Suffolk is a beautiful county in East Anglia, to the North of Essex and to the South of Norfolk. There are many similarities to the neighbouring county of Essex.
Suffolk has some delightful towns on its coastline. Among these are Southwold, famous for its lighthouse and its nine greens; Aldeburgh, where Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears originated the Aldeburgh Festival; Felixstowe, where you can get a ferry across the Stour and Orwell estuaries to Harwich; and Lowestoft, the most Easterly town in England.
The most important town in Suffolk is Ipswich, still a busy port on the River Orwell. Ipswich was the first town to be created by the English, after the departure of the Romans, and has many surviving mediaeval churches.
A part of Suffolk and Essex around the River Stour is universally known as Constable Country. The painter John Constable was born at East Bergholt, and his father owned the mill at nearby Flatford. Dedham church, in the village across the river in Essex where he went to school, is featured in several of Constable’s paintings.
Another great English painter from Suffolk was Thomas Gainsborough, who was born in the attractive market town of Sudbury.
Higher up the Stour is another area of Essex and Suffolk known as Lovejoy Country, after the popular TV series about a roguish antique dealer. Lovejoy Country in Suffolk includes such places as Cavendish, Clare, Lavenham and Long Melford, while over the river in Essex towns and villages involved include Finchingfield, Halstead, Saffron Walden and Thaxted.
The ancient market town of Bury St. Edmunds is now a cathedral city. The remains of the great Abbey are where St. Edmund, the Martyr King of East Anglia, was buried, having rested at the Saxon timber church at Greenstead-juxta-Ongar.
Other attractive towns and villages in the county include Framlingham, Hadleigh, Kersey, Saxstead Green, Stoke-by-Clare, Stoke-by-Nayland and Yoxford.
Visitors to England often ask where they can see a perfect mediaeval English town. A good answer would be that if a stone town is required, then Stamford in Lincolnshire must be the answer, but if the visitor requires timber-framed houses, it has to be Lavenham.
Just outside the attractive market town of Woodbridge is Sutton Hoo, where the sumptuous Anglo-Saxon burial, probably of the powerful King Redwald, was discovered.
A little to the south of Southwold is the site of Dunwich. This is the ancient city which was lost to the sea, and which only remains today as the tiniest of villages. Local legend insists that at times the bells of the submerged churches can be heard ringing as they did in centuries gone by.
Suffolk is a very beautiful county indeed. Indeed, Suffolk and Essex must be the England you always knew must still exist somewhere, but didn’t know where. It’s here.