Ipswich Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing

(Ipswich, Suffolk, England, UK)

Waterfront photoAlthough Ipswich has never actually achieved city status, the town contains plenty of sights to see and tourist attractions to experience. A guided tour of Ipswich is certainly a great thing to do when you first arrive in this interesting town, with sightseeing bus tours being especially popular in the summer and taking in the top attractions, along with highly informative year-round Blue Badge Guide walking tours.

Any tourist spending time in Ipswich will find that cruising down the River Orwell is a very pleasant way to fill an afternoon. If you are here with young children, then you may like to pay a visit to the family friendly attractions of Jimmy's Farm and Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm, both of which reside on the outskirts of the town.

For entertainment, the Corn Exchange, the New Wolsey Theatre and the Regent Theatre rarely disappoint, and if you are a soccer fan, then a match at the legendary Portman Road Stadium can be something of a pilgrimage.

Further view of the waterfront marina

Guided Walks / Ipswich Blue Badge Guides

Address: Tourist Information Centre (TIC), St. Stephen's Church, St. Stephen's Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 1DP, England, UK
Tel: +44 01473 258070
The Tourist Information Centre off St. Stephen's Lane organises regular guided tours, taking place at 14:15 each Tuesday and Thursday, and lasting approximately one hour and 30 minutes. These tours are led by experienced Blue Badge guides and explain the town's 1,500 years' worth of history, passing buildings which date back up to 800 years and add great architectural character to the town. For something rather different, you make also like to consider joining the guided Gemini Ghost Tour, which departs on the first Thursday of every month at 20:00, and explains many spooky stories and happenings en route.
Open hours: Tuesday and Thursday - 14:15
Admission: charge, discounts for children

City Sightseeing Bus Tour photograph

City Sightseeing Bus Tours

Address: Tourist Information Centre (TIC), St. Stephen's Church, St. Stephen's Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 1DP, England, UK
Tel: +44 01473 258070
You may well like to climb aboard one of the open-top summer 'City Sightseeing' buses, which have convenient hop-on hop-off tickets, which link the leading attractions and places of interest, and take in views of the River Orwell, the Orwell Bridge and the surrounding Suffolk countryside. Sightseeing bus tours commence at the Tower Ramparts, last approximately one hour in total and feature recorded commentary.
Open hours: late July and August, Tuesday and Friday - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts for children

Picture of boat sailing on the Orwell River, beneath the Orwell Bridge

Orwell River Trip / Cruise

Address: Orwell Quay, Ipswich, Suffolk, England, UK
Tel: +44 01473 836680
Boat trips along the River Orwell have long been a leading attraction for tourists visiting Ipswich, with leisurely cruises ranging from small motor boats to historical Thames sailing barges. The Orwell Lady is a very popular vessel and previously connected Poole Harbour with Brownsea Island, before being brought to Ipswich in 2001 to provide pleasure cruises. Able to carry just over 100 passengers and offering enjoyable commentary along the way, the Orwell Lady comes with an open-top upper deck, internal cabin with panoramic windows and different cruise packages. Regular scheduled cruises start and finish at the Ipswich Port Wet Dock and take in sights such as the historical ports of Harwich and Felixstowe. Night cruises are an extremely pleasant way to spend time after a day of sightseeing and come with food, drink, music and dancing.
Open hours: April to September, hours vary
Admission: charge, discounts for children

Photo showing the New Wolsey Theatre

Theatres and Live Entertainment

Regent Theatre
Address: St. Helens Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1HE, England, UK
Tel: +44 01473 433555
Corn Exchange
Address: King Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 1DH, England, UK
Tel: +44 01473 433100
New Wolsey Theatre
Address: Civic Drive, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2AS, England, UK
Tel: +44 01473 295900
The entertainment scene in Ipswich is thriving and the town has three main theatres, where concerts, musicals, plays, comedy gigs and evening functions are staged all through the year. Particularly impressive is the Regent Theatre on St. Helens Street, which opened in 1929 and is the largest theatrical venue in the whole of East Anglia, being able to hold audiences of around 1,700 people. Tourist acts and renowned comedians tend to favour the Corn Exchange of King Street, while the central New Wolsey Theatre on Civic Drive is known for its children's shows and annual seasonal pantomime.
Open hours: hours vary according to performance
Admission: charge, discounts for children

