The Suffolk Coast
  • Plan a Cultural Break to The Suffolk Coast

Plan a Weekend of Culture on The Suffolk Coast

The Suffolk Coast has fast become the destination of choice when searching out great food & drink – a foodies paradise. But get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and you're also greeted with towns, villages and landscapes that are rich in cultural experiences too...

Whatever the time of year, there's never been a better time to plan a weekend of culture on The Suffolk Coast; packed with theatre, live music, art, sculpture, history, festivals and films!

A Night at the Theatre

TTDA - Marina Theatre - Exterior

With so many theatres in the area all providing packed schedules, you’re sure to find a great night’s entertainment.

As the gateway to the Coast, Ipswich packs a punch when it comes to cultural experiences. The historic Waterfront is home to a range of arts companies and groups. Combining heritage with theatre to make regional stories and hidden histories come to life on stage, Eastern Angles deliver professional rural touring and site-specific theatre with a focus on new writing, new audiences and the development of new talent. The Company are based in Ipswich at the Sir John Mills Theatre, but tour many of the region's local theatre too. 

Ipswich's Waterfront is also the home of DanceEast who bring world-class dance to the East of England, presenting a diverse programme of performances and delivering a variety of dance classes including Egyptian Belly Dancing; Hip Hop; Ballet; Jazz; Pilates and Yoga.

The town is also home to the New Wolsey Theatre; with a range of productions to suit all ages and tastes, and the Ipswich Regent & Corn Exchange who welcome some of the UK's top comedians, singers, musicals and plays.  

In Lowestoft, the town's largest theatre, the Marina Theatre boasts a packed schedule of musicals, plays, cinema screenings and comedians. There are two other theatres within the town; the Players Theatre which shows a range of musicals throughout the year and The Seagull in Pakefield; which features a programme of plays, live music and musical productions. 

Further down the coast you will find The Spa Pavilion in Felixstowe; this historic theatre hosts many touring productions, a fantastic selection of children's theatre, live concerts and comedians.

If you enjoy watching contemporary dance and listening to world music, then a visit to The Cut in Halesworth should be on your to-do list. Whilst there, take some time to stroll through their galleries to admire exhibitions of paintings, posters, digital media, sculptures and much more.

Book a stay on The Suffolk Coast in the summer months and book tickets for one of Suffolk Summer Theatre's productions. At Southwold Arts Centre and the Jubilee Hall in Aldeburgh, there's a show on almost every night throughout the summer including plays by Alan Ayckbourn, Agatha Christie and P.G. Woodhouse to name but a few. If you prefer to visit our shores during the winter months, the Centre hosts a range of entertainment including concerts and screenings - perfect for staying warm and dry on chilly days!

The Silver-Screen in Suffolk

TTDA - Electric Picture Palace - Auditorium

Head to Southwold, take a step back in time and be transported to the golden age of cinema with a visit to the Electric Picture Palace. This art deco, 70-seat cinema lets you experience cinema-going in the mid-twentieth century. Run by the Southwold Film Society, this season's films include modern blockbusters and vintage classics: 'Solo - A Star Wars Story', 'Letters to Juliet', 'Keeping Mum', 'Northanger Abbey', 'Spitfire', and National Theatre Live screenings to name but a few. 

Showing the latest box office hits along with a selection of classics, Aldeburgh Cinema celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2019! Situated in the heart of the town, the historic cinema also hosts the annual DocFest every November, and shows live broadcasts from the National Theatre and the Metropolitan Opera in New York, in addition to hosting events for the Aldeburgh Festival and the HighTide Festival.

As if two historic cinemas weren't enough, head to Woodbridge and book tickets to see the latest release at The Riverside. Located by the River Deben the cinema was originally a tented attraction used by travelling shows, but became a purpose-built cinema in 1915, and recently celebrated its centenary. For the last 25 years, Stuart Saunders the owner has developed The Riverside into a well-loved local venue, showing a variety of films for all tastes, from the latest big action blockbusters to art house and locally made films.

A day at the Museums

The Red House Library

The area around Aldeburgh could easily claim to be the cultural capital of the Suffolk Coast. Central to all of this is the town’s connection to renowned composer, Benjamin Britten. His musical legacy lives on in the Aldeburgh Festival, founded by him and his partner, Peter Pears, back in 1948.

They shared a home at The Red House in Aldeburgh, now home to the Britten Pears Foundation and open to the public to visit. You can join one of the guided tours, take in an open-air concert in the gardens and view the many visiting exhibitions. 

Discover the UK's engineering heritage with a trip to the Long Shop Museum in Leiston. There's a fabulous array of exhibitions including the living van as used by road makers, shepherds and other farm workers in years gone by, guns and ammunition including sections of the Mulberry harbours, Richard Garrett's  ‘Victomatic’ Dry Cleaning Machine, Consuelo Allen, Princess Marina and other traction engines and the Long Shop itself – an icon of industrial Britain.

