We have moved!

Our tourism blog has moved to a lovely new home: The Heart of Suffolk website, which has all the information you need to plan your trip to this lovely corner of East Anglia.

The new Heart of Suffolk website

Please do come and visit, we would love to see you there. You can follow the blog, sign up to our e-newsletter and get the low-down on all the best things to see, the best places to stay and the best events to enjoy.

Come and join us….

Please note: This blog will no longer be updated, if you would like to keep up to date with news from the Heart of Suffolk, please make sure you follow our new blog instead of this one.

Thank you


Five Minute Focus On…

…Stoke by Nayland

A pretty village between Sudbury and Colchester, Stoke by Nayland was a favourite with artist John Constable, who was a frequent visitor and made many sketches and paintings of the area.

The village church, St Mary’s, is a large church for the size of the village and was  built in the fifteenth century, on the site of a 10th century minster.  Constable was particularly fond of painting the church and the imposing church tower featured in many of his works.

Stoke By Nayland is in the Dedham Vale (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and is on the edge of the area often referred to as ‘Constable Country’. It has a gently undulating landscape, with lots of options for some very pleasant walks.

There are two exceptionally good pubs in the village; The Crown and The Angel as well as a village shop and several places to stay.

A little way outside the village is The Stoke By Nayland Hotel, Spa and Golf Club, with an 18 hole golf course, holiday lodges and extensive spa facilities and restaurant.

For further information and events in the South & Heart of Suffolk, please visit our website.

Have a lovely weekend!

Art at MEAL

There are some rather nice art events coming up at the Museum of East Anglian Life (MEAL) in Stowmarket.

Thomas Bewick, Abbott's Hall, Stowmarket

Their current exhibition, An Anecdotal Eye: The Work of Thomas Bewick, is on in Abbott’s Hall until 23 February. It showcases the work of Berwick, an 18th century artist, who recorded his life in the country, surrounded by fields, farms and rivers. His observations of the animals and birds he saw are exquisitely illustrated, sensitively portraying the creatures in their natural habitat.

To accompany the exhibition, there is a one day workshop where you can learn the art of bookbinding. Bev Woolner started his apprenticeship in the bookbinding industry in 1963 and spent many years learning the craft before setting up his own bindery, where he specialises in hand-bound, bespoke bindings. Bev will pass on some of these skills during the workshop and students will make two notebooks in the traditional way to take home with them, using equipment from the Museum’s own collection.

The workshop is on Saturday 15th February 10am-4pm. Price: £45. Please contact MEAL to book Tel 01449 612229

Following on from that on 20th February, is an illustrated talk by local artist, Jenny Portlock called Scorpers & Spitstickers

An evening with Jenny Portlock

Jenny is a designer and producer of intricate wood engravings and prints and during her talk, she will describe how she came to take up wood engraving and develop her own artistic style. She will talk about the traditional skills and practices and the equipment and techniques she uses, as well as discussing the work of other contemporary wood engravers.

Tickets are available from the Stowmarket Tourist Information Centre.

Cost: £6.50 and the evening starts at 7.30pm

A new year…

Heart of SuffolkHappy new year dear readers, we hope you had a peaceful and relaxing Christmas holiday.

I love the newness of the start of a fresh year. I enjoy clearing away the debris from Christmas; undressing the tree, recycling the cards, packing away the decorations and settling down to think about the year ahead. And we have got lots planned for 2014…

We have been working hard on a sparkly new website for the Heart of Suffolk and we will have our grand unveiling soon. The new site will have room for lots more information and pictures of our lovely visitor attractions, holiday accommodation and events and a new website means this blog will also have a new home, and we will let you know the details of that as soon as it happens.

New plans for our blog include having regular ‘Focus On…’ type features about what the Heart of Suffolk has to offer. We will bring you news of events and all the juicey happenings around the area, we will also have the odd competition or two, news of special offers and plenty of ideas and inspiration to help you plan your next visit to Suffolk.

Have a lovely weekend and we look forward to seeing you soon.



As another year draws to a close, we wish you all a peaceful Christmas and every happiness for the new year. Stay safe in this stormy weather and enjoy your time with friends and family.

