Halesworth guide

Halesworth is one of Suffolk’s many pretty market towns in the north of the region and less than ten miles from the coast, close to Southwold and Blythburgh

Check out our handy ‘know before you go’ guide to make your visit a huge success! 

Halesworth is a town that prides itself on offering a traditional shopping experience. It is centred around the Thoroughfare, a pedestrianised area where many buildings date back to the sixteenth century.

Perfectly located for exploring The Suffolk Coast and countryside, in Halesworth you are ideally situated to travel to the many coastal resorts, attractions, villages and towns. 

Did you know?

Halesworth is a small market town built upon a Roman settlement and is full of interesting buildings, from timber framed structures to Victorian former almshouses. The main shopping street is known as the Thoroughfare, which is an East Anglian term for the main street of a town.

Halesworth is home to the largest millennium green in the UK with around 44 acres of green space provided for wildlife. In 1991 an archaeological excavation outside the White Hart pub discovered part of a causeway dating from the late Saxon period. Parts of the causeway can be viewed at the Halesworth and district museum along with other curiosities such as mummified cats which were discovered in the walls of the Maltings in town, thought to have been placed there to bring good luck.

Famous people from Halesworth include Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, the famous botanist who was born in 1817; and George Landsbury, leader of the Labour party from 1931 - 1935.

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Halesworth Highlights

1. A splendid selection of cafes, restaurants and delis - perfect for foodies!

Towns & Villages - Halesworth - The Angel Hotel

Halesworth has a great cafe culture with many different places to stop for a drink and something to eat. Many have outdoor seating on the Thoroughfare to sit and watch the world go by and cosy indoor spaces for those cooler days, whilst you enjoy freshly made light meals and home baked treats. And if you want to pick up food to take on a picnic or eat at home, then visit one of the town’s delis, bakers, greengrocers or butcher.

Restaurants make good use of the wonderful local produce from locally reared Blythburgh pork to organically grown vegetables: there’s the Boarding House Dining Rooms on the Marketplace, Cleone's Italian Restaurant at The Angel, Edwards on the Thoroughfare serving traditional home-cooked food and The Ancient House Bistro which has a delightful small courtyard.

There’s something to suit all tastes and pockets with traditional pub food at one of the town’s pubs and a wide choice of take away options too.

2. Shopping

Shopping in Halesworth

The semi-pedestrianised Thoroughfare and large traditional Market Place make it easy to wander through the town centre popping into the mainly independently owned shops.

Halesworth businesses pride themselves on their customer service, offering a bright welcome and friendly advice. You can find most things in the heart of the town from shoes, clothing and accessories through to jewellery, gifts and home accessories. We have a wonderful bookshop and well stocked pet shop. Halesworth has also developed a strong reputation for antiques and vintage items for those looking for unique pre-loved items.

Like many of the Suffolk towns, Halesworth has it own weekly outdoor market held in the traditional Market Place. There are other produce, plants and brocante markets taking place at different town venues during the year too. 

Antiques enthusiasts are well served here; stop by Blackdog Antiques and watch out for the Halesworth Antiques Street Market which usually takes place in the late summer.

3. Green Spaces

Millennium Green in Halesworth

Just to the east of the town centre is the largest Millennium Green in the country – 50 acres of wildlife-friendly grazing marsh and flood plain with footpaths, an all-weather track, great views, a hide and a community orchard.

Work is currently underway to revive the old Halesworth to Southwold railway track and associated buildings along with the New Reach waterway, used to bring wherries into the town in days gone by. Events are run throughout the year including fascinating talks and walks and the annual Winter Lights Festival in February. 

The Millennium Green abuts Halesworth Town Park which is home to a children’s playground including equipment for disabled children. 

The Park has latterly been transformed by the hard work of the volunteer group Halesworth in Bloom. They have added colour to all parts of the town, gaining gold awards four years in a row and Best Small Town in East Anglia. The Hooker Trail (leaflet available from the VIPs) highlights the connection with Halesworth of the Hookers, father and son, who were the first two directors of Kew Gardens.  Owners of town gardens host a regular Open Gardens Day showcasing their displays.

4. Adventures on foot or bicycle

Towns & Villages - cycling -  (c)Tony Pick

The optimum way to explore the timeless landscape is via walking and/or cycling. The gentle slopes of the countryside provide many interesting trails including circular walks suitable for all ages and abilities and linear routes following local railway lines.

The town itself is on National Cycle Route 1, part of which crosses the Millennium Green on a traffic free all-weather path.

5. Architecture and Curiosities

Halesworth architecture

There are fine examples of 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th century buildings in the town, many of which are occasionally open to the public. On a biannual basis, Halesworth participates in the national Heritage Open Days Scheme, with events taking place across the town. 

Following the Halesworth Town Trail is a useful way to catch other elements of architectural interest, a leaflet is available from the Visitor Information Points, as are several other leaflets about the town and the Blyth Valley. 

6. Catch a Concert or Exhibition

The Cut in Halesworth

Halesworth is fast becoming a centre for the arts. The Cut Arts Centre is a multi-purpose centre holding events throughout the year; including dance, drama, weekly cinema film, live screenings and exhibitions plus it has a dance studio and a café bar. 

