Suffolk Villages Around Stowmarket
A guide to some of the local villages and attractions within reach of Stowmarket
Leisure Centre in Stowmarket
Contact: (01449) 674980
Ocean Adventure at The Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre
Leisure Centre offering a comprehensive choice of sports and fitness activities, including a main swimming pool and two side pools, a well equipped fitness studio, indoor bowls, a multi-purpose sports hall, squash courts, a climbing wall, and a registered creche.
Visitors can also choose from over 25 different weekly exercise classes, relax in the spa bath, sauna or steam room, or pick from a selection of beauty therapy treatments. Also part of the complex, Ocean Adventure offers children an exciting indoor playworld. Facilities include a cafe and licenced bar, toilets, and ample free parking.
The Museum of East Anglian Life
Contact: (01449) 612229
Museum of East Anglian Life
Extensive and engaging Museum spread over a 75 acre site, containing woodland and riverside nature trails, restored historic buildings including a working water mill, local and rare breeds of farm animal, five operational steam engines, and displays on traditional East Anglian crafts and Gyspy culture. Additionally, guided tours of the Abbot's Hall historic gardens are run every Thursday and Sunday.
Facilities include a gift shop, the Abbots Hall Farm shop which sells local organic produce, the Galloping Chef tea room and bistro, Gilbert's Food Hall, and toilets. Nearby pay and display parking is availabe on either side of Iliffe Way. The Mid Suffolk Tourist Information Centre is located in the Museum's main entrance building.
The Old Town Hall Antique & Collectors Centre
Located approximately 3 miles south east of Stowmarket, Needham Market is a bustling small town whose high street, houses, shops and boutiques are full of charm and character.
At the north end of the high street stands the church of St John the Baptist, substantially rebuilt in the late fifteenth Century, which contains a splendid double hammerbeam roof adorned with carved angels. There is free long and short term parking available, and public toilets which are located in Barretts lane opposite the church.
Across the railway line to the east of the town lies the peaceful and scenic Needham Lake, a local nature reserve with designated walks, play areas, fishing platforms and picnic tables. Facilities include toilets and free out of season parking. The site also hosts a car boot fair on most Saturday mornings throughout the year.
For more information, contact the Mid Suffolk Tourist Information Centre on (01449) 676800.
The Granary Craft Museum at Buxhall
Contact: (01449) 736363
The Granary Craft Museum
A disused granary and its outbuildings in the small village of Buxhall have been converted into a well stocked craft and gift shop, a welcoming tea room serving drinks and homemade cakes, and a fascinating little museum of local and agricultural bygones. Entry to the museum is free, facilities include toilets and free parking. Located approximately 3 miles west of Stowmarket.
Stonham Barns at Stonham Aspel
Contact: (01449) 711755
Stonham Barns shops and boutiques
Located approximately 4 miles east of Stowmarket, the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary at Stonham Barns includes over 60 owls and other birds of prey, a raptor hospital, an adventure play area and maze, woodland walks and a rare Red Squirrel colony, as well as an information centre and gift shop.
Driving range at the Stonham Barns Golf Centre
The sanctuary is open all year round with daily flying displays taking place from Easter to September.
Visitors can also enjoy a collection of barns housing a variety of shops including antiques, gifts, kitchenware, toys, garden products and plants, and a pottery. Additionally there is a fishing lake, and the Stonham Barns Golf Centre which boasts a 9 hole golf course, driving range, crazy golf, and a small golf store. Facilities include a restaurant, toilets, and ample free parking.
Located approximately 4 miles north west of Stowmarket, Haughley Park House opens its extensive grounds to visitors every Tuesday afternoon from May to September.It is renowned for its bluebell woods, which can be enjoyed at the beginning of May, when the park opens on two special 'Bluebell Sundays'.
Also in the grounds, the restored 17th Century barn is a popular wedding and conference venue.
The Mechanical Music Museum & Bygones at Cotton
Contact: (01449) 613876
The Mechanical Music Museum
Visitors enter an Aladdin's cave of musical treasures, originally founded in 1974 from a collection of automatic musical instruments. This was later joined by a substantial inventory of cinema memorabilia, a highlight of which is the Wurlitzer organ which the Museum has lovingly restored back to factory condition.
Facilities include light refreshments, toilets and ample free parking. The museum is open on Sunday afternoons in June, July, August and September with conducted tours, though coach parties and evening opening times can be arranged. It is located approximately 6 miles north of Stowmarket.
Mid-Suffolk Light Railway Museum at
Contact: (01449) 766899
A wagon at the Mid Suffolk Light Railway
Located approximately 7 miles north east of Stowmarket, the museum presents a re-creation of a typical midsuffolk station alongside preserved and restored rolling stock, buildings and other exhibits. Steam trains run on selected open days
Facilities include refreshments, toilets, a gift shop and free parking. The museum is open Sundays and Bank holidays from Easter to September, and also Wednesdays in August, with many special themed days. Group visits and evening tours can be booked during the season.
Teapots at the Pottery
Debenham is a large and peaceful village approximately 8 miles east of Stowmarket, and surrounded by the river Deben. Thought to have been originally settled in Roman times, its village sign serves as a reminder of the thriving wool centre it became during the Middle Ages.
