Ipswich: Food, Shopping and Attractions
November 11, 2018
by Elena Petrescu
I have lived in the United Kingdom for a few years and I am happy to write about a place that always “recharged my batteries” after a long week. You will find a great little town that offers you everything you need for a full weekend. It’s called Ipswich the county town of Suffolk, located in the East of the United Kingdom.
First thing I personally recommend is to visit during the holiday season, here, the Christmas fever can start as early as October. Nothing beats the crisp air and the smell of mulled wine and hot dogs! And no one will make you feel the holiday spirit like the British!
Best places to eat and shop in Ipswich:
Grab a friend, best friend (like I did) or a group of friends and go to the town center, the perfect place to eat and shop. Our routine, that probably happened once a month, started early in the morning with coffee either at home or at a really colorful pastry shop that will tempt your taste buds. Patisserie Valerie is a very loved and known coffee shop and has a very nice variety of pastries, cakes, muffins, and even breakfast if you prefer something salty. Another thing I appreciated was the serving and the employees, always nice, helpful and happy.
The Hot Sausage Company
Usually, we continued our day with a lovely stroll along the streets filled with shops, always making a stop at The Hot Sausage Company cart, because we could not start shopping on an empty stomach or pass by it without stopping. It’s a very simple hot dog and yet so delicious, served with onions, cheese or plain and obviously the sauce mustard, ketchup or hot sauce. I am sure you will be able to find it as it is perfectly placed in the center where there is always a street market and there is always a line, so shopping and food do go hand in hand.
As for the shopping part, I think everyone knows that in the United Kingdom you can “shop ’till you drop”. Don’t worry if you don’t have a car to carry all the shopping because there are multiple ways of transportation and they are affordable. You can buy your tickets online, on the bus or ask for details in the train station and they will explain what is best suited for your itinerary.
Dinner at Neptunes Fish and Chips
Next thing on the list should be the Marina, a really nice walk along the seafront any time of the day but will be nicer at sunset or a boat ride along the Orwell river will certainly make you hungry. So go try a typical British dish at Neptunes Fish and Chips, fried fish in batter and chips sometimes with pees on the side, it is worth trying it although it can sound like an odd combination. You will find it on Tye Road in Ipswich.
I know I talked a lot about food, I like it, nothing wrong with that. Now let’s talk about the cultural side of Ipswich.
Top things to visit in Ipswich:
The Ipswich Museum
This is the place to visit if you like history and animals as you will find a British Mammal Gallery where they have a life-size model of a mammoth, this will probably be greatly appreciated by grown-ups and kids alike. Also you will be able to see a British Bird Gallery which is considered one of the most complete in the country, a Victorian Natural History Gallery that has a variety of exotic foreign animals and a rare species of giraffe and a Geology Gallery where you can see among other things the teeth of a giant shark called Megalodon that is extinct. Don’t be afraid to explore because this museum will provide a welcomed insight into the past. You can find it on High Street.
The Ipswich Transport Museum
It’s located on Old Trolleybus Depot, Cobham Road, a really cool thing to see if you are passionate about cars and vehicles of any kind. One thing I appreciated is that it’s run by volunteers, it is very nice to know that people can come together and create something wonderful for others. They have a variety of trams, buses, commercial vehicles, and even emergency vehicles or bikes to admire and some of them are operational and used on certain special events. If you go there with your kids they have to see “Dennis the Bus”, this is a fire engine where they can ring the bell, I am sure they will love it.
Clifford Road Air Raid Shelter
Next thing on the list is a World War II memory, an air raid shelter that has been turned into a museum. Clifford Road Air Raid Shelter was built in 1939 and at the time it is said to have offered protection to a lot of people, it got covered after the war and rediscovered in 1989. Now, you can go visit with kids or even your parents and get a glimpse into how life was back then. It is a very interesting history lesson that will make you appreciate your life more.
Last but not least is a very romantic, if I may, tourist attraction called Christchurch Mansion, you will find it on Soane Street. It’s a very old Tudor mansion that offers among its own beauty, a very large collection of paintings belonging to Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable as well as other painters from Suffolk. It contains over 500 years of history, its construction began in 1547 and it is the perfect place to get married! Yes, you can get married there because they are licensed for weddings and other venues. Go check it out!
You can always find something to do in the United Kingdom, people are very interactive and willing to help and that’s why I think we can learn a lot from them about being open-minded and ready to explore life. There is no reason why we should deny ourselves the possibility of having a holiday or at least a city break. We are never to old or too busy to live our lives and so if you plan on visiting, give Ipswich a chance.
And remember hot dog first, then shopping!