Breathtaking landscsapes, pretty towns – and healthy opportunities for celeb spotting: what’s not to like about Suffolk?
Whether you base yourself in the county town of Ipswich, or are drawn to the countryside or the coast, it’s easy to see that Suffolk is a county with charm. It’s not known for glitz and glamour, but somehow, there’s a new buzz around Suffolk.
The award winning singer songwriter Ed Sheeran is one of the county’s best-known and most enthusiastic devotees. His widely acclaimed hit ‘Castle on the Hill’ was inspired by the 12th century Framlingham Castle, which formed the backdrop to much of Sheeran’s childhood in Suffolk and has been described by him as a love song to the county. Sheeran recently suggested that his friend, Game of Thrones actor, Kit Harington to join him there. Harington, and his wife, fellow GOT actor, Rose Leslie have bought their “own little spot in the county of Suffolk” and are in the process of renovating the Grade II* listed 15th century thatched farmhouse in a conservation area near Stowmarket. Sheeran’s recommendation seems to have hit the mark – Harington is smitten with his new home “I’m now a Suffolk boy. I love it. It is really special to me”.
A magical place to live
Sheeran, Harington and Leslie are not the only ‘creative types’ to be inspired and to feel at home in Suffolk. Although J. K. Rowling has made Scotland her home, her most famous creation, Harry Potter, started his (fictional) life in a 15th century cottage in Lavenham, a stone’s throw from the towns of Sudbury and Bury St. Edmunds. Godric’s Hollow, also known as De Vere House is located at the heart of the quintessential medieval village. We’re thrilled to report that visitors can stay in Harry Potter’s first home, as it operates as a B&B, complete with four poster beds and a rich collection of pre-Potter hauntings.
The Potter connection with the county has a factual basis too. Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort) was born in Wanford, near Southwold and Sir Michael Gambon (Dumbledore) is a regular at Aldeburgh and the High Tide Theatre Festival, Halesworth. He may well bump into fellow Harry Potter/Suffolk connection, Bill Nighy (Rufus Scrimgeour), who has a bolthole tucked away in the countryside not far from Aldeburgh. He told the Telegraph how happy he is there: “I love the area with all my heart: Dunwich for dramatic cliffs; Aldeburgh for tea and world-class fish ‘n’ chips and Walberswick for sandy beaches and crabbing.” A fervent supporter of the arts in the county, Nighy is a patron of Leiston Film Theatre, and is often seen at cultural events in and around Suffolk.
Headliners in Suffolk
If music is more your thing, Suffolk really has something to suit all tastes. The Latitude festival is held in July in the magnificent grounds of Henham Park, Southwold. Headliners for 2020 have been announced and include Liam Gallagher, The Chemical Brothers and HAIM. A slightly lower-key approach can be found at the Homegrown Music Festival, held in Barrow, Bury St. Edmunds in June. It books acts exclusively from East Anglia, and big names mingle with lesser known acts.
June is a busy month on the coast. The 73rd Aldeburgh Festival will be held from 12 – 28 June 2020 and offers “new music, old music, reeds, marshes, vast skies and the waves of the North Sea.” There’s a strong link with Benjamin Britten, the poet T.S. Eliot and the music of John Tavener.
A commuter's dream
The glorious Suffolk coast is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, reaching from Manningtree to Lowestoft, which is the ‘gateway to the Broads’ and where the famous waterway meets the sea. A walk through the picturesque Nicholas Everitt Park allows wonderful views of the water, and from there visitors can hire a boat or take a guided tour.
With all this on offer, it’s remarkable that property offers value for money, and it’s possible to commute from ‘properly rural’ villages and market towns to economic hubs such as Bury St. Edmunds, Colchester and Ipswich. Many people choose to use the direct links to Liverpool Street and Kings Cross, and from a number of stations, the journey can be done in 60 – 120 minutes. Getting the train from Manningtree, for example, can take just under an hour – commuters find that the service is good, and that, unlike some of the services from Kent or Sussex, it doesn’t feel like a mass stampede towards the capital.
Pertemps Education helps educational professionals find their perfect role in Suffolk and across the south east of England. Contact us now to get the ball rolling.