If you’re interested in holidaying in a market town, the east of Suffolk is a great place to stay.
Market towns originate from the middle ages, when the right for a town to have a market on specific days was granted by royal charter. Market towns were generally established in areas where there was already a demand for trade – for instance in Framlingham, which grew up beside the castle and its occupants’ needs for a ready supply of produce – and they have always been an important feature of rural life.
Today, while we are much less centred around rural trade, many of the market towns in Suffolk still use their chartered status to bring business to their centres, bolstering local commerce and offering visitors additional attractions and shopping opportunities.
So, when you want to get a real flavour of what makes market towns in the east of Suffolk special, where should you visit…and when?
Situated on the banks of the River Waveney and at edge of the Broads National Park, Beccles is a picturesque market town within easy reach of nature reserves, as well as the Suffolk Heritage coastline and its award-winning beaches.
The town centre easily blends history with modern day culture to offer independent shops, bars and restaurants. Making the most of the royal charter that was granted by Elizabeth in 1584, Beccles’ lively market, with stalls full of fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, clothing and farm produce, is held on a Friday.
Get more from your stay in Beccles at the Best of Suffolk’s magnificent Henstead Hall – a fine country house that sleeps 12 in style – or at the light and airy Shipmeadow Granary – perfect for families of up to six people.
Framlingham is an ancient market town of Anglo-Saxon origin, mentioned in the Doomsday book in 1086. The town was granted its charter in around 1285 and its thriving market is still located on
Market Hill. Taking place on a Tuesday and Saturday, here you’ll find everything from fresh local produce, delicacies from further afield, colourful bags, clothes and more.
Make the most of this old English location at the Best of Suffolk’s recently refurbished Lark Cottage, perfect for four people and situated in the very centre of town or at The Workshop, ideal for two people and set just a short ride into the countryside towards the coast and the market town of Saxmundham.
Another of east Suffolk’s pretty market towns is Halesworth. Halesworth combines green spaces, such as the Millennium Green grazing marsh and flood plain, with fine architecture and a great café culture. The pedestrianised Thoroughfare hosts a great selection of independent shops, while, taking advantage of the charter granted in 1222, Market Place is home to the weekly market on a Wednesday. A produce market is also held in the nearby Old Print Works on the second Saturday of each month.
Situated just outside Halesworth and near the golf club, larger groups of up to 11 people will love to stay in Best of Suffolk’s Ivy House, while The Old Coach House, just a couple of miles away, is perfect for families of four.
When you want to combine shopping with a rural riverside location, the market town of Woodbridge is ideal. Located on the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), from here you can explore the attractions of the Suffolk coastline or head inland for the county’s lovely countryside.
Woodbridge itself is a charming and vibrant town that offers its visitors a wide range of independent shops, bustling bars and excellent eateries (in fact it’s a much-loved mecca for foodies from far and wide). The town’s street market is held on Market Hill every Thursday, while a farmers’ market takes place twice a month in Woodbridge Community Hall.
Best of Suffolk’s The Binnacle, for up to four people, is located just minutes from the town centre and can be booked in conjunction with the beautifully converted Ancient House Barn, also sleeping four people.
These are just a few of the wonderful market towns situated near the coast in east Suffolk. Explore the Best of Suffolk and make the most of the county, including market towns, action-packed exploration and countryside retreats.