1. Catch a concert or exhibition
Halesworth is fast becoming a centre for the arts. The New 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.
The Centre also hosts the Halesworth Arts Festival every October and the Tessa Fuchs Chamber series every Spring. Now in its fourth year, the INK Festival champions new work from emerging and established playwrights, with a host of events including plays, radio plays, films and children's workshops.
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.
2. Discover Suffolk's agricultural, brewing and aviation history
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 open Bank Holiday and Sunday afternoons between April and October.
3. Green Spaces
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 Winterlights Festival in February.
The Millennium Green abuts Halesworth Town Park which is home to a newly developed 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 and now has a Green Flag Award. 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. Open Gardens day is held every summer showcasing town gardens.
4. Adventures on foot or bicycle
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. A splendid selection of cafes, restaurants and delis - perfect for foodies!
Halesworth has a great cafe culture. With 28 different places to buy a cup of coffee! Restaurants make good use of the wonderful local produce: there’s the Boarding House Dining Rooms in Marketplace, Cleone's Italian Restaurant at The Angel and Edwards on the Thoroughfare, serving traditional home-cooked food.
Delicious Indian food is on offer at Raj Puth; serving traditional Bangladeshi home cooked food on special Bangla nights, and Thai food at Singtong Neeyom which has received a Thai Select Award from the Thai Government acknowledging that the cuisine is authentic. Something to suit all tastes and pockets!
And don't miss Focus Organic and the Halesworth Delicatessen, which stocks award-winning pies!
The pedestrianised Thoroughfare makes it easy to browse the selection of independent shops on which Halesworth prides itself. Among the items on sale are shoes, Fairtrade clothes and accessories, gifts, crafts, greengroceries, jewellery, flowers, retro items, and locally reared meat from two independent butchers.
There is also a weekly outdoor market (Wednesday mornings), a monthly (second Saturday) indoor produce market/farmers market, and a Brocante (first Saturday, March to December) in the Old Print Works plus quarterly markets in the Marketplace – a Garden Market in April and Food & Drink Markets at other times.
Halesworth also looms large on the antiques and vintage trail with Black Dog Antiques, Antimacassar, Red Eyed Dove and several vintage/retro outlets.
A date for your diary! The wildly popular Halesworth Antiques Street Market is always held on August Bank Holiday Sunday!
7. Architecture and Curiosities
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. More information can be found on the Halesworth and Blyth Valley page.
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.
8. Gateway to the Blyth Valley
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.