The Suffolk Coast is gearing up to host Stage 5 of the Tour of Britain on 7 September 2023 - with 100 top cyclists making their way through the Suffolk countryside, starting and finishing in the seaside town of Felixstowe. Our handy guide has all you need to plan your tour experience!
Stage five will start in Felixstowe before setting off to Ipswich, then through Babergh and Mid Suffolk, the heart of the county’s countryside, travelling on through Kesgrave, Hadleigh, Needham Market and Stowmarket.
If you want to make a day of it and watch the bikes whizz through the Suffolk Coast, start your day in the seaside town of Felixstowe. The race then travels on to , Framlingham, Saxmundham, Leiston, Snape and Woodbridge before the stage culminates in Felixstowe by the pier and world-famous port.
For up to date route information, plus information on tour special offers and events taking place, visit www.tasteofthetour.co.uk, and check out our guides to the towns and villages located along the tour route below!
The Tour is starting for the first time in the seaside town of Felixstowe. Starting and finishing on Sea Road, after you've waved off the cyclists, why not enjoy a traditional day by the sea? Enjoy a stroll along the promenade, past the brightly coloured beach huts and amusements, paying a visit to the beautiful Seafront Gardens and brand new activity park, before popping into Mannings Amusements for a play on the penny slot machines or a game of ten pin bowling and an ice cream at The Little Ice Cream Company.
If shopping is more your thing, then head to Beach Street Felixstowe; a unique and vibrant destination on the seafront of upcycled shipping containers, which is home to independent boutiques, artisan producers and street-food eateries.
If you've arrived by bike, cycle down to the southernmost point to Landguard Nature Reserve and enjoy a beach side walk taking in the industrial backdrop of Britain's largest container port, local wildlife and windswept beach. Stop for refreshments at the View Point Cafe and watch the huge ships dock, and pay a visit to Landguard Fort; one of England's best preserved coastal defences, with a history spanning almost 450 years. After you've seen the cyclists sprint to the finish line, enjoy dinner at Cafe Bencotto or Felixstowe Spa Pavilion Lounge & the Terrace.
Why not extend your visit and enjoy a break in the town, taking in the Love Felixstowe Festival on 2 & 3 September? Across the weekend you can enjoy street entertainment, street food, outdoor cinema, Art on the Prom, music and the skyline spectacular!
Check out our Felixstowe town guide to plan your visit.
After setting off from Felixstowe, the Tour will make its way to Suffolk's county town of Ipswich. Situated 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.
After the wheels have whizzed by, enjoy an hour or two wandering around the cobbled streets, stopping in the independent shops and cafes and watching the world go by in Christchurch Park.
For lunch, take a stroll along Ipswich’s iconic waterfront and enjoy cafés and restaurants right on the river, including Isaac's on the Quay and Salthouse Eaterie. Afterwards, hop on board the Sailing Barge Victor or the Orwell Lady and explore the River Orwell, taking in the magnificent views.
Check out our Ipswich town guide to plan your visit.
The imposing Framlingham Castle makes a great backdrop to catch Britain's top cyclists pass by. This historic town, more recently famous for being the home of Ed Sheeran and his inspiration for 'Castle on the Hill', boasts an array of independent shops and galleries, cafes and restaurants; a popular choice is Watson & Walpole an Italian restaurant serving authentic food accompanied by a delicious wine and cocktail list.
You can't come to the town without visiting the magnificent twelfth century Castle, home to Earls and Dukes of Norfolk through the centuries. Surrounded by a Mere, the nature reserve contains nearly 300 species of plants and 80 species of birds so it's the perfect place to enjoy a walk or picnic.
Check out our Framlingham town guide to plan your visit.
This historic market town of Saxmundham is home to a range of shops, cafes and pubs - including The Bell Hotel, who are offering special stay and dine deals for the Tour. Don't miss out on Vela Art Gallery and Cafe, serving delicious German food, beer, with beautiful art exhibitions and a creative programme of events year round.
If you're following the tour by bike, Saxmundham is a great place to catch it, as you can hop on board a Greater Anglia train with your bike and travel onwards (or from) Ipswich, Woodbridge, Wickham Market, Darsham, Halesworth, Beccles, Oulton Broad and Lowestoft, or further afield to London.
Saxmundham is the gateway town to many other attractions on the Suffolk Coast including RSPB Minsmere, a world renowned nature reserve, just a 15 minute drive from the town.
Check out our Saxmundham town guide to plan your visit.
Leiston was well-known for its thriving manufacturing industry during the 19th and 20th centuries with Richard Garrett and Sons boasting the world’s first flow assembly line for the rapid assembly of portable steam engines, tractors and agricultural machinery. After you've watched the Tour whizz past, pay a visit to The Long Shop which displays many of the engines manufactured by Garretts.
Leiston Abbey is one of Suffolk’s most impressive monastic ruins and has some spectacular architectural features, it lies in peaceful open fields on the outskirts of the town.
Check out out Leiston town guide to plan your visit.
Although only a village, Snape is a must-visit for anyone travelling to The Suffolk Coast. Home to the world-famous Britten Pears Arts and concert hall at Snape Maltings, you can while away the hours before or after watching the Tour, in the shops, galleries and arts and crafts stores. There are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat too, for snacks and coffees there's MALT, or the tipi, or for dinner find a table in the restaurant or the next door Plough & Sail Pub.
Pop on your walking boots and head out on foot to explore Snape Warren and the Alde Estuary, hire canoes or paddle boards from Iken Canoe or step on board Suffolk River Trips 'Tilly' to see the wildlife first hand, including the spectacular variety of visiting birds wading on the river.
Check out our Snape guide to plan your visit.
The final town on the Stage 5 route before heading back to Felixstowe is Woodbridge - this stunning riverside town is packed with cafes, restaurants, shops and delis. Before the tour reaches you, pay a visit to Woodbridge Tide Mill, which has stood on the banks of the River Deben for over 850 years. One of only two tide mills in the country still producing stoneground wholemeal flour, it sits next to The Longshed, Woodbridge Riverside Trust which hosts a range of talks and displays on the first floor in the John Gibbins Gallery, and maritime activities in their workshop.
Pop on your walking shoes and head out along the river wall to take in the views of the River Deben, stopping at Deben Cafe Bar on HMS Vale for a coffee and slice of cake, or book a table at The Crown at Woodbridge or one of several Deben Inns located in and around the town for dinner.
Check out our Woodbridge town guide to plan your visit.
Cycling on The Suffolk Coast
Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or a family looking to ditch the car on your holiday, The Suffolk Coast is the perfect place to explore by bike. Much of the Suffolk Coast is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and with many of Suffolk's coastal towns situated along National Cycling Networks, it offers year round cycling for everyone.
Our cycling guide has all you need to plan a cycling holiday or break, with cycling routes, bike hire and key information which will help all cyclists explore our beautiful coast and countryside on two wheels.
Check out our cycling guide for more information!
Explore The Suffolk Coast by Bike with East Suffolk Lines
The East Suffolk Line, the railway linking Ipswich and Lowestoft, traverses some of the most delightful of Suffolk’s unspoilt countryside.
Hop on and off with your bike and explore the towns and villages along this historic route. To the north, the journey from Ipswich offers stunning views of rivers and estuaries, heath and woodland. Travel through the traditional Suffolk Market Towns of Woodbridge, Saxmundham, Halesworth and Beccles from where you enter the Broads National Park, crossing the Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve, before completing your journey at Lowestoft with views of its industrial and maritime history.
Visit https://eastsuffolklines.co.uk/ for more information.