Heart of Suffolk Area Guide
The Heart of Suffolk, also known as Mid Suffolk, is a vast and varying part of the county. There are a variety of historical landmarks, ancient woodlands, stunning agricultural landscapes and the alleged source of the River Deben also lies in this area. The landscapes typically flat which give you some of the most stunning views of the county including the famous Suffolk skies. Don’t forget to bring the dog too as this part of Suffolk has some excellent walks including those that end up at a pub – ideal for quenching your thirst!
Framlingham is best known for being the singer Ed Sheeran’s hometown and for it’s famous ‘Castle on The Hill’. There is much more to this market town than meets the eye. It has a bustling market square surrounded by independent shops, cafes and restaurants. Named as one of the 101 Best Places to Live in Britain by The Sunday Times as well as being placed in the UK top ten of all round great little small towns by Country Life magazine it’s easy to see why it is so popular!
With its rich history, unspoilt countryside and enterprising businesses it makes for a wonderful place to visit for all ages. The vibrant market on a Tuesday and Saturday is perfect for stocking on some local produce. As well as the castle, Framlingham has a variety of other landmarks including St Michael’s Church. Created in the 12th century, this mighty Grade 1 listed medieval building has a wealth of treasures inside as well as noble connections throughout 1000 years of English history.
Framlingham Meare is a large piece of wetland just a short walk from the centre of town. Managed by The Suffolk Wildlife Trust, a walk around the meare is a wonderful opportunity to do some wildlife spotting and enjoy the countryside scenery, including fantastic views of the castle. For those that like a good walk, there is also a 2 mile Castle Walk or for the more adventurous there is the 11 mile circular route, The Brownsord Way. Treat yourself to a drink in one of the 4 pubs in the town, with The Crown and The Station offering excellent quality food. There is also a selection of cafes, a deli, a butcher as well as a well-stocked supermarket.
Situated right in the middle of the Heart of Suffolk is the village of Debenham. The source of the River Deben is thought to be just up the road, although the exact location is heavily disputed! With plenty of local amenities including a supermarket, post office, pubs and an excellent cafe The Vanilla Bake House. Don't forget St Mary Magdalene church which dominates the high street - well worth a visit.
With excellent travel links to London and Cambridge, Stowmarket is the largest town in the heart of Suffolk. It's quaint little streets are filled with local independent shops and the surrounding countryside is truly stunning. There is a very good Golf Club, cinema, museum and the rural villages on the outskirts of the town are quite a treat. Take a drive down the winding country lanes to explore this part of the county where you will find little gems such as Bildeston, Rattlesden and Elmswell.
Not far from Stowmarket, Needham Market is a much smaller town with a wonderful friendly feel. There are a number of good pubs where you can enjoy an excellent meal, as well as the high street that has many independent shops. Don’t forget to visit Needham Lakes where you can take the whole family, including the dog. There are two play areas and the walk around the lakes is very accessible and ideal for wildlife spotters.