FLOWERS

Take in Wordsworth’s Daffodils with Sharrow Bay’s spring offer, Lake District

Walk in the footsteps of Romantic poet William Wordsworth this spring and gaze out across the ‘host of golden daffodils,’ adorning the banks of the very lake which inspired Daffodils - one of Britain’s best-loved poems. The original country house hotel and the inventor of sticky toffee pudding, Sharrow Bay sits right on the shores of Ullswater in an unrivalled lakeside setting and offers some of the Lake District’s most spectacular views of the famed spring landscapes. Situated within the newly-appointed World Heritage site, the hotel is the ideal starting point for a range of walks to admire the awakening Lake District scenery. 

 

New event: See Dazzling Daffodils at Hever Castle, Kent

21-25 March

See 14,000 daffodils bloom in the grounds at Anne Boleyn’s childhood home at this new event. Master grower Johnny Walkers of Walkers’ Bulbs, and winner of 35 RHS gold medals, will be onsite giving talks and tours and sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of bulbs accrued over a lifetime growing daffodils.

STAY AT: One Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells

From its origins as a brewery and school house, this harmonious and unified building brings a luxury guest experience to the historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. 

 

REJUVINATING BREAKS

Stay on England's most northerly commercial vineyard Farfield Farm, York

17-25 March

Relax and stay at this small family run business producing award winning wines in a farmhouse on an idyllic six-acre vineyard. Set on south facing slopes at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds, the setting is rural and peaceful yet only six miles from the market town of Malton with regular food markets and food festivals. Castle Howard is nearby, as is the North York Moors Railway, plus for some city life it’s also a short drive from York. 

 

Enjoy 2 nights for the price of 1 in March at Chewton Glen, Hampshire

1-28 March (subject to availability)

With only 50 rooms available at this rate, celebrate spring with 130 acres to explore including a nine-hole golf course, a plush croquet lawn and indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Subject to availability until 28th March 2018, only 50 rooms available on a first come, first served basis.

 

Langdale Hotel offers a Brimstone Spa Break from 23 March, Lake District

23 March – 4 November

Set quietly on the Langdale Estate in the secluded Langdale Valley, Langdale Hotel offers chic rooms, nature walks right from the doorstep and an ultra-stylish dining experience, as well as Brimstone Spa, which includes a Himalayan Salt Steam, Finnish Sauna, Ice Fountain, Herbal Sauna, Mineral Salt Steam and Laconium as well as a relaxation pool which spans from indoors to outdoors. The Spa Break is available from the 23rd of March until the 4th of November and includes a night’s stay in a Lakeland Signature Roomy Room complete with lavish breakfast, a 55-minute treatment for each guest and a Spa Deli Lunch, as well as spa access throughout the stay.

 

ADORABLE ANIMALS
Spot wildlife at Chatsworth House during their season opening, Bakewell, Derbyshire

24 March

2018 will see Chatsworth House and Garden presented in its full glory following the culmination of the 10-year long restoration project. Come to the season opening on 24 March, and view the exhibition of the largest restoration and conservation project ever undertaken at Chatsworth. 
The park is home to red and fallow deer, sheep, cattle and many wild animals. The grass you walk on is a crop grazed by sheep, cattle and deer; the river provides fish and the woods game and timber. 

STAY AT: The Devonshire Arms, Beeley

This traditional country Inn is located on the Chatsworth Estate and has fourteen hotel bedrooms owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. It’s a short walk from Chatsworth House and blends its idyllic village setting with contemporary comfort.

 

Beautiful British gardens open for lambs and spring bulbs at Kentwell Hall, Suffolk

17-29 March

Standing within the most extensive moat in the county and over 25 acres of gardens and ground, Kentwell Hall is Suffolk’s hidden gem and one of England’s finest Tudor houses. Kentwell’s gardens will be beautiful with the grounds covered in daffodils and the spring bulbs and fruit blossom all flowering, with new-born lambs in the Tudor Stables. Kentwell has extended the Story Book Adventure Trail to encourage more children to get outdoors and now includes 19 stories and characters; from the enormous ‘Crunching Munching Caterpillar’ to the magnificent ‘Gorilla who wanted to Grow Up’. 

STAY AT: The Black Lion, Long Melford

The Black Lion has 10 bedrooms including snug, luxury, grand luxury and family rooms. Chestnuts interior design team has cleverly combined The Black Lion’s traditional and antique style with a luxurious and warm feel. 

 

SPRING WALKS

Book onto a walking holiday, Somerset

18-25 March

Choose from five night guided walking holidays in Bath, the Cotswolds, Exmoor, Somerset and Wiltshire, with Bath West Walks. Each holiday will enable you to come into contact with nature, wildlife and local heritage. Among the places you can visit are Avebury, Bourton on the Water, Lorna Doone Valley and the National Trust's Stourhead. Mention English Tourism Week to obtain your 10% discount.

 

Freshen up with a Spring Nature Trail, Blickling Estate, Norfolk

29 March – 15 April

Help the kids let off some steam by taking them to a 55-acre playground in the heart of the Norfolk countryside. The team at the Blickling Estate have organised a series trails so that families can brush away the cobwebs and get active during the Easter holidays. Learn about nature, marvel at the first buds of spring and see if you can spot any birds building their nests. You can also enjoy sow-and-grow sessions in the walled garden and a family-friendly cycle trail. 

STAY AT: Bucks Arms, Blickling

This traditional 17th century pub and former coaching inn offers fantastic views of the surrounding Blickling Hall Estate. 

