The list of Suffolk entertainment options is as long as your arm and gives you great options at every time of the day and throughout the calendar. Festivals like Latitude and Snape Maltings are reason alone to visit the east coast of the country. On top of that, there’s first-class theatre, top-quality sport, the home of British horse racing and much, much more to tell you about.
Entertainment in Suffolk
When the sun decides to shine and the weather’s nice and warm, you’ll want to make the most of it with a trip to the beach. There’s a handful of really good beaches in Suffolk. The pick of the bunch in terms of popularity is Lowestoft Beach. It’s the most iconic beach in Suffolk with the Claremont Pier protruding out into the sea. It’s lined with beach huts and backs onto the town.
If you prefer peace and quiet to packed beaches, Dunwich Beach backs onto an area of heathland protected by the National Trust. The enormous shingle beach is lovely for walks while Dunwich Heath is famous for the rare and characterful wildlife that call it home. It’s certainly one for nature lovers.
A couple of other honourable mentions go to the beautiful sand and shingle Walberswick Beach and dunes, which you’ll find in pretty Southwold, and the famously picturesque Aldeburgh Beach which backs onto the characterful town of Aldeburgh.
The pick of your sporting options is Ipswich Town. The Tractor Boys, as they’re affectionately known, are the only professional football club in the county. The club dates all the way back to 1878 and plays its home games at Portman Road, which is just a 15-minute stroll from our Ipswich Town Centre hotel. Football fans should see if The Blues are playing during their stay. Away fans, there are plenty of decent Suffolk nightlife choices nearby for when you want to drown your sorrows or celebrate an away win.
Of course, we have to talk about Newmarket Racecourse. Any kind of equine enthusiast will know Newmarket as the home of British horseracing. It has two separate racecourses – the Rowley Mile and the July Course – and contains the highest concentration of training yards in Britain. Race days date back to the reign of James I. Rocking up for a race day offers the perfect excuse to put on your glad rags and try to beat the bookies.
Cricket fans will want to check the Suffolk County Cricket calendar. The county club plays across a handful of different venues. Adrenaline junkies can make their way to the Alton Watersports Centre at Alton Water, near Ipswich.
Suffolk’s culture scene is supported by some excellent theatres dotted around the county. The biggest and arguably the best is the 1,500-seat Ipswich Regent Theatre on St Helen’s Street. It welcomes West End shows and saves you the hassle of heading into London. It’s a lovely venue, the seats are comfy, and there isn’t a bad view in the house.
The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich is an exceptional community theatre with a reputation for the diversity of its productions, the accessibility of its facilities, and its ability to engage with a broad cross-section of communities. It’s a comparatively modern build and has a convenient location on Civic Drive, just a ten-minute drive from our Ipswich North hotel.
The Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is a stunning National Trust attraction that’s worthy of a visit even for just a tour when there aren’t any shows on. It’s the sole surviving Regency playhouse in England and hosts a fantastic array of productions all year round in its intimate and exquisitely-restored auditorium.
Latitude Festival is Suffolk’s supremely popular music festival, which takes over Henham Park over the course of a long weekend every July. It’s famous for being among the most family-friendly and diverse festivals in the UK. As well as welcoming some of the biggest names in music – past performers include Sigur Ros, The Killers, Foals and Fatboy Slim – Latitude also caters for fans of theatre, comedy, poetry, dance and literature. If you’re coming to Latitude Festival, stay with us at our Lowestoft hotel, which is just 15 miles away.
Fans of classical music will need no introduction to Snape Maltings. This sublime complex for the arts is perched on the banks of the River Alde is home to a collection of shops, galleries, restaurants and – of course – the world-famous Snape Maltings Concert Hall, which is the main venue of the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts, which was founded by Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and Eric Crozier. Concerts take place at Snape Maltings throughout the year, so see what’s on during your stay in Suffolk.
If you’re staying with us at our Bury St Edmunds hotel then you’ll also want to try The Apex in the Arc Shopping Centre. The 500-seat state-of-the-art concert hall is revered for its acoustics and – despite only opening its doors a few years ago – attracts some supremely talented artists and comedy acts from around the world.
Lastly, we’ll give a quick mention to the Hunter Club in Bury St Edmunds. It’s a little independent venue, which packs a punch with three gig spaces and a jam-packed gig programme that showcases the best local artists and comedy acts. Our top tip is to try the Headhunter jazz nights. They’re always top-class.
You can’t go wrong with a trip to the cinema if you’re looking for ways to kill a couple of hours. The Cineworld Ipswich is the biggest and most-popular cinema in Suffolk. It’s a state-of-the-art IMAX cinema in Cardinal Park, which is surrounded by food options such as Nando’s, McDonald’s and KFC. Plus, it’s less than a 10-minute drive from our Ipswich Chantry Park hotel.
You may also want to try the Empire cinema in the Buttermarket Centre in Ipswich, the Abbeygate Cinema in Bury St Edmunds and the Aldeburgh Cinema on the High Street in Aldeburgh.