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Report 2113: Sauntering through Suffolk

By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2014

Trip Description: We spent five days around Stowmarket, Suffolk in March, visiting some of its glorious churches.

Destinations: Countries - United Kingdom; Regions/Cities - East of England

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Day Tours; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 33: Introduction

photo by MAW

St Edmund's Church, Southwold

My aunt used to live in Suffolk and we have spent many happy holidays there. After a gap of about twenty five years we decided it was time to go back. The weather forecast looked good so we booked four nights at the Travelodge in Stowmarket.

In early March the roadside verges and graveyards were yellow with daffodils and primroses. Everywhere was quiet and there were few other tourists around. Stately homes were closed, although we did manage to visit Framlingham Castle.

One of the main attractions of Suffolk is its glorious churches. We are not particularly religious but love the architecture and the buildings. There is a sense of excitement when we push open a church door, as you are never quite sure what will greet you. This trip report describes some of our favourite churches. More pictures and information can be found on my web pages of Suffolk churches.

I used “England’s Thousand Best Churches” by Simon Jenkins and “Medieval Wall Paintings” by E Clive Rouse to begin to identify churches worth visiting. Googling quickly threw up “Suffolk Churches”, a marvelous website with descriptions and pictures of every church in Suffolk. Links from this quickly identified many other churches to add to the list. Difficult decisions had to be made to keep it to manageable proportions. We restricted ourselves to churches within a 40 mile radius of Stowmarket. We found some marvelous churches, some well off the tourist beat. All the churches were unlocked unless I’ve given information about a key holder.

The big wool churches of Eye, Southwold, Framlingham, Lavenham and Long Melford are impressive but we preferred some of the smaller and more intimate churches like Badingham, Polstead and Milden. Blythburgh with its marvelous setting above the marshes is still my all time favourite.

We chose the Travelodge at Stowmarket as that was the only one in the area we wanted to stay and the nearest Premier Inn was at Ipswich. The Travelodge is on the old A14 so is well away from traffic and is quiet. The Little Chef beside it was boarded up and for sale. The site and the Travelodge felt run down. Rates are low compared with other Travelodges which may be a reflection of this.

This is one of the older Travelodges so rooms are large with plenty of working space as well as a sofa and easy chair. The room was clean and towels were good, however the mattress on the bed was in need of replacing. The main problem was low water pressure. Discussing it with the manager he admitted it was a long standing problem and as it wouldn’t be fixed by the end of our stay, he issued us with an e-voucher refunding the cost of the break. We would be reluctant to recommend this Travelodge unless this is fixed.

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