What's Special about Woodbridge
This part of Suffolk is a must visit for those with a passion for the past. In 1939, archaeologists unearthed an excitingly, rare find: the remains of an Anglo Saxon ship at Sutton Hoo. Just outside of Woodbridge, be sure to visit this site where an Anglo Saxon King was buried with all his treasures. The National Trust have put together an award winning exhibition with a full size reconstruction of the burial chamber of the ship, featuring replicas and original finds from the mound in which they first found this incredible artefact. This discovery revolutionised historians’ understanding of the Dark Ages and is not something you can afford to miss out on when visiting this part of the world. You can even venture on a guided tour around the 18 burial mounds in the ‘royal cemetery’, in England’s ‘Valley of the Kings’, a truly breath taking experience.
Another must visit for the heritage lovers is Orford Castle. Built in the 12th Century by Henry II, the keep is remarkably well preserved allowing visitors to explore from the basement to the battlements. Take an audio tour of the building, discovering the history and uses of the passages and rooms of the castle. The view from the very top over Orford Ness is something particularly to be admired! Orford Museum is located in the Upper Hall of the castle itself with fascinating collections of artefacts from Orford and the surrounding area, dating from as far back as the Roman era.
Woodbridge’s own Tide Mill one of the first to ever be built in the country and was the last to be officially used as a working mill. It is well over 800 years old and dominates the quayside in the town. It’s an iconic landmark as well as being a fascinating place to visit and an example of our industrial and cultural heritage. Not only has it interactive models and information in the mill itself, the mill also still produces flour when the tides are right, which they supply to local artisan bakers.
Britten’s stomping ground
St Bartholomew’s Church in Orford is a slice of history, still in full use today. It is a Grade I listed building open every day for visitors, standing in the heart of the village. It is a church with excellent acoustics and Benjamin Britten himself used to hold concerts there due to this. Concerts are still held there to this day a part of the famous Aldeburgh Festival, originally set up by Benjamin Britten. In the evenings when the church is floodlit, it is really something to behold.
Messing about on the river
A scenic cruise down the River Deben is perfect on a warm sunny day. From Waldringfield you can be taken down the river, with on board commentary learning about the history and habitats, to view the beauty of the area from the water. Spotting wildlife from on board the boat with a cuppa makes for a truly relaxing afternoon. Cruising through the Deben estuary, in this area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a unique experience.
Enjoy a cruise down the River Alde from Orford perhaps instead, on the Lady Florence. The vessel gently travels through the water all year round and allows you to view the Alde from a new perspective, a river particularly different from the Deben. The Lady Florence also offers a unique dining experience, allowing you to enjoy a wholesome, seated meal before totally relaxing and enjoying the views of the expanse of the Alde.