Ipswich guide

Ipswich is Suffolk’s county town, and a place where life centres around the water.

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

Situated 10km inland on the banks of the River Orwell, Ipswich shares the same coastal lifestyle, maritime history and foodie culture as many of the Suffolk Coast’s most famous towns and villages.

Did you know?

Ipswich stands on the estuary of the river Orwell, about twelve miles from the sea. It is one of England’s oldest towns, with evidence of a Roman settlement in the area. Thomas Wolsey, better known as Cardinal Wolsey was born in Ipswich, before rising to power during the reign of Henry VIII. Actor Ralph Fiennes and director Trevor Nunn were also born in Ipswich.

Interestingly, Ipswich was one of the first towns in England to have gas powered street lights. In 2007 Ipswich was given the award for cleanest town. 

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Location


Ipswich Highlights


1. Explore Ipswich's Waterfront

TTDA - Sailing Barge Victor - boat on water

No visit to Ipswich is complete without a stroll along the water’s edge, or an evening meal with a sunset view of the harbour at the Salthouse Eaterie. On Ipswich’s iconic waterfront, cafés and restaurants stand alongside galleries, shops and museums, while yachts and boats sail in and out of the marina. It’s a scene not dissimilar to Orford Quay, or Woodbridge’s riverside. 

Whilst you're exploring the marina, hop on board the Sailing Barge Victor or the Orwell Lady and explore the River Orwell.

2. Dine on board the Allen Gardiner River Cruise Restaurant

TTDA - Allen Gardiner River Cruise Restaurant - boat

Experience stunning views of the River Orwell aboard the Allen Gardiner. As well as enjoying a fabulous meal every cruise includes an informative commentary on both the intriguing history that made this area, and the wildlife which now inhabits it.


3. Soak up the Suffolk Culture

TTDA - Christchurch Mansion - exterior

Ipswich has an ingrained love of the creative arts. Looking out over the marina is DanceEast, the visionary dance house that brings the world’s best dancers and shows to Ipswich. The John Russell Gallery stands on Ipswich’s iconic waterfront, while further inland you’ll find the best collection of Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable paintings outside of London at Christchurch Mansion; and the New Wolsey Theatre, where theatregoers can see anything from a West End show to a local production.


4. Discover Ipswich's Maritime History

Towns & Villages - Ipswich - Old Customs House

The Old Custom House is a reminder of a time when thousands of international traders would stop in Ipswich to register their imports, before unloading them to sell or sailing on to other towns further up the River Orwell. You can dip into Ipswich’s maritime past at the Window Museum, a regularly changing display that can be found on the waterfront between the Old Custom House and Stoke Quay.


5. Shop till' you Drop!

Towns & Villages - Ipswich - shops

Ipswich is home to a plethora of independent shops in its historic lanes of specialist, mixed in with all the top national brands.

Along the main high street you'll find a range of big names such as Marks & Spencer, Fat Face, H&M and Jack Wills. The cobbled streets which lead off from the high street arw home to fabulous independent shops including Just Essentials, Urban Vintage, Zeebra Chic, Music World and Rockafella Industries.


6.  Give yourself a burst of adrenalin 

TTDA - Anglia Indoor Karting - Track

Take the family to Anglia Indoor Karting with indoor racing karts and their professionally designed, exhilarating multi-level circuit, Anglia Indoor Karting brings the thrill of motorsport to all adrenaline-seekers!

The Karts are easy to drive, with no gears or clutch pedal – simply brake or accelerate! The fleet consists of kubz karts, cadet karts and adult karts.

There's a wide range of special events and offers; 'arrive and drive' sessions, 'kubz karting club', happy hour and 'access karting club' for those with limited mobility, learning difficulties, and other special requirements, among many other packages and events.


How to Get to Ipswich - 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: Good local bus services available plus national coach services too.

Timetables can be found at www.ipswichbuses.co.uk


By Rail: Ipswich is on the main London – Norwich line. Local services also up to Lowestoft. Greater Anglia operates frequent train services .

All train tickets can be purchased via the Greater Anglia Website or the app.


Ipswich Tourist Information Centre

Ipswich Tourist Information Centre, St Stephen's Church, St Stephen's Lane, Ipswich, IP1 1DP 01473 432017 Open Monday to Saturday 9am-5pm; Email: tourist@ipswich.gov.uk


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.


Covid-19 testing in Suffolk

You can find useful information on Covid-19 testing on the Government website here;

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/get-tested-for-coronavirus/

Local information on how and where to get a PCR test if you have symptoms can be found on Suffolk County Council’s website here;

https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/getting-a-test/covid-19-testing-in-suffolk/

Local information on how and where to get a rapid lateral flow test if you do not have symptoms can be found on Suffolk County Council’s website here;

https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/getting-a-test/covid-19-asymptomatic-testing/


Things to do in Ipswich