Now in its fourth year, The Cut is home to the INK Festival which champions new work from emerging and established playwrights, with a host of events including plays, radio plays, films and children's workshops. Pre COVID, the centre hosted the Centre hosted the Halesworth Arts Festival every October and the Tessa Fuchs Chamber Series every spring which will hopefully be repeated. 

Peruse the works of local and national artists including contemporary paintings and sculpture to ceramics and textiles at The Art Gallery, located in ancient Alms Houses (near to St Mary's Church). The exhibitions run between April and December.

Check The Cut's website for ongoing programme based on COVID guidelines from summer 2021 onwards.

7. Discover Suffolk's agricultural, brewing and aviation history

Towns & Villages - halesworth - fishing lakes

The Halesworth and District Museum (which has been runner-up in the Suffolk Museum of the Year Awards and was winner in 2017 of the “Object of the Year” award) is housed at the railway station. The displays take you through 10,000 years of local history; from the earliest Bronze Age settlers in the Blyth Valley to the busy hub of malting, brewing and agriculture which Halesworth was well-known for in Victorian times, and on through the 20th century. *

Financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to honour the Maltings heritage of the town, a Malt ‘Experience’ and ‘Trail’ was launched in 2017. The 'experience' is located at The New Cut Arts Centre, where the trail starts.

Halesworth was the base for a famous USAAF Fighter Squadron and Bomber Group during WW2. Explore the extensive memorabilia of the air war at The Halesworth (Holton) Airfield Memorial Museum which is usually open Bank Holiday and Sunday afternoons between April and October. Please check for their website for ongoing programme based on COVID guidelines from summer 2021 onwards.

8.  Gateway to the Blyth Valley

Heveningham Hall near Halesworth

The Blyth Valley is truly magical - perfect for exploring at any time of year. From its source 17 miles inland near the village of Laxfield (which has an excellent small museum), the gentle River Blyth meanders through delightful villages, past Heveningham Hall and quintessential Suffolk countryside before merging with the sea at Southwold and Walberswick.

You can find out more about this beautiful area, what there is to do and see here by visiting www.blythvalleyexperience.co.uk and the Halesworth and the Blyth Valley Page. 

Useful Information

Check out the Find My Nearest website for helpful information on parking, public toilets, leisure centres, libraries, train stations, cinemas, theatres and museums.

Public conveniences and Baby Changing Facilities in Halesworth

Public toilets are available in The Market Place, IP19 8BA and The Town Park. Neither have baby changing facilities.

There is a RADAR key operated toilet for those who have a key, in the Thoroughfare Car Park.

Visitor Information Points (VIPs) are located at:

Halesworth Library, Bridge Street, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8AD

The Angel Hotel, Thoroughfare, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8AH

Useful Links:

For more information and ideas on things to do in and around Halesworth and the Blyth Valley visit www.blythvalleyexperience.com

There are also regular posts on facebook.com/blythvalleyexperience

How to Get to Halesworth - Public Transport

With Suffolk on Board you can plan journeys using public transport from and to a town or village, named station or stop, or point of interest.

As many destinations along the Suffolk coast are rural there can be limited public transport services on many routes, but there are journey solutions through various local community transport services that will get you to where you want to go/your final destination. These tend to need to be booked in advance but you can find out more and plan your journey at Suffolk on Board. 

By Bus: Local services connect Halesworth with Beccles, Bungay, Lowestoft, Norwich and Southwold. Timetables are available at www.suffolkonboard.com or you can find out more from The Blyth Valley Experience website here.

By Rail: Halesworth's rail station is located on Station Road, Halesworth IP19 8BZ. Local services run to Lowestoft and Ipswich. From Lowestoft onward travel is available to Norwich and from Ipswich on the mainline service to London Liverpool Street.

All train tickets can be purchased via the Greater Anglia Website

Car Parks in Halesworth

The most convenient ways to find parking places in East Suffolk are either via Find My Nearest, and where parking fees apply the council’s RingGo parking service .

The free RingGo app allows drivers to locate a parking place before starting their journey, receive navigation to it, see how busy car parks are within an area, pay for your parking session and extend it if you need to. Signing up to RingGo is as easy as entering your car’s registration and your payment details.  Find out more about registering and using the service on the RingGo how it works page.

The following car parks are Pay and Display:

Post Office, Halesworth, IP19 0JL - 25 spaces

Angel Link, Halesworth, IP19 8SW - 80 spaces

Angel Creamery, Halesworth, IP19 8SW - 46 spaces

The Thoroughfare, Halesworth, IP19 8BF

The above car parks are free for the first 30 minutes, then £1 for up to 2 hours and £2 for up to 4 hours (correct July 2021). Longer term parking is available at the Angel Link and Angel Creamery car parks. All are within a couple of minutes walk to the centre.

Station Road, Halesworth, IP19 8ER - 25 spaces

Market Place, Halesworth, IP19 8BA - Free for 2 hours with restrictions on Wednesdays (market day)

Halesworth Station, Halesworth, IP19 8JS - Parking for rail customers only.

Travel Information & News

For the latest travel information listen to or visit BBC Radio Suffolk 

For local news, visit the East Anglian Daily Times of Eastern Daily Press websites.

Things to do in Halesworth