The Market Hill
Relax and enjoy the ambience of this ancient market town. The impressive Market Hill and busy North Street boast a wealth of pubs,coffee shops, wine bars , restaurants and takeaways.
On the Market Hill, twice a week, on Thursdays and Saturdays, is Market Day. The parked cars are cleared away, replaced by many stalls clamouring for your business. Occasionally there are French or Italian markets on a Sunday. Last Friday of the month there is a Farmers' Market inside the deconsecrated church of St Peters.
Sudbury still has many independent
shops, a wonderful department store
Winch & Blatch, as well as the usual
high street stores with Waitrose, Aldi,
Roys and Co-op supermarkets. In
November 2012 Sainsburys also came
to town in the Cornard Road. Out of
town is the huge Tesco.
For relaxation, visit Gainsborough’s House, with its delightful galleries, garden and teashop. Walk along the River Stour, around the famous Water Meadows, or along the old Railway Walk.
In the evening visit the lively Quay Theatre, where there is a regular programme of entertainment - touring companies, great plays put on by Sudbury Dramatic Society, live music, films and art exhibitions.
Sudbury Tourist Information Centre is now based in the Library, at the Old Corn Exchange at the bottom of Market Hill. The reputation for helpfulness here has won the staff national awards.
Don't miss Sudbury Heritage Centre & Museum, where you can explore Sudbury's fascinating history through a permanent display and a computer console showing hundreds of photos from Sudbury's more recent past (also viewable online). The Heritage Centre is at the back of Sudbury TIC.
For children, exploring the town can be fun - by walking the Talbot Trail - A series of 14 small bronze sculptures on red posts, depicting quirky aspects of Sudbury's past. See the'dancing bears' or 'blood-thirsty peasants displaying the head of Simon of Sudbury' The walk takes about an hour and starts at the TIC, where you can buy a leaflet full of short stories.
For the more serious minded history buff, there is an official Town Trail booklet, produced by The Sudbury Society, telling you about the buildings around the town, and their history. This is also on sale at the TIC. Very nicely produced and great value at 50p!
Weavers' Piece at Siam Gardens
Sudbury has strong links to the weaving trade going as far back as the 14th century and three silk factories are still successfully manufacturing here today. You can see a permanent, outside exhibition illustrating how this evolved at 'Weavers' Piece' - this is an enclosed garden with story panels and bronze sculptures, in the heart of Sudbury's old weaving quarter. (Look out for the 'fake' grazing sheep!). Again there is a guide available at the TIC.
Regular public events inside St Peters on Market Hill
The magnificent St Peters church, at the top of the Market Hill, was deconsecrated 30 years ago and now acts as a focus for many community based events. This includes a monthly Farmers' Market, Craft Fairs, Music and Choral recitals, Art Exhibitions and a host of activities especially around Christmas. There are usually posters or banners draped outside the church, to tell you what's going on, but the TIC has more info.
Old Market Place
Behind St Peters you'll spot 'Old Market Place' all that remains of a vast area that catered for the enormous ancient market that thrived here for many centuries. There is a glass monolith artwork here, that tells you a little about what went on in the past.
All around Sudbury is beautiful countryside. Medieval villages abound. You really must visit Lavenham, Long Melford, Cavendish, Clare, Boxford - all within 7 miles if you are staying here.
There are regular bus services to these, and beyond.
Sudbury's Rail Station is at the end of a tiny branch line that serves the mainline to London, Liverpool Street. The one/two-carriage train pulls you through the rolling landscape of the Stour Valley
and over the great rail viaduct at Chappel. Here too is a Railway Museum, famous for its annual Beer Festival.
Further afield and within 35 minutesdrive, are the towns of Bury St Edmunds, Clochester and Ipswich. While Cambridge is about an hour. All have much to offer.
Only 70 miles from central London and 30 miles from Stansted Airport, this is the ideal place to spend a long weekend.
A great location from which to go walking, cycling, fishing or touring in the car.