This pretty market town in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty may surprise you. Despite its miles of scenic surroundings, peaceful country atmosphere and quiet exterior, Woodbridge in Suffolk has a range of activities and events throughout the year. The town also offers plenty of shopping, dining and attractions to keep you entertained during your stay here.
Visit the renowned medieval landmark of Sutton Hoo or head across to the coast to see The Scallop at Aldeburgh. There are plenty of fun festivals which you can take part in too if you time your visit right.
We have a wonderful range of self-catering accommodation throughout Suffolk, so once you’ve investigated all that this town has to offer, start browsing our collection of cottages in Woodbridge to find your perfect holiday escape. Read on to discover all the best bits of this vibrant Suffolk town.
Things to do in Woodbridge
There is so much to do in this port and market town. Whether you’ve got the kids in tow or it’s just you and your other half, we’ve got something for you. Whether you want to be out in the fresh air or you need to shelter from the rain, we’ve got you covered.
Considered one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time, Sutton Hoo is an outstanding historic site. Here, history enthusiasts can discover the awe-inspiring Anglo-Saxon burial site where our East Anglian ancestors now lie. One of the most impressive parts of the site is the ship burial ground - discovered in the 1930s and one of the largest archaeological finds ever recorded.
Sutton Hoo also has an award-winning exhibition in which they have created a full-size reconstruction of the burial chamber. The site is now in the capable hands of the National Trust, and the countryside surrounding the attraction is beautifully maintained and a pleasure to walk around. There’s also a cafe with local, seasonal food, a gift shop and a second-hand bookshop, along with plenty of activities running throughout the year for children.
Woodbridge Tide Mill
One of the country's first and last working tide mills, The Woodbridge Tide Mill Living Museum is an excellent place to go and learn about some local history whilst visiting Suffolk. Recently restored and opened to the public, it is now a fully working mill and a fascinating piece of machinery to watch and learn more about.
The museum has many areas to discover including The Stone Floor and The Pit Floor, and many activities for children to enjoy whilst simultaneously being educational. You can even purchase the tide mill’s flour from several local shops in Suffolk.
The Riverside Theatre and Cinema
The Riverside Theatre and Cinema in Woodbridge is a charming establishment where visitors can enjoy quality performances in a classic theatre setting. Located next to the River Deben, the cinema has an adjoining restaurant, A Listers Woodbridge, which serves top-quality food and homemade bread and pasta.
To top it all off, customers can even take their drinks to the screen with them once finishing their meal. If you’re looking for a rainy-day activity, this is one of the best things to do in Woodbridge.
Opening times: Cinema Mon-Sat 2pm to 8pm, Sun 2.30pm to 6.30pm; Restaurant Mon-Sat 12pm to 9pm, Sun 12pm to 7pm
Price: See here for prices
At Easton Farm Park, little ones can meet the animals, let off steam in the indoor play area and explore the 30-acre Green Trail. There are regular events, so keep an eye on their events schedule to make sure you don't miss a thing.
Congo Rapids Lost World Adventure Golf is great for families young and old who like a little healthy competition. Enjoy a round of golf on this wacky crazy-golf course, weaving your way through the plants, over bridges and passing large animal sculptures as you make your way around.
Places to Eat and Drink in Woodbridge
Described in Country Living magazine as one of the top foodie destinations in England, Woodbridge has a vast array of excellent eateries to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a quick snack, a light lunch, a pub meal or even something to take back to your self-catering holiday cottage, Woodbridge has something for everyone!
The Duke of York
Situated on the hill that is said to be the one where the Grand Old Duke of York marched his 10,000 men, The Duke of York in Woodbridge serves up classic country pub classics which you can enjoy by an open fire or out in a beautiful beer garden.
Opening times: Sun-Thurs 12pm to 10pm, Fri and Sat 12pm to 11pm
The Crown in Woodbridge is a delightful place for an evening meal at the top of the thoroughfare. Here, they use ingredients from local artisan producers, so you’re sure to receive a fantastic dish of locally produced ingredients. Furthermore, this award-winning restaurant has an excellent wine list for the refined dining experience you desire.
Opening times: Different menus are served at different times. See here.
