Why Ipswich?

Ipswich is Suffolk’s county town, thought to be one of England’s oldest towns, if not the oldest. In recent years it has also been named England’s cleanest town. It retains excellent road and rail links to London, Cambridge, the Midlands and the North, with London's Liverpool Street station being just over an hour away. The town has a vibrant community of about 150,000 inhabitants, who enjoy a beautifully regenerated waterfront area with many restaurants and leisure facilities, a championship football club, a lively theatre and two multiplex cinemas. 

“I was talking to some friends who had relocated to Ipswich from London and I could not get over just how pleased they were with the move. They said that there was so much more going on in the community here than they had been used to. “

Ipswich is a cultural hub, which may surprise those who don’t know the town. There are more Arts Council funded National portfolio groups in Ipswich than Cambridge or Norwich. It is the headquarters of Dance East, and is the home of two widely acclaimed theatres - New Wolsey Theatre (which runs our box office for our annual Festival of Music, and the Red Rose Chain). There are many flourishing arts and heritage groups, too, including the Pacitti Company Think Tank.

The University of Suffolk on the waterfront is becoming established as a centre for nursing, business and the humanities. The academic quarter of the Waterfront will soon benefit from the development of The Hold, an exciting new home for Suffolk’s archives.

Ipswich was the home town of Cardinal Wolsey, famous as being Henry VIII’s adviser and for trying – and failing – to secure his divorce from Catherine of Aragon.  Wolsey was almost certainly a pupil at Ipswich School and he had grand plans to develop it into a magnificent college, which were shelved after his death. More details about the history of Ipswich School can be found here.

Suffolk is an historic East Anglian county bordering Norfolk to the north, Essex to the south and Cambridgeshire to the west. Boasting coastline and heaths named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is little wonder Constable and Gainsborough chose to capture Suffolk landscapes in their artwork, Charles Dickens’ own stay here inspired settings in David Copperfield and The Pickwick Papers and Ed Sheeran was even compelled to write his hit song Castle on the Hill as “a love song to Suffolk”. Alongside the beautiful seaside towns of Southwold, Aldeburgh and Thorpeness, Suffolk is home to Newmarket, the headquarters of British horseracing, and the famous ship-burial and treasure at Sutton Hoo, one of England’s most significant archaeological finds. In the summer, the Aldeburgh Festival and Latitude Festival enrich the musical life of the area.

“I moved to Suffolk thirty years ago and am so glad that I did. I knew nothing about the county before I arrived and now absolutely love it. It has amazing natural beauty, a thriving cultural scene and is only an hour from London.”