The Historic Houses & Heritage of Suffolk
By coach from Dorking, staying in the three-star Holiday Inn Ipswich-Orwell hotel on the outskirts of Ipswich on a half-board basis with guided excursions to these historic houses and places of interest:
- Paycocke’s House & Gardens
- Grange Barn
- Guided tour of Bury St Edmunds
- St Edmundsbury Cathedral
- Ickworth House
- Sutton Hoo
- Guided tour of Aldeburgh
- Red House
- Snape Maltings
- Constable Country – East Bergholt, Dedham & Bridge Cottage
- River Deben cruise
- Beth Chatto’s Gardens
Day 1 En route to our hotel on our private executive coach we visit the National Trust’s Paycocke’s House and Gardens. Built for Thomas Paycocke around 1500, this attractive half-timbered house is evidence of the great wealth generated by the East Anglian cloth trade. We then visit the National Trust’s Grange Barn, once an integral part of Coggeshall Abbey, and one of the oldest surviving timber-framed buildings in Europe. We continue to the three-star Holiday Inn Ipswich Orwell hotel, located on the outskirts of Ipswich, for a four-night stay on a half-board basis.
Day 2 Our morning guided tour of Bury St Edmunds with our Blue Badge guide incorporates a visit to St Edmundsbury Cathedral, a place of worship for nearly 1,000 years. We continue to the National Trust’s Ickworth House, located in 70 acres of stunning gardens and 1,800 acres of idyllic Capability Brown parkland. Dominated by its huge central Rotunda dating from 1795, Ickworth is home to a fine collection of Old Master paintings, silver and Regency furniture.
We then spend some time at leisure in Lavenham, one of England’s finest medieval villages, with a superb 15th-century church and the Guildhall, an early 16th-century timber-framed building dominating the Market Place. In the medieval period it was among the 20 wealthiest settlements in England.
Day 3 With our Blue Badge guide this morning we visit the National Trust’s Sutton Hoo, an Anglo Saxon royal burial site where the priceless Sutton Hoo treasure was discovered in a huge ship grave in 1939. We continue to the picturesque 16th-century fishing village of Aldeburgh.
During our guided tour we visit Red House, where Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears lived and worked from 1957 until their deaths. The gallery features an engaging permanent exhibition that introduces visitors of all ages to Britten and his music, and the interiors of the house have been presented as they were in the mid-1960s, as has the historic library room. We then spend some time at leisure at the Snape Maltings complex. It was one of the largest barley maltings built in East Anglia in the mid-19th century and today is home to a shopping complex and concert hall.
Day 4 Our Blue Badge guide accompanies us throughout the day. This morning we visit Constable Country, located on the Suffolk and Essex border and renowned as the birthplace of artist John Constable. Our guided tour of East Bergholt takes in sights such as John Constable’s Studio and St Mary’s Church, built in the 15th and 16th centuries and renowned for the absence of a tower or spire to house the bells.
We continue to Dedham where our guided tour takes in sights such as Constable’s School and Dedham Parish Church, dedicated to St Mary the Virgin in 1492 when the present building was begun. We finally visit the National Trust’s Bridge Cottage at Flatford. Located upstream from Flatford Mill, Bridge Cottage houses an exhibition on Constable, several of whose paintings famously feature this property. This afternoon we enjoy an included scenic two-hour cruise along the River Deben, one of the most beautiful and scenic spots on the East Coast.
Day 5 After checking out of our hotel and before returning home we visit Beth Chatto’s Gardens. Began in 1960 from an overgrown wasteland with poor gravel soil and boggy hollows, it has been transformed into an informal garden harmonising with the surrounding countryside.
£599 plus £31 insurance (single room supplement £99).
Contact organiser Ianthe Cox: email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01737 843105.