Cambridge to Ipswich
Discover churches, spires and gentle East Anglian landscapes
Follow the route - Cambridge to Ipswich
> From Cambridge take the A1303 east, then turn north at Stow-cum-Quy on to the B1102 to Lode.
Lode is famous for the Augustinian priory known as Anglesey Abbey, founded in the 12th century and converted into a house in about 1600. The estate was bought by Huttleston Broughton, who created 100 acres (40 hectares) of gardens. A vast collection of paintings, sculpture and objets d’art has been assembled inside amid sumptuous furnishings. Lode Watermill has been restored and grinds corn on the first Sunday of each month.
Places to stay near Lode
> From Lode follow the B1102 to Swaffham Bulbeck, then follow an unclassified road to the A1303 and A1304 to Newmarket.
Newmarket has been the headquarters of horse-racing in Britain since the 17th century, and the National Stud and many training stables are located on the surrounding heath. Guided tours of the Stud are possible by appointment. The National Horse Racing Museum takes you back to the origins of racing.
The famous Rowley Mile is named after a horse owned by Charles II. The Rutland Arms, a former coaching inn has kept some of its rooms in the style of the 1850s.
Places to stay in Newmarket
> Follow the B1063 for 17 miles (27km) to Clare, then eastwards to Cavendish along the A1092.
This ancient little market town has excellent examples of pargeting – fine plasterwork – such as those seen on the 15th-century Priest’s House or Ancient House, now the local museum. The church, which has a most unusual design, is well worth visiting. Norman Clare Castle was built in 1090 and stands high on a 100-foot (30m) mound.
At Clare Castle Country Park there is a butterfly garden, and you can take a pleasant walk along the old railway track. Three miles (5km) east is Cavendish, the ancestral village of the Dukes of Devonshire. Its attractions include a delightful 16th-century farmhouse just near the church, and philanthropist Sue Ryder’s delicate 16th-century rectory, which contains memorabilia and photographs explaining the origins and some of the aims of her work.
Places to stay near Clare
> Continue east on the A1092, then turn south on to the B1064 to Long Melford.
Visiting Long Melford
Long Melford is another of Suffolk’s lovely villages, with fine wool merchants’ houses. At the end of the mile-long (1.6km) main street is the Church of the Holy Trinity, one of the finest in the country, exhibiting a superb display of flushwork – ornate decoration in flint. The village green is overlooked by Elizabethan Melford Hall, a turreted Tudor mansion with tall chimneys.
One mile (1.6km) north of the village is Kentwell Hall (National Trust), a moated Elizabethan mansion with a brick-paved mosaic maze in the shape of a Tudor rose.
Places to stay near Long Melford
> Follow unclassified roads northeast for 5 miles (8km) to Lavenham, entering the town on the B1071.
Lavenham’s remarkable church, the Church of St Peter and St Paul, has a flint tower 140 feet (43m) high, and the Guildhall, an early 16th-century timber-framed building, contains a display of local history. The Swan Inn is a famous hostelry which has been carefully preserved. Some of the black-and-white buildings have been painted pink to add to the colour of this pretty village.
Places to stay in Lavenham
> Turn right onto the A1141, turning right to pass through Kersey on an unclassified road, return briefly to the A1141, then continue on the B1070 to Hadleigh.
Before reaching Hadleigh, enjoy the rural charm of Kersey, with its old priory, ducks paddling in the ford and picturesque, thatched cottages. In Hadleigh itself, the Guildhall and Deanery tower are listed buildings dating from the 15th century. Interesting marks on the side of the 1813 Corn Exchange show where the brickwork was used by schoolchildren for sharpening their slate pencils as they made their way to school.
Places to stay near Hadleigh
> Return to Ipswich on the A1071.
Suffolk’s county town covers a large area and has masses of historic charm in its pedestrianised centre not far from its harbour on the River Orwell. One of England’s oldest towns, Ipswich was originally founded as the Anglo-Saxon trading port of Gippeswic in the Kingdom of East Anglia around AD 600, and retains much of its original street plan.