Whether you’re looking for fine art in fancy surroundings, creepy curiosities or a huge collection of traditional trams, trains and tooting horns, there’s an Ipswich museum to entertain the whole family.
You’ll be greeted by a full-sized woolly mammoth upon arrival at Ipswich Museum, an enchanting Victorian building jam-packed with natural history exhibits and curiosities. Large Victorian glass cases and plenty of fascinating taxidermy animals make you feel like you’ve been transported into Night at the Museum, travelling through the ages from Ancient Egypt to the Iron Age, Romans, Saxons and the modern day. Founded in 1846, the red brick museum is conveniently located between the main shopping street and Christchurch Park. And with entrance free for all ages, it’s a great place to enjoy a few hours whilst you’re en route to the park. The kids can get stuck into history with the hands-on activities and quiz trails, dressing up in historical costumes or trying their hand at rune writing. With exhibits spanning natural history, wildlife and geology, as well as sections on the world wars and local Ipswich history, there’s something for all interests.
Ipswich Transport Museum
We know there’ll be both small and large members of your family who are obsessed with all things car-related, so Ipswich Transport Museum is sure not to disappoint. The former trolleybus depot houses over 100 vehicles for you to clamber over and explore, and is less than a 10-minute drive from our Ipswich South East hotel. Exhibits include pieces of nostalgia, with vehicles ranging from as far back as 1880 through to the modern day, with a special focus on transport with a local connection. The model railway is popular with train enthusiasts too.
You’re sure to spend a fair few hours here (perfect for entertainment on a rainy day) and there’s a handy café also on site. With exhibits from trams to buses, fire engines, cranes, bikes, prams, forklift trucks, police cars, lawnmowers and even wheelchairs, there’s plenty to see – if it has wheels, you’re sure to find it at this museum. And the best bit; visitors young and old are encouraged to climb aboard and play on many of the vehicles. Don’t forget to ding the bell!
Include a bit of culture into your day in Ipswich with a visit to Christchurch Mansion (an easy walk from the town centre). The beautiful Tudor mansion boasts over 500 years of history, with a variety of galleries and historic rooms to explore, surrounded also by a charming parkland. Amazingly, entrance is free to this historic attraction. You can find everything from a Tudor kitchen, Georgian saloon and Victorian wing to galleries featuring a fine collection of art from Suffolk artists – including the largest collection of works from Gainsborough and Constable outside London.
For extra insight into the building’s history, join one of the free ‘Peep into the Past’ guided tours, running daily from March to November. The house itself is open all year round, but be aware that it closes on Mondays. There’s also a lovely little coffee shop, and it’s worth checking out their scheduled events throughout the year with entertainment for the whole family. Music in the Park is Ipswich’s biggest free one-day music event, and they also hold open-air cinema nights and sporting events.