Carters Teapot Pottery
The streets are still lined with surviving 14th and 17th Century timber framed merchants' houses, though some of the medieval features are hidden behind more modern facades and shop fronts. The bells in Debenham's church of St Mary Magdalene are reputed to ring the best octave in Suffolk.
Situated in Low Road is Carters Teapot Pottery, where visitors can watch the process of uniquely designed teapots being crafted and painted by hand, and browse the pottery shop. Facilities include a cafe serving refreshments in the attractive conservatory, toilets, and free parking nearby. The pottery is open all year round.
Contact: (01379) 788345
The Thornham Estate
2000 acres of parkland located approximately 9 miles north east of Stowmarket, and encompassing a wide variety of habitats, including woodland, parkland and natural grazing meadows, with waymarked walks and organised events and activities.
Facilites include a gift shop and cafe, toilets, and pay-and-display parking. Walks maps are available for purchase from the information board in the main car park. The Forge Cafe is open daily throughout the year.
Helmingham Hall Gardens
Contact: (01473) 890799
The entrance to Helmingham Hall Gardens
Grade 1 listed gardens owned by the Tollemache family, which include a parterre, walled kitchen garden, an orchard, acres of parkland roamed by red and fallow deer, and planted herbaceous, shrub and seasonal borders.
Cream teas, cakes, light snacks and drinks are served at the fully licenced Coach House Tea Rooms, and gifts are sold in the Stable Shop. Toilet facilities are available, admission fee includes parking.
The gardens, which are open to visitors from May to September, are located approximately 9 miles east of Stowmarket.
Bridge Farm Barns at Monks
Contact: (01449) 740456
The Corn Craft Tea Room & Gift Shop at Bridge Farm Barns
Bridge Farm Barns comprises several local businesses offering visitors a selection of cards and gifts, corncraft and artificial flowers, scrapbooking and craft supplies, and garden structures from The Summer House.
Facilities include a restaurant and tea room, toilets, and ample free parking. Bridge Farm Barns is located approximately 10 miles south west of Stowmarket
Henry Watson's Pottery Shop at
Contact: (01359) 251239
A disused kiln outside Henry Watson's Pottery Shop
Henry Watson's family run pottery, dating back to 1734, specialises in producing its famous 'Original Suffolk Collection' in plain terracotta and a selection of coloured glazes.
The original pottery site now houses their country gift shop, which sells the full range of Henry Watson's products, as well as kitchenware, candles, earthenware garden pots, and a wide variety of gift ideas.
Facilities include a relaxing coffee shop serving light snacks and drinks, a picnic area, toilets, and free parking. The shop is open all year round. The pottery is located approximately 12 miles north of Stowmarket.
Eye Castle consists of the few remains of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle built on an artifical mound, which affords pleasant views of Eye and the surrounding countryside. It is located some 12 miles north east of Stowmarket.
The castle was rebuilt after a failed attack by the Earl of Norfolk in 1173 during the rebellion against Henry II, but was later left to ruin. Although a small part of the inner bailey still stands, most of what survives today is the remnants of a victorian folly built by Sir Edward Kerrison for his batman, who had saved his life at Waterloo.
Toilet facilities and free parking are available in the village. The castle is open during daylight hours from Easter to September. For more information, contact the Mid Suffolk Tourist Information Centre on (01449) 676800.
Bressingham Steam Museum and
Contact: (01379) 686900
Bressingham Steam Museum
Steam Museum with a collection of exhibits and working locomotives, and home of the 6100 Royal Scot, fully restored and running at Bressingham during the summer. The Museum also includes the National Dad's Army collection of original props and vehicles, housed in a specially recreated scene from Walmington-on-Sea. Outside, the Bressingham Gardens display a large selection of species and varieties of plants.
Facilities include the Blooms of Bressingham garden centre, a gift shop and cafe, toilets, and ample free parking. The main centre, Winter Garden and Dad's Army Exhibition are open all year round, the rides operate daily between March and November, and the Museum additionally hosts a series of special days and weekends. Half and full day 'Steam Experience' courses are available. The Museum is situated approximately 15 miles north of Stowmarket.
Alder Carr Farm near Needham
Contact: (01449) 720820
Alder Carr Farm
Working farm open to the public, with a farm shop selling locally produced food, hand made fruit ice creams, and pick-your-own fruit and vegetables. The courtyard also houses a number of small arts and craft boutiques, an eco shop, and Suffolk Cycle Breaks. Additionally, Farmers' Markets are held every 3rd Saturday of the month from 9am to 1pm throughout the year.
Facilities include a children's play area, the Alder Carr Tearoom & Restaurant serving full a lunch menu, snacks and drinks, toilets, and free parking. Alder Carr Farm is open Tuesdays to Saturdays all year round, and also Mondays in June and August. It is located approximately 3 miles south east of Stowmarket.
Baylham House Rare Breeds
Contact: (01473) 830264
Goats at Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm
Visitors can see and learn about rare breeds of animal at this family run farm located in picturesque countryside beside a river. Children are given a bag of animal food, and are invited to feed most of the animals.
Facilities include a Visitor centre with gift shop and refreshments, toilets, and free nearby parking. The farm is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs in most areas, and can cater for individual and group tours. Self catering farm holidays are also available. The farm is located approximately 5 miles south east of Stowmarket.