national trust suffolk walks


Start the new year with a long winter walk around the grounds of picturesque National Trust properties. These National Trust Suffolk Walks are of varying lengths and suitable for all abilities.

Seen here, the Dunwich Heath Mount Pleasant farm walk traverses a rare and precious habitat, home to special species such as Dartford warbler, nightjar, woodlark and ant-lion. Along the walk you’ll pass Dunwich museum, Mount Pleasant farm and Greyfriars monastery.

The National Trust also have a series of walks in Norfolk, as explored in a previous Culture365 post.

Explore the Suffolk landscape with downloadable walks from the National Trust.

After taking a long Suffolk walk, why not spend the night? Visit Suffolk is packed full of recommendations and ideas for having the perfect break.

Photo: National Trust
painting room


An exhibition at Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury in 2015 explored the importance of the painting room in eighteenth century art.

The exhibition explored the character and use of this important place, which was usually a room in a domestic house. Distinct from the show room where visitors could view finished work, the painting room was the artist’s inner sanctum, a private world containing the tools and instruments of the artist’s practice.

This collection contained artworks showcasing the painting room, and a selection of objects, including these painting bladders found in the Gainsborough’s House attic in the 1960s.

Plan a trip to Gainsborough’s House.

Explore Sudbury and the rest of West Suffolk at Visit Suffolk.


Photo: Gainsborough’s House
john jarrold printing museum


Anyone interested in the publishing industry should take a trip to the John Jarrold Printing Museum in Norwich to step back in time and explore the processes printmakers used to use.

The John Jarrold Printing Museum in Norwich is committed to preserving historic printing machines, and practising the ancient crafts of printing and bookbinding.

This museum is the only working printing museum in the country and has an active band of volunteers, many of whom trained in the skills of typesetting.

The museum is open every Wednesday morning, and by special arrangement.

For more information, and to plan a visit, see the John Jarrold Printing Museum.

Explore the rest of Norwich, home of the Jarrolds, at Visit Norwich.

Photo: Daniel Weir


In December 2015, visitors to Norwich Puppet Theatre were lucky enough to discover the story of Rumpelstiltskin: a woolly wonderland of a show with spinning, weaving, lively puppetry, music and storytelling.

Norwich Puppet Theatre is inside a converted medieval church, and is one of only three building-based puppet theatres in England. It’s worth a visit for the foyer alone, which is adorned with puppets from over 30 years of productions.

For more information about upcoming shows and workshops visit Norwich Puppet Theatre.

Extend your trip to the city. Discover lots of family-friendly activities at Visit Norwich.

Photo: Norwich Puppet Theatre

under the pier show


The product of engineer/artist Tim Hunkin’s obsession with coin-operated arcade machines; the Under the Pier Show in Southwold offers an alternative amusement arcade to visitors of the Suffolk seaside town.

The Under the Pier Show opened in 2001 with just five machines (when Southwold Pier was still being rebuilt) including The Doctor,  The Chiropodist and The Frisker.

All of the machines in the show are traditional amusements with an unexpected subversive twist. Examples include Rent-A-Dog (a treadmill that recreates all of the joys of dog walking), Mobility Masterclass (crossing a busy motorway using a zimmer frame) and Quickfit (watch a Jane Fonda exercise video whilst the machine exercises you automatically).

To find out more, and to plan a visit, see the Under The Pier Show.

Explore the pier, Southwold and the rest of the area at The Suffolk Coast.

lavenham guildhall


Set in the lovely village of Lavenham, the Guildhall of Corpus Christi (or Lavenham Guildhall) tells the story of one of the best-preserved and wealthiest towns in Tudor England.

This wealth stemmed from Lavenham’s wool industry, most notably its blue woollen cloth which was highly sought-after.

The Lavenham Guildhall stood at the centre of this extremely wealthy community in the middle of the market square.

When you step inside this fine timber-framed building, you’ll feel the centuries melt away. You can discover the stories of the people who have used the Guildhall through its almost-500 years at the heart of its community, and learn about the men and women who have shaped the fortunes of this unique village.

Plan a trip to the National Trust-managed Lavenham Guildhall.

Explore all of Suffolk’s wool towns with Visit Suffolk as your guide.

Photo: John Mabbitt
boxing day walk


Beat the post-Christmas slump by exploring the grounds of Fairhaven today.

Fairhaven is in the grounds of the South Walsham estate in North Norfolk, and for one day only, you can walk off Christmas dinner with a tour of Fairhaven’s Woodland Garden by the Head Gardener.

Learn about the history of Fairhaven, the collection of plants introduced by the 2nd Lord Fairhaven and the organic working methods still used today.

The walk ends with a complimentary mince pie and hot mulled wine in Fairhaven’s cosy eco-tearoom.

To find out more, visit Fairhaven Woodland.

Can’t make the Boxing Day walk? Plan a trip in the future with Visit Norfolk.

Photo: Kevin Millican


As it’s Christmas Day, we thought it was time for this very special Culture365 post. We all know the story of the Christmas Day Truce during the First World War, but the collection of Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery holds the whistle that started it all.

Sergeant Hoy, who played the whistle, tells the story:

“On Christmas morning 1914 I was in the trenches in France on the Ypres sector and I was playing some carols on my whistle, which I always carried with me. Suddenly a German called out, “Play ‘Home Sweet Home’ Tommy!” I started to play it and to my surprise a German who was near our trench produced a mouth organ and joined in with me. That started us and the Germans fraternising on top of the trench. Later a football was produced, and not a shot was fired that day.”

The Castle isn’t open today, but plan a future trip here.

Extend your stay and explore the rest of the city with Visit Norwich.

Photo: Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery
balancing barn


Imagine spending the holidays in a precariously balancing barn on the edge of RSPB Minsmere.

It looks like this is the case here, but there’s nothing perilous about staying in this home. It’s perfectly safe, and sleeps up to eight people as a holiday cottage.

Clad in elegant silver tiles, the house dramatically cantilevers over the landscape, providing views from its huge panoramic windows over woods, ponds and meadows. The house was designed by the Dutch firm MVRDV, who have won a world-wide reputation for the ingenuity, playfulness and comfort of their designs.

Find out more about the Balancing Barn, and book a stay at the Living Architecture website.

If you stay at the Barn (or if you prefer your buildings firmly on the ground) plan your trip with The Suffolk Coast.

Dunwich Heath


Dunwich was once one of Britain’s biggest towns, until several huge storms swept the majority of it into the sea. Now it is a peaceful village in the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB, with a heath that is a nationally important ecological site. This walk takes you around the village, through the heath and past Greyfriars Monastery. The gentle countryside means this pleasant route is never too taxing, and its five mile length can be completed within 2-3 hours.

Get full details of the walk here.



Photo: Snappa2006 (Flickr)