Move to Suffolk and reap the benefits of an unspoilt coastline, open countryside and an easy commute to London.
The ancient county of Suffolk boasts a rich cultural heritage, stunning landscape and untouched beaches. It is home to towns including Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Haverhill as well as the busy ports of Felixstowe and Lowestoft.
Where is Suffolk?
But you may need deep pockets to pick up a home here. Average property values in Suffolk sit at just under £280,000, and are up to £460,000 in sought-after locations such as Newmarket, Woodbridge and Southwold. Use the Zoopla house price tool to check the latest figures.
Living in Suffolk: what to expect
Though it lacks a large city, Suffolk is no backwater. The county has thriving, internationally-renowned cultural and sporting festivals – and Felixstowe is one of the busiest ports in Europe.
The east of Suffolk is home to harbours, attractive seaside towns and beaches. And its heartland has bustling market towns and quaint villages within a stone’s throw of forest, heathland and fields. Look out for pargeting and clapboard cladding, traditional decor in the region.
Several Suffolk schools were ranked good or outstanding by Ofsted in 2017. Top state secondary schools include Debenham High, Farlingaye High and Hartismere. The independent schools of Culford, Framlingham College, St Felix in Southwold and the Royal Hospital School in Ipswich all have excellent reputations too.
Top places to start your property search
Property for sale in Suffolk ranges from quaint country cottages, grand barn conversions and spacious farmhouses, to studio apartments in bang-up-to-date eco-friendly developments.
Urban living: Affordable Victorian and Georgian terraced houses, converted buildings and new housing developments are all available in Ipswich.
Start your search in the Christchurch Park area of the town, where modern houses are tucked in between older properties that once stood on grand plots. The Park is close to the railway station and the shopping centre, making it an ideal spot to live if you’re a commuter.
There’s also a good variety of waterside properties on the market, some of which have their own moorings. The regenerated dockside and shipyard area includes restaurants, bars and hotels as well as housing, and has a cosmopolitan buzz. Check out the luxury apartments on Stoke Quay and Neptune Square for examples.
In Bury St Edmunds, there are classic terraced properties on York Road, Grade II-listed homes on Whiting Street and quirky homes set into the town’s walls. Established estates on the outskirts of town include Moreton Hall and those in the ‘St Martin’ villages.
With a rich history in horse racing, Newmarket is a favourite with anyone who works with or loves horses. Despite its glamour it does have affordable properties, such as those on Parkers Walk. Hamilton Road is a good place to find new-build and older properties close to the town centre and Rowley Mile racecourse.
Rural living: If you prefer a rural hideaway, the villages of Ixworth, Pakenham, Walsham le Willows and Great Barton are all worth a look and within easy driving distance of Bury. And check out Lavenham and Long Melford for medieval cottages.
Alternatively, consider the hamlets around Ixworth.
Woodbridge is another attractive alternative that sits on the edge of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Sunday Times voted it as the best place to live in the East of England in 2017 and its housing includes listed Georgian townhouses. Search along roads such as Theatre Street and Chapel Street for the best examples.
Best ways to get around Suffolk
By road: The A12 as well as the A11 / M11 serve as the county’s arterial roads to London. The A12 starts at Lowestoft and runs through Colchester and Chelmsford on its way to the capital. And the A11 connects to the M11 at Cambridge.
The A14 is the main east to west route from Felixstowe to the Midlands. It passes through Cambridge and Kettering before linking to the M6.
By rail: There are direct trains from Ipswich to London Liverpool Street, which take around an hour and a quarter.
And they run between Newmarket and London, via Cambridge, in around two hours.
By air: There are three airports within 40 miles of Ipswich. The largest, London Stansted, flies direct to more than 170 destinations.
Norwich Airport and Southend Airport offer limited services with regular flights to Amsterdam Airport in the Netherlands. From there, you can access another 300 destinations.
Best things to do in Suffolk
History: Visit Framlingham Castle, a 12th-century fortress and the home of the Earls and Dukes of Norfolk for 400 years. It was besieged by King John during civil war and Mary I was proclaimed queen here. Walk the walls and enjoy what is considered to be one of the best views of inland Suffolk.
Explore the county’s Anglo-Saxon heritage at Sutton Hoo. The 255-acre estate contains several burial mounds, including the most famous of them all – the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon king. Now owned by the National Trust, the site is home to a large exhibition as well as a full-size reconstruction of the burial chamber.
Cultural: Several well-loved musicians and artists had strong connections to Suffolk. Thomas Gainsborough’s house in Sudbury is open to the public throughout the week and includes a museum and garden.
And John Constable, famous for his paintings of Dedham Vale, was born in East Bergholt. Walk through the Stour Valley, known as Constable Country.
Festivals are another prominent feature of life in Suffolk. Benjamin Britten instigated Aldeburgh Festival, which continues today. It centres on Snape Maltings, an arts complex with a world-renowned concert hall.
Latitude Festival, held at Henham Park near Southwold, is another big draw. It has included stage appearances by Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Noel Gallagher, Portishead and celebrity choirmaster Gareth Malone.
Bury Festival runs throughout May and features music, theatre, film and exhibitions. Events are held all over the town over the course of 10 days, including at the cathedral and Theatre Royal.
Outdoors: Suffolk has world-acclaimed wetland, marshland and heath, such as Minsmere and Trimley Marshes nature reserves and Knettishall Heath, as well as the Suffolk Broads, a network of tributaries and lakes in Suffolk and Norfolk. Find out more via the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
Forests and woodland also feature large in Suffolk’s landscape. Elveden Forest is home to holiday destination Center Parcs, while Priestley Wood near Needham Market is a top spot to look for bluebells.
Food and drink: Suffolk’s well-known breweries include Greene King at Bury St Edmunds, Adnams in Southwold and St Peter’s near Bungay. The Nutshell in Bury St Edmunds is perhaps one of Suffolk’s best-known pubs – it’s the smallest in Britain with a bar that measures just 15 feet by 7 feet.
Places to eat in Suffolk include Southwold’s Crown Hotel and the Sole Bay Fish Company. The Leaping Hare at Wyken, The Eels Foot Inn at Eastbridge, Tuddenham Mill boutique hotel and restaurant at Tuddenham and the Fox and Goose at Fressingfield are also popular.
A daily fish auction at Lowestoft means seafood features on many local menus. Head to Orford for some of the finest and freshest seafood and shellfish, available at Pinney’s and the Butley Orford Oysterage.
Former busker turned superstar musician Ed Sheeran, whose home town is Framlingham, wrote his hit song 'Castle On The Hill' in reference to Framlingham Castle.
6 reasons to live in Suffolk
Sweeping coastline and unspoilt countryside
Good road and rail connections
Attractive seaside towns and secluded villages
Host of historical sites, including Sutton Hoo
Strong food and drink culture
Are you weighing up a move to Suffolk? Share your thought process in the comments below.