Ipswich Things to Do

  • Christchurch Mansion
    Christchurch Mansion
    by Airpunk
  • The church seen from Christchurch Park
    The church seen from Christchurch Park
    by Airpunk
  • Things to Do
    by joanj

Best Rated Things to Do in Ipswich

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    Christchurch Mansion

    by Tom_Fields Written Dec 27, 2005

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    This magnificent 16th century Tudor mansion houses a fine collection of art, and has exhibits on local people, history, and culture. The artwork includes paintings by old English masters such as Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable, as well as a great collection of vintage porcelain.

    The site was originally occupied by an Augustinian priory. King Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of all the monasteries in 1539, this property was taken over by the crown. It was later sold to the Withypoll family. Claude Fonnereau, a wealthy London merchant, bought it in the 18th century. Felix Cobbold purchased it in 1892, and donated it to the city. Since 1896, it's been a museum.

    Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich Christchurch Mansion Park
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    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

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    Lovely stonework - St. Mary-le-Tower

    by joanj Written Jun 5, 2006

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    This is the Civic Church of Ipswich and has lovely stonework, it is nestled up a narrow street, so cannot capture the full beauty of the whole church on camera.

    If you are interested in visiting old churches when visiting a town, check this one out.

    Civic Church St. Mary-le-Tower information view from a side street

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    Transport Museum

    by joanj Updated Jun 26, 2004

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    Ipswich Transport Museum has a host of vehicles to view. They do recommend that you allow at least one hour to view.

    Admission prices are

    Adult Pound sterling 3.00
    Children pound sterling 1.75p
    Concessions pound sterling 2.50
    Family ticket pound sterling 8.00

    phone for opening times. they vary with school holidays and bank holidays etc.

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    BLACKFRIARS

    by BerniShand Written Apr 9, 2004

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    Here is the remains of Blackfriars priory, it was founded in 1263 on land gifted by Henry III, and demolished almost 200 years later during the reign of Henry VIII

    The shape of the buildings are clearly visible, and there are tourist information boards at the site

    this was the altar
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    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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    Ipswich Town Centre

    by Tom_Fields Written Dec 27, 2005

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    Strolling about the town centre, one can see a number of historic buildings and various other points of interest. These include the Ancient House, with its representation of the continents of the world, the old Town Hall, and some nice parks.

    Ipswich Town Hall The Ancient House War memorial Park in Ipswich
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    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture

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    View the Orwell Bridge

    by joanj Updated Jul 10, 2007

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    As mentioned in another tip (off the beaten path) the Orwell Bridge is well worth a look either from driving across it on the A14 (to Felixstowe) or on the road to Shotley Peninusla.

    The bridge is celebrating it's 25th anniversary this year, and it took 3 years to complete, is 1,2878 metres, and was first opened to traffic on December 17th 1982. Piles were sunk 40 metres into the river bed to support the two concrete box sections that hold up the centre span of 190 metres. The bridge carries in the region of 60,000 vehicles each day and is used to 80% of it's capacity. It also takes mega tonnes of Port of Felixstowe road freight away from the town of Ipswich.

    Orwell Bridge taken from road to Shotley

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    Walking tours

    by Airpunk Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Walking tours are offered by the tourist information office on each Tuesday and Thursday during summertime. They start at 2:15 pm and take about an hour and a half. Each week, the focus is on a different theme, so that you can go to different Ipswich walks without getting any information twice. The theme of my walk was “merchants and manufacturers” and so we went to places where wealthy people of the past had an inpact on Ipswich’s architecture. Lois Terry was our guide on this day and she has the talent given to almost all tour guides on the island: The ability to turn a normal city into something educative and entertaining while adding a little bit of humour here and an odd, but interesting fact there. The group was very small (7 people only) and I was the only one who was not from Suffolk. Contact the tourist information office about the theme of the day’s walk. For some information about some of the merchants and their stories, check out my general tips.

    St. Stephen's church is the starting point
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    • Historical Travel
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    Almshouses at Foundation Street

    by Airpunk Updated Jan 1, 2009

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    The Almshouses were built as the las wish of Ipswich merchant Henry Tooley. However, it took 10 years from 1551, the year Tooley died, to the day when the first people moved into the new houses. The main cause were huge disputes among the powerful people in Ipswich about the layout and location of these buildings. As Tooley’s wish was to give wounded soldiers or other people who earned their merity for England a preference. This led to the place being full of widows who outlived their husbands in most cases.

    The original houses were demolished in 1846 and replaced by the present buildings. Although they somewhat look like the original Tudor buildings, they still contain too many bricks to be genuine Tudor. Today, the houses are still in use. However, these are not the original houses anymore. During daytime, you can enter the inner court and enjoy the view on the houses from a beautiful garden. Just be aware that this is still a living area of elderly people, so be quiet and do not disturb anybody.

    Please check out my general tips about Henry Tooley and William Smart for more information on the houses and on their backgrounds.