Winner of Best Small Attraction at the Norfolk & Suffolk Tourism Awards, Felixstowe Museum is home to fascinating collections such as Roman pottery, Medieval coins and Victorian and Edwardian artefacts. Aviation enthusiasts will enjoy the collection models planes and you can also learn about psychiatric care through the ages with the story of St Audry’s Hospital, and get an insight into the lives of the thousands of staff and patients who lived there. 

Whilst in Felixstowe, be sure to also pay a visit to Landguard Fort; one of England's best preserved coastal defences, with a history spanning almost 450 years and the site of the last opposed seaborne invasion of England in 1667, and the first land battle of the Royal Marines.

At East Anglia Transport Museum in Lowestoft you can ride on working trams, trolleybuses and a narrow gauge railway. Walk through the collection of trams, trolleybuses and motor buses from various parts of the country and stop to admire the examples of motor buses built at the Eastern Coach Works in Lowestoft - a great day out for the whole family!

Be sure to check museums websites for opening times as some close during the winter months though.

Book Tickets to a Festival

Aldeburgh Festival Orchestra Rehearsal

Whether it's music, film, theatre, poetry, books, art or food you love, The Suffolk Coast is home to an impressive selection of renowned festivals. 

Aldeburgh DocFest takes place every November at Aldeburgh Cinema; now in its 24th year, the festival has grown from a small weekend get-together into a nationally respected festival and a forum in which audiences have the unique ability to hear directly from the filmmakers themselves. Speakers for the 2018 festival include Journalist and Presenter Nick Robinson, author Kate Moss, war photographer Nick Conway, BBC news correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, award-winning Suffolk based photographer Bill Jackson and acclaimed documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield. 

Staying in the town, the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival takes place every November (2nd - 4th 2018) showcasing over 100 poets, filmmakers and artists and features readings, workshops, screenings and more. Why not enjoy an extended stay and also book tickets to the Ways with Words Festival in Southwold, which often takes place the following weekend (8th - 12th 2018). The literature festival hosts speakers including lan Johnson, Blake Morrison, Sally Vickers, Caroline Slocock and Michael Buerk. 

Taking place in June 2019, the Felixstowe Book Festival is one to watch and definitely check out for yourself. Last year's speakers included Sir Vince Cable, historian Martin Kemp, Jenny Murray, actor Stephen McGann and Shakespearean actor Michael Pennington. Taking place over 5 days at The Orwell Hotel, the festival also hosts a number of workshops and talks, and showcases many of Suffolk's up and coming authors. 

Staying in Felixstowe, the Festival of Fabric is fast-becoming one of the must-attend events within the vintage calendar. This one-day event celebrates vintage inspired dressmaking with a great specialist market, lectures, workshops, swing music and an exhibition.

Enjoy a month-long celebration of the land at the Alde Valley Spring Festival from 27th April - 26th May 2019. Showcasing Suffolk's food, farming, landscape and the arts at White House Farm in the beautiful Upper Alde Valley. Over 40 local, regional, national and international artists and makers host events and exhibitions plus there's a fascinating a programme of Festival talks, farm suppers, open studios and pop-up tea rooms.

Later in the year, celebrate autumn at !Cornucopia! - a three-week seasonal celebration that brings together artisan crafts with seasonal foods, rural writing and the visual arts – all within a working farmed landscape. (Visit the website for 2019 dates when they are released at http://www.aldevalleyspringfestival.co.uk/). 

A visit to The Suffolk Coast for a weekend of culture would not be complete without catching a concert in the famous Snape Maltings Concert Hall. There's a year-round programme of music with everything from jazz and world music to classical and opera. Every year in June, the Aldeburgh Festival takes place with new music, old music, reeds, marshes, vast skies and the waves of the North Sea all culminating in a one month celebration of classical music. In August, the famous Snape Proms series gets underway; musicians from around the world converge on Snape for a series of outstanding concerts, from big bands and orchestras to folk groups and solo artists - it's an unmissable experience and the perfect way to enjoy a summer's evening.

View an Exhibition

TTDA - Ferini Art Gallery - Gallery

Located within one of the historic Maltings workshops at Snape Maltings, the Lettering Arts Trust hosts a year-round programme of exhibitions, artist lectures, lettering demonstrations and a variety of lettering workshops. The shop sells a range of beautiful lettered artworks and gifts from statement works of art to small gifts - ideal for picking up a genuine Suffolk-souvenir. 

Snape also houses three other galleries; the Maltings Gallery which is dedicated to local and East Anglian paintings, ceramics, sculptures and jewellery and the Quay Gallery and Pond Gallery which host one-off exhibitions. 

