Pretty as a picture – Suffolk after lockdown

Crowd-free Britain: We spotlight a different area of the UK each time in this series. We’ll look at Covid-19 safety, what attractions are provided and what behaviour the locals expect from visitors

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Close enough for weekends away from both London and the Midlands, and inspiring enough for repeat visits, Suffolk is a county filled with stunning county landscapes dotted with striking castles and country houses — inspiration to the likes of Constable and Gainsborough — and fringed by miles of attractive coastline.

Coronavirus in Suffolk?

Suffolk reported fewer coronavirus cases than much of the UK, particularly on the coast, but general UK-wide Covid-19 rules apply, such as wearing a mask on public transport and in taxis, as well as in supermarkets and banks. Additionally, many businesses have switched to a card-only payment model for the foreseeable future. Use the Suffolk authorities’ website to check individual parking spots and other amenities in your chosen destination.

If you’re travelling from outside of the UK you’ll need to self-quarantine for 14 days if you’re not arriving from one of the travel corridors, and visitors from overseas are now required to provide contact and journey details 48 hours before arriving in the UK.

What to see in Suffolk

Suffolk’s finest towns are those that prospered during the wool boom of the Middle Ages, when Suffolk wool was in great demand across Europe. And there’s no finer example than Lavenham, whose streets seem permanently bonded to the 15th century when the wool trade began to decline. Here, 500-year-old houses with wonky timber frames dominate the historic centre, some painted in vivid oranges, pinks and yellow, many hiding little museums, modern cafes and boutique hotels. Clare is another wool town, smaller (indeed it’s Suffolk’s smallest town), but with an impressive collection of listed buildings including the striking Clare Priory (home to Augustinians) that dates back to the 12th century.

Spend a day in Bury St Edmunds to see Suffolk’s only cathedral as well as a treasure trove of historic houses, England’s only surviving Regency theatre, and a beautiful collection of abbey ruins that begin at the 14th century Abbey Gate and continue into the pretty sensory gardens and the atmospheric ruins of the former Abbey Church. Stay for dinner at the excellent Angel Eaterie or carry onwards to Ipswich for its lively harbour and the delightful Christchurch Mansion that holds impressive collections of Gainsborough and Constable paintings alongside a modest gallery of modern arts.

If you’d prefer to wander among those famous Constable landscapes of babbling brooks, languid farmlands and serene country lanes, then take an immersive walk along the Painter’s Trail taking in many of the exact spots — Willy Lott’s house, Stour Valley and Flatford Bridge Cottage — that inspired works such as The Hay Wain and Two Boys Fishing.

History lovers exploring the Suffolk countryside should take the opportunity to visit Orford Castle — one of England’s best-preserved polygonal castles — and the stunning Helmingham Hall, a 14th-century moated manor house, surrounded by idyllic landscaped gardens.

Escape the crowds along Suffolk’s coast

Suffolk has a rugged but exceptional 50-mile stretch of coastline filled with shingle beaches, popular blue flag beaches, seaside towns such as Felixstowe and Lowestoft, and various rugged dunes with plenty of walking options.

Wildlife lovers should try the dune-backed Dunwich Heath Beach that, as well as a striking, dog-friendly beach, has a charming collection of wildlife including woodlarks, red deer, adders and nightjars, or Covehithe Beach, which is easily one of the area’s most remote beaches. Another favourite is the photogenic surrounds of Shotley Peninsula, caught between the Stour and the River Orwell, and filled with sand marshes and mudflats that are popular with migratory birds and Emperor dragonflies.

Checklist for your trip to Suffolk###

Be prepared to change your destination if it's full Follow the Countryside Code

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RightRooms believes all information to be correct at time of going to press. As guidance, research and facts around Covid-19 are changing constantly, the information provided here is for general information only and does not constitute professional advice. Please check with venues, locations and attractions before travelling.

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