The Town of Woodbridge in Suffolk

Woodbridge Suffolk Holidays

A visitors guide to the Suffolk town of Woodbridge. The River Deben sets the mood for the wonderful country town of Woodbridge, a place  rich in historical architecture spanning many centuries and including some fine examples of pargeting on many of its buildings. Even roads with the name 'New' quite often date from over 450 years ago.

During the 14th century Woodbridge was a busy ship building centre with boats being built for both Edward II (14c) and Francis Drake (16c). A number of the older houses in Woodbridge contain parts of these old ship beams and some cottages are said to have been built from the timbers of ships captured during the Napoleonic war.  In the early 1800s a military garrison was stationed on Drybridge Hill during the Napoleonic Wars.

The main shopping area of Woodbridge is pedestrianised and benefits from an interesting range of shops, eateries and art galleries.  Market Hill has mostly 18th century shop fronts though the buildings underneath are often a lot older.  It is here that you will find the Woodbridge Museum which has lots of historical information about the town including some of its more colourful residents. Including the towns greatest benefactor Thomas Seckford who built the almshouses in Seckford Street and the Shire Hall.  In the 16th century Shire Hall, on the 1st floor, is an exhibition about the Suffolk Punch Breed of Heavy horses.

On the outskirts of the town is Buttrums Mill, the tallest surviving mill in Suffolk with six floors.  Worth a climb to the top for the fine views. Down by the river you can enjoy sailing, canoeing, rowing and river trips. At low tide large varieties of wildfowl and waders feeds on the salt flats. The Tide Mill with its white weather boarding  has been completely restored and sits elegantly on the quayside, built in the 18th century it remained in use right up until 1957. There are fine views across to Sutton Hoo from the river bank and it was there in 1939 that the Sutton Hoo Burial Ship was discovered. 

There are endless walking possibilities concentrating on the history and architecture of Woodbridge punctuated by places to stop for light refreshment. Roof lines rise and fall with delicious disregard for symmetry and you will find yourself journeying past many attractive Georgian facades, stamped on the town by the officers stationed here during the Napoleonic Wars a feast for the eyes.  Half timbered houses of ancient date with their centuries old atmosphere, high latticed panned dormer windows, and walls sloping inwards and outwards at all sorts of angles echoing the past. Many narrow alleyways present unexpected vistas to the visitor with chimneys puncturing the skyline with disorderley disregard.  The painter Thomas Churchyard (born in Melton) lived in at Marston House in Cumberland Street.

The once Ship Inn now a private residence was the first meeting place of the Independents in 1650. Bearmans Hill was where plague victims were buried in 1666 in all three hundred people were buried here.

Woodbridge has a railway station with services all the way through to London, a riverside theatre and a cinema.  The National Trust Property at Sutton is close by which contains all the details of the discovery and interesting information about the Anglo Saxon Kings.  Sutton Hoo is a group of grassy burial mounds on a heath where a Saxon king's treasure was excavated in 1939.  It is believe to be the richest treasure ever to have been found in Britain.  It is believed that the remains were of Raedwald who died in about 625.  He was buried in a huge, 90 ft long wooden ship with a magnificent ceremonial helmet and lots of other goods.  No human remains were found, though it is believed that Sutton Hoo was the royal burial ground for the powerful dynasty of East Anglian Kings.  During the Second World War the Sutton Hoo treasure was hidden in the London Underground.

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