Further down the coast in the coastal village of Pakefield near Lowestoft you will find the Ferini Art Gallery; set before the beautiful and ever-changing skies and seascapes of Pakefield, you can while away an hour or so taking in the oil paintings, watercolours and jewellery made by local and national artists. 

Isolated on the pebbled beach of this Suffolk seaside town, the Aldeburgh Beach Lookout and Art House welcomes a new artist, poet, performer, musician, thinker each week as artist in residence. Each Weekly artists residency culminates in an exhibition of brand new work. London Art Dealer Caroline Wiseman first spotted this iconic tower whilst taking her morning swim in the sea and set about acquiring the tower and the house behind on Crag Path; transforming the Lookout into an international art destination that has since hosted some of the world's most eminent artists including Peter Black RA, Eileen Cooper RA, Ryan Gander, Anthony Green RA.

Inspired by the landscape, wildlife, history and people of the Waveney Valley, Waveney & Blyth Arts runs an annual programme of themed creative guided walks, performances, exhibitions, creative workshops, talks, outdoor sculpture trail and creative writing activities. Events are open to all, with one of the key events being the Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail. 

Now we’ve whet your cultural appetite, it’s time to start planning your getaway to The Suffolk Coast. Take a look at the fabulous accommodation you can choose from – B&B’s, cottages, hotels, glamping – take your pick!



Things to see and do

Ferini Art Gallery

Ferini Art Gallery

The Ferini Art Gallery is set before the beautiful and ever-changing skies an seascapes of Pakefield. It's art mirrors the light and vibrance of the coastline, fishing beach and sandy cliffs.

Read more >

Felixstowe Book Festival

Felixstowe Book Festival

Felixstowe

Felixstowe Book Festival has become one of the highlights of the East Anglian arts calendar and returns for another exciting programme of events from 27th June to 1st July 2018. 


Read more >

Suffolk Craft Society

Suffolk Craft Society

The Suffolk Craft Society was formed in 1970 to promote the value and importance of contemporary crafts and currently supports around 110 individual craftspeople in the creation of their work across a wide range of craft skills. 

Read more >

Aldeburgh Cinema

Aldeburgh Cinema

Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh Cinema offers the very best in world and mainstream cinema. At the heart of the local community since 1919 and home of the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival, Aldeburgh Cinema is a local treasure.

Read more >
Free wifi

Electric Picture Palace

Electric Picture Palace

The Electric Picture Palace is a small but perfectly formed, 70 seat cinema in Southwold on The Suffolk coast.

Read more >
Wheelchair Accessible

Snape Maltings

Snape Maltings

Snape

Snape Maltings is a place of energy and inspiration – a visitor destination of outstanding natural beauty and one of the world’s leading centres of music, founded by Suffolk-born composer Benjamin Britten. 

Read more >
Free wifi Dog friendly

Adnams Shops

Adnams Shops

Adnams shops are a top class tasting experience and a showcase of their innovative range of  quality beer, wonderful wines, handcrafted spirits and gifty bits.

Read more >
Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

Marina Theatre

Marina Theatre

It plays host to major West End productions, top comedy, orchestral concerts, touring drama and musical productions, opera, ballet, music, dance and celebrity concerts as well as operating a successful cinema operation - boasting the largest screen and cinema auditoria in the town. 

Read more >
Wheelchair Accessible

Adnams Brewery and Distillery Tours

Adnams Brewery and Distillery Tours

Fancy doing something a little bit different? Situated in the heart of Southwold is the Adnams Sole Bay Brewery and Copper House Distillery, where Adnams have been brewing since 1872.

Read more >
Wheelchair Accessible

Felixstowe Museum

Felixstowe Museum

Explore the fascinating artefacts and collections of Felixstowe Museum, which brings alive the military and social history of this seaside town.

Read more >
Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

Suffolk Summer Theatres

Suffolk Summer Theatres

With a broad mixture of comedies, thrillers and family drama; performing five shows at both St Edmund's Hall, Southwold and the Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh between July to mid-September. "Classic theatre for a modern audience."

Read more >
Wheelchair Accessible

Discover Landguard

Discover Landguard

The Landguard Peninsula is located at the southerly most point of the town of Felixstowe. 

Read more >

Ipswich Town and Waterfront

Ipswich Town and Waterfront

Championing Ipswich as a great place to visit and stay. Promoting local events, places of interests, arts, theatre and culture of the historic town.

Read more >

Alde Valley Spring  Festival

Alde Valley Spring Festival

Saxmundham

A four week celebration of food, farming, landscape and the arts in the beautiful Upper Alde Valley.