Prezzo in Woodbridge is a treat for the senses. From the moment you arrive and take in the exterior and interior of the listed building, you know that you’re in for a good time. Taste the best in pizza, pasta and wine as you’re joined by family and friends to celebrate a special occasion or just to grab a quick bite. Eat either downstairs or book for up to 60 guests upstairs, safe in the knowledge that your vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free friends are well-catered for.
Opening times: Mon-Thurs 12pm to 9pm, Fri-Sat 11.30am to 10pm, Sun 11.30am to 9pm
At Blue Salt in Woodbridge, they say that perfection takes time. This award-winning restaurant doesn’t serve up fast food but rather prefers to use a woodfire grill and smoke oven which regulars say has revolutionised the way they eat and enjoy food. The restaurant tries its utmost to discover unique flavours using Persian Blue Salt and combining it with distinctive cooking styles. The wood brings out previously hidden tastes in the food and the smoked smell adds another layer to the experience. Blue Salt predominantly deals with meat and fish, but you can also choose vegan and vegetarian options here.
Opening times: Mon-Thurs 5pm to 10pm, Fri 5pm to 11pm, Sat 12pm to 11pm
The Cherry Tree Inn
When looking for Woodbridge pubs, you’ll want to make a pit stop at The Cherry Tree Inn. This 17th-century pub is near the centre of the town and has a traditional tavern interior including wooden beams, sloping ceilings and open fires to warm your toes. The inn provides a children’s play area for visiting families, as well as a stunning beer garden with a lawn and patio seating under a pergola. You can choose from eight cask ales and a menu that would not do the cuisine justice if it was described as ‘pub food’.
Vernon Blackmore has been prominent in the Woodbridge restaurant scene for nearly 20 years and now at Spice Bar at The Table, Woodbridge, he brings all his passion and knowledge of Asian cuisine and gives it a little twist. The Table is a great venue for light bites or a more celebratory gathering and has a relaxed atmosphere with staff who are eager to ensure your time here is memorable. Try a curry from Malaysia, Indian BBQ ribs or white fish katsu with a Japanese pickled salad, using as many local ingredients as possible – what’s not to love?
Opening times: Weds-Sat 12pm to 2.30pm and 6pm to 8.30pm, Sun 12pm to 3pm
At the Riverside in Woodbridge, you can go and watch the latest blockbuster or indie drama but be sure not to fill up on popcorn and sweets. This is because, in the same building, you’ll find the distinguished restaurant, A Listers. Located by the River Deben, this restaurant offers food all day and into the evening, as well as providing a venue for live music. With multiple menus to choose from, including vegan and afternoon tea options, as well as an extensive cocktail menu, you might want to skip the movie and come straight here.
Opening times: Mon-Sat 12pm to 9pm, Sun 12pm to 7pm
Woodbridge’s great outdoors
With the town being situated on the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you’ll be perfectly positioned to get out and about exploring the surrounding area. You may find yourself walking the banks of the River Deben or sitting and breathing in the scenery; it’s no surprise that Woodbridge is one of the gems in Suffolk’s crown.
Walks in Woodbridge
Head down to the waterfront in Woodbridge for a walk dusted in history. Once home to a thriving ship-building industry (with Sir Francis Drake being a former customer), the quays give you an insight into an integral part of the town’s history.
Take a stroll along the River Deben between Melton and Woodbridge and keep your eyes peeled for widgeons and warblers. Whether you start or finish in Woodbridge, you’ll take in the tide mill in all its glory.
Possibly the top three walks in Woodbridge are Ships, Saltings and Thomas Seckford; River and Countryside Wander; and A Stroll by the Deben. They all explore the town, the river and the surrounding landscape to varying degrees. They differ in length, though they are all considered easy walks.
Other things in the great outdoors
A great way to experience some of Suffolk’s forestry and heathland is to play a round of gold with your chums. Woodbridge Golf Club has 27 holes on two of Suffolk’s premium heathland courses. Make sure you book before arriving and then you can look forward to your round on one of the top 100 courses in England.
If you want to get out on the water, you can book a cruise along the River Deben. Take in this scenic part of the east coast and watch out for wildlife and historic talking points.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly outdoor activity, The Suffolk Punch Trust has a plethora of activities to keep the whole herd entertained. The Suffolk Punch horse is England’s oldest breed of working horse and the trust works tirelessly to protect this endangered breed. Do your bit to help whilst meeting the residents in the Pet’s Paddock, strolling the stables, having a tractor ride and enjoying the play areas.