 

For more information on English Tourism Week, go to:

www.visitengland.com/english-tourism-week 

48 Hours in... Suffolk

From cultural urban treats to rural delights, the county of Suffolk in eastern England is the perfect place to venture for a weekend. Here are some ideas for a short break in the Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich areas.

 

DAY ONE: BURY ST EDMUNDS

 

TIME TO CHECK IN:

 

The Angel Hotel is a boutique property in the heart of Bury St Edmunds with lovely suites full of relaxed charm and luxury touches. A former Georgian coaching inn, The Angel was said to have been frequented by Charles Dickens on his trips to Bury St Edmunds.

 

10:00 A CAFFEINE PIT STOP

Start the morning at the popular Paddy & Scott’s Café, a branch of the Suffolk coffee house chain, where passionate baristas fuel customers with signature coffees or even vegan hot chocolate, along with pastries for a sweet kick.

 

11:00 UNLOCK THE TOWN’S SECRETS AND SCANDALS

The Official Bury St Edmunds Tour is a 90-minute trip back in time. It uncovers the legend of St Edmund and the wolf, as well as the town’s connection to the Magna Carta. Covering over a thousand years of history, the tour takes in the Abbey and main market area.

 

13:00 AN ATTRACTION IN A NUTSHELL

For something quirky, stop by The Nutshell Pub. It is the smallest pub in Britain at just 15ft by 7ft, perfect for a cosy drink while marvelling at curios decorating the walls.

 

14:00 DISCOVER THE REAL SPIRIT OF BURY

With gin very much on trend in Britain, make for a gin-making experience at craft distillery Adnam’s. An Adnam’s Gin Maker will show you everything from choosing botanicals to how to distill the spirit and name it — with a bottle to take home. They also offer brewery and distillery tours.

 

17:00 LIGHT BITES

The Giggling Squid rustles up Thai tapas dishes featuring rustic yet simple light bites made for sharing, from satay to dumplings, with squid thrown in too of course. The restaurant’s conservatory provides an elegant backdrop completing the scene.

 

18:30 GOING DEEPER UNDERGROUND

Enjoy decadently curious pre-theatre drinks at The Angel Hotel. The Wingspan Bar is located in the 12th-century vault under the hotel, which was fashioned out of the secret tunnels that run under much of the town. Order a cocktail and look out for the bar created from half an aircraft engine, among other aviation-themed furnishings.

 

19:30 A NIGHT AT THE THEATRE

The Theatre Royal is the only remaining example of a Regency theatre in the UK, and the Grade I-listed building has been fully restored to its Georgian grandeur. Visitors can book a tour to revel in its history and elegance or book tickets to a show to experience its opulent surroundings.

 

DAY TWO: IPSWICH

 

TIME TO CHECK IN:

In Ipswich, make a reservation at the Salthouse Harbour Hotel on the waterfront offering eclectic and richly decorated rooms with floor to ceiling windows affording fabulous views of the harbour. Make a reservation for dinner to savour the award-winning selection of food and drink, with a twist of something deliciously different.

 

09:00: ON THE RURAL ARTS’ TRAIL

Eighteenth-century artist John Constable was born in Suffolk and many of his works are based on scenes in Flatford, just 20 minutes from Ipswich. One of the best known is The Hay Wain, a landscape that remains virtually unchanged today. Take a National Trust walking tour and step into his world around Flatford and Dedham Vale. Then view a special exhibition of his works at Bridge Cottage by Flatford Bridge, which appears in two of his paintings.

 

13:00 TIME TO GO LOCAL

Known as #TheFoodieCounty, Suffolk doesn’t disappoint the tastebuds. Food lovers should head to Suffolk Food Hall, a huge farm shop selling local produce, from savoury to sweet treats, from its delicatessen, cheesemonger, and chocolatier. With a cooking school and Cookhouse Restaurant, it takes epicurean experiences seriously.

 

15:00 HUNT FOR SOUVENIRS

For a shopping treat, enjoy the one-off finds along The Saints streets, made up of St Peters and St Nicholas streets. You’ll find an appealing mix of high-street names and independent boutiques, such as Cake & Catwalk with striking, handpicked fashion accessories.

 

16:00 FINDING FAMOUS FACES

To delve into some of the local history, take a Blue Plaques Tour to discover British icons who lived in or regularly visited the city, such as author Charles Dickens, painter Thomas Gainsborough, and Britain’s first female pilot, Edith Maud Cook.

 

18:00 TAKE A WALK ON THE WATERSIDE

See in the evening with a stroll along Ipswich waterfront with a lively stretch of restaurants and cafés beside a picturesque dock and harbour, perfect for a relaxed evening before heading back to London.

 

Alternatively…

  • If you plan on hiring a car, you can visit the coast or a scenic lake.
  • Shotley Peninsula is a coastal area near Ipswich, perfect for picturesque walks. Stop by the Butt and Oyster pub for lunch.
  • Thorpeness Meare is the enchanting lakeside area where wealthy Scottish barrister Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie was inspired to build by the tales of Peter Pan, penned by his close friend author JM Barrie. Explore its tiny coves, creeks and islands to reveal key places from Neverland.

 

HOW TO GET HERE:

Suffolk is a county in the east of England. Its principal town, Ipswich, is one hour 18 minutes from London Liverpool Street by direct train. The market town of Bury St Edmunds is approximately two hours by train from London’s King Cross and Liverpool Street stations.