In the new year we look forward to showing you our sparkly new website, highlighting all the lovely things there are to do in the Heart of Suffolk. We will also have news of the programme for the Suffolk Walking Festival which has now been finalised and tickets will be available soon.

Cheers and all the very best

Heart of Suffolk Tourism Team

A Dickensian Christmas at Kentwell Hall, Long Melford

Kentwell Hall is a magical place at any time of year, but especially during their Dickensian Christmas events, when participants settle into Victorian life for a few weekends in the run up to Christmas.  Participants are volunteers with a keen interest in history (and acting!) who throughout the year, take on different personas from different eras in history and re-create that time period for the thousands of visitors who visit Kentwell each year.

We started off our visit with a wander through the hall; admired the beautifully set table in the Jacobethan dining room, paused a while in the drawing room to enjoy the Christmas carols being played on the piano and watch participants play their part in bringing the Victorian period to life.

Kentwell Hall was full of festive smells, from the baking and cooking in the kitchen to the scent of the huge Christmas tree, roaring fires and garlands of greenery which bedeck mantelpieces throughout this magnificient building.

The day continued with lunch (delicious Stilton soup followed by tea and homemade cake) in the Stableyard Tearoom; a crafting session, where visitors are invited to make a decoration to take home with them; Victorian style entertainment in the Music Hall with operetta, poetry readings, lusty songs and magic tricks; a reading from A Christmas Carol, read by ‘Charles Dickens’ himself, with ghostly scenes being acted out in the background; a visit to Santa’s cottage, with its roaring fire and beautifully decorated tree and finally a Christmas carol sing-a-long back in the drawing room of Kentwell Hall, lit only by the roaring fire and dozens of candles.

The final weekend is this coming one and tickets can be booked online in advance.  All the entertainment is included in the price (refreshments must be purchased separately) and you will need the best part of a day to enjoy the magical festivities at a leisurely pace.

Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 9BA
Tel: 01787 310 207 Web: www.kentwell.co.uk

Seasonal Felicitations

Things are getting ever more festive as the Season To Be Jolly gets firmly underway and we have some wonderful  Christmas events to warm the hearts all of us, even those who are generally a bit “bah humbug” about the whole affair…

Some of the highlights are the Christmas Tree Festivals in Needham Market and Sudbury. They both take place in churches which are filled with trees, individually decorated by local charities, businesses, community groups and schools. Imagine dozens of trees, all with twinkling lights and handmade decorations; the smell of fresh pine and the evidence of goodwill of so many people, who have taken the time to contribute to these fund raising events.

There is also the Christmas Festival in Lavenham which starts today and carries on all weekend. There will be a Dickensian themed street fair, with vintage-style entertainment, lots of crafts, mince pies and mulled wine. Lavenham is surely the perfect backdrop for an event like this – it will be like stepping into a Victorian Christmas card!

Kentwell Hall have adopted a Dickensian theme too with their re-enactments of a Dickensian Christmas during three weekends in December. You can wander through the hall, meet ‘real’ Victorians as they go about their business, smell the cooking and baking as the kitchens gear up to make some festive treats and children are invited to meet Santa in his magical cottage grotto.

There’s the enchanting Lantern Walk, a walk around Lavenham with a Blue Badge Guide on 7th December where you will learn about the town’s fascinating history.  The price of £5 includes a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie at the end.

Needham Market’s Christmas Street Fayre takes place on the 8th December and the shops will be looking festive and inviting and in addition, there will be around 75 stalls, laden with Christmas treats.

There will also be festive music, a magician and of course Santa will be in attendance, handing out presents to those who have been good!

On the 19th December, there is a Christmas Magic Lantern Evening at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket:  An evening filled with awe and wonder as a spectacle of colours, sound and merriment take you back to Victorian times.

And if all that isn’t enought to get you into the festive spirit, there are pantos at The Quay in Sudbury (Jack and the Beanstalk) and The Regal in Stowmarket (Cinderella), which will surely do the trick.

For a full list of events please visit the South & Heart of Suffolk website