Orwell Country Park image, taken in the summer months

Orwell Country Park and Other Parks

Address: Sandy Hill Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk, England, UK
Opened to members of the general public in the mid-nineties, Orwell Country Park has been a managed woodland for around 400 years and has greatly expanded in size over time, currently spreading over 80 hectares / 198 acres in total. The main attractions here are simply the peace and quiet, and the wealth of Suffolk flora and fauna, together with some ancient oak trees believed to be more than 400 years old. Wildlife trails lead you to innumerable areas of natural beauty, such as Bridge Wood, Braziers Wood, the Grade II-listed Pond Hall Farm, Pipers Vale and the banks of the River Orwell estuary. A popular caravan site and golf course is to be found alongside Bridge Wood, being best reached along Nacton Road.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Photo taken at Jimmy's Farm, showing rare-breed British Saddleback pigs

Jimmy's Farm / Essex Pig Company

Address: Pannington Hall Lane, Wherstead, Near Ipswich, Suffolk, IP9 2AR, England, UK
Tel: +44 01473 601770
Jimmy Doherty rose to fame as a keen novice pig farmer, when BBC Two chose to film a documentary series about his struggles to establish a rare breeds pig farm on the outskirts of Ipswich, an enterprise that was partly funded by his childhood friend and now famous television chef Jamie Oliver. The farm has at last become something of a success story and now offers many appealing tourist attractions, the best of which include a woodland walk and nature trail, various landscaped gardens, a small plant nursery, a guinea pig village, ferret world, rabbit mountain, rare-breed paddocks and a large tropical butterfly house. Children will also enjoy playing in the adventure playground, feeding the ducks and joining in the regular activities on hand, such as den building in the woods. A farm shop is available and specialises in homemade sausages and local produce.
Open hours: May to October, daily - 09:30 to 17:30; October to April, Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 16:00, Saturday - 09:00 to 17:00, Sunday - 09:00 to 16:00
Admission: free, charge for nature trail and entrance to animal paddocks

Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm photograph

Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm

Address: Mill Lane, Baylham, Suffolk, IP6 8LG, England, UK
Tel: +44 01473 830264
Twice awarded the 'Best Visitor Experience in Suffolk', the Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm is a family run attraction and can be found in the nearby village of Baylham, where it provides a real farmyard experience for all ages and the opportunity to feed many friendly animals. Visitors can expect to find breeding flocks of rare sheep (Balwen, Greyface Dartmoor, Herdwick, Llanwenog, Norfolk Horns and Ouessant), unusual breeds of cows (Highlands, Old Gloucesters, Shetlands and White Park) and pigs (Berkshire, Kune Kune, Large Black and Middle White), pygmy goats, woolly alpacas, lakeside pathways, a cafe and a gift shop. Interestingly, the Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm is actually situated in a 'Scheduled Ancient Monument' site, where the remains of two ancient Roman forts are based.
Open hours: mid-February to early November, daily - 11:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts for children under 16 years old and seniors, children aged under four years old are free

Image of the Portman Road Stadium

Football / Portman Road Stadium

Address: Ipswich Town Football Club, Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2DA , England, UK
Tel: +44 01473 400500
Portman Road has served as the home ground stadium for the Ipswich Town FC (Football Club) for more than 125 years, during which time it has played host to numerous international soccer matches. The town's football club has enjoyed much success in the past, appearing in the Premier League on a number of occasions and winning the 1962 League Championship and the 1978 FA Cup, with big-name former managers including the likes of Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson. Portman Road Stadium itself can now accommodate more than 30,000 spectators, after being extended in 2002, and is conveniently located just a stone's throw from the railway station and several car parks. In recent years, large-scaled music concerts have been staged here, with world-famous performers such as Elton John and Tina Turner.
Open hours: hours vary
Admission: charge for football matches and other events