Plan Your Day Out in Stowmarket
Mid-Suffolk's largest town offers a good choice of things to see and do, whether you're into riverside walks, local history, indie music or street markets, and there's a friendly, welcoming feel to the place and modern development sits comfortably with over 130 listed buildings.
Visit on a Thursday or Saturday and you'll find the town square packed with traditional market stalls selling fresh meat, fruit and vegetables, as well as household goods. Once a month there's also a farmers' market offering locally sourced products.
The Town Centre
From haberdashery and housewares to health foods and hiking gear, there's a huge range on offer from Stowmarket's eclectic mix of retailers. Branches of national chains such as Argos, Boots and Carphone Warehouse are interspersed with family-run independents, many of which, such as Hicks, Hopgoods, Inces and the Co-op, have been trading in the town for decades.
The Museum of East Anglian Life
Town meets country at this splendid living museum, set out over 75 acres of beautiful Suffolk countryside. Find out about the fascinating history and heritage that has shaped East Anglia as you explore ancient buildings, see historic agricultural implements and wander through typical rural landscapes.
In the 18th century, poet John Milton was a frequent visitor to this handsome house, which now serves as council offices, the citizens' advice bureau and the registry office. A large mulberry tree in the garden is said to be a descendant of one planted by Milton himself.
St Peter and St Mary's Church
This historic place of worship has stood at the centre of the town for over 700 years. A new spire replaced the 18th century one in 1994 and the east windows now feature divine stained glass depicting the four seasons, created by York-based artist Helen Whittaker.
John Peel Centre for Creative Arts
Named after the indie-centric DJ who was a prominent member of the local community, this non-profit performance space promotes young talent, as well as alternative arts and entertainment. Located right in the centre of town, it's a hub for live music and features film screenings, theatre and other events.
The Regal Cinema and Theatre
The only purpose-built cinema in mid-Suffolk, the Regal shows all the latest releases, as well as relays of West End productions and opera. It also plays host to gigs, plays, comedy and family shows.
Gipping Valley River Path
The ancient towpath along the River Gipping meanders 17 miles from Stowmarket through the charming hamlet of Needham Market to Ipswich. The opening stretch runs from the Pickerel Bridge and Old Maltings next to the railway station through Stowmarket's industrial heartland out into glorious open countryside.
A short walk from the town centre along Tavern Street brings you to this delightful green space, which has been popular with locals and visitors since Victorian times. Recent improvements include a new children's play area, skate park and ball park. The impressive wrought iron Memorial Gates pay tribute to locals who died in the two world wars.
Cafés, Tea Rooms and Coffee Houses
Stowmarket has several places where you can recharge with a reviving cup of tea or coffee and enjoy a bite to eat. In the Meadow Centre, next Asda is a branch of Costa, offering the usual mind-boggling array of coffees, from machiatto to mocha. Just off the market place is the lovely Lime Tree Cafe, where you can enjoy a latte or hot chocolate and a sandwich or healthy salad. For a more distinctive setting, there's the Osier Café in the Museum of East Anglian Life. It offers a daily changing menu featuring freshly baked cakes and scones (with gluten-free options), home-made soup, sandwiches and ice creams.
Restaurants and Pubs
Whether your taste buds are tingled by classic Italian cuisine or tandoori treats, you'll find an eatery in Stowmarket that caters perfectly for you. As well as branches of JD Wetherspoon and Prezzo (which has a lovely al fresco dining area), there's the stylish River Bistro, just a few steps from the railway station. Ethnic options include Rhaduni, a classic Indian restaurant in Tavern Street which offers an all-you-can eat buffet on Sunday evenings. There are also several pubs serving great value food, including The Oak in the centre of town, which has a garden with an outdoor large screen TV.
Food to Go
Fancy a quick bite? No problem. Stowmarket has several fast food outlets serving the nation's favourites, including pizza, kebabs, burgers, curries and Chinese take-away. Most are independently run, although there are branches of Subway and Domino's.
Where To Stay
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