Ipswich has some 1500 years of colourful history. As you stroll through the streets you'll discover 12 medieval churches, a Tudor mansion, extraordinary plasterwork adorning the 17th century Ancient House and the setting for scenes in Charles Dickens’ Pickwick papers, as well as what was once the largest wet dock of its kind in Britain, now a fascinating waterfront with two marinas and a wealth of maritime heritage. Close to the heart of the town, the Ipswich Waterfront has undergone an exciting renaissance, bringing with it new restaurants, bars and a magnificent new quayside hotel - the Salthouse Harbour.
Day and night Ipswich is alive with places to visit. The cruise on the Orwell Lady, down one of the most beautiful river estuaries in the UK, is stunning. Tour Christchurch Mansion and, among its other treasures, you'll discover the most important collection of works by Constable and Gainsborough outside London.
Whatever you are looking for from an ideal break, Ipswich's top attractions bring you plenty of variety. It's a variety that continues in and around the town. Excellent town centre shopping, restaurants covering every type of cuisine, multi-screen cinemas, theatres and lively night club venues have made Ipswich a regional centre for entertainment. While just outside the town are the colour washed picture book villages, market towns and castles that make Suffolk famous.
It was way back in 1200 that King John helped put Ipswich on the map, awarding the town the Royal Charter. Later, it welcomed further royal privileges; in 1500 it was made a King’s Port which boosted trade. One hundred years or so later many from this part of Suffolk made their way to the New World, with people from Ipswich founding Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. Several famous people have been associated with Ipswich over the years and one such name is Cardinal Thomas Wolsey who was at one time Chancellor for Henry VIII.
The aforementioned John Constable was born just outside the town meanwhile and Thomas Gainsborough lived in the region in the 1750s. Known as Ipswich for a good number of years, the former shipbuilding heavyweight settlement was known as Gipeswic during Anglo-Saxon times.
Today, somewhere in the region of 130,000 inhabitants live in Suffolk’s largest town, making the most of the near-coastal setting. Meanwhile, the University of Suffolk also takes up residence in Ipswich, adding further reason to visit, and bringing extra residents to the town.