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Suffolk Tours - Historic Towns & Villages of Suffolk

Take a tour full of contrasts from one side of Suffolk to the other. From Constable Country and the rolling Stour Valley on the Essex border, wind through country lanes to explore West Suffolk’s famous wool towns like Long Melford and half-timbered idyll, Lavenham. Take a look at the eccentric rotunda stately home at Ickworth – currently a fascinating restoration project – and enjoy its gardens and parklands en route to historic Bury St Edmunds. As you get closer to the flat fertile edges of Norfolk, the skies seem somehow even bigger and bluer. The Bloom family’s famous Bressingham Gardens are huge and colourful too - a real treat before pedalling back through some more of Suffolk’s precious village gems like Eye and Debenham.

Tour details

Tour Name
Historic Towns & Villages of Suffolk
Tour Reference
Tour Duration
6 days and 5 nights
Start Day
Any Day
Tour Grade
Board Basis
Bed & Breakfast
From £618 to £649 per person

is located in Bildeston, in the Dedham area, in Long Melford, in Bury St Edmunds and in Rickinghall near Diss. Selected properties include either a 4 or 5 star guest house; two 3 star hotels; an unrated, but very special historic inn and a TBC star hotel. We are pleased to discuss details on request.

Tour at a Glance

A tour full of contrasts, exploring the historic towns and picture book villages of West Suffolk, before heading north to the flat lands and big blue skies of Norfolk border country. Gentle cycling along quiet country lanes with history around almost every corner, plus some truly historic highlights in the vibrant market town of Bury St Edmunds.    


Day One - Arrive & explore 
Arrive at Needham Market / directly in Bildeston, a delightfully historic wool town with a square and clocktower, church with a fascinating story surrounding its tower and little streets lined with half-timbered and colourful houses.

Day Two – A painter’s home & inspiration 
Travelling through quiet villages you reach East Bergholt, the birthplace of John Constable. Discover the unique bell cage at the church, then pedal on to Flatford Mill, once owned by Golding Constable, the painter’s father. You can take a guided Constable appreciation tour, go rowing on the River Stour or simply relax in the riverside tea-room. Cycle on to the Stourside village of Dedham, with antique shops and a craft market to explore, before reaching your hotel just outside the village.

Mileage: Rec 31 Min 19 Max 46

Day Three – Weaving around the wool towns 
Today you visit the ‘Wool Town’ of Hadleigh, an ancient town whose buildings give evidence to its past prosperity. The rows of half-timbered houses dropping down the hillside to Kersey ford provide a splendid scene as well as the opportunity for a lunchtime pint. You spend the night in Long Melford, famous the world over for its historic long street and jumble of Tudor houses as well as its two find stately homes – Melford Hall and Kentwell Hall.

Mileage: Rec 27 Min 20 Max 33

Day Four – Bury beautiful indeed 
Drop in to take a look at Ickworth House – a rather eccentric rotunda set in wonderful parkland and gardens. Bury St Edmunds, an ancient market town, full of history and old Suffolk charm awaits, offering museums, gardens and a cathedral to visit as well as a great array of shops and modern arcades. Walk through the massive stone gateway to the ruined abbey flanked by the beautiful Abbey Gardens – now celebrating 1000 years since the Abbey’s foundation. The cathedral with its millennium tower is nothing but impressive, but the Theatre Royal – a rare Regency gem – is a must too. There’s a twice weekly market and a chance for a drink at The Nutshell, the smallest pub in Britain – or what about a Greene King brewery tour?

Mileage: Rec20 Min 17 Max 29

Day Five – Blooming borders 
Travelling from Bury St Edmunds you cycle northeast, passing Wyken Hall gardens and vineyard as you progress along exceptionally quiet lanes. On the Norfolk border, Bressingham Gardens are famous for plant, shrub and alpine collections and its outstanding railway and steam museum also has a great Dad’s Army exhibition. You’ll spend the night at Rickinghall near Diss, a village of two halves that’s joined at the hip with historic Botesdale.

Mileage: Rec 35 Min 28 Max 38

Day Six – A final rare find or two 
Leaving Rickinghall, you may wish to loop along to visit the wartime museum and airfield at Thorpe Abbots before heading to Wingfield where the magnificent medieval great hall of Wingfield Old College masquerades as a Georgian house. Perhaps stop for a drink at the historic pub across the lane, before continuing to Debenham with its little shops and village green, before returning to Bildeston /Needham Market.

Mileage: Rec 34 Min 24 Max 49


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