Holidays in Suffolk have much to offer and the county’s rural backdrop means that there are a great number of market towns brimming with shopping opportunities, history and culture.
Some market towns are easily distinguishable by their names, for instance Needham Market, Stowmarket and Newmarket, all in central and west Suffolk. Others may be less obvious, such as Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich, but look to the street names around these town’s centres – Butter Market and Cattle Market, for instance – and you’ll find clues to their trading heritage.
There’s never a wrong day to visit a market town – you’ll always receive a warm welcome in Suffolk. However, if you’d like to go to the market itself, it’s a good idea to check on market days in advance.
To the west of Suffolk, Bury St Edmunds is a market town steeped in history. Originally called Beodericsworth, the town was built in around 1080, although a monastery was founded here in around 633 and, in 903 it became the final resting place of King Edmund.
Quintessentially English, Bury St Edmunds boasts a wealth of independent shops on quaint cobbled streets, giving way to market squares and marvellous modern architecture housing well-known shops, eateries and bars. Its market is one of the most successful street markets in the UK today, offering a wonderful range of foods, clothing, pottery, plants and flowers from more than 60 stalls on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Stay in the Best of Suffolk’s stunning 10 Well Street for four people, to be at the very heart of this bustling town.
What’s more, Bury St Edmunds is a great hub for exploring Suffolk’s charming countryside. From the Best of Suffolk’s pet friendly Red Robin Cottage, located in the countryside to the south of the town, you’re just a short drive from the medieval wool towns of Lavenham and Long Melford, as well as cosy pubs, heritage halls and stunning scenery. To the west of the town, you’re in easy reach of Newmarket, while to the north, discover the market towns of Mildenhall and Thetford.
Photo Credit: Mid Suffolk Tourist Information Centre
Centrally set for easy access across Suffolk, Stowmarket makes a great hub for intrepid market town explorers, within easy reach of Suffolk’s waterfront market town, Ipswich. Stowmarket’s name is derived from the Old English word ‘stow’, which means ‘principal place’ and the town was granted its charter from Edward III in 1347.
With a blend of independent retailers and national chains along the town’s Ipswich Street, you’ll also find hidden gems and eateries in quaint courtyards, such as the Old Fox Yard, and along Bury Street. The popular street market is held in the town centre every Thursday and Saturday, while a farmer’s market takes place on the first Friday of every month.
Stay in the beautifully appointed The Schoolroom at Earl Stonham, just a few miles to the north east of Stowmarket to explore everything this central Suffolk market town has to offer.
Make the most of the Best of Suffolk, with easy access to thriving market towns, as well as fabulous rural retreats, no matter where or when you choose to stay.