Read more >

The Cut - Halesworth

The Cut - Halesworth

Halesworth

The Cut Arts Centre offers Halesworth and the surrounding countryside an extensive range of arts, music, theatre, dance, comedy, cinema, workshops and art exhibitions. 

Read more >

Southwold Arts Centre

Southwold Arts Centre

The première entertainment venue in the popular Suffolk coastal town of Southwold; presenting a year-round programme of events including music, theatre, film, comedy, craft and antique fairs, art exhibitions, workshops, community events and outdoor events. Southwold Arts Centre also offers a number of spaces for hire; suitable for live events, meetings, family celebrations and exhibition space.

Read more >
Free wifi Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

Festival of Fabric

Festival of Fabric

The award-winning Festival of Fabric draws together specialist traders to enable the purchase of vintage and vintage style fabric, patterns, haberdashery and sewing machines - taking place on Saturday 6th October.

Read more >
Wheelchair Accessible

Landguard Fort

Landguard Fort

Felixstowe

Discover the rich military and maritime heritage of Landguard Fort, one of England's best preserved coastal defences, with a history spanning almost 450 years. 

Read more >

The Lettering Arts Centre

The Lettering Arts Centre

The Lettering Arts Centre is the home of the Lettering Arts Trust, an independent charity which champions Britain's rich heritage in the lettering arts. 

Read more >
Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

Waveney & Blyth Arts

Waveney & Blyth Arts

Waveney & Blyth Arts connects creative people and places along the Norfolk/Suffolk border and promotes the distinct cultural identity of this beautiful area through exciting arts events and activities.

Read more >

Suffolk Libraries

Suffolk Libraries

All of the county's 44 libraries provide a wide range of services including traditional library loans (books, DVDs etc) access to the internet and a range of information materials, free Wi-Fi and activities for people of all ages throughout the year.


Read more >
Free wifi

Felixstowe Spa Pavilion Theatre

Felixstowe Spa Pavilion Theatre

A glorious seafront theatre and restaurant complex, with stunning views, an art deco auditorium for up to 900 people and a fabulous Mediterranean-style pizza, pasta & grill menu. Food served all day includes home-made cakes and pastries, lunch and dinner menus, with tapas, sandwiches and takeaway also available. 


Read more >
Free wifi Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

Eastern Angles

Eastern Angles

Eastern Angles Theatre Company combines heritage with theatre to make regional stories and hidden histories come to life on stage. The company are based at the Sir John Mills Theatre in Ipswich but tour across the county to villages, towns and quirky outdoor locations.

Read more >
Free wifi

Suffolk Museums

Suffolk Museums

There are more than 50 museums in Suffolk. Each one is unique, and they are all packed with fascinating stories and objects. 

Read more >

Aldeburgh Beach Lookout and Art House

Aldeburgh Beach Lookout and Art House

Aldeburgh

Isolated yet at the heart of cultural innovation, it is a magical and stimulating setting for artists to respond each in their own fascinating way.

Read more >

The Riverside

The Riverside

The Riverside Cinema may be over 100 years old but the films and live broadcast events that are on screen are totally up to date. 

Read more >
Free wifi Wheelchair Accessible

Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival

Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival

Snape

Tickets are now on sale for Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival 2018, which is taking place over the weekend of 28th, 29th, and 30th September.

Read more >
Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

Events

The 24th Aldeburgh Documentary Festival

The 24th Aldeburgh Documentary Festival

Aldeburgh | Fri 02nd - Sun 04th Nov 2018

Artistic Director Jill Green once again produces Aldeburgh's Documentary Festival, now in its 24th year.

Read more >

where to stay

Mollett’s Farm

Mollett’s Farm

Saxmundham

Mollett’s Farm is a family-run haven of peace and tranquillity near Suffolk’s Heritage Coast. With new custom-designed holiday studios and cottages, it’s a home away from home. 

Read more >
Free wifi Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

Chiltern House Bed and Breakfast

Chiltern House Bed and Breakfast

Chiltern House is a stylish bed & breakfast in a Victorian terraced property just a two minute walk from the blue flag awarded Lowestoft beach and independent shops and restaurants. Ideally located to explore the Suffolk coast, countryside and historic market towns.

Read more >
Free wifi

Ivy House Country Hotel

Ivy House Country Hotel

The Ivy House Country Hotel is a "Hidden Gem" nestled on the banks of Oulton Broad, among 21 acres of gardens, lawns, ponds, marshes and thatched beautiful barns all with direct access onto the broads.

Guests can enjoy relaxing walks in the grounds or venture out onto the Broads pathways or further still, to the nearby coast.

Read more >
Free wifi Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

Belle Grove 

Belle Grove

Halesworth

Located in Halesworth, Belle Grove is an extra special place for a well-deserved break, birthday celebration, anniversary, romantic week-end or family get–together.

“This place really is magical”

Read more >
Free wifi