Suffolk’s landscape is dotted with historic villages that many consider to be some of the most picturesque in the country. Their colourful Tudor architecture, medieval past and cosy village pubs make them wonderful places to visit.

    From Cavendish’s iconic pink thatched cottages to the impressive Somerleyton Hall, the beauty of Suffolk’s villages is all in the unique architecture. Whether you’re heading for the coastal area or inland to the former wool towns, Suffolk offers an idyllic escape in England’s east. Check out our guide to the most picturesque villages you should visit on a road trip to Suffolk County.  

    1

    Coddenham

    Take a stroll through the beautiful countryside

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    Coddenham is a small village known for its beautiful countryside walks. Despite its very rural feel, the village is just a 15-minute drive north of the more bustling and popular town of Ipswich.

    You'll find several local stores to explore in Coddenham. The Community Shop is a popular place to pick up fresh produce and have a cup of coffee. However, the village’s beautiful surrounding area is what attracts most people. The nearby Mill Hill has a popular trail maintained by volunteers. The area is at its most vibrant in spring, with clusters of wildflowers among the rolling fields.

    Location: Coddenham, Ipswich IP6 9PR, UK

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    photo by David (CC BY 2.0) modified

    2

    Cavendish

    Explore the famous pink thatched cottages

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    Cavendish in the Stour Valley is often considered one of Suffolk’s most picturesque villages. It’s most famous for its pink thatched houses and traditional English village atmosphere. You can reach the village about 21 miles northwest of the large town of Colchester. 

    The historic pastel cottages of Cavendish are clustered around manicured gardens and lawns. The centre of the village is dominated by the 14th-century St Mary’s Church which rises above the thatched rooves. You’ll also find many great local pubs among the cottages, which are especially popular on summer weekends when their beer gardens are open.

    Location: Cavendish, Sudbury CO10 8BB, UK

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    3

    Kersey

    A quintessential English village in Suffolk

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    Kersey is a historic village just over 11.5 miles east of the town of Ipswich. It’s often described as a truly quintessential English village, complete with an old medieval church and pretty timber-framed buildings. The village prospered in the Middle Ages from the Suffolk wool trade and is known for the coarse twill broadcloth named after the village.

    Though its population is estimated at around 350 people, you can still find several small shops and businesses along the winding streets. You'll find a real ale pub, an art gallery, and a tearoom, all of which are worth your time. The 14th-century church dominates the village, with its tall tower visible from almost every street.

    Location: Kersey, Ipswich IP7 6DY, UK

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    4

    Lavenham

    One of the best-preserved medieval villages in Suffolk

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    Lavenham is a well-preserved medieval village in the heart of Suffolk. It was once a wealthy wool town and has managed to preserve much of its traditional heritage. You can reach it around 12 miles south of the larger town of Bury St Edmunds.

    Lavenham’s Tudor houses are the village's main attraction. On a wander up the main street, you can appreciate the wooden-framed and red-brick cottages as well as the Guildhall and St Paul and St Peter's Church. You'll soon understand why the picturesque streets were featured in the famous Harry Potter films. There are plenty of quaint cafes and local pubs to enjoy a meal and drink after sightseeing in Lavenham.

    Location: Lavenham, Sudbury CO10 9QA, UK

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    5

    Polstead

    Enjoy the countryside and traditional houses in this typical Suffolk village

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    The traditional village of Polstead lies in a beautiful part of south Suffolk, just 10 miles north of Colchester. Its colourful thatched houses are considered very typical of Suffolk County, along with their pristine surrounding gardens.

    A visit to the village is not complete without heading to The Brewers Arms, a traditional 17th-century pub offering real ales and home-cooked meals. Besides the beautiful old buildings, the village is also a popular getaway for nature lovers and walkers. Polstead is close to the Box Valley, which has plenty of trails through woodlands and wonderful wildlife to spot.

    Location: Polstead, Colchester CO6 5AL, UK

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    6

    Long Melford

    Admire the spectacular Tudor architecture

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    Long Melford is one of Suffolk’s famous wool towns on the banks of the River Stour. The large village is great for admiring the county’s medieval sites, as you get to see some of the most impressive Tudor architecture and stately homes in the UK.

    Kentwell Hall, Long Melford Hall and the Holy Trinity Church are the village’s most notable structures. The stunning redbrick buildings represent the incredible wealth of the town during the wool trade in the Middle Ages. The village also has some great traditional pubs and tearooms to relax and enjoy the warm atmosphere of the community.

    Location: Long Melford, Sudbury CO10 9LB, UK

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    7

    Somerleyton

    Visit the incredibly stunning Somerleyton Hall

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    Somerleyton is a pretty village in the northeast corner of Suffolk, close to the River Waveney. It’s home to traditional thatched houses and picturesque old brick buildings.

    A notable landmark is the impressive Somerleyton Hall, one of the finest Victorian stately homes in England. The stunning brick hall and manicured gardens have been home to powerful figures for over 900 years. A visit to the estate to admire the incredible Victorian splendour is certainly a highlight of a visit to Somerleyton. The café and tearoom on the grounds are also worth a visit for a relaxing lunch.

    Location: Somerleyton NR32 5PS, UK

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    photo by Julian Dowse (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    8

    Clare

    Explore one of the smallest villages in Suffolk

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    Clare in Suffolk is located halfway between Colchester and Cambridge. The tiny settlement is often described as one of the most picturesque villages in the county, with beautiful Tudor houses similar to those in the nearby villages of Cavendish and Long Melford.

    Clare was an important wool town during the Middle Ages, so you’ll see plenty of architectural remnants of that time. The Ancient House is the most well-known of the village’s buildings and has been converted into a guesthouse. It's a medieval timber-framed home that dates back to 1473, located next to the beautiful Church of St Peter. You’ll also find plenty of traditional pubs and cafes to enjoy on a visit to Clare.

    Location: Clare, Sudbury CO10 8NN, UK

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    9

    Woodbridge

    Wander the streets of this romantic town in Suffolk

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    The town of Woodbridge sits on the River Deben, just 8 miles inland from the coastline. The beautiful market town is considered one of the real gems of Suffolk county, with a great shopping and food scene, along with important historical sights.

    A visit to the famous Tide Mill Museum is considered a highlight of the town. One of the first in England, the mill still used to this day – spanning over 800 years of production. You’ll find cosy pubs, cafes and unique boutique stores housed inside typical old British buildings. Woodbridge is one of the best places in Suffolk for a romantic weekend getaway. 

    Location: Woodbridge IP12 4LR, UK

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    10

    Thorpeness

    Explore the quirky buildings of this seaside village

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    Thorpeness is a quirky seaside village and popular summer getaway in Suffolk. The tiny settlement on the coast is about 25 miles from the larger town of Ipswich. It's most popular for its whimsical architecture and an artificial lake called The Meare.

    The fishing village was bought by a wealthy Scottish businessman in the early 1900s, who went about building mock Tudor buildings with an eccentric touch. The most famous of these buildings is the House in the Clouds, an old water tower offering panoramic views of the lake and village.

    Location: Thorpeness, Leiston IP16 4NA, UK

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    Elisha Donkin | Contributing Writer

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