    A more modern part of the complex One of the oldest houses still standing Commemorative plaque dedicated to Henry Tooley
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    St. Mary at the Quays

    by Airpunk Written Jan 1, 2009

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    Many medieval churches are preserved in Ipswich, although not all see church services regularly. St. Mary at the Quay is one of the more famous, but also one of the churches made redundant. It is kept by the Churches Conservation Trust and is ocassionally opened for visitors on arrangement. There were two things which made the church famous. First, the fact that the people living in the Tooley Alsmhouses had to pray at St. Mary’s for the soul of Mr. Tooley. But it is most famous for the pun in it. It’s St. Mary at the Quay and was really close to the quay in Tudor times - when the harbour was wider than it is today. But it has a key as weather vane and is located at Key Street. So, sometimes it is incorrectly called St. Mary at the keys. The church is from the 16th century, although its roof is said to be from 1450, making it older than the rest of the church. Henry Tooley’s grave is also located in this church.

    St, Mary at the Quay St. Mary at the Quay
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    St. Peter's

    by Airpunk Written Jan 1, 2009

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    St. Peter’s is among the churches made redundant in Ipswich. Since the early 1970s, the church fell into decay and it took 25 years until the first efforts for restoration began. The church is in care of the Ipswich Historic Churches Trust, which tried to make different use concepts for this church during the past few years. However, none of them was successful. It was planned that a company should have moved in, but this was not realised. In the 1990s, a model railway club used this place as a clubroom. The church is from the 14th century, but stands on the site where the first church was built in Ipswich in Saxon times. A notable item in this church is the black marble square norman font. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to see it. The church is only open twice a week for visitors…

    Anyway, it is said that St. Peter's, located at the place from which Ipswich began to grow and Ipswich being among the oldest towns in England, was the longest continually occupied urban parish.

    St. Peter's St. Peter's seen from Stoke Bridge
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    Thoroughfare

    by Airpunk Written Jan 8, 2009

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    Half-timbered houses are not uncommon in Ipswich’s town center. Only few of them are from medeival ages, most of them were built in a medieval style in the latter centuries. The Thoroughfare, a small alley in the town center, is the place so see many of such buildings and to get a medieval feeling for a couple of minutes. As you may assume, this is also an area with many pubs :)

    Thoroughfare Thoroughfare Thoroughfare
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    St. Margaret’s Church

    by Airpunk Written Jan 8, 2009

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    Although Ipswich has 13 medieval churches still standing, St. Margaret’s is seen as the finest by far. Unlike the other twelve, it has kept most of its medieveal style. The masterpiece is the double hammerbeam roof which is known well beyond the town borders.

    St. Margaret’s was built as the church of the Augustinian monastery in the late 13th century and quickly grew into the most popolous parish of Ipswich. It maintained this status even after the dissolution of the monasteries during Henry VII.’s reign when the augustinian monastery was destroyed. Although church attendance has declined in the 20th century, it is still in function as a parish church.

    St. Margaret's Church The church seen from Christchurch Park
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    Ipswich Town, Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson

    by Airpunk Written Jan 8, 2009

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    Although Ipswich’s reputation was quite low in the twentieth century, there is one field where this Suffolk town gained considerable respect at this time. Ipswich Town was one of the leading clubs in English Football in the 70s and early 80s. This was preceded by Ipswich’s sole Football League Champions Title in 1962. The manager of the victorious team was Sir Alf Ramsey, who was Ipswich’s coach from 1955 to 1963. Later on, he went on to lead England’s Three Lions to its sole World Championship in 1966. Another famous Ipswich manager is Sir Bobby Robson who won the UEFA cup, one of the highest european club titles, as Ipswich’s manager in 1978. He also later became manager of the english national football team. So, it is no wonder that football still plays a great role in Ipswich’s culture. Look around the stadium and see the statues of Sir Alf and Sir Bobby. And if you plan well ahead, why not visit a home game of Ipswich Town?

    The famous Portman Road stadium Sir Alf Ramsey
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    St. Matthews Church

    by Airpunk Updated Jan 8, 2009

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    Although St. Matthews is still a running church, services to not take place regularly here and the church is not open to normal visitors (by appointment only). That's a pity as it houses a medieval font (seven sacrament fonts of which only around forty remain in the UK, most of them in Suffolk and Norfolk) which is among Suffolk's best-known church treasures. The 15th century church has maintained its medieval style and during the restoration and extension work of the 19th century, the style wasn't changed either.
    St. Matthews Church is a little isloated from the city center due to road construction works of the 1960s. Although this looks scary enough when you look at it, another constrcution is even scarier: The church school is built on the former graveyard...

    St. Matthews Church St. Matthews Church
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    Port Area and Customs House

    by Airpunk Updated Jan 8, 2009

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    Ipswich’s former port has lost its significance during the centuries. Although Ipswich was a welathey trading town in the late medeival age as well as in the Tudor era, its significance as a port town vanished when overseas trade began to flourish in London, Bristol and other places in England. A couple of machinery factories settled down in Ipswich during the industrial revolution, but by then it was clear that the port was to become a victim of sand. The port authority building of 1842 was built at a time when Ipswich’s maritime trade days were long gone and the port was only used for local transport. Today, the port has become a marina. But around the old harbour, you’ll still see some interesting spots. For example, Wherry Lane (A wherry is a kind of cart), an alley with old storage houses as well as a building complex (usually called "Isaac Lord complex" after the man who bought it in 1900) which is now used as a restaurant.

    The interesting Commemorative plaque Port Authority Building Wherry Lane
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Ipswich Things to Do

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