Suffolk: so near but so ignored

We have lived in East Anglia for 33 years, and I am ashamed to say that it has taken all that time for us to really explore the hidden gems of Suffolk, a mere 50 miles from our own doorstep. Too busy flying off to far-distant honeypots to really notice that some of the best gems are just down the road.

And as is usually the case, it takes a visit from friends to fire up the enthusiasm for local exploration, and in the process you get excited by all that you discover in your own locality. Our friends, Pilar and Mariano, are very old friends from the 1980s, when we spent a year in the little known town of Teruel in Aragon and, in the process, made some very firm friendships which have endured to this day.

2013-08-26 15.15.32

From stately country piles like this

Audley End House

Audley End House

to a Guildhall like this in Lavenham, that dates from medieval times……

Guildhall, Lavenham

Guildhall, Lavenham

Relaxation from leg-wearying sight-seeing came in the form of blackberry picking on an extended walk

2013-08-28 12.18.43

and cream teas in iconic little tea shops to conclude each day, the best at the Orchard in Granchester, the scene where endless numbers of writers and intellectuals from Cambridge got together to enjoy tea and cakes under the shade of apple trees. Rupert Brooke and Virginia Woolfe are believed to have swum naked in the nearby River Cam, and May Balls at Cambridge inevitably ended with a punt down the river and breakfast at the Orchard.

For us, it was a perfect late afternoon to be idling under the ripening fruit.


The Orchard, Granchester

And look out for little glimpses of local humour around the Suffolk lanes…..


……and guess the name of this pub…….

.....the Cross Keys!

…..the Cross Keys, of course!

…and as we went into this church in Lavenham, a visitor from Ireland shared some of his family history: an ancestor bearing his own surname had actually financed the building of the church back in the 15th century, and he himself could trace his ancestry back to the arrival of the Normans in the 11th century.

2013-08-30 12.10.08

St Peter and St Paul’s, Lavenham

…and perhaps you can tell me the exact interpretation of the category of this café….

2013-08-27 18.40.58…..or the category of this hotel….

2013-08-27 18.39.00


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on September 4, 2013, in Aspects of Britain and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Strange, isn’t it, how we yearn to be somewhere else when it is all really there in our own back yard.

  2. Hope you’re listening to this. If not, try it on iPlayer.
    If the link doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll send the details in another way!

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