The largest town in the county of Suffolk, Ipswich is one of the oldest settlements in Eastern England. Its roots go back to Roman times, although the town itself took shape in the 7th and 8th centuries around the dock. It was an important port for centuries, while it was home to author Geoffrey Chaucer and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.
Today, Ipswich is building itself up as a university town, while a look at Ipswich Dock reveals a place which is looking forward as well as back. It also has quite a few alternative landmarks and is renowned for being a sporting town, being the birthplace of many world-class sportspeople over the years. Ipswich also has plenty of great places to go shopping, especially in the town centre.
If you intend to visit the centre of Ipswich, you need a small car to help get around some of the smaller and narrower streets. It would also help with getting more from your fuel.
Ipswich is home to one of the youngest listed buildings in the UK – the Willis Building. Built in 1971 and designed by Lord Foster, its shimmering glass façade looks out of place among all the older structures in the town, making it look all the more impressive.
The Ipswich Museum is the best place to learn about the history of Ipswich and the rest of Suffolk. Despite being a small venue, it does have a number of interesting exhibits relating to how the town developed through the ages.
Ipswich Town Football Club, the local team, play their games at the 30,000 all-seater Portman Road stadium. Playing in the second highest level of English football, they are one of the better teams to watch in their current league.
There are plenty of art galleries in Ipswich. Eyestorm host mostly modern works, although for older paintings and sculptures, the Town Hall Galleries and John Russell Gallery are both worth visiting for an hour or two.
To anyone visiting Ipswich, the town centre’s one-way system can be confusing. Be sure to make plenty of time, especially when on the smaller streets.
The cheapest places to park in Ipswich tend to be around the inner ring road, as parking for a day can cost as little as £2.50 in some parks.
Ipswich has three Park and Ride sites on the outskirts of the town. They are located near the A12 to the northeast, A14 to the southwest and to the northwest.
Ipswich is closest to London-Stansted Airport, which is 40 miles west southwest of the town centre. It is a large airport with one main terminal and serves destinations all over Europe, not to mention a few places in other continents.
Road access to Stansted is easy. From the airport, take the A120 westbound to Colchester. Then, go north on the A12 and take the A1214 into central Ipswich.