Many places in the Woodbridge area are dog friendly, so you can spend the day out with your pup and relax later in a cosy pub cuddled around an open fire. The Maybush Inn is a dog-friendly pub and we highly recommend popping out for a walk with your pooch before returning for a meal and a drink. Likewise, The Cherry Tree and Ye Olde Bell and Steelyard are both dog friendly, with the latter offering a lovely garden for you to enjoy in those summer months.
In terms of sandy dog-friendly shores, Felixstowe Beach has dog restrictions in place from May until September, however, there are dog-friendly beaches on either side where dogs can be kept on leads, stretching from Spa Pavilion to Wheeler Road. These areas are well-signposted and easy to find. Aldeburgh Beach is a beautiful stretch of coastline, just 17 miles from Woodbridge. It has restrictions in the summer months but just north of the town, from Wentworth Hotel all the way to Thorpeness, the beach is totally dog friendly!
A mix of boutiques and other independent shops can be found in Woodbridge. Stop by Barretts of Woodbridge, Browsers Bookshop or Happiness at Home Store for a selection of top gifts you can take away from your holiday. Grab a delectable cupcake from The Cake Shop Bakery or spoil yourself at Bathsheba Spa where they offer a range of treatments.
Markets take place throughout the year on the Market Square, keep up to date here with the ever-changing list of fun events. Meanwhile, the Woodbridge Farmers’ Market, one of the oldest in Suffolk, is held at Woodbridge Community Hall on alternate Saturdays.
If you’re looking for a bit of garden inspiration during your getaway, make a beeline for Dobbies Woodbridge and Notcutts Woodbridge. Choose from houseplants, garden furniture, gift cards or just have a snack and a warming brew in the restaurants. There might even be events going on or you can ask the resident experts for gardening advice. And if you’re all tuckered out after wandering around Notcutts, head over to The Cherry Tree Inn which is conveniently located opposite.
Festivals in Woodbridge
Woodbridge Riverside Regatta, June
The annual Woodbridge Regatta and Riverside Fair has been taking place on the banks of the River Deben for nearly 200 years. Head down for boat, yacht and dinghy rides, music and fun activities for kids. There are plenty of stalls to peruse with various crafts for sale and places to grab food and drink.
Folk East, August
This folk festival takes place every August on the grounds of magnificent Glenham Hall, 9 miles from Woodbridge. Folk East has a wide range of bands and musicians playing as well as stalls and fun and games for families to enjoy.
Woodbridge Christmas Street Fair, December
A fantastic community event that gets everybody in the Christmas spirit. The Woodbridge Christmas Fair has a superb range of stalls by local traders and vendors that offer a variety of fancy goods. These include sculptors, chocolatiers, cake-makers, soap-makers, honey-makers and much, much more. There is also food and drink and carol singers for an extra Christmassy atmosphere.
Take a trip to the seaside
Shingle Street is 10 miles away from Woodbridge and is a fascinatingly peculiar spot. This stretch of shoreline is made up of a row of holiday homes sitting along the seafront and, as you might expect, a shingle beach perfect for an afternoon stroll.
Take a boat trip across to the shingle spit of National Trust Orford Ness (16 miles), a National Nature Reserve with an intriguing military history. Follow the walking trails around this dramatic and remote coastal escape.
This seaside town, 14 miles away, is home to the largest container port in the UK and has a wonderful beach where families can play in the sea and soak up the sun. There’s a classic amusements arcade and seafront gardens to visit in the town. Alternatively, you could just sit and sip a cuppa while watching the huge container ships come and go from the docks.
Enjoy the family-friendly beach that awaits 17 miles away in Aldeburgh. The resort's claim to fame is that the town was once home to Benjamin Britten - a sculpture called The Scallop has been created down on the beach as a monument to him. There are also art galleries and cafes for you to drop by during your day out. If you're looking to visit, our guide to Aldeburgh has even more information on what the town has to offer.
Where to stay in Woodbridge
We have a fantastic range of accommodation in and around Woodbridge, Suffolk and all over the rest of this beautiful county. Pick through our collection of family-friendly escapes, couples’ getaways and big group holiday homes.
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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.