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The county town of Suffolk and one of the countrys oldest towns

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Christchurch Mansion
Willis Building
Waterfront Area
Constable Country
Ipswich is the county town of Suffolk, in the south-east of England. It is one of the country's oldest towns, with a history that starts in the Anglo-Saxon days as part of an important trade route. Much of this came through the River Orwell, which widens out at Ipswich and offers easy access to the North Sea.
The town is centred around the beautiful Christchurch Mansion. Since its donation to the city of Ipswich in the 1890s, this 16th century stately home has been open to the public all year round, and entry doesn't cost a penny. Much of the interior has been restored to what it would have looked like in the past. The building also houses an art gallery, which displays lots of famous, historical works. Next to the mansion is Christchurch Park, a 70-acre area of grass, trees, and two large ponds, which are populated with swans and ducks. There are also tennis courts, and a bowling green. The park is very well-used by the town's locals, especially during the summer.

Christchurch Mansion and Park
Photo AndrewH.uk
More of Ipswich's past is contained within the Ipswich Museum, which is housed within an attractive Victorian building. Its exhibits chart the Suffolk area's development through the years, as well as covering many more subjects besides. Particularly popular is the Natural History Gallery, where you can see a giraffe, a rhino, and other exotic animals. Also displayed are several discoveries from the ancient Sutton Hoo cemetery, which was used in the 6th and 7th centuries. The actual burial ground itself is just 15km outside of town, and is now owned by the National Trust.
Other attractive and interesting sights are easy to find in Ipswich's surrounding area. The landscape is known as Constable Country, after the famous painter who was inspired by the local scenery. You don't have to go very far to take in views like this for yourself. The region also contains several pleasant marina or port towns, such as Woodbridge, which make for great day trips.

Flatford Mill in Constable Country
Photo garyt70
In contrast to this rural scenery, with its green fields and old houses, Ipswich's centre features several extremely modern sights, such as the Willis Building, which is a treat for fans of architecture. The futuristic glass building was designed by Norman Foster, who is probably the world's leading architect. His other credits include Wembley Stadium, and London's infamous "Gherkin". The Willis Building was one of his first projects, reaching completion in 1974. Despite being built as recently as this, it became a Grade I listed property in 1991, making it the youngest-ever structure to achieve that honour.

Willis Building
Photo .Martin.
Ipswich is the largest town in the region, and is therefore home to all the familiar shopping, restaurant and bars chains that you might expect. However, thanks to the large population of European immigrants, there are also several independent Polish and Portuguese stores, which provide a different new flavour to the shopping scene.

Shopping in Ipswich
Photo shining.darkness
In fact, Ipswich is a place which is in the middle of a vast transformation. Much of the town has recently undergone reconstruction or refurbishment, and much more work is still under way. This is especially evident in the waterfront area, which has been updated with a series of 21st-century buildings. By the time everything's finished, Ipswich may well have become the most modern city in the UK!

Ipswich Marina
Photo Martin Pettitt

Waterfront Buildings
Photo Martin Pettitt
Visitor Information
Ipswich Tourist Information Centre, St Stephens Church, St Stephens Lane, Ipswich, IP1 1DP. Tel: 01473 258 070
Ipswich Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Entry is FREE. High Street, Ipswich, IP1 3QH. Tel: 01473 433 550

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