May Half Term in Suffolk - 10 Great Family Outings
10 Great Family Outings in Suffolk during May Half Term
May is a fantastic time to visit Suffolk with the kids – the weather is mild, the days are long, the beaches and attractions are not so busy and the roads are quieter than during peak summer season. If you’re staying in one of our lovely Suffolk Cottages over the May half term holidays, we've compiled a list of our favourite family-friendly outings. If you still haven't planned your holiday and are looking for last minute holiday cottage availability click here to view half term availability.
1) Medieval Murder Mystery/Gruesome Goings On, Framlingham Castle, 24–20 May 2014
This atmospheric 12th-century fortress – one-time refuge of Mary Tudor before she became Queen – is offering half-term visitors young and not so young the chance to turn detective and solve a medieval whodunnit (24–26 May) or to travel back in time to discover the painful truth about Tudor era crime and punishment (27–30 May).
Where: Framlingham Castle, Church St, Framlingham, IP13 9BP.
Opening hours: daily, 10am–6pm
Accommodation: stay nearby at our self-catering holiday cottages in Sweffling.
2) RSPB Minsmere, near Saxmundham, daily
Home of BBC Springwatch 2014, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds nature reserve is fully set up for family days out, with a Wild Zone including a play tree, migration maze and tunnels, a Wild Wood Adventure with den-building and mini-beast hunting, a Riverwatch Hide and a Wildlife Lookout. You can also borrow equipment including binoculars, bug boxes, ID guides and Explorer backpacks. All Suffolk Secrets customers receive a “2 for 1 plus kids go free” voucher for RSPB Minsmere so even more reason to visit! You can even stay right in the RSPB Minsmere reserve at Scott's Hall Cottage - perfect for the super-keen twitchers in your family!
Where: RSPB Minsmere, Sheepwash Ln, Saxmundham, IP17 3BY
Opening hours: car park, hides and countryside walks open daily dawn–dusk
Accommodation: try our lovely Suffolk Cottages in Minsmere, Dunwich, Eastbridge and Westleton.
3) Anglo-Saxon Encampment: Bread, Ale and Mead, Sutton Hoo, 24–26 May 2014
Head for this unique Anglo-Saxon royal burial site in late May to get the chance to mill flour with quern stones and make your own dough to mark with a rune and cook on a campfire. Foraging, leechcraft and food talks, demonstrations and storytelling are also on the agenda, and there's a brand-new summer exhibition (until 2 November) with 70+ unique objects giving an insight into the daily lives of ancient Suffolk people. Kids can make helmets, dress as Anglo-Saxons, play archaeologist in the trench and enjoy the adventure playground and zipwire.
Where: Sutton Hoo, Tranmer House, Woodbridge, IP12 3DJ
Opening hours: daily, 10.30am–5pm
Accommodation: a range of VisitEngland graded holiday cottages are located nearby at Woodbridge, Shottisham and Bawdsey.
4) Dunwich Heath, 25–31 May 2014
This serene stretch of heathland teeming with wildlife always offers children's nature trails and tracker pack activities, but in half term the Coastal Centre and beach has a special focus on families, with free activities such as bug-hunting, pond-dipping, beach scavenger hunts and geocaching. Tuesday and Thursday are the best days, with ranger-led activities.
Where: Dunwich Heath, Dunwich, Saxmundham, Suffolk, IP17 3DJ
Opening hours: daily, dawn – dusk
Accommodation: a range of VisitEngland graded holiday cottages are located nearby at Dunwich, Westleton and Minsmere.
5) Magic Monday, Easton Farm Park, 26 May 2014
The family attraction is adding a little extra sparkle to the bank holiday Monday with its magic shows, but all through half term, visitors can enjoy the usual farm-themed fun, including train, barrel bug and pony rides, animal-feeding, hug-a-bunny sessions, outdoor adventures, indoor softplay, and gorgeous walks down to the river.
Where: Easton Farm Park, Easton, IP13 0EQ
Opening hours: daily until September, 10.30am–5.30pm
Accommodation: a range of VisitEngland graded holiday cottages are located nearby at Hacheston and Woodbridge.
6) Suffolk Show, 28–29 May
This annual food, farming and showjumping event is more child-friendly than ever in 2014, with a new Farm Discovery Zone with the chance to cook, hold newborn chicks, stroke sheep, milk cows, discover where sausages come from and watch a mini-digger display showing how crops are planted and harvested. There's also a cider barn, tea tent, reggae hut and Military Zone with an Apache simulator – and all kids under 15 get free entry.
Where: Trinity Park, Ipswich, IP3 8UH
Opening hours: gates open 7.30am both days.
Accommodation: we offer a great choice of self-catering cottages in Freston, Felixstowe and Woodbridge.
7) Life & Times of the First English, West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village, 31 May–1 June 2014
This reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon village within woods and heathlands is hosting a weekend of costumed reenactments of family life between about 460 and 1066, including forging, have-a-go crafts and activities and the chance to don period garb. A river and lake, nature trails, walks, an adventure playground and rare-breed pigs and chickens add to the merriment.
Where: West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village, Icklingham Rd, Bury St Edmunds IP28 6HG
Opening hours: 10am–4pm over the weekend.
8) Wool Fair, Ickworth House, 1 June
The neoclassical country house rounds off half-term week with its first-ever Wool Fair, featuring sheepdog trial demos, sheep-shearing, runner duck shepherding, dog agility, archery, country crafts and Morris dancing. Other half-term goodies include a Living History event (24 May) showcasing what life was like for servants on this grand estate in the 1930s, a bat walk and talk (27 May), an 'Out and About Wednesday' (28 May) with daisy-chain making, seed-planting and snail-racing in the walled garden, and a climbing wall and bungee-trampolining (also 28 May).
Where: Ickworth House and Estate, Horringer, Bury St Edmunds, IP29 5QE
Opening hours: 11am–5pm
9) Orford Castle, daily
One of the Britain's most complete and unusual keeps is great fun to explore with kids, with its labyrinth of narrow passages leading between the chapel, kitchen and turret chambers. The Upper Hall has a display of Roman brooches, medieval seals, coins and regalia, and the website has an activity pack you can download ahead of your visit. On a fine day, the surrounding grounds are the perfect spot for picnics.
Where: Orford Castle, Castle Green, Orford
Opening hours: daily 10am–6pm in summer; for other times of year see website.
Accommodation: Suffolk Secrets offer a range of VisitEngland graded holiday cottages in Orford, Blaxhall and Snape.
10) High Lodge Thetford Forest, daily
From peaceful forest trails for walkers and cyclists to Go Ape treetop adventures for ages six up and all-terrain Segway tours, this pine forest is ideal for a blast of fresh air. Ask at the information point for a self-led Gruffalo trail, or head for the WildPlay area. Half-term extras will include archery, pony rides and face-painting.
Where: High Lodge, Brandon near Thetford, IP27 0AF
Opening hours: daily 9am–6pm from April – August; for other times of year see website.