Expert guide to Suffolk
Suffolk has an exciting range of festivals and events throughout the year and Telegraph Travel's Suffolk expert, Martin Dunford, shares his favorites to attend in 2018 – from small country fairs brimming with local produce and genteel classical concerts to quirky folk festivals.
Suffolk Walking Festival
May 12–3 June
Now in its 11th year, the annual Suffolk Walking Festival has well around 120 walks and events taking place over three weeks from mid-May until early June. There is something for everyone, from a 'Sizewell Dawn Chorus' walk to a 'Wool Towns Tour' on the Stour Valley Path, and even lessons in Nordic walking in Stow Country Park. Prices are low, and it’s a great way to discover new parts of the county and explore fresh landscapes with like-minded folk.
Price: Tickets for individual walks £2–£10
Red Rooster Festival, Euston Hall
May 31– June 2
Blues, Americana and R&B in the old-fashioned sense are on the menu at this little-known festival, held on the Euston Hall estate, just south of Thetford Forest. It’s not a place for big names, and the prices reflect that, but the atmosphere is great, very family-friendly, and the venue is lovely.
Price: Adult weekend tickets £59.50
The brainchild of local lad Benjamin Britten in 1948, this highbrow collection of classical music, dance and other events is one of the foremost arts festivals in the country, and takes place place over two weeks every June at the concert hall at Snape Maltings and other venues in and around Aldeburgh. There’s always at least one performance of something by Britten – highlights in recent years have included a production of the Britten opera 'Peter Grimes' on the beach – but be warned that tickets to the hottest events get snapped up quickly.
Contact: 01728 687110; snapemaltings.co.uk
Price: Tickets from £10 to £60
It’s been going for over a decade now, and in that time the Latitude Festival has not only established itself as one of the biggest festivals on the already-packed British summer music calendar, but one of the most family-friendly ones too. Held over four days just outside Southwold on the Henham Park, estate, it’s a perfect location, and the line-ups are usually high quality and diverse, with lots of other activities to enjoy alongside the music.
Contact: 0207 009 3001; latitudefestival.com
Price: Adult weekend tickets £197.50; adult day tickets £77.50
Held annually in July at Jimmy Doherty’s farm just outside Ipswich, this food-meets-music summer festival pairs lots of yummy street food, local artisan suppliers and whatnot with a decent selection of bands and musicians over two days. As you might expect, the headliners are mostly old timers like Paul Young and Happy Mondays, but they are usually supported by some younger folk.
Contact: 01473 604206; jimmysfestival.co.uk
Price: Adult day tickets £35
Usually held over the weekend before the August bank holiday, Aldeburgh’s Carnival shows quite a different side to this unashamedly middle-class resort, with the entire town letting its hair down for three days at the height of summer. There’s a carnival queen and a very popular parade with fireworks on the Monday, and lots of fairground rides and other activities.
Folk East, Glemham Hall
Held over the three days in the middle of August, Folk East is a real taste of summer, with lots of folksy, roots and world music acts taking to the stage in the grounds of Glemham Hall, roughly midway between Woodbridge and Aldeburgh. Though only six years old, it’s pretty well established now but it retains an appealing homespun vibe.
Price: Adult weekend tickets £120
Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival
As if Aldeburgh didn’t have enough annual events already, they added the town’s 'Food and Drink Festival' in 2006, and very popular it has proved too, with over 100 food and drink producers from all over Suffolk converging on Snape Maltings to show off their wares for two days at the end of September. Food festivals tend to be two-a-penny these days but this is one of the best in the country.
Contact: 01502 723325; aldeburghfoodanddrink.co.uk
Price: Adult weekend tickets £14l; adult day tickets £8
Cutty Wren Festival, Middleton
Held every Boxing Day in the village of Middleton, not far from Dunwich, the Cutty Wren Festival is a traditional English ritual, and this is one of the only places in the country that it still takes place. 'Cutty' means small, and basically the event, which takes place after dark, celebrates the hunting of a wren, with blackened faces and torches, lots of singing and dancing and a parade around the village that finally ends up at the pub. It's well-worth tearing yourself away from the Boxing Day telly for this.
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