Top 50 Things to do in Suffolk: The search begins

"Suffolk? What's so good about Suffolk?"

It sits out on a limb to the far east of the UK, has no Premier League football team, no cities, no motorways and a recent tourism campaign labelled it "curious".

Image copyright Peter Barr
Image caption They can't even build houses properly in Lavenham

But to many, all of the above add to Suffolk's charm. Residents and holiday makers will wax lyrical about the many hidden gems, beaches and tourist attractions which make the county what it is.

Yet this isn't enough for BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Mark Murphy and the East Anglian Daily Times, who have set out on a quest to compile the definitive list of 50 Things to do in Suffolk.

"I'm always amazed when we have visitors come and stay with us just how much there is to show them right here in Suffolk," said Murphy.

Suggestions can be emailed to and the final list will be announced next month.

Here are some hotspots to get you started.

Image copyright Bob Jones
Image caption Abbey Gardens features ruins, a new children's playground and is overlooked by St Edmundsbury Cathedral

Bury St Edmunds is as good a place to start as any. It includes gems such as the restored Theatre Royal, the Abbey Gardens and St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

A guided tour of the town could help connect you with the town's past, from the origins of the Magna Carta to the mysterious death of King Edmund - who some believe should replace St George as England's patron saint.

But Bury St Edmunds has successfully managed to merge the old with the new - perhaps your suggestion for 50 Things to do in Suffolk could be shopping at the new arc shopping centre or seeing a gig at the Apex.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Maggi Hambling's sculpture on Aldeburgh beach was loved by some, hated by others, when it was unveiled in 2003

If you've been to the Seychelles, Thailand or California, the beaches of Suffolk might not be what you'd expect. You might scoff and ask a local why the water is brown and what is that big golf ball in the distance.

True, Suffolk's beaches are different to what you'd find abroad, or even on the other side of the country in Cornwall.

But for many, nothing can beat the feeling of a windy walk alongside Felixstowe golf club or a visit to see Maggi Hambling's scallop sculpture in Aldeburgh, followed by a trip to one of the town's infamous fish and chip shops.

A few miles up the coast is Southwold. Perhaps enjoying a pint of Adnams fresh from the brewery, taking a closer look at the town's colourful beach huts or enjoying a game on the Under the Pier Show is your highlight.

Image copyright Danny North
Image caption The annual Latitude Festival has been held at Henham Park, near Southwold, since 2006

Latitude Festival has to be one of the Top 50 Things to do in Suffolk! Ok, perhaps I shouldn't offer a personal opinion, but I'll be joined by thousands of others who are thankful to the festival for bringing world class talent to a county which often struggles to attract the big names.

Those with a more classically-trained ear would point at Snape Maltings Concert Hall.

Or, perhaps seeing the big acts isn't what turns you on - perhaps standing alongside a handful of others and watching gigs at the Steamboat in Ipswich is your highlight.

Image copyright Trustees of British Museum
Image caption The Sutton Hoo Helmet was buried in the grave of a warrior chieftain

Suffolk is a good place for children. The numerous woodlands, reserves and aforementioned coastland offer the perfect setting to appreciate nature or to just run around.

Likewise, Sutton Hoo offers something for a wide range of people and is bound to be included in the top 50. It is highly valued by historians following the discovery of the Anglo Saxon treasures in 1939, and loved by children who enjoy dressing up in chain mail or as an olden day peasant.

Castles in Framlingham and Orford have a similar appeal.

Image copyright Mike Page
Image caption Ipswich Town have been in the Championship since 2002

It may be more than 10 years since Ipswich Town were last in the top flight, but a regular attendance of 20,000 people shows that a visit to Portman Road is deemed a top thing to do in Suffolk.

To the west of the county, equally fervent support can be found at Newmarket Racecourse - home to "super stud" Frankel, aka the best racehorse in history.

Image copyright World Thumb Wrestling Championships
Image caption "50% of the population participate in thumb wrestling once a year", apparently

But for some, professional football and horseracing is all a bit mainstream. For these people, some of the alternative offerings of Suffolk's sporting calendar could well be among the top 50 Things to do in Suffolk.

We're talking barrel rolling in Westleton, dwile flonking, crabbing in Walberswick, the British Jigsaw Championship or, if a national competition doesn't cut it for you, the World Thumb Wrestling Championships in Lowestoft.

So I guess there is a lot to do in Suffolk.

Can you help compile the top 50?

Email with your favourite Thing to do in